Middle Grade New Releases, January 15, 2019

Happy book birthday 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.

(January 15th 2019 ~ Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

Photo and Review by Kate ~ originally on Instagram @kateteaching7and8

Happy Conklin Jr is a pretty unique ten-year-old. He has a full grown beard he shaves around three times a day (one of the side effects of being experimented on) and is probably the only kid to have accidentally sold his family to aliens. In the first book in this series, Hap managed to save his family from the aliens, but now the entire world as we know it is in danger. Hap somehow manages to open a black hole right in his school. It’s his job to make sure that it doesn’t destroy Earth. He gets some help from his “pet” lizard, Squeep!, and his sister, Kayla. His other sister, Alice, though, goes into one of her manic states and stands in Hap’s way of saving the world. As he races to save the world, he uncovers his evil grandma’s plot to take over the galaxy.

This is a fun, quirky, and quick-paced middle grades novel. Hap has to deal with all the social anxieties of a normal 6th grader and then some. The story is interesting and fun and grabs the reader from page one. Not only did @paulnoth write a delightful story, but he also illustrated it. The illustrations add depth, humor, and greater understanding as they give us a window into Happy’s mind and thinking. The characters are well developed and pop off the page. My favorite character, other than Hap, is by far Squeep!. He’s unique, mysterious, and always popping in and out at the oddest moments, which results in some hilarious moments. Themes addressed in the book include fitting in, family, and doing the right thing. This is a terrific book for middle grade readers who enjoy humor.

ULTRABALL: LUNAR BLITZ ~ by Jeff Chenimg_7435
(January 15th 2019 ~ Katherine Tegen Books)

Photo and Review by Akossiwa ~ originally on Instagram @akossket

The Blind Side meets Real Steel.

Earth now has colonies on the moon but said colonies are left without support after Earth “literally goes nuclear”. For the survivors in the least fortunate moon colonies, winning the Ultraball is the only way to survive and have a shot at a possible future. Taiko Colony and Strike with the Taiko Miners are its beacon of hope for survival.

The tangled web of trust, distrust and suspicion in the story will keep you on the edge of your seat. Even Taiko Miners’ football match will leave your heart racing as you root for Strike and his team to win.

I love how the players’ struggle to work as as team and trust each other mirrors their own personal struggles with loyalty and betrayal. Once you get a full picture of how precarious Taiko Colony’s situation is, you won’t be able to put this book down until you reach the last page.

I wanted to hug Strike and his teammates when I got to the end. They stole my heart. I need to re-read this once it’s released into the world. 📚If you love books with a lot of heart this book is for you. 📚

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