35 Most-Anticipated Middle Grade Books: January-March 2024

Today’s post is sponsored by Candlewick and Louder Than Hunger!

Title Louder Than Hunger
Creator John Schu
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Publication Date March 19th 2024 by Candlewick
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Revered teacher, librarian, and story ambassador John Schu explores anorexia — and self-expression as an act of survival — in a wrenching and transformative novel-in-verse.

But another voice inside me says,
We need help.
We’re going to die.

Jake volunteers at a nursing home because he likes helping people. He likes skating and singing, playing Bingo and Name That Tune, and reading mysteries and comics aloud to his teachers. He also likes avoiding people his own age…and the cruelty of mirrors…and food.

Jake has read about kids like him in books — the weird one, the outsider — and would do anything not to be that kid, including shrink himself down to nothing. But the less he eats, the bigger he feels. How long can Jake punish himself before he truly disappears?

A fictionalized account of the author’s experiences and emotions living in residential treatment facilities as a young teen with an eating disorder, Louder Than Hunger is a triumph of raw honesty. With a deeply personal afterword for context, this much-anticipated verse novel is a powerful model for muffling the destructive voices inside, managing and articulating pain, and embracing self-acceptance, support, and love.

I look forward to making Pop! Goes The Reader’s most-anticipated lists every single year! While being a mood reader means I’m not always able to strictly stick to a to-be-read list, it’s exciting to explore what’s being published in the months ahead. Posts like this help me better organize my thoughts and decide what I ideally want to prioritize and read first, not to mention give me lots to look forward to!

That said, I am doing things a little differently this year! Ordinarily my most-anticipated lists cover a six month time period (i.e January-June, July-December) but this year the lists I share will cover only three months at a time. This is not only because I find it extremely time-consuming and labour-intensive to cover such an enormous number of books at one time (For example, 2022’s January-June YA list was 100 books long!) but also because I think making these into slightly smaller posts will makes it easier for readers to consume. It can be really overwhelming to see a list of 100+ books, and because my goal is to specifically highlight the titles selected for my most-anticipated posts, this seems a little counter-productive. That said, I welcome all feedback about this issue. Did you like it better when the most-anticipated posts covered six months, instead? Please let me know in the comments!

Please Note: If you’re an author with a novel being published in 2024 and don’t see your book on one of Pop! Goes The Reader’s Most-Anticipated lists, please don’t be hurt or upset! These lists are entirely subjective and based on my own personal reading taste. My favourite genres are contemporary and realistic fiction fiction, horror and historical fiction, which is why you won’t see many books outside of these genres on this list. While I try my best to remain up-to-date about upcoming releases, it’s also entirely possible that I simply haven’t learned about your book yet! If you’re the author of a 2024 middle grade novel that you think might make a good fit for me and Pop! Goes The Reader, please don’t hesitate to reach out – I would love to hear from you!

For even more wonderful middle grade novels being published in 2024, please check out this Goodreads list which currently includes over 250 MG novels being published this year for you to choose from. Hopefully you’ll be able to find the perfect book for you. Happy reading!

The publication dates listed below might be subject to change.



Publication Date January 2nd 2024 by Razorbill
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Dark secrets and unnatural magic abound when a twelve-year-old girl ventures into a bog full of monsters to break a mysterious curse.

Nothing about Kess Pedrock’s life is normal. Not her home (she lives in her family’s Unnatural History Museum), not her interests (hunting for megafauna fossils and skeletons), and not her best friend (a talking demon’s head in a jar named Shrunken Jim).

But things get even stranger than usual when Kess meets Lilou Starling, the new girl in town. Lilou comes to Kess for help breaking a mysterious curse — and the only clue she has leads straight into the center of Eelgrass Bog.

Everyone knows the bog is full of witches, demons, and possibly worse, but Kess and Lilou are determined not to let that stop them. As they investigate the mystery and uncover long-buried secrets, Kess begins to realize that the curse might hit closer to home than she’d ever expected, and she’ll have to summon all her courage to find a way to break it before it’s too late.





Publication Date January 2nd 2024 by Clarion Books
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A smart, funny, and heartfelt middle grade novel about Lily Hong’s attempts to save her parents’ Chinese school and the town’s community center using all the resources she has — devoted friends, ingenuity, a passion for filmmaking, mediocre dance moves (at best), and perhaps even her archnemesis.

If there’s one thing Lily Hong can’t stand, it’s being second best. That’s why she and Max Zhang have been bitter rivals ever since he swooped into town as the new kid with the cool clothes and his fancy downtown Chinese school and showed her up in the fifth-grade reading challenge.

She had wanted to be the one to win the pizza party for their class. Okay, so that was two years ago…her best friends Kelli and Lauren didn’t totally get it, but they were on her side. And that’s why they agreed to help Lily with her submission for the Clarktown’s Got Talent video competition. Filmmaking is Lily’s passion — which means winning is more important to her than ever.

Unfortunately, finding time to work on her video submission is proving harder than ever. In addition to doing regular homework and attending the Chinese school her parents own and run out of the Clarktown Community Center, Lily’s been getting weird vibes from her parents lately and she can tell something is up. Then her mom announces that the Clarktown Community Center is having its first showcase, and the students of Hong Chinese Academy will be performing as a group — traditional Chinese dance!

Lily is more confused than anything else — the community center is practically falling apart and they think this is a good time to put on a show? Could it be that the community center is in trouble and the only way to save it is to make the showcase a huge success? Lily has no choice. She’ll have to juggle the video competition and the art of Chinese dance simultaneously. But when Max Zhang unexpectedly shows up in her class at Chinese school with his perfect Mandarin and his surprisingly good dance skills, Lily might just have to embrace her longtime rival as a key part of her plan to save the community center.





Publication Date January 2nd 2024 by Holiday House
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It’s 1935, and tuberculosis is ravaging the nation. Everyone is afraid of this deadly respiratory illness. But what happens when you actually have it?

When Halle and her mother both come down with TB, they are shunned — and then they are sent to the J.N. Adam Tuberculosis Hospital: far from home, far from family, far from the world.

Tucked away in the woods of upstate New York, the hospital is a closed and quiet place. But it is not, Halle learns, a prison. Free of her worried and difficult father for the first time in her life, she slowly discovers joy, family, and the healing power of honey on the children’s ward, where the girls on the floor become her confidantes and sisters. But when Mama suffers a lung hemorrhage, their entire future — and recovery — is thrown into question….

Light and Air deals tenderly and insightfully with isolation, quarantine, found family, and illness. Set in the fully realized world of a 1930s hospital, it offers a tender glimpse into a historical epidemic that has become more relatable than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As Halle tries to warm her father’s coldness and learns to trust the girls and women of the hospital, and as she and her mother battle a disease that once paralyzed the country, a profound message of strength, hope, and healing emerges.

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection





Publication Date January 16 2024 by Walden Pond Press
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From the award-winning author of The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy comes an unforgettable and deeply personal story of the ghosts that surround us — and the ones we carry inside.

The house seemed to sit apart from the others on Katydid Street, silent and alone, like it didn’t fit among them. For Violet Hart — whose family is about to move into the house on Katydid Street — very little felt like it fit anymore. Like their old home, suddenly too small since her mother remarried and the new baby arrived. Or Violet’s group of friends, which, since they started middle school, isn’t enough for Violet’s best friend, Paige. Everything seemed to be changing at once. But sometimes, Violet tells herself, change is okay.

That is, until Violet sees her new room. The attic bedroom in their new house is shadowy, creaky, and wrapped in old yellow wallpaper covered with a faded tangle of twisting vines and sickly flowers. And then, after moving in, Violet falls ill — and does not get better. As days turn into weeks without any improvement, her family growing more confused and her friends wondering if she’s really sick at all, she finds herself spending more time alone in the room with the yellow wallpaper, the shadows moving in the corners, wrapping themselves around her at night.

And soon, Violet starts to suspect that she might not be alone in the room at all.





Publication Date January 23rd 2024 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Live life in the trash lane with this first entry in a hilarious middle grade graphic novel series about a family of sneaky raccoons from graphic novel superstars Stephanie Cooke and Whitney Gardner!

Meet the Bin family, a trio of raccoons in the risky business of dumpster diving for all their needs. With Dusty’s brains, ReRe’s muscle, and Scraps’s gadgets (please don’t tell him he’s almost definitely an opossum), the Binses are determined to leave no garbage bin unturned in their pursuit of the tastiest, most delicious trash they can find.

When the family discovers a new upscale grocery store that’s throwing away their perfectly good food at the end of each day, the Binses hatch a heist so daring it’ll have them rolling in garbage all winter long. But a critter-despising CEO, Jeff Beans, and the high-tech defense system he’s installed means liberating that trash is going to take all the skills the Racc Pack have…and maybe some help from a cat burglar with a mysterious past.





Publication Date January 23rd 2024 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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An uplifting middle-grade novel about loss, luck…and deep-dish chocolate chip cookies ― perfect for fans of King and The Dragonflies and The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise.

Seventh-grader Freya June Sun has always believed in the Chinese superstitions spoon-fed to her since birth. Ever since her dad’s death a year ago, she’s become obsessed with them, and believes that her father is sending her messages from beyond. Like how, on her way to an orchestra concert where she’s dreading her viola solo, a pair of lucky red birds appear ― a sure indication that Dad wants Freya to stick with the instrument and make him proud.

Then Freya is partnered with Gus Choi, a goofy and super annoying classmate, for a home economics project. To her surprise, as they experiment with recipes and get to know each other, Freya finds that she may love baking more than music. It could be time for a big change in her life, even though her dad hasn’t sent a single sign. But with the help of her family, Gus (who might not be so annoying after all), and two maybe-magical birds, Freya learns that to be her own person, she might just have to make her own luck.

In Maybe It’s A Sign, E. L. Shen cooks up a deliciously voicey, comforting family story sweetened with a dollop of first romance, a dash of whimsy, and heaps of heart.





Publication Date January 23rd 2024 by Bloomsbury Children’s Books
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Witchlings meets The Parent Trap in this contemporary fantasy about a girl who tries to use her fickle witchy powers to keep her best friend (and secret crush!) from moving away.

Twelve-year-old, Korean American adoptee Emma Davidson has a problem. Two problems. Okay, three:
1. She has a crush on her best friend, Avangeline, that she hasn’t been able to share
2. Avangeline now has to move out of their town because her parents are getting a divorce
3. Oh, and Emma is a secret witch who can’t really control her powers

It’s a complicated summer between sixth and seventh grade. Emma’s parents made her promise that she’d keep her powers a secret and never, ever use them. But if Avangeline’s parents fell back in love, it would fix everything. And how hard could one little love spell be?

This fast-paced, heartfelt story is a powerful exploration of learning to embrace who you are, even when your true self is different from everyone around you.





Publication Date January 30th 2024 by Christy Ottaviano Books
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In this thrilling mystery from an award-winning author, Zander is determined to do whatever it takes to save his grandmother’s nineteen-story out-of-this-world department store — perfect for fans of The Swifts and The Mysterious Benedict Society.

Zander Olinga’s grandmother is the owner of the fabled Number Nine Plaza, the spectacular nineteen-story skyscraper. The Nine, as it’s called, has everything imaginable, including a massive Ferris wheel on its rooftop, monorail tracks suspended from its ceiling, and twenty-five glass elevators. But there’s something evil looming in the shadows, and strange accidents start befalling the guests. When Zander and his friend Natasha come across a series of inscriptions hidden throughout the walls of The Nine, they discover that the clues will lead them to a magical object which protects the store’s very existence. With the future of The Nine on the line, the pair are determined to recover the mysterious object before the luxury plaza and its many guests are destroyed.

Featuring an unforgettable setting and a larger-than-life cast of characters, here’s a spellbinding mystery involving puzzles, art, and high-stakes adventure.





Publication Date January 30th 2024 by Zando Young Readers
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What if your favorite scary story was real?

With eerie illustrations and chilling creepypasta interstitials, The Doomsday Archives: The Wandering Hour by Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos is the first in a deliciously creepy series, perfect for readers of Jonathan Stroud, Christian McKay Heidicker, and Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark.

New Rotterdam is no place for a kid ― and that’s what Emrys Houtman likes about it. Emrys obsessively documents his town’s urban legends and cryptid sightings in a Wiki, along with his neighbors and fellow horror fans Hazel and Serena. It’s all in good fun until one day, the trio stumbles upon the Doomsday Archives, a collection of relics with dazzling powers and dangerous consequences.

When a mysterious blood-red hourglass begins appearing around town and children begin to go missing, the trio must band together to stop the horrors plaguing New Rotterdam, or risk losing their home…and possibly their lives. Because after all this time hunting monsters, the kids have realized the monsters are now hunting them back.





Publication Date January 30th 2024 by Feiwel & Friends
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The X-Files meets Scooby-Doo in The Thirteenth Circle, a middle-grade mystery from MarcyKate Connolly and Kathryn Holmes, featuring two unexpected friends, crop circles, science fairs, and Men in Black, perfect for both the highly scientific and cryptid enthusiasts alike.

Cat knows aliens are real, and she’s determined to prove it. By studying the Weston Farm Circles, her town’s legendary crop circle phenomenon, she’ll not only demonstrate the existence of extraterrestrial life, but also win the grand prize in the McMurray Youth Science Competition ― a feat she’s sure will impress her distant NASA scientist father.

Dani most certainly does not believe in aliens. How can she, when they go against every scientific principle she’s been taught? So when Dani is paired with Cat to enter the McMurray Youth Science Competition ― which she has to win to avoid going to her parents’ artsy summer camp ― she knows she’s at a disadvantage. Her solution? Disprove Cat’s theory, of course…without telling her partner her true intentions.

But as the girls bond over science, it becomes clear that there is something strange about the Weston Farm Circles. And when Dani and Cat’s project is threatened by suspicious forces, they’ll have to work together to expose the truth, once and for all.





Publication Date January 30th 2024 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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In this heartfelt novel about family, friendship, and identity perfect for fans of The List of Things That Will Not Change and Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter To The World, a thirteen-year-old nonbinary kid discovers that life doesn’t always go according to plan — especially when they start public school for the first time. ​

Thirteen-year-old Shai is an expert problem-solver. There’s never been something they couldn’t research and figure out on their own. But there’s one thing Shai hasn’t been able to logic their way through: picking at the hair on their arms.

Ever since their mom lost her job, the two had to move in with family friends, and the world went into pandemic lockdown, Shai’s been unable to control their picking. Now, as the difficult times recede and everyone begins to discover their “new normal,” Shai’s hoping the stress that caused their picking will end, too.

After reading that a routine can reduce anxiety, Shai makes a plan to create a brand new normal for themself that includes going to public school. But when their academic evaluation places them into 9th grade instead of 8th, it sets off a chain of events that veer off the path Shai had prepared for, encouraging Shai to learn how to accept life’s twists and turns, especially when you can’t plan for them.





Publication Date February 6th 2024 by Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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From the award-winning author of Amina’s Voice and Amina’s Song comes a tenderhearted middle grade novel about a young Pakistani American artist determined to manage her anxiety and forge her own creative path.

Deena’s never given a name to the familiar knot in her stomach that appears when her parents argue about money, when it’s time to go to school, or when she struggles to find the right words. She manages to make it through each day with the help of her friends and the art she loves to make.

While her parents’ money troubles cause more and more stress, Deena wonders if she can use her artistic talents to ease their burden. She creates a logo and social media account to promote her mom’s home-based business selling clothes from Pakistan to the local community. With her cousin and friends modeling the outfits and lending their social media know-how, business picks up.

But the success and attention make Deena’s cousin and best friend, Parisa, start to act funny. Suddenly Deena’s latest creative outlet becomes another thing that makes her feel nauseated and unsure of herself. After Deena reaches a breaking point, both she and her mother learn the importance of asking for help and that, with the right support, Deena can create something truly beautiful.





Publication Date February 6th 2024 by Tundra Books
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Middle school podcast advice columnist and social media influencer wannabe Emily Laurence takes on the principal at her school to stand up for a climate march, in this fun, school-based drama for ages 10 and up. For fans of Gordon Korman and Susin Nielsen.

Emily is the ringleader for her school podcast, Cedarview Speaks — Sponsored by CoastFresh! But her plans for middle-school fame and social media influence are derailed when Amelie joins her eighth-grade class. The new arrival has a seemingly endless supply of confidence and a gift for leading people. Or leading them astray, as far as Emily’s concerned.

Emily puts her old-fashioned sense of etiquette into practice. Rather than confronting Amelie, she focuses her energy on creating a podcast story about an upcoming climate march. But her story is censored by the school principal. When she protests, Emily gets cut from the podcast crew…and Amelie takes her place!

Can Emily use her influence to spread the news of the climate march, reclaim her place on the podcast team and expose the flaws of CoastFresh? Can she balance her impeccable manners with twenty-first century activism? And how will she ever manage to work alongside Amelie?

With a light touch and plenty of humor, Emily Posts explores issues of social media, influence, corporate sponsorship…and the fraught waters of middle-school friendship.





Publication Date February 6th 2024 by Scholastic Press
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The Inheritance Games and One of Us Is Lying for middle grade – beloved author Alyson Gerber’s new series is an unforgettable mystery featuring a secret society, a mysterious island, and dangerous family secrets.

Weatherby is a fish out of water. When she lands a scholarship to the prestigious Boston School, she’s excited to be in the same world as her dad, whom she’s never met, and make real friends. But Weatherby has a secret she’ll risk everything to protect, one that could destroy her new life.

Every member of Jack’s wealthy and privileged family has made their mark at the Boston School. Everyone, that is, except for Jack, who is entirely mediocre. He’s desperate to prove his worth to his influential father. But Jack has a secret of his own…one with the power to ruin everything.

When the money for their school trip to a private island ― exclusive to Boston students ― is stolen, Jack and Weatherby are invited to play a high-stakes game and solve the mystery of the missing money. If they win, they’ll be selected to join the oldest, most powerful secret society in the world ― and they’ll be Boston royalty forever. If they lose…well, they better not lose.

Beloved author Alyson Gerber crafts an unforgettable mystery that asks ― are some secrets and lies impossible to overcome?





Publication Date February 6th 2024 by Holiday House
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Can Lou Bennett keep a secret? She’ll do just about anything to prove herself to her new friend — and the best friend she betrayed — in this debut novel that is a modern-day Harriet the Spy with high emotional stakes.

It’s the thirty-fourth day of sixth grade at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School in Missouri, and eleven-year-old Lou wishes she could rewind time.

Lou wants to go back to the ninth day of sixth grade — the day before she fought with her best friend Francie and said the terrible, horrible things she can’t unsay. Or better yet, she would go back to fifth grade when Francie was still the Old Francie.

Then the new girl, Cece Clark-Duncan, passes Lou a mysterious note. It says she was kidnapped. (!) If Lou can help Cece, maybe she can prove she’s not the world’s worst friend.

But as observant Lou uncovers the complicated truth about Cece’s family, she starts to panic. Can she help Cece without hurting her? Or will Lou end up losing another friend instead?

Anchored by an outstanding voice and a page-turning mystery, this remarkable debut novel honors the powerful middle school friendships that can both break and heal a tender eleven-year-old heart. Perfect for fans of Fish In A Tree and My Jasper June.





Publication Date February 13th 2024 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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A fun, fast-paced story about a girl determined to cut the cord with her helicopter parents.

Twelve-year-old coder Averil can’t do anything without her parents knowing. That’s because her mom uses the Ruby Slippers surveillance app to check where she is, who she texts, and even what she eats for lunch. Averil wonders how she’s ever going to grow up if she’s not allowed to learn from mistakes.

When she learns that Ruby Slippers is about to become even more invasive, she teams up with Max, a new kid at school dealing with overbearing parents of his own. Together they figure out an almost foolproof way to ditch their parents and run away to the college campus that’s home to the quirky Ruby Slippers creator.

It’s an extreme challenge just getting to meet with him — but the two kids cleverly figure out a series of puzzles and get their meeting. What they find gives them pause — and gets them thinking about the value of honesty in a new light. After all, isn’t trust at the heart of their parents’ need to know?





Publication Date February 13th 2024 by Greenwillow Books
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Where can a princess hide if her Ever After isn’t all that Happy? Bestselling author Alex London turns classic fairy tales on their heads in this fast-paced, funny fantasy about embracing change and taking control of your own story. For fans of the School For Good and Evil and the Chronicles of Never After series.

Every fairy tale ends with its characters living happily ever after, right? A valiant prince quests long and hard to reach the castle where the sleeping princess lies. And with a kiss, he awakens her.

But what if the princess does not think a kiss from a stranger is a very pleasant way to wake up? Yuck!

When Rosamund flees her prince, a Door of Opportunity opens, and she steps through it to the Home Educational Academy (the HEA for short). Rosamund has found the Princess Protection Program, where fugitive fairy-tale princesses escape unwanted affections, untimely ends, and all the other perils of their stories.

But the longer Rosamund lives in the real world, the more questions she has. Does anyone ever graduate from the HEA? Why doesn’t anyone seem to remember the former students? Is the kindly fairy headmistress all she appears to be? Is anyone? And the most important question of all: Can Rosamund change her story?

Acclaimed and bestselling author Alex London weaves together several beloved fairy tales in this fast-paced, funny, and slyly subversive adventure about finding your place in the world.





Publication Date February 13th 2024 by Bloomsbury Caravel
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An amazing journey of secrets, self-discovery, kites, and lemonade!

Leena, who suffers from selective mutism, and her family move to Riyadh because of her father’s job. Her new home is in a modern apartment building where she meets and makes friends with Rima, a neighbour who is blind, and Jojo, who has a secret.

Together the girls encounter a clever cat, come across an ancient key, and find a mysterious old workshop full of books, inventions, and trinkets hidden under their building. Join them on their exploration of their amazing discovery and its secrets!

Who tampered with Leena and Rima’s lemonade? Where did the clever cat come from? And whose kite will win at the Festival?





Publication Date February 20th 2024 by Delacorte Press
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The creepy middle grade debut from USA Today bestselling author Amalie Howard in which a girl stays with her grandmother in Trinidad for the summer and discovers that she comes from a long line of powerful witches.

Darika “Rika” Lovelace is in trouble. The kind of trouble that sends her to her grandmother’s estate in Trinidad for the whole summer. But something about the island feels…different. As soon as she steps off the plane, strange things start happening!

Rika meets a group of kids called Minders, who seem to have elemental powers. Even worse, she can sense jumbies lurking in the shadows. Needless to say, she wants a ticket home. But when the Minders let slip that her long-lost mom is in danger, she knows she can’t leave.

Thrust into a magical adventure involving bloodcurdling monsters, a supernatural silk cotton tree, and an endless maze, Rika must defeat the fearsome jumbie king to save her family and new friends. But unless she learns to believe in herself, she’ll never beat him or escape his twisted maze.





Publication Date February 20th 2024 by Aladdin
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Perfect for fans of Jamie Sumner and Barbara Dee, this heartfelt middle grade novel about friendship, belonging, and the power of community follows a girl whose family is uprooted after a flood destroys their house.

After a horrible storm floods her neighborhood, twelve-year-old Temple and her family are forced to move to a new town. They are some of the lucky ones, able to secure temporary housing relatively quickly. But Temple doesn’t feel so lucky starting over at a brand-new school halfway through the year and feeling a weird spotlight on her family’s situation from her new classmates. At home, things aren’t any better as her family struggles to adjust while figuring out how they can afford to rebuild.

When Temple sees a flyer for a local fundraiser, she decides she can do the same thing for her family. It would get her one big step closer to her old school, friends, and life. After enlisting the help of some new friends, Temple kicks her plan into action, quickly realizing it needs to be much bigger to help not only her family, but the dozens of others affected by the flood.

But adding the pressures of the fundraiser to the strain of grappling with all the recent changes may be more than Temple can handle. As she searches for a return to normal, can she figure out what’s truly important?





Publication Date February 27th 2024 by Aladdin
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From critically acclaimed author Barbara Dee comes a middle grade novel about a girl whose struggles with anxiety and writer’s block set off unexpected twists and turns, both on and off the page.

Lyla is thrilled when her seventh-grade English language arts class begins a daily creative writing project. For the past year, she’s been writing a brilliant fantasy novel in her head, and here’s her chance to get it on paper! The plot to Lyla’s novel is super complicated, with battle scenes and witches and a mysterious one-toed-beast, but at its core, it’s about an overlooked girl who has to rescue her beautiful, highly accomplished older sister.

But writing a fantasy novel turns out to be harder than simply imagining one, and pretty soon Lyla finds herself stuck, experiencing a panic she realizes is writer’s block. Part of the problem is that she’s trying to impress certain people — like Rania, her best friend who’s pulling away, and Ms. Bowman, the coolest teacher at school. Plus, there’s the pressure of meeting the deadline for the town writing contest. A few years ago, Lyla’s superstar teen sister Dahlia came in second, and this time, Lyla is determined to win first prize.

Finally, Lyla confides about her writing problems to Dahlia, who is dealing with her own academic stress as she applies to college. That’s when she learns Dahlia’s secret, which is causing a very different type of writer’s block. Can Lyla rescue a surprisingly vulnerable big sister, both on the page and in real life?





Publication Date March 5th 2024 by Scholastic Press
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This middle-grade Moxie centering period equity is Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret for the next generation!

Helen and Gracie are pranking their way through middle school when a stinky stunt lands them in the front office – again. Because nothing else has curbed their chaos, the principal orders the best friends to do the unthinkable: care about something. So they join the school’s Community Action Club with plans to do as little as humanly possible.

But when Helen is caught unprepared by an early period and bleeds through her pants – they were gold lamé! – the girls take over the club’s campaign for maxi pads in bathrooms for all students who menstruate. In the name of period equity, the two friends use everything from over-the-top baked goods to glitter gluing for change. But nothing can prepare them for a clueless school board (ew), an annoying little sister (ugh), and crushes (oh my!).

As Helen and Gracie find themselves closer to change and in deeper trouble than ever before, they must decide if they care enough to keep going…even if it costs them their friendship.





Publication Date March 5th 2024 by Scholastic Press
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Critically acclaimed, bestselling author and Newbery Honor-winner, Kirby Larson, and her daughter, debut author, Quinn Wyatt, pen this gorgeously moving and often funny story that explores what living with a chronic illness is like. Inspired by Quinn’s own personal journey, Gut Reaction is full of heart and humor and highlights the importance of asking for help when it comes to mental and physical health alike.

Tess Medina is still dealing with the loss of her father when she starts at a new school. One way she is still able to feel close to him is by doing what she does best: baking. He taught her everything she knows. But when tasting her creations causes a deep stabbing pain in her abdomen, she tries to power through and be strong in the same way she powers through her emotional pain. She doesn’t mind too much – she’s okay with sharing her baked goods at school in the hopes of making new friends.

Lucky for Tess, her baking skills attract the right kind of attention, and she assembles a ragtag team to help her taste her new and classic creations in preparation for the Jubilee Flour Junior Baker West Coast competition. This is a chance to redeem herself and prove that she’s a star baker. Above all, Tess is desperate to win first place and make her dad proud.

But leading up to the competition, Tess’s pain gets worse and worse, and, soon, she finds that she’s avoiding so many foods that she’s barely eating. When the physical pain becomes too great, Tess will be forced to confront everything she has been trying so desperately to hide.

From Newbery Honor author Kirby Larson and her daughter, debut author Quinn Wyatt, comes a poignant, sometimes silly, and always moving story of coming to grips with grief and finding the sweet filling inside every treat.





Publication Date March 5th 2024 by Aladdin
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This first book in a sparkling middle grade series giving a fresh take on The Baby-Sitters Club follows a young Korean American girl who starts a business with her best friends to support her artistic dreams.

Jiyoung “Gigi” Shin loves to create, from her zany outfits to self-executed haircuts. She dreams of becoming an artist and doodles every chance she gets — at school instead of taking notes, in choir instead of singing, and at home instead of homework. Art is her way of escaping her boring life in suburban Middle of Nowhere, Texas. Unfortunately, her working class, immigrant parents want her to focus on her studies and pursue something more “practical.” Gigi only really feels like herself in art class and at lunch with her best friends, Carolina and Zeina.

When Gigi learns about an elite art camp on the east coast, she’s determined to go. But she knows her parents won’t let her, much less pay for it. After overhearing her little brother Tommy complain about how hard math is and how his teacher goes too fast for him, Gigi has a brilliant idea: forming a tutoring club with her friends to make enough money for the art camp.

With Carolina, Zeina, and Carolina’s friend, Emma, the girls go all in, each with a reason for wanting the business to succeed. But the first few sessions with their classmates are a little chaotic, and Gigi wonders if she will end up sacrificing more than she bargained for to achieve her dreams.





Publication Date March 5th 2024 by Kokila
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From Newbery Honor–winning author Andrea Wang, a new middle grade novel about a Chinese American tween who attends a Boston-based Chinese cultural overnight camp — and the many ways it transforms her.

Phoenny Fang plans to have the best summer ever. She’s returning to Summertime Chinese Culture, Wellness, and Enrichment Experience (SCCWEE for short and “Squee” to campers in the know), and this year she’s a senior camper. That means she; her best friend, Lyrica Chu; and her whole Squad will have the most influence. It almost doesn’t matter that her brother is a CIT (counselor-in-training) and that her mom and auntie are the camp directors. Time spent at Squee is sacred, glorious, and free.

On the day Phoenny arrives, though, she learns that the Squad has been split up, and there’s an influx of new campers this year. Phoenny is determined to be welcoming and to share all the things she loves about camp — who doesn’t love spending hours talking about and engaging in cultural activities? But she quickly learns how out of touch she is with others’ experiences, particularly of the campers who are adoptees. The same things that make her feel connected to her culture and community make some of the other campers feel excluded.

Summer At Squee turns out to be even more transformative than Phoenny could’ve imagined, with new friendships, her first crush, an epic show, and a bigger love for and understanding of her community.





Publication Date March 5th 2024 by Greenwillow Books
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When twelve-year-old Michael Rosario meets a mysterious boy from the future, his life is changed forever. From bestselling author Erin Entrada Kelly, winner of the Newbery Medal for Hello, Universe and a Newbery Honor for We Dream Of Space, this novel explores themes of family, friendship, trust, and forgiveness. The First State of Being is for fans of Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me.

It’s August 1999. For twelve-year-old Michael Rosario, life at Fox Run Apartments in Red Knot, Delaware, is as ordinary as ever — except for the looming Y2K crisis and his overwhelming crush on his fifteen-year-old babysitter, Gibby. But when a disoriented teenage boy named Ridge appears out of nowhere, Michael discovers there is more to life than stockpiling supplies and pining over Gibby.

It turns out that Ridge is carefree, confident, and bold, things Michael wishes he could be. Unlike Michael, however, Ridge isn’t where he belongs. When Ridge reveals that he’s the world’s first time traveler, Michael and Gibby are stunned but curious. As Ridge immerses himself in 1999 — fascinated by microwaves, basketballs, and malls — Michael discovers that his new friend has a book that outlines the events of the next twenty years, and his curiosity morphs into something else: focused determination. Michael wants — no, needs — to get his hands on that book. How else can he prepare for the future? But how far is he willing to go to get it?

A story of time travel, friendship, found family, and first loves, this thematically rich novel is distinguished by its voice, character development, setting, and exploration of the issues that resonate with middle grade readers.





Publication Date March 5th 2024 by Holiday House
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Three women narrate a perilous wagon journey westward that could set them free—or cost them everything they have — in this intergenerational verse novel that explores the history of the Black homesteader movement.

1879, Mississippi. Young dreamer Lettie may have her head in the stars, but her body is on a covered wagon heading westward. Her father, Thomas, promises that Nebraska will be everything the family needs: an opportunity to claim the independence they’ve strived for over generations on their very own plot of land.

But Thomas’ hopes — and mouth — are bigger than his ability to follow through. With few supplies and even less money, the only thing that feels certain is danger.

Right after the war ended/and we were free/we believed/all of us did/that couldn’t nothing hurt us/the way master had when we were slaves/Couldn’t no one tell us/how to live/how to die.

Lettie, her mother, Sylvia, and young teacher Philomena are free from slavery — but bound by poverty, access to opportunity, and patriarchal social structures. Will these women survive the hardships of their journey? And as Thomas’ desire for control overpowers his common sense, will they truly be free once they get there?

Coretta Scott King Honor-winning author Lesa Cline-Ransome’s striking verse masterfully portrays an underrepresented historical era. Tackling powerful themes of autonomy and Black self-emancipation, Cline-Ransome offers readers an intimate look into the lives of three women and an expansive portrait of generations striving for their promised freedom.

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection





Publication Date March 5th 2024 by Holiday House
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Lucy, a spirited French-Ojibwe orphan, is sent to the stormy waters of Lake Superior to live with a mysterious family of lighthouse-keepers — and, she hopes, to find the legendary necklace her father spent his life seeking…

Selena Lucy Landry (named for a ship, as every sailor’s child should be) has been frightened of the water ever since she lost her father at sea. But with no one else to care for her, she’s sent to foster with the Martins — a large Anishinaabe family living on a lighthouse in the middle of stormy Lake Superior.

The Martin family is big, hard-working, and close, and Lucy — who has always been a dreamer — struggles to fit in. Can she go one day without ruining the laundry or forgetting the sweeping? Will she ever be less afraid of the lake?

Although life at the lighthouse isn’t what Lucy hoped for, it is beautiful — ships come and go, waves pound the rocks — and it has one major advantage: It’s near the site of a famous shipwreck, a shipwreck that went down with a treasure her father wanted more than anything. If Lucy can find that treasure — a priceless ruby necklace — won’t it be like having Papa back again, just a little bit?

But someone else is hunting for the treasure, too. And as the lighthouse company becomes increasingly skeptical that the Martins can juggle Lucy and their duties, Lucy and the Martin children will need to find the necklace quickly — or they may not have a home at all.

The Luminous Life of Lucy Landry is a timelessly sweet tale of found family from rising Ojibwe voice Anna Rose Johnson, author of NPR Best Book of the Year The Star That Always Stays. Perfect for fans of L.M. Montgomery and Karina Yan Glaser!





Publication Date March 5th 2024 by Holiday House
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12-year-old Alice has a hard time making friends. Maybe it’s because she works in a funeral home and receives messages from the dead.

While the kids at school taunt her and call her “Alice in Zombieland,” Alice England finds refuge at her father’s funeral home, where the dead tell her stories. As she arranges the deceased’s personal mementos, an item will hum with meaning – resonance – and Alice will see the story of their life.

When she “meets” George Devenish, a man who died of a rare sunlight allergy, Alice knows George was murdered. Her only leads are George’s niece, “Violet the Vampire,” who shares her uncle’s allergy and a friendly, but secretive boy named Cal.

As a determined Alice investigates, she is surprised to find Violet and Cal become more than just suspects, but allies — maybe even friends. However, Alice soon finds navigating her first real friendships might be harder than solving a murder.

Clever humor and twisty clues abound in this cozy middle grade mystery about a group of misfits finding courage in the truth and friendship in each other. Delightful, dark, and quirky, The Deadly Daylight is perfect for fans of Nancy Drew and Winterhouse.





Publication Date March 5th 2024 by Scholastic Press
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Wild meets Gilmore Girls on the trail in this story of resilience and the healing and restorative power of the nature.

Two years after her parents’ surprising and painful split, twelve-year-old Jo and her mom find themselves on the 100-mile hike on the Superior Hiking Trail along Lake Superior’s north shore ― a journey that Jo had always looked forward to hiking with her dad. It’s not a situation that either of them ever predicted they’d find themselves in, yet here they are in the wilderness with their entire lives stuffed into a pair of thirty-pound packs.

Along the trail, they’ll suffer through endless aches and pains, scorching heat, and crippling self-doubt. They’ll encounter bears, moose, and other wildlife and meet and collect an assortment of unlikely friends. Day after day, Jo will battle the incessant thoughts that come in and out of her head. But as one obstacle after the next continue to test her strength and ultimate survival, Jo will have to confront her greatest fears head on and learn how to be alone.

What begins as a journey to prove to her father that she and her mom can make it on their own turns into a quest to rediscover their strength, build resilience, and prove that they can survive ― both for themselves and for each other.





Publication Date March 5th 2024 by Holiday House
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Narrated by twelve-year-old Cato, this intense and evocative story of racial unrest in prewar North Carolina ends with a dramatic match between white and Black little league teams.

1935. Twelve-year-old Cato wants nothing more than to play baseball, perfect his pitch, and meet Mr. Satchel Paige – the best pitcher in Negro League baseball. But when he and his teammates “trespass” on their town’s whites-only baseball field for a practice, the resulting racial outrage burns like a brushfire through the entire community, threatening Cato, his family, and every one of his friends.

There’s only one way this can end without violence: It has to be settled on the mound, between the white team and the Black. Winner takes all.

Written in first person with a rich, convincing voice, Warrior On The Mound is about the experience of segregation; about the tinderbox environment of the prewar South; about having a dream; about injustice, and, finally, about dialogue.

Back matter includes an author’s note, historical background, biographical information about Negro League players, and more.

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection





Publication Date March 12th 2024 by Clarion Books
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In this debut spooky adventure, Jerry and her trusty wheelchair move into a creepy motel at the edge of the woods where nothing is as it seems. When her mom disappears, it’s up to Jerry to brave the forest and its demons so she can save what’s left of her family.

Ever since her dad died, 11-year-old Jerry Blum and her mom have bounced around dead-end towns, staying in a series of rundown motels where her mother picks up housekeeping work and Jerry can get around in her wheelchair.

But the Slumbering Giant motel is different. Lights blink on and off in the surrounding trees, a mysterious radio station plays only at midnight, and people disappear into the woods, never to been seen again. Not to mention that Jerry’s mom keeps vanishing to do “special work” that she refuses to discuss. When her mother doesn’t come home one morning, Jerry springs into action.

Luckily, she’s not alone. Paul, a pocket-size imaginary dragon, and Chapel, a new friend with a penchant for the supernatural, join Jerry’s search for her missing mom. But along the way Jerry discovers her mother’s terrible secret: she’s not a housekeeper at all; in fact, she’s been defending the town from demons that have been haunting it for generations.

Armed with nothing but a Ren Faire sword and a backpack, Jerry and her friends venture into the forbidden woods to save Jerry’s mother. But the “demons” hiding there aren’t what they seem, and Jerry must unravel the truth behind the town’s legend, or risk losing what’s left of her family.





Publication Date March 12th 2024 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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A boy learns how to be a friend from man’s best friend in this funny and moving middle grade novel about humans being able to change and dogs changing us from acclaimed author Chris Lynch.

In a family of strong personalities with very strong points of view, Louis is what his mother lovingly calls “the inactivist,” someone who’d rather kick back than stand out. He only hopes he can stay under the radar when he starts high school in the fall, his first experience with public school after years of homeschooling.

But when a favor for a neighbor and his stinky canine companion unexpectedly turns into a bustling dog-walking business, Louis finds himself meeting an unprecedented number of new friends — both human and canine. Agatha, a quippy and cagey girl his age always seems to be telling two truths and a lie. Cyrus, a few years his senior, promises he’s going to show Louis how to be a better person, whether Louis wants him to or not. And then there are the dogs: misbehaving border terriers, the four (possible stolen) sausage dogs, the rest of Louis’s charges, and a mysterious white beast who appears at a certain spot at the edge of the woods.

Dogs and human alike all seem to have something they want to teach Louis, including his menacing older brother who keeps turning up everywhere. But is Louis ready to learn the lesson he needs most: how to stop being a lone wolf and be part of a pack?





Publication Date March 19th 2024 by Quill Tree Books
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From the critically acclaimed author of the ALA Notable and Charlotte Huck Honor Book Forever, or A Long, Long Time comes the story of Piper Franklin, the girl who is way too busy to grow up…until she has to. Perfect for fans of Alyson Gerber and Rebecca Stead.

Piper Franklin has big plans. First, she’ll win the Academic Decathlon with her best friend, Tallulah. Then, she’ll finish her life’s work: Metaphorical Math. And in the meantime, she and Tallulah will maintain their secret, El Jardin Muerto. Nothing can stop Piper…except for puberty.

Piper was diagnosed with early-onset puberty, and she’s been taking blockers to keep it at bay since she was six years old. But now her doctor thinks it’s time for her treatment to end, and Piper’s eyes are opened to a completely new world.

Piper sees the issues that her older sister and her mom struggle with and gets a very clear picture of her own future — one that she’s not sure she likes. Will a changing body change all of Piper’s plans? And why does she have to grow up in the first place? Or does she?

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Hi! I’m Jen! I’m a thirty-something introvert who loves nothing more than the cozy comfort of home and snuggling my two rescue cats, Pepper and Pancakes. I also enjoy running, jigsaw puzzles, baking and everything Disney. Few things bring me more joy than helping a reader find the right book for them!

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