There are quite a few middle grade books coming out in 2019 that sound really good. I thought I would share 16 of those with you. I’m not going to share covers for all of them because of storage space, but I’ll share a few cool ones.
Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (no cover yet)
A seventh-grade girl and her brother, aided by various Navajo gods disguised as relatives, must stay one step ahead of a shape-shifting monster as they follow in the footsteps of the legendary Hero Twins to save their family.
Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokski
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents best-selling author Roshani Chokshi and her sequel to Aru Shah and the End of Time. Aru is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love’s bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn’t playing Cupid. Instead, they’re turning people into heartless fighting-machine zombies. If that weren’t bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn’t find the arrow by the next full moon, she’ll be kicked out of the Otherworld. For good. But, for better or worse, she won’t be going it alone. Along with her soul-sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy who lives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they’ll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover that their enemy isn’t at all who they expected.
Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega (no cover yet)
Coco meets Stranger Things in Claribel Ortega’s middle grade debut, based on Dominican folklore in which 12-year-old girl Lucely Luna must save the ghosts of her lost loved ones, living as fireflies, with the help of her best friend Syd and her witch grandmother Babette, before evil spirits haunting St. Augustine destroy them and the only home she’s ever known.
Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
Rick Riordan Presents Yoon Ha Lee’s space opera about thirteen-year-old Min, who comes from a long line of fox spirits. But you’d never know it by looking at her.
To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times. Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.
When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.
Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.
This sci-fi adventure with the underpinnings of Korean mythology will transport you to a world far beyond your imagination.
The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away by Ronald L. Smith
Twelve-year-old Simon is obsessed with aliens. The ones who take people and do experiments. When he’s too worried about them to sleep, he listens to the owls hoot outside. Owls that have the same eyes as aliens—dark and foreboding.
Then something strange happens on a camping trip, and Simon begins to suspect he’s been abducted. But is it real, or just the overactive imagination of a kid who loves fantasy and role-playing games and is the target of bullies and his father’s scorn?
Even readers who don’t believe in UFOs will relate to the universal kid feeling of not being taken seriously by adults that deepens this deliciously scary tale.
Scorch Dragons by Amie Kaufman
The struggle for power heats up in book two of this heart-stopping adventure series about siblings with magical shapeshifter powers, from New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman.
After the fateful battle between the ice wolves and the scorch dragons, Anders and his twin sister, Rayna, have been reunited. But there’s no time to celebrate.
The temperature all over Vallen is starting to drop. And Anders quickly learns that the wolves have stolen a weather-altering artifact called the Snowstone, and every dragon, including Rayna, is now in danger. Desperate to broker peace, Anders enlists the help of a few new flame-breathing friends to stop the wolves’ next plan of attack.
Together, these former rivals must go on a dangerous quest to find the scattered pieces of the Sun Scepter, the only artifact that can counteract the Snowstone. Because if either device goes unchecked, all hope for a truce will be lost.
The Bone Garden by Heather Kassner
“Remember, my dear, you do not really and truly exist.”
Made of dust and bone and imagination, Irréelle fears she’s not quite real. Only the finest magical thread tethers her to life—and to Miss Vesper. But for all her efforts to please her cruel creator, the thread is unraveling. Irréelle is forgetful as she gathers bone dust. She is slow returning from the dark passages beneath the cemetery. Worst of all, she is unmindful of her crooked bones.
When Irréelle makes one final, unforgivable mistake by destroying a frightful creature just brought to life, Miss Vesper threatens to imagine her away once and for all. Defying her creator for the very first time, Irréelle flees to the underside of the graveyard and embarks on an adventure to unearth the mysterious magic that breathes bones to life, even if it means she will return to dust and be no more.
With echoes of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, debut author Heather Kassner crafts a gorgeously written story humming with magic, mystery, and dark imaginings.
Changeling by William Ritter
The first book in an action-packed fantasy adventure series featuring witches, shape-shifters, and other creatures of fairytale and folklore, including two brothers—one human and one a goblin changeling—on a life-changing quest into the Oddmire.
Magic is fading from the Wild Wood. To renew it, goblins must perform an ancient ritual involving the rarest of their kind—a newborn changeling. But when the fateful night arrives to trade a human baby for a goblin one, something goes terribly wrong. After laying the changeling in a human infant’s crib, the goblin Kull is briefly distracted from his task. By the time he turns back, the changeling has already perfectly mimicked the human child. Too perfectly: Kull cannot tell them apart. Not knowing which to bring back, he leaves both babies behind.
Tinn and Cole are raised as human twins, neither knowing what secrets may be buried deep inside one of them. Then when they are twelve years old, a mysterious message arrives, calling the brothers to be heroes and protectors of magic. The boys must leave behind their sleepy town of Endsborough and risk their lives in the Wild Wood, crossing the perilous Oddmire swamp and journeying through the Deep Dark to reach the goblin horde and discover who they truly are.
In The Oddmire 1: Changeling, the New York Times bestselling author of the Jackaby series brings to life a bold new adventure, the first in a series about monsters, magic, and mayhem.
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
How did a raw chicken get inside Yasmany’s locker? When Sal Vidon meets Gabi Real for the first time, it isn’t under the best of circumstances. Sal is in the principal’s office for the third time in three days, and it’s still the first week of school. Gabi, student council president and editor of the school paper, is there to support her friend Yasmany, who just picked a fight with Sal. She is determined to prove that somehow, Sal planted a raw chicken in Yasmany’s locker, even though nobody saw him do it and the bloody poultry has since mysteriously disappeared. Sal prides himself on being an excellent magician, but for this sleight of hand, he relied on a talent no one would guess . . . except maybe Gabi, whose sharp eyes never miss a trick. When Gabi learns that he’s capable of conjuring things much bigger than a chicken–including his dead mother–and she takes it all in stride, Sal knows that she is someone he can work with. There’s only one slight problem: their manipulation of time and space could put the entire universe at risk. A sassy entropy sweeper, a documentary about wedgies, a principal who wears a Venetian bauta mask, and heaping platefuls of Cuban food are just some of the delights that await in his mind-blowing novel gift-wrapped in love and laughter.
Other Words For Home by Jasmine Warga
A lyrical and moving middle grade novel in verse about a Syrian girl who moves to the United States, from Jasmine Warga, the author of acclaimed YA novels My Heart and Other Black Holes and Here We Are Now.
I am learning how to be
at the same time.
Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.
At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.
This lyrical, life-affirming story is about losing and finding home and, most importantly, finding yourself.
The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao (no cover yet)
Hali Baumstein at Bloomsbury has bought at auction Katie Zhao’s debut middle grade, The Dragon Warrior, pitched as Percy Jackson and the Olympians meets the work of Grace Lin. In the book, a 12-year-old girl wanting to find her place in a secret society of warriors embarks on a journey to fight her way through gods and demons in various Chinatowns, in order to find a secret island where her missing father might be. Publication is planned for fall 2019 and 2020; Penny Moore Empire Literary negotiated the two-book deal for world rights.
The Tragical Tale of Birdie Bloom by Temre Beltz
In the fairy-tale kingdom of Wanderly, everyone has a role.
Birdie Bloom is a Tragical—an orphan doomed to an unhappy ending.
Agnes Prunella Crunch is a witch. The wicked kind.
In Wanderly, a meeting between a witch and a Tragical can only end one way: tragically. But lately, Birdie and Agnes have both been searching for something more. And with the help of some mysterious Winds, a few wayward letters, and a very unusual book, they might just find the kingdom’s unlikeliest friendship—and together, rewrite their story for good.
The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake
Twelve-year-old Sunny St. James navigates heart surgery, reconnections with a lost mother, first kisses, and emerging feelings for another girl in this stunning, heartfelt novel–perfect for fans of Ali Benjamin and Erin Entrada Kelly.
When Sunny St. James receives a new heart, she decides to set off on a “New Life Plan”: 1) do awesome amazing things she could never do before; 2) find a new best friend; and 3) kiss a boy for the first time.
Her “New Life Plan” seems to be racing forward, but when she meets her new best friend Quinn, Sunny questions whether she really wants to kiss a boy at all. When the reemergence of her mother, Sunny begins a journey to becoming the new Sunny St. James.
This sweet, tender novel dares readers to find the might in their own hearts.
Hurricane Season by Nicole Melleby
This debut novel—about taking risks and facing danger, about love and art, and about growing up and coming out—will make its way straight into your heart.
Fig, a sixth grader, wants more than anything to see the world as her father does. The once-renowned pianist, who hasn’t composed a song in years and has unpredictable good and bad days, is something of a mystery to Fig. Though she’s a science and math nerd, she tries taking an art class just to be closer to him, to experience life the way an artist does. But then Fig’s dad shows up at school, disoriented and desperately searching for Fig. Not only has the class not brought Fig closer to understanding him, it has brought social services to their door.
Diving into books about Van Gogh to understand the madness of artists, calling on her best friend for advice, and turning to a new neighbor for support, Fig continues to try everything she can think of to understand her father, to save him from himself, and to find space in her life to discover who she is even as the walls are falling down around her.
Nicole Melleby’s Hurricane Season is a stunning novel about a girl struggling to be a kid as pressing adult concerns weigh on her. It’s also about taking risks and facing danger, about love and art, and about coming of age and coming out. And more than anything else, it is a story of the healing power of love—and the limits of that power.
The Moon Within by Aida Salazar
Celi Rivera’s life swirls with questions. About her changing body. Her first attraction to a boy. And her best friend’s exploration of what it means to be genderfluid.
But most of all, her mother’s insistence she have a moon ceremony when her first period arrives. It’s an ancestral Mexica ritual that Mima and her community have reclaimed, but Celi promises she will NOT be participating. Can she find the power within herself to take a stand for who she wants to be?
A dazzling story told with the sensitivity, humor, and brilliant verse of debut talent Aida Salazar.
The Thirteen Witches by Jodi Lynn Anderson (no cover)
Simon Pulse has bought a new middle grade trilogy, The Thirteen Witches, by Jodi Lynn Anderson, in which an 11-year-old girl, trying to solve the mystery of her mother’s lost memory, discovers a layer underneath reality in which good and evil struggle in a battle between 13 witches and a benevolent goddess who lives on the moon. The trilogy is set to launch in spring 2019.
Are any of these on your TBR? Do you enjoy reading MG? What are some of your favorites?