I’m catching up from September and starting October’s new middle grade releases. I have so many exceptional books to share with you!
You’ll find stories about vampires, werewolves, foster care, found family, friendship, heroes, and adventure. My only question is, how will you pick which one to read first!?
New Middle Grade Books, October 2023
Bite Risk by S.J. Wells
One of the MOST EXCITING first chapters I’ve ever read!! We’re dropped into a city where the children cage the adults and teens who turn into “Rippers,” carrying tranq guns just in case one of them escapes. Ansel “Sel” and his best friend Elena usually play cards these long babysitting nights with an old man who is one of the only adults who doesn’t turn into a Ripper. He helps them piece together the clues about a sinister plot, murder, and entrapment. I loved the non-stop, exciting plot that I read in one sitting.
Eerie Tales from the School of Screams by Graham Annable
SCARY / GRAPHIC NOVEL
The students in this teacher’s classroom share eerie stories; the creepier, the better. The stories are spooky but not terrifying, which I liked. As the students take turns sharing stories somehow, the stories creep into the classroom. The entire book is mesmerizing from cover to cover. And the artwork throughout this graphic novel is AMAZING, with a black, gray, and red palette and expressive characters. I also loved the big type size with strong dialogue bubble lines!
Hidden Truths by Elly Swartz
On a camping trip, the camper catches fire with Dani inside. She’s badly hurt, confined to a wheelchair with months of PT appointments ahead. Not only that, she’s angry that she won’t get to play on the boys’ baseball team. Her best friend Eric worries that the fire is his fault. He wonders if he forgot to turn off the stove. When he confesses to Dani his worries, their friendship is ruined. Dani’s new friend calls Eric a loser and bullies him on social media videos while Eric tries to fix things. He writes the company of the fire’s actual culprit–a toy car. And at school, he befriends a girl named Rachel. But when he tells her the fire story, she betrays him by using his story for her own high school application. Talk about friendship troubles! I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s perfect, resolving everything to our satisfaction. I loved this unique plot leading to relatable friendship woes! This is a memorable story of friendship, growing up, and forgiveness.
Zombie Season #1 by Justin Weinberger
This zombie story zips along with intrigue, adventure, and humor. Narrated from the perspective of three kids from the same town: one who is out after the DUSK ALERT searching for her missing dad, the other who is trying to atone for her failed zombie experiment and the last one whose parents force him to flee. When their stories converge, it’s after one meets a sentient zombie and one sees a mutated gigantic zombie who seems unstoppable. The hoard is growing and attacking with planning– and it’s not looking good for humans.
Something Like Home by Andrea Beatriz Arango
REALISTIC / VERSE / FOSTER CARE
In this emotional novel in verse, Laura’s parents are in rehab, and she’s in foster care with an aunt she doesn’t know. She longs to go home to her parents. When she sees an abused puppy in a cage for free, she takes it home and names it Sparrow. She’s not permitted to visit her parents, but when she learns that the rehab clinic accepts therapy dogs, she starts training Sparrow. Her friend at school has sickle cell and is hospitalized, so she sneaks her dog to cheer him up. At the same time, Laura hurts her friend’s feelings by telling him their friendship is temporary. Her parents leave rehab early, and things seem worse than ever. This moving story is about family and healing and includes a nonbinary therapist and a mention of girls dating.
Three Tasks for a Dragon by Eoin Colfer, illustrated by P.J. Lynch
In a middle grade novel that feels like high fantasy, our hero, Prince Lir, is tricked by his stepmom and stepbrother, a dark sorcerer, to forfeit his kingdom and embark on a quest to rescue a girl supposedly kidnapped by a dragon. Prince Lir uses his wits to avoid death by solving the dragon’s problems, like cave mold and a broken wing…and he stays alive. When the dragon fails to kill Prince Lir, the evil stepbrother arrives to do it himself. But the girl, Cethlenn, calls the wolfhounds to herself, and they save Lir just before the stepbrother dies, cursing Lir and the dragon and freezing Cethleen. Wonderfully complex language, vivid imagery, and lovely world-building, this book transports readers into a magical world of good versus evil. Will our heroes get a happy ending?
Saving H’Non Chang and the Elephant by Trang Nguyen and Jeet Zdung
EPISTOLARY GRAPHIC NOVEL / ANIMAL RESCUE
Written like a graphic novel combined with a scrapbook, this based on a true story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming with a beautiful emotional arc. In first-person narration, Chang describes working at a wildlife rescue center in Vietnam and meeting an abused older elephant named H’Non. She and her boss save him from maltreatment and search for a kind trainer to work with H’Non. As you cheer Chang along, you’ll learn about Vietnam, elephants, and animal rescue work. The illustrations are detailed, gorgeous, and memorable. You won’t want to miss this exceptional middle grade graphic novel with four starred reviews. It belongs in every school library!
Silverwing Graphic Novel by Kenneth Oppel, illustrated by Christopher Steininger
ANIMAL ADVENTURE / GRAPHIC NOVEL
In a world where the owls control the skies, a young bat named Shade breaks the rules to glimpse the sun. Furious, the owls burn the bats’ home! The colony escapes to the South, but Shade gets separated from them. He meets a solitary Brightwing bat named Marina, who was kicked out of her group because of her banded leg. Together, they travel south on a journey fraught with danger and adventure, encountering gigantic meat-eating jungle bats, sinister rats, blood-thirsty pigeons, and a wise albino bat. A fast-paced, exciting adventure with visually stunning illustrations.
Join other teachers, parents, librarians, and grandparents who receive my newsletter of book reviews and learning resources.
MORE NEW RELEASE BOOKS ON MY TO-READ LIST!
What will I be reading next? There are so many more new releases, including these titles. I can’t wait to read them!
The Golden Imaginarium by Ellen Potter (Hither & Nigh book 2)
The Dreamatics by Michelle Cuevas
The Vanderbeekers Ever After by Karina Yan Glaser