Perhaps the most perfect creepy book for middle schoolers that I have ever read. Sisters Winnow, Mayhap, and Pavonine live in the strange, otherworldly Straygarden Place surrounded by tall, interminable, antagonistic grass. When eldest Winnow abruptly leaves the security of the house, she returns with an acute delirium and begins to turn the same sickening silver as the grass itself. Chewins writes Mayhap's increasing paranoia and the growing sentience of Straygarden Place with such easy, vivid poetry that readers will find themselves utterly transported into this twisty, turny, and unpredictable tale.
Middle school is hard enough, but then Ross' eye just had to get cancer. What gives?! He gets by with his friend, Abby; Frank, his radiation tech; a surprising new hobby, and a good sense of humor. Fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid will surely appreciate his journal entries scattered throughout the book. Author Rob Harrell is a cancer survivor himself, and gives Ross the depth and humor only a fellow survivor could.
Adventure is the last thing Barclay wants, and he's sure he won't find any apprenticed to a mushroom farmer. An accidental trip to the woods flings him into a hidden world of magic, Beasts, Beast collectors, and all the adventure he thought he didn't want.
Barclay's world is quirky and weird, and I'm so jealous I can't wander into the woods, bond with a Beast, and gain magical powers, too! Perfect for fans of Pokemon and How To Train Your Dragon!
It's been a long time since I couldn't put a book down, but I stayed up late to finish this one! If you woke up one morning to find your parents gone, your town completely abandoned, would you know what to do? Could you survive? Alone is a fantastic, nail-biting, and realistic story of survival written beautifully in verse. And twelve year old Maddie is SMART - I was so impressed with the clever ways she solved problems and made tough decisions, including the toughest one of all: to stay put, or go look for help.
Amari's adventure begins when she receives a package from her missing brother. Before he went missing, he nominated her for an elite summer camp with the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. She has a lot of catching up to do if she wants to fit in with her supernatural peers and solve her brother's disappearance!
This is one of those compulsively readable books that will have you bingeing the whole thing after finishing the first chapter. Not only does this book paint a rich picture of Zoe's life and the classic issues that arise in middle school (friendship fallouts, parent troubles, finding and pursuing interests), but it also clearly and carefully introduces readers to the injustices of modern incarceration and the prison complex's dependence on institutional racism, all without being heavy. A super enjoyable and informative triumph of a book.
Did you know that until the mid-1800s there were communities in New England where sign language was the dominant language, and that many of the residents were Deaf? Show Me a Sign follows young Mary as she finds out what happens when outsiders think they know what's best for people. LeZotte, who is Deaf, does a great job bringing post-Revolutionary War Martha's Vineyard to life, and beautifully weaves local sign language, ASL grammar, and "standard" grammar together in this unique work of historical fiction.
A beautifully written book about a child living on the US Virgin Islands struggling with loneliness. Why did her mother leave? Will she ever have a friend? Calendar does an amazing job transporting us into Caroline's world, both real and spiritual. Definitely a cathartic, yet hopeful, read.
This sweet, spooky tale of two best friends who accidentally release a curse on their town and then team up with a witchy grandma and a slightly magical cat named Chunk to fix it, is a pure delight! With nods to Harry Potter, Ghostbusters, and the Goonies, it's an adventurous tale of unbreakable friendship and the power of found family. Quite simply, it's enchanting.
My Father's Words begins with a tragedy, but ends with a heart full of hope. In this little novela, Fiona and Finn O'Brien lose their father in the first chapter in a car accident. They must learn to cope with their grief, but luckily their friend Luke has a great idea. Why not volunteer at the local dog shelter? They learn that by helping others, they in turn are able to help themselves. I have read many books about death and grieving, but My Father's Words by Patricia MacLachlan (The Poet's Dog) may just be the best of the bunch. A beautiful book suitable for any age.