Middle Grade New Releases, Week of September 4, 2018 – Part 2

Happy release week to these middle grade books making their rounds through our reviewers!


Thank you to @kidlitexchange for providing the review copies of these books. All opinions are our own.


img_6733Tight by Torrey Maldonado
(September 4th 2018 by Nancy Paulsen Books) 

Photo and Review by Laura ~ originally on Instagram @librarianmsg

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫/5 for TIGHT by #torreymaldonado, a beautifully written #mglit book about making tough choices as an inner city youth. This book is out September 4 and belongs in all elementary and middle school libraries.
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Bryan’s first person narrative is the very best part of this book. It rings true and will get students thinking about the tough choices in their own lives. I read this in one quick sitting and predict that students won’t be able to put it down either. This is going on my list of possible choices for #summerreading 2019.


LIFEBOAT 12 – by Susan Hood img_6735
(September 4th 2018 ~ Simon & Schuster)

Photo and Review by Kate ~ originally on Instagram @littleloudlibrary

LIFEBOAT 12 is a phenomenal and impeccably-researched historical fiction in verse that releases on 9.4.18.
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Based on a true story, Hood shares a tale that is filled with danger and adventure, told by a boy who is on a ship heading for Canada from England during WWII. The verse format is accessible and is perfect for the story ~ I will be purchasing multiple copies for both my elementary and middle school verse collections. Given that the 4th is our first day back to school, I plan to make this one of my very first book talks of the year for grades 4-6!


img_6736THE GREAT SHELBY HOLMES AND THE COLDEST CASE – by Elizabeth Eulberg
(September 6th 2016 ~ Bloomsbury USA Childrens)

Photo and Review by Jennie @jennienaughton

“I started with Latin since all the romance languages- Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese- come from it.” – Shelby Holmes

Playing my tune. This book is the third installment of the Shelby Holmes series, and it holds its own quite nicely. Eleven-year-olds Shelby Holmes and John Watson solve mysteries in their Harlem neighborhood.

For the adult reader, Sherlock Holmes fan, it is quite satisfying on many levels. It allows you to introduce the character of Sherlock in a fun middle-grade appropriate way all the while noting the parallels to the real Sherlock along the way. Shelby is addicted to sugar, is a pro at languages and science and of course is hyper-observant

Overall it is a cute story filled with Sherlock references which introduce kids to the world of ciphering, physics, acting and surprisingly, figure skating.
The best part of discovering a series, later on, is that kids get the fun of reading three books right away without the dreaded year wait for the next installment. It seems there will be more books too, which will be a relief to the many fans of this series. New readers have three to tide them over “til then.


THE MAGIC OF MELWICK ORCHARD – by Rebecca Caprara img_6630
(September 1st 2018 ~ Carolrhoda Lab)

Review and Photo by Michelle originally on Instagram @michellegoetzl

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The Magic of Melwick Orchard is an unusual book featuring magical realism and a family in need. As Isa’s family finally attempts to lay down roots, her younger sister, Junie, is diagnosed with cancer. As her parents spend more time worrying about June, Isa feels herself growing invisible. As she feels herself disappearing she discovers a magical tree in their orchard, a chance seedling.
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The tree is part wishing tree and part giving tree. Isa’s property includes the Melwick Orchard which has long been barren. Isa is led to a new growth and encouraged to plant her destroyed sneakers by a squirrel. The next day, Isa realizes that she finds that the tree has sprouted new shoes for her. From that point forward, Isa finds solace in the orchard and has conversations with the tree.
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TMMO deals with the realities of having a sick child in the family from the sibling perspective. Isa not only misses her sister, her only friend, she also feels invisible to her family. Her mother spends all day at the hospital and when she is at home, she won’t get out of bed. Her father is working extra to pay the mounting bills and is sleeping at the hospital.
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Rebecca Caprara has created a really moving book with TMMO. Everyone grows a bit in the story, learning from each other. I especially love when Junie tells Isa that she needs to give the tree some TLC. Like the Giving Tree, Isa was expecting things from the tree but not giving anything back. Love works both ways, an important lesson that she needed to learn. Additionally, Isa has to learn to let others into her life. Luckily for her, their new neighbor, Kira, is patient and persuasive and doesn’t give up on her.
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This is a very well crafted MG book for grades 4-7. Readers are able to see things from a variety of perspectives and a lot of wonderful lessons are learned by all.


img_6734THE THIRD MUSHROOM – by Jennifer L. Holm
(September 4th 2018 ~ Random House)

Photo and Review by Laura ~ originally on Instagram @librarianmsg

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for this charming sequel to THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH, which is on our @dartmouthmiddleschool choice #summerreading list. What great timing for this book to come out in September 4!
I just love Ellie, Melvin and Raj so it’s fun to spend more time with them! THE THIRD MUSHROOM is funny, highly readable and sure to be a big hit with kids in grades 3-7, especially those that read the first book.
Here’s what I love about this book:
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📚 STEM! Ellie and Melvin’s adventure is sure to spark the imagination of aspirational scientists. I also love how the end of the book includes their Gallery of Scientists with fun facts about each.
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📚 wonderful exploration of middle school relationships—if a boy and a girl are good friends, does that mean they should date? Raj and Ellie’s first date is fabulously awkward and cringe-y (as my Ss would say).
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📚 The librarian character Mrs. Barrymore!!! Just read the book. 🤗


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