5 Notable New Middle Grade Books

Every season our shelves are overflowing with stellar new middle grade reads, and this fall has proved no exception, producing an amazing crop of great books to pair perfectly with all those plaid scarves and pumpkin spice lattes. Check out our picks for notable middle grade books to check out this season.

Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker, by Shelley Johannes
Creative third-grader Beatrice Zinker is an upside-down thinker in a right-side-up family in the first book in this fun and unique new series. She always does her best thinking when she’s upside down, whether she’s hanging from a tree by her knees or doing a handstand. So, of course, she was upside down when she and her BFF, Lenny, decided to wear matching ninja outfits the first day of third grade. But when Lenny shows up at school, she’s not wearing all black like Beatrice—she’s not even wearing her usual jeans and T-shirt. Beatrice has a super-cool new skirt and sweater and a super-cool new friend, Chloe, with her. Now it’s up to Beatrice to single-handedly tackle the girls’ top-secret operation and save her friendship with Lenny in this fun new illustrated read for fans of Junie B. Jones and Ivy + Bean.

Click’d, by Tamara Ireland Stone
Bestselling author Tamara Ireland Stone is passionate about getting girls into computer programming, and her debut middle grade read aims to do exactly that. In it, seventh-grader Allie is stoked to show everyone the new app she built at coding summer camp. Click’d pairs up users based on their interests and leads them on a scavenger hunt to find each other. When the app goes viral, Allie is sure she has a shot at beating her rival, Nathan, in the upcoming coding competition. But suddenly a glitch in the app threatens to expose everyone’s info, and Allie has to find a way to actually work with Nathan in order to make things right in this fun and engaging coming-of-age tale.

Suspect Red, by L.M. Elliott
Bestselling author L.M. Elliott brings middle grade readers an intriguing new historical spy thriller set in a troubling chapter of American history. It’s 1953 in this story that feels chillingly relatable, and the nation is divided as everyone is on edge about the Cold War standoff between communism and democracy. The McCarthy era has birthed suspicion, blacklists, political profiling, and hostility to foreigners. Richard’s father works for the FBI, his family loves America and its values, and Richard wants to prove himself as a patriot. But when a Czechoslovakian family moves in down the street with a son Richard’s age, it leads Richard to question everything he thought he knew in this suspenseful read. Photos and political cartoons sprinkled throughout add even more depth to the layered tale.

The Exact Location of Home, by Kate Messner
Kirby “Zig” Zigonski has more faith in the technology than people. Electronics are at least more predictable than the father he hasn’t seen in more than a year in this moving new middle grade read from bestselling author Kate Messner. And now his dad’s latest planned visit has been canceled without explanation, and his mom is acting weird about it. With the help of his best friend, Gianna, and a garage-sale GPS device, Zig sets out to find his dad. Zig believes his dad must be leaving clues for him around town, and as he follows one clue after another, he soon learns the truth about his family and the true meaning of home.

Saving Marty, by Paul Griffin
Author Paul Griffin brings middle grade readers a heart-warming tale about a boy who needs a friend and a pig who thinks he’s a dog. Eleven-year-old Lorenzo Ventura decides to adopt runt piglet, Marty, and the pair become fast friends with a strong bond. But as Marty gets bigger and bigger—350 pounds to be exact—it becomes more apparent to Renzo’s mom that perhaps their family farm isn’t the best home for Marty. And after Marty causes a major accident, Renzo knows his time is up, but he’s determined to save his best friend. Animal-loving kids will love this endearing story of friendship, kindness, and sacrifice.

What are your middle grade readers reading this fall?


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