Thursday, April 13, 2017

New and Noteworthy Middle Grade Fiction

 by Pseudonymous Bosch

We’re being showered this April with great debut novels, the latest in popular series, along with the newest from favorite authors.

 Bad News . Book 3 in the Bad Books series (Bad Magic, Bad Luck) Thirteen-year-old Clay, a boy who no longer believes in magic, tags graffiti on his classroom wall and, as punishment, is sent to a camp for wayward kids located on a volcanic island, where eccentric campmates abound, a ghost walks among the abandoned ruins of a mansion, and a dangerous force threatens to erupt with bad magic.   In the latest entry, Clay and the Secret Series Allies confront the white-gloved members of the mysterious Midnight Sun cabal.

   Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly.  In conjunction with the new Disney live action Beauty & the Beast, an original story taking place during Belle’s time at the Beast’s castle.  Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast's castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. But what about her friends in the Beast's castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever.

 by Sarah Beth Durst 
 Journey Across the Hidden Islands   Award-winning fantasy writer Durst has created an action packed story with an Eastern flavor.  When twin princesses Seika and Ji- Lin travel to pay respects to their kingdom's dragon guardian, unexpected monsters appear, and tremors shake the earth. The Hidden Islands face unprecedented threats, and the old rituals are failing. With only their strength, ingenuity, and flying lion to rely on, can the sisters find a new way to keep their people safe?

 by Jessica Day George

Saturdays at Sea   Finishes up the series starring the ever changing Castle Glower and Princess Celie that began with Tuesdays at the Castle.  After traveling to the seaside kingdom of Lilah's betrothed prince, Lulath, Celie and her companions are busy training griffins, enjoying wedding festivities, and finishing construction of a grand ship built from parts of the Castle. But on their maiden voyage, the Ship steers them far off course into uncharted waters.

 by Tim Green and Derek Jeter
Baseball Genius  and Fair Ball by Derek Jeter & Paul Mantell.  Derek Jeter may not be out on the diamond but he is putting his experience to work in several novels about baseball, co-authoring with veteran children’s sports novelists.  In Baseball Genius, an average kid with an above average talent for predicting baseball pitches tries to help his favorite player out of a slump.  In Fair Ball, Jeter continues with a series containing a fictionalized version of himself as a youngster living and loving baseball.

 by Andy Griffiths

  65-Story Treehouse
   How’s your division?  This hilarious, goofy series uses multiples of 13 for each title, beginning with The 13-Story Treehouse.  So we’re at number…5!  A treehouse like no other provides the setting for outrageous antics.

 by Scott Westerfeld

Horizon   Debut middle grade series with a companion online game by popular teen writer Westerfeld (Uglies).  When Aero Horizon 16 crashes in the Arctic, eight children emerge from the wreckage to find themselves alone and surrounded, not by ice, but by a mysterious and deadly jungle full of carnivorous plants and predatory birds--the other five hundred people from the plane are gone, not necessarily dead, but taken by something that lives in the jungle.

 by Carol Weston
Speed of Life  This debut novel by real life advice columnist Weston garnered 4 starred reviews.  Sofia lost her mother eight months ago, and her friends were 100% there for her. Now it’s a new year, and they’re ready for Sofia to move on.  Problem is, Sofia can’t bounce back, can’t recharge like a cell phone. She decides to write Dear Kate, an advice columnist for Fifteen Magazine, and is surprised to receive a fast reply. Soon, the two are exchanging emails, and Sofia opens up and spills all, including a few worries that are totally embarrassing. Turns out even advice columnists don’t have all the answers, and one day, Sofia learns a secret that flips her world upside down.

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