To help you kick back into summer, here’s a list of the latest middle grade books published in July. Congratulations to Mixed-Up Files member, Kimberley Griffiths Little, on her latest release!
Mixed-Up Files Member Releases
The Time of the Fireflies (Scholastic) – Kimberley Griffiths Little. Critically acclaimed author Kimberley Griffiths Little spins a thrilling story of one girl’s race to unravel the curse that has haunted her family for generations. When Larissa Renaud starts receiving eerie phone calls on a disconnected old phone in her family’s antique shop, she knows she’s in for a strange summer. A series of clues leads her to the muddy river banks, where clouds of fireflies dance among the cypress knees and cattails each evening at twilight. The fireflies are beautiful and mysterious, and they take her on a magical journey through time, where Larissa learns secrets about her family’s tragic past — deadly, curse-ridden secrets that could harm the future of her family as she knows it. It soon becomes clear that it is up to Larissa to prevent history from repeating itself and a fatal tragedy from striking the people she loves.
The Fourth Wish: The Art of Wishing: Book 2 (Kathy Dawson Books) – Lindsay Ribar. Here’s what Margo McKenna knows about genies: She’s seen Aladdin more times than she can count; she’s found a magic genie ring and made her three allotted wishes; she’s even fallen head over heels in love with Oliver, the cute genie whose life she saved by fighting off another genie. But none of this prepared her for the shock of becoming a genie herself. Everything Margo’s taken for granted–graduating high school, going to college, hating math, performing in the school musical, even being a girl–is in question. Just at a time when she’s trying to figure out who she wants to be, Margo is forced to become whomever her master wants. But Margo is also coming into a power she never imagined she’d have. How will she reconcile the two? And where will she and Oliver stand when she’s done?
The Hypnotists Book 2: Memory Maze (Scholastic) – Gordon Korman. Jax Opus knows he’s not like other kids. And it isn’t his skill on the basketball court or his test scores that set him apart. No, Jax is different because he can hypnotize people. In fact, he might be the best hypnotist the world has seen in a very long time. You would think Jax would be happy about this. But really? It’s ruining his life. He and his family are hiding from a master hypnotist who wants Jax out of the picture . . . forever. And the FBI is also starting to ask questions about Jax and his abilities. Jax thinks life might be getting a little better when a very rich, very powerful man asks him to help out with something. The reward will be great. And the price — well, the price is that Jax starts taking on the man’s memories. And some of them are pretty deadly.
Shipwreck Island (Feiwel & Friends) – S.A. Bodeen. Sarah Robinson is deeply troubled in the wake of her dad’s second marriage. She now has to deal with a new stepmom and two stepbrothers, Marco, who is her age, and Nacho, who’s younger. Even though they’ve all moved from Texas to California to start life as a new, blended family, none of the kids seem remotely happy about it. Sarah’s dad and stepmom then decide to take the whole family on a special vacation in order to break the ice and have everyone get to know one another. They’ll fly to Tahiti, charter a boat, and go sailing for a few days. It’ll be an adventure, right? Wrong. Dead wrong.
Marion Strikes a Pose (The Critter Club) (Little Simon) – Callie Barkley. Fashionista Marion enters a styling competition in the eighth book of the Critter Club series—but will she regret helping out one of her competitors? Marion is so excited. There’s an upcoming kids’ fashion show for charity, and the students at Santa Vista Elementary get to style an outfit for it! Since only one design from each grade will get picked for the show, Marion knows she has to win. So she’s surprised when a girl named Olivia asks her for some style advice. Marion agrees to help Olivia, and actually has fun doing it! But problems arise when Marion realizes that Olivia has designed the exact outfit Marion had planned to present to the judges. So Marion tells a little white lie in order to get her way. At first, she is excited to impress the judges, but soon, another feeling creeps up on her. Is it guilt? Will Marion tell Olivia what she did? And whose outfit will get picked for the fashion show? Plus, Marion deals with taking care of some frogs at The Critter Club!
The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince (Disney Press) – Serena Valentino. A cursed prince sits alone in a secluded castle. Few have seen him, but those who claim they have say his hair is wild and nails are sharp–like a beast’s! But how did this prince, once jovial and beloved by the people, come to be a reclusive and bitter monster? And is it possible that he can ever find true love and break the curse that has been placed upon him?
The Secret of the Key (Random House) – Chicago sixth graders Ruthie and Jack think they’ve learned everything about the magic of the Art Institute’s Thorne Rooms. But the magic starts to act strangely when Ruthie and Jack discover two rings that are out of place—and out of time—and a portal that shouldn’t be open but somehow is. Ruthie and Jack follow the clues to seventeenth-century England and the Brownlow house, where they meet the Brownlow’s governess, Rebecca. But Rebecca has a few secrets of her own—and she might even be in the wrong century! Can Ruthie and Jack discover the truth about Rebecca’s mysterious past, or will they end up stuck in the wrong century themselves? Their quest for answers takes them from 1930s New York City and San Francisco to turn-of-the-century China. The only one who can truly answer their questions may be the woman who started it all: the room’s creator, Narcissa Thorne. But to talk to Mrs. Thorne, they’ll have to go back in time and find her!
The Map Trap (Atheneum) – Andrew Clements. This map-tastic middle grade story from Andrew Clements gives the phrase “uncharted territory” a whole new meaning! Alton Barnes loves maps. He’s loved them ever since he was little, and not just for the geography. Because maps contain more information than just locations, and that’s why he likes to draw maps as well as read them. Regular “point A to point B” ones, sure, but also maps that explain a whole lot more—like what he really thinks about his friends. And teachers. Even the principal.So when Alton’s maps are stolen from his locker, there’s serious trouble on the horizon…and he’ll need some mad cartographic skills to escape it.
The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher(Delacorte) – Dana Alison Levy. Meet the Fletchers. Their year will be filled with new schools, old friends, a grouchy neighbor, hungry skunks, leaking ice rinks, school plays, wet cats, and scary tales told in the dark!There’s Sam, age twelve, who’s mostly interested in soccer, food, and his phone; Jax, age ten, who’s psyched for fourth grade and thinks the new neighbor stinks, and not just because of the skunk; Eli, age ten (but younger than Jax), who’s thrilled to be starting this year at the Pinnacle School, where everyone’s the smart kid; and Frog (not his real name), age six, who wants everyone in kindergarten to save a seat for his invisible cheetah. Also Dad and Papa. WARNING: This book contains cat barf, turtle pee, and some really annoying homework assignments.
The Shadow Lantern (Blackhope Enigma) (Templar) – Teresa Flavin. When a mysterious oil lantern and a box of painted slides appear at Blackhope Tower, Sunni and Blaise are drawn back to the place where their adventures first began. When they discover that the slides conceal secrets about artist-magician Fausto Corvo, the pair find themselves once again caught up in a deadly pursuit. An old enemy is still tracking Corvo and will stop at nothing to find him. Sunni and Blaise must fight to protect Corvo’s secrets and rid themselves of Soranzo’s evil threat once and for all.
Galaxy’s Most Wanted (HarperCollins) – John Kloepfer. Aliens Attack! When science-camp buddies Kevin, Warner, Tara, and TJ summon alien life to earth, they quickly find out that not all extraterrestrials come in peace. Can they stop an alien takeover and save the world in time to win the Invention Convention? John Kloepfer, author of the popular Zombie Chasers books, has done it again. Galaxy’s Most Wantedhas a fast-paced, silly plot full of sidesplitting descriptions, a cast of diverse and endearing characters, and a slew of creepy-crawly aliens oozing off the page. With out-of-this-world black-and-white illustrations by Nick Edwards throughout, the first book in this new series is going to blast off!
Oliver and the Seawigs (Random House) – Philip Reeve. When Oliver’s explorer parents go missing, he sets sail on a rescue mission with some new, unexpected friends: a grumpy albatross, a nearsighted mermaid . . . even a living island! But the high seas are even more exciting, unusual, and full of mischief than Oliver could have imagined. Can he and his crew spar with sarcastic seaweed, outrun an army of sea monkeys, win a fabulous maritime fashion contest, and defeat a wicked sea captain in time to save Mom and Dad?
Earthquake: San Francisco, 1906 (Survivors) (Aladdin) – Karen A. Bale and Kathleen Duey. Can two kids survive the biggest disaster of 1906? Brendan O’Connor is delivering pastries to the bustling businesses and elegant hotels of San Francisco, dreaming that someday he will be part of that life. Li Dai Yue is running from the isolated security of Chinatown, distraught over the marriage her uncle has arranged for her. Chance throws them together on the day of the San Francisco earthquake. Can two strangers from such different worlds work together to survive the terror of crumbling buildings, fire, looting, and chaos?
Case File #1 First Contact (Rabbids Invasion) (Simon Spotlight) – David Lewman. The Rabbids are crazy, silly, and hilarious—and in this start to an illustrated chapter book series, they’re under investigation! The Rabbids have landed their yellow submarine–shaped spacecraft on Earth, and they are all set to wreak havoc everywhere they go. That is, unless the SGAII-RD (Secret Government Agency Intruder Investigations—Rabbids Division) can stop them!
Case File #2 New Developments (Rabbids Invasion) (Simon Spotlight) – David Lewman. In this second book of the hilarious and zany illustrated chapter book series, Agent Glyker continues his mission to capture a Rabbid and figure out what they’re all about.Special Agent Glyker is hard at work tracking down the Rabbids—his job depends on it! Agent Glyker’s scary boss, Mr. Stern (who also happens to be his uncle), has issued him an ultimatum: capture a Rabbid OR ELSE! But just when it seems like things might finally go Agent Glyker’s way, he has to choose between saving his job or saving his boss. What will the secret agent do?
The XYZs of Being Wicked (Aladdin) – Lara Chapman. When a young witch goes off to boarding school, she discovers powers that leave her with a challenging choice. Eleven-year-old Hallie is more thrilled than you might think to be shipping off to boarding school. After seeing how horrible “normal” kids can be—kids like her former BFF, Kendall Scott—Hallie figures The Dowling Academy School of Witchcraft will be a welcome fresh start. Plus, it’s a chance to make her dad proud that she’s continuing family traditions and becoming the best kind of witch, just like her legendary great-great-grandmother. But when Hallie arrives at Dowling, she’s dismayed to discover her roommate will be none other than awful Kendall. And when Hallie’s witching talents take a turn for the dark side, she must determine whether it’s abilities or choices that distinguish the good from the wicked.
Slaves of Socorro (Brotherband Chronicles) (Philomel) – John A. Flanagan. Hal and his fellow Herons have returned home to Skandia after defeating the pirate captain Zavac and reclaiming Skandia’s most prized artifact, the Andomal. With their honor restored, the Herons turn to a new mission: tracking down an old rival turned bitter enemy. Tursgud—leader of the Shark Brotherband and Hal’s constant opponent—has turned from a bullying youth into a pirate and slave trader. After Tursgud captures twelve Araluen villagers to sell as slaves, the Heron crew sails into action . . . with the help of one of Araluen’s finest Rangers!
Found Things (Atheneum) – Marilyn Hilton. One morning, River Rose Byrne wakes up talking like nobody else, and she doesn’t know why. Maybe it’s because her beloved older brother, Theron, has abruptly vanished. Maybe it’s because that bully Daniel Bunch won’t leave her alone. Or maybe it has everything to do with the eerily familiar house that her mind explores when she’s asleep, and the mysterious woman who lives there. River has to puzzle through these mysteries on her own until she makes a strange new friend named Meadow Lark. But when she brings Meadow Lark home and her mother reacts in a way that takes River by surprise, River is more lost than before. Now all that’s left for her to do is make wish after wish—and keep her eyes open for a miracle.
Skies Like These (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) – Tess Hilmo. Twelve-year-old Jade’s perfect summers have always been spent reading and watching TV reruns, so she’s not happy when her parents send her off to Wyoming to her aunt’s house. She meets a boy who calls himself Roy Parker—just like the real name of the legendary rebel cowboy Butch Cassidy. Roy’s dad’s hardware store has closed because a chain store has opened up in town, and Roy thinks it is just like the big cattle barons in Butch’s day who put the local ranchers out of business. He wants Jade to be his Sundance Kid and help him pull some stunts worthy of Butch Cassidy. Sabotage the big store? Outsmart the store’s owner by doing reconnaissance on his ranch? Jade wants to be a good friend, but she’s not so sure about Roy’s schemes.
Trash Can Nights (Disney Hyperion) – Teddy Steinkellner. Jake Schwartz is back at San Paulo Junior High completely unprepared for his new celebrity status as the-boy-who-survived-a-gang-brawl. Facing unwanted attention from both foes and fanatics, Jake is out to make some changes-for better, or for worse. On the Eastside of town, Jake’s former best friend, Danny Uribe, has stepped up in the ranks of the local gang, the Raiders. Now that Danny is calling the shots, he has to start making some tough decisions. Life as a Raider may not be all that Danny thought it would be. Meanwhile, Hannah Schwartz is starting a new school year at Costa Blanca Preparatory Academy. No longer perched at the top of the social ladder, Hannah must fight for her position on the popularity pole. But frenemies have set their sights on Hannah, and they won’t make it easy for her to get ahead. And as for Dorothy Wu, no one is as excited as she is about starting the eighth grade. With her new drama class friends and her boyfriend, Prince Jacobim, by her side, what else could a Wu ask for? But Dorothy has never navigated rocky relationship waters before. Can she help save Jake from the moody blues? Or will Dorothy end up dumped in the trash can, too?
All Four Stars (Putnam Juvenile) – Tara Dairman. Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven, only her fast-food-loving parents have no idea! Now she’s eleven, and after a crème brûlée accident (just a small fire), Gladys is cut off from the kitchen (and her allowance). She’s devastated but soon finds just the right opportunity to pay her parents back when she’s mistakenly contacted to write a restaurant review for one of the largest newspapers in the world. But in order to meet her deadline and keep her dream job, Gladys must cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy and sneak into New York City—all while keeping her identity a secret! Easy as pie, right?
The Meta-Rise (Bot Wars) (Dial) -J.V. Kade. Trout St. Kroix can’t believe that his half-human/half-robot father is the leader of the Meta-Rise, the robot civil rights movement. Trout can’t even enjoy being a Bot Territory celebrity, because it also puts his whole family in danger. Ratch, a robot and former friend, has found a way to take control of robot Thinkchips, and under Ratch’s control, all bots—including Trout’s dad—would become Ratch’s drones. CanTrout—and his friends Vee and Tellie Rix, along with brother Po—find a way to stop Ratch before Trout loses his father all over again?
Ollie and the Science of Treasure Hunting (A 14 Day Mystery) (Dial) – Erin Dionne. While at Wilderness camp on the Boston Harbor Islands, Ollie must navigate new friends, new enemies, and a high-stakes game of tag, so the last thing he needs is a mystery. But then Ollie meets Grey, an elusive girl with knowledge of the island’s secrets, including the legend of a lost pirate treasure, which may not be a legend after all. The sidekick steps into the spotlight as Ollie uses his wits and geocaching skills to keep long-lost treasure out of the wrong hands in this exciting adventure-mystery from fan-favorite middle grade author Erin Dionne.
Twice As Nice #4 (Almost Identical) (Grosset & Dunlap) – Lin Oliver. After double-crossing her friends to support her twin sister, Charlie is out of the popular group. But now her school has announced that they are accepting applications for a new school Junior Booster club–one in which members will get to shadow the Senior Boosters, receive tickets to all the high school football games, and of course, get to meet the cute football players. The popular kids need Charlie to fit the requirements: good grades, an interest in sports, and community service. Charlie’s flattered, but are the girls just using her to get what they want?
Stick Dog Chases a Pizza (HarperCollins) – Tom Watson. In Stick Dog Chases a Pizza, Tom Watson’s hilarious follow-up to Stick Dog and Stick Dog Wants a Hot Dog, Stick Dog returns with the same crazy crew. This time these canine friends have discovered a newfangled flavor—and it’s even more delicious than hamburgers and hot dogs. It’s pizza! And they won’t be satisfied until they get some slices of their own. But it won’t be that easy. There’s a kitten to rescue, a plan to make, and the messiest—and most dangerous—game of catch they’ve ever played. Pizza is on the menu, but only if their mission succeeds. Perfect for fans of Big Nate, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and the previous Stick Dog books.
My Zombie Hamster (EgmontUSA) – Havelock McCreely. A laugh-out-loud funny middle-grade debut with a scary twist, My Zombie Hamster will appeal to readers who like their animal stories mixed with chills. Fans of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps Most Wanted series will grab this one right up. Matt Hunter and his buddies are looking forward to Christmas–actually, they’re looking forward to receiving the latest sword-and-fantasy video game. But Matt’s parents have other thoughts–they give him a fluffy little mammal, a hamster called Snuffles, for the holiday. And his grandmother makes it worse by giving him a hamster cage and wheel. But the hamster isn’t all that cute–at least not after part of its cheek and belly fall right off–without bothering it a bit! And why is it staring at Matt with black beady eyes and a lean and hungry look?
Stop the Presses! (Dear Know-It-All) (Simon Spotlight) – Rachel Wise. Sam’s love of newsprint clashes with her love for the planet—and her BFF—in a Dear Know-It-All conflict of newsworthy proportions! When Sam hears Cherry Valley Middle School is “going green,” she is delighted. Saving the Earth is very important to Sam, plus, she knows she can get a great story out of it. But that’s before she finds out one of the environmentally friendly suggestions is to stop printing The Cherry Valley Voice! Who would dare to suggest that the school newspaper be published only online? When she discovers the idea came from her BFF, Hailey, Sam gets even more upset. How will Dear Know-It-All solve this total disagreement?
Swatch Out! (Sew Zoey) (Simon Spotlight) – Chloe Taylor. As the summer ends, Zoey thinks something’s fishy—so she’s making waves! Includes “Sew Zoey” blog posts and fashion illustrations. In the eighth book of the Sew Zoey series, for Zoey Webber, the end of summer means beach trips, concerts, and lots of time to sew. She’s making clothes for her friend Libby’s little sister, pillows for her friend Priti’s new bedroom, and a surprise for her brother’s rock band. It all seems to be going swimmingly, but under the surface, things are getting rough. Libby is frustrated that her little sister won’t leave her alone, Priti is struggling with getting a great new bedroom for a not-so-great reason, and Zoey hurts people’s feelings when she tries to figure out why her fabric swatches keep disappearing. Then someone unexpected shows up at Zoey’s front door…
Latitude Zero (Viking) – Diana Renn. That’s what Tessa promises. But by two o’clock, young Ecuadorian cycling superstar Juan Carlos is dead, and Tessa, one of the last people ever to speak to him, is left with nothing but questions. The media deems Juan Carlos’s death a tragic accident at a charity bike ride, but Tessa, an aspiring investigative journalist herself, knows that something more is going on. While she grapples with her own grief and guilt, she is being stalked by spies with an insidious connection to the dead cycling champion. Tessa’s pursuit of an explanation for Juan Carlos’s untimely death leads her from the quiet New England backwoods to bustling bike shops and ultimately to Ecuador itself, Juan Carlos’s homeland. As the ride grows bumpy, Tessa no longer knows who’s a suspect and who is an ally. The only thing she knows for sure is that she must uncover the truth of why Juan Carlos has died and race to find the real villain—before the trail goes cold.