Middle Grade New Releases, Week of October 9, 2018

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_6851Soof by Sarah Weeks
(October 9th 2018 ~ Scholastic Press)

Photo and Review by Mary Anne ~ originally on Instagram @maryannerent

🐶Sarah Weeks’s latest book is best summed up in the last sentence – “Not everything has a name.” Aurora Franklin is a unique 12 year old. While she may be quirky (she wears her shirts inside out because tags bother her), she is very relatable for both male and female readers. I liked how she was able to march to the beat of her own drum, despite what others think.🐶 This book has tension, uncertainty and tragedy (in the form of a fire.) Aurora’s best friend is her dog – something that many of us, adults and children, can relate to. You will find yourself rooting for her to make a true connection with a friend who can accept her as she is. The topic of luck comes up, but is it luck? Is it, instead, what was supposed to be?🐶 The chapter titles are catchy – More than a Key loves to turn – More than a spark loves to fly. 🐶This book about friendship, family and being different is my idea of a great read-aloud for middle schoolers. I just ordered it from Scholastic – it was in their 5th grade October Book Club.

Grenade by Alan Gratzimg_6852
(October 9th 2018 ~ Scholastic Press)

Photo and Review by Michele ~ originally on Instagram @michelegreen120

Although it’s tough to admit, this is my first Alan Gratz book! 😳 I own several others but they still sit on my #TBR!
Here, Hideki is a young boy who lives on Okinawa and is thrust into war when the Americans come to take over the island at the end of WWII. With just two grenades and his own wits, Hideki sets out on a mission to simply survive. The tales of what happens to him are gripping and grim. Several chapters are told from an American soldiers point of view which adds to the conflict these young men are experiencing.
I will definitely put this into the hands of kids in grades 5+.

img_6853The Lotterys More or Less by Emma Donoghue
(September 25th 2018 ~ HarperCollins)

Photo and Review by Jennie ~ originally on Instagram @jennienaughton

This story features a cast of characters that could be labeled the liberal Cheaper by the Dozen family. Sumac Lottery is the fifth of seven siblings who share their big house with four parents, grandfather, and five pets.

As with all large families, there is always something happening. A big storm knocks out the power, and several family members aren’t able to fly home. Add in their grandfather with dementia, and you’ve got a lot of side plots in this story.

Honestly, I had a hard time keeping track of who’s who. This is the second book in the series about The Lottery family and maybe if I had read the first one I would have been less confused.

That said, I think kids need books like these. Whether they are members of an all-white hetero family or a family with a different spin on things, the author didn’t make up any of these characters.

I would for sure include this on any “We need Diverse books” lists.

The Perfect Secret by Rob Buyeaimg_6885
(October 9th 2018 ~ Delacorte Books for Young Readers)

Photo and Review by Shannon ~ originally on Instagram @campbrarianintn

⛺️ ⛺️⛺️⛺️⛺️/5 for The Perfect Secret by Rob Buyea. The students from The Perfect Score, the first book in this series, are back and starting seventh grade. After the cheating incident the previous year the kids are all ordered to continue with Mrs. Magenta’s after school program. This time the group hatches a plan to bring a family back together. Told in alternating voices, we watch as this group of friends handles a first crush, racism and complex family issues, all while trying to maintain their friendships and carrying secrets.

This is such a diverse group of kids and readers are bound to relate to at least one of the characters. Though you could read this one alone, I would really recommend starting with The Perfect Score first. It’s been nice to see their transformations through the two books. I can’t wait to see what the group is up to in @rob_buyea next book in the series.

img_6886The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty
(October 9th 2018 by Arthur A. Levine Books)

Photo and Review by Andrea ~ originally on Instagram @bookscatsandbutterflies

Bronte Mettlestone is a ten year old girl living with her Aunt Isabelle. Word arrives that her parents were killed in a pirate attack. Since she’s never had a relationship with them, she feels oddly at ease with their death. Along with the news of her parents’ death, she also learns that their will requires her to complete a journey, delivering gifts to her other ten aunts in order to save the kingdom of Gainsleigh. She sets off on her journey and soon finds out this will not be an easy task. Bronte learns more about herself, her family, magic, and pirates than she ever imagined. Can she follow her parents’ instructions exactly and overcome the incredible obstacles in her way? Read to find out! I enjoyed the voice given to Bronte in this sweet middle grade fantasy/adventure. She’s a funny, smart, caring character that I was cheering for from page one to the very end.

Finally, here’s one we missed from September! Please forgive our mistake, and make sure
you look for this special book!

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson38936372
(September 25th 2018 ~ Scholastic)

Review by Lauren ~ originally on Instagram @smilelines

What a TITLE! 👇🏻
The House with Chicken Legs by @sophieandersonauthor is a middle grade fantasy book. It is a bit of a different take on the Baba Yaga folktale. There are many twists and unique additions that will not disappoint. Marinka is in charge of making sure the Dead find their way to the stars through an open Gate.
‘My destiny is undecided, and that’s how I like it. The possibilities are as endless as the stars.’ 💫
This book makes you think a lot about growing up and dealing with grief. I read this one fast finding yourself wanting to know what this debut author has in store for her next book! Be ready to laugh and definitely shed some tears…

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