Tag Archives: Alan Cole Is Not A Coward

My 2017 Top-Five MG Reading List

GoodReads Choice Awards 2017 logo

Goodreads always releases its Choice Awards around the beginning of November, even if there are still two months left in the year. So of course that’s gotten me thinking about my favorite reads this year and what I would nominate if I were Queen of All the Bookish Things (QABT).

Note that this is not a summary of all the middle-grade books I’ve read this year because, as usual, I’m still catching up on 2016 (and 2015 too, if I’m honest). But here are my favorite 2017 releases. Please feel free to add yours in the comment section below because there are still two months left! I have time to read a few more.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgThis gorgeous dual-POV story is told part in prose, part in poetry. The whole thing is absolutely gorgeous and heart-wrenching.

From IndieBound: Astronomy-loving Calliope June has Tourette syndrome, so she sometimes makes faces or noises that she doesn’t mean to make. When she and her mother move yet again, she tries to hide her TS. But it isn’t long before the kids at her new school realize she’s different. Only Calliope’s neighbor, who is also the popular student body president, sees her as she truly is–an interesting person and a good friend. But is he brave enough to take their friendship public?

As Calliope navigates school, she must also face her mother’s new relationship and the fact that they might be moving–again–just as she starts to make friends and finally accept her differences.

Ellie Terry’s affecting debut will speak to a wide audience about being true to oneself.
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
I couldn’t get enough of Karma’s voice in this touching coming-of age debut.

From IndieBound: “Kristi Wientge deftly captures the turmoil of adolescence.” –Us Weekly
Debut author Kristi Wientge tackles the uncomfortable–but all too relatable–subject of female body hair and self-esteem with this sweet and charming novel in the tradition of Judy Blume.
Karma Khullar is about to start middle school, and she is super nervous. Not just because it seems like her best friend has found a newer, blonder best friend. Or the fact that her home life is shaken up by the death of her dadima. Or even that her dad is the new stay-at-home parent, leading her mother to spend most of her time at work. But because she’s realized that she has seventeen hairs that have formed a mustache on her upper lip.

With everyone around her focused on other things, Karma is left to figure out what to make of her terrifyingly hairy surprise all on her own.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgThis story of a middle-school boy overcoming extreme bullying in order to be true to himself had me alternating between laughter and tears.

From IndieBound: Perfect for fans of Tim Federle and Gary Schmidt, this is a hilarious and poignant tale about the trials of middle school when you’re coming of age–and coming out.

Alan Cole can’t stand up to his cruel brother, Nathan. He can’t escape the wrath of his demanding father, who thinks he’s about as exceptional as a goldfish. And–scariest of all–he can’t let the cute boy across the cafeteria know he has a crush on him.

But when Nathan discovers Alan’s secret, his older brother announces a high-stakes round of Cole vs. Cole. Each brother must complete seven nearly impossible tasks; whoever finishes the most wins the game. If Alan doesn’t want to be outed to all of Evergreen Middle School, he’s got to become the most well-known kid in school, get his first kiss, and stand up to Dad. Alan’s determined to prove–to Nathan, to the world, to himself–that this goldfish can learn to swim.

May the best Cole win.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgI know this one came out in hardback in 2016, but it came out in paperback this year and was hands-down my favorite read this year. So I’m counting it (see above, where I declared myself QABT? So there!).

From IndieBound: What does it mean to be fully alive? Magic blends with reality in a stunning coming-of-age novel about a girl, a grandfather, wanderlust, and reclaiming your roots.

Things are only impossible if you stop to think about them. . . .

While her friends are spending their summers having pool parties and sleepovers, twelve-year-old Carolina — Carol — is spending hers in the middle of the New Mexico desert, helping her parents move the grandfather she’s never met into a home for people with dementia. At first, Carol avoids prickly Grandpa Serge. But as the summer wears on and the heat bears down, Carol finds herself drawn to him, fascinated by the crazy stories he tells her about a healing tree, a green-glass lake, and the bees that will bring back the rain and end a hundred years of drought. As the thin line between magic and reality starts to blur, Carol must decide for herself what is possible — and what it means to be true to her roots. Readers who dream that there’s something more out there will be enchanted by this captivating novel of family, renewal, and discovering the wonder of the world.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgThis one was the perfect mix of scientific facts about birds and heartbreaking story of losing hope and finding it again. So touching!

From IndieBound: The Someday Birds is a debut middle grade novel perfect for fans of Counting by 7s and Fish in a Tree, filled with humor, heart, and chicken nuggets.

Charlie’s perfectly ordinary life has been unraveling ever since his war journalist father was injured in Afghanistan.

When his father heads from California to Virginia for medical treatment, Charlie reluctantly travels cross-country with his boy-crazy sister, unruly brothers, and a mysterious new family friend. He decides that if he can spot all the birds that he and his father were hoping to see someday along the way, then everything might just turn out okay.

Debut author Sally J. Pla has written a tale that is equal parts madcap road trip, coming-of-age story for an autistic boy who feels he doesn’t understand the world, and an uplifting portrait of a family overcoming a crisis.

Now tell me your favorites from 2017 so I can add them to my list before the year is out!

September New Releases!

Summer is winding down. Fall is teasing a new start. And school is in! What better way to welcome the new school year than with a list of new middle grade releases?

Multiple points-of-view lead to multiple theories about what really happened after one kid turns a punishment into a protest in this hilarious new novel from Michele Weber Hurwitz.
Perennial good kid Ethan Marcus has just done the unthinkable: refuse to stay seated during class. He’s not causing a riot; he’s not wandering around; he’s just sick of sitting. But the rules aren’t designed for Ethan, and so he is sent to the principal’s office.
When Ethan’s sentence results in a Reflection Day–McNutt Middle School’s answer to detention–his faculty advisor suggests that Ethan channel the energy that caused his “transgression” by entering the school’s Invention Day Competition. Ethan is not exactly Mark Zuckerberg, so he doubts his ability to make anything competition-worthy. That’s the department of his slightly older sister Erin. But as Ethan and his buddy Brian get into the assignment, they realize they might actually have something.
Enter Romanov, the resident tech whiz, refuses to give them tips, which causes Erin to be furious at her formally slacker now traitor brother. Meanwhile, Erin’s friend Zoe is steering clear of Erin’s drama for the first time ever after realizing that she may be crushing on Ethan. Then there’s Brian who has bigger things to worry about, and finally loner kid Wesley, who may know more than others realize…
Told in the perspectives of multiple students, discover what really happened on the day that one kid decided to take a stand against sitting down.

Perfect for fans of Tim Federle and Gary Schmidt, this is a hilarious and poignant tale about the trials of middle school when you’re coming of age—and coming out.

Alan Cole can’t stand up to his cruel brother, Nathan. He can’t escape the wrath of his demanding father, who thinks he’s about as exceptional as a goldfish. And—scariest of all—he can’t let the cute boy across the cafeteria know he has a crush on him.

But when Nathan discovers Alan’s secret, his older brother announces a high-stakes round of Cole vs. Cole. Each brother must complete seven nearly impossible tasks; whoever finishes the most wins the game. If Alan doesn’t want to be outed to all of Evergreen Middle School, he’s got to become the most well-known kid in school, get his first kiss, and stand up to Dad. Alan’s determined to prove—to Nathan, to the world, to himself—that this goldfish can learn to swim.

May the best Cole win.

Corinne LaMer defeated the wicked jumbie Severine months ago, but things haven’t exactly gone back to normal in her Caribbean island home. Everyone knows Corinne is half-jumbie, and many of her neighbors treat her with mistrust. When local children begin to go missing, snatched from the beach and vanishing into wells, suspicious eyes turn to Corinne.

To rescue the missing children and clear her own name, Corinne goes deep into the ocean to find Mama D’Leau, the dangerous jumbie who rules the sea. But Mama D’Leau’s help comes with a price. Corinne and her friends Dru, Bouki, and Malik must travel with mermaids across the ocean to the shores of Ghana to fetch a powerful object for Mama D’Leau. The only thing more perilous than Corinne’s adventures across the sea is the foe that waits for her back home.

With its action-packed storytelling, diverse characters, and inventive twists on Caribbean and West African mythology and fairy tales, Rise of the Jumbies will appeal to readers of A Snicker of Magic, A Tale Dark and Grimm, and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.

In the twelfth fantastical book from The Kingdom of Wrenly series, Prince Lucas and Clara go on an adventure in the forest realm of Trellis
All is not right in the forest realm of Trellis. Birds have left their nests and bears have abandoned their dens, as a mysterious magic threatens the natural order of the deep, dark woods. Together with a band of knights, Prince Lucas and Clara set out on an adventure that pits them against a dreaded sorcerer’s shadow. There’s only one problem: How can a shadow be defeated?
With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, The Kingdom of Wrenly chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

The New York Times bestselling Frazzled series continues

Things are looking up for Abbie Wu: this year she’ll run for class president and get a brand-new shiny locker. Until–she doesn’t…

In her second tumultuous misadventure, Abbie Wu tackles more unbelievably unfair and calamitous middle school days. From facing locker thieves and battling diabolical cats to having absolutely no idea what to build for her science project, Abbie Wu is still in perpetual crisis.

From author and professional doodler Booki Vivat, this second story follows Abbie Wu, your favorite hilariously neurotic middle school girl, as she tries to come up with solutions to what seems to be a series of inevitable catastrophes. Akin to Smile by Raina Telgemeier, Frazzled: Ordinary Mishaps and Inevitable Catastrophes is heavily illustrated, embarrassingly honest, and sure to appeal to anyone hoping to figuring out how to survive the ordinary mishaps of middle school.

A cancer survivor must readjust to “normal” middle school life in this hopeful novel from the author of Star-Crossed and Truth or Dare.Norah Levy has just completed two years of treatment for leukemia and is ready to go back to the “real world” of middle school. She knows it’ll be tricky–but like the Greek mythological characters she read about while she was sick, Norah’s up for any challenge.But seventh grade turns out to be trickier than she thought. Norah’s classmates don’t know what to make of her. Her best friend, Harper, tries to be there for her, but she doesn’t get it, really–and is hanging out with a new group of girls. Norah’s other good friend, Silas, is avoiding her. What’s that about, anyway?When Norah is placed with the eighth graders for math and science she meets Griffin, a cute boy who encourages her love of Greek mythology and art. And Norah decides not to tell him her secret–that she was “that girl” who had cancer. But when something happens to make secret-keeping impossible, Norah must figure out a way to share her cancer story.But how do you explain something to others that you can’t explain to yourself? Can Nora take her cue from her favorite Greek myth? And then, once she finds the words, can she move forward with a whole new ‘normal’?

Violet Barnaby searches for the joy in life after losing her mother in this sweet and funny follow-up to The Charming Life of Izzy Malone.Violet Barnaby is a having a blue Christmas. She’s still grieving the loss of her mother, and to make things worse, her dad has just married Melanie Harmer, a.k.a. the meanest teacher at Dandelion Hollow Middle School. But on the day Violet and her dad are packing up and moving into the new house they’ll share with Melanie and Melanie’s two children, Violet finds a letter her mother wrote to her before she died, asking Violet to enjoy Christmas, along with a Christmas Wish List–things her mom wants her to do during the holiday seasonOn the list are exactly the kinds of things Violet doesn’t want to do this year, like Be Someone’s Secret Santa; Give Someone the Gift of Your Time: Volunteer; and Bake Christmas Cookies.Violet shows the letter to her friend Izzy’s Aunt Mildred, who calls a meeting of the Charm Girls, a club Izzy and Violet belong to along with their friends, Daisy and Sophia. Aunt Mildred decides she will give them each a charm to put on their bracelet if they do all of the tasks on the Christmas Wish List, which Violet is not too happy about. She’d rather forget about the list completely, but feels compelled to honor her mother’s wishes.And when Izzy’s crush confides a big secret to Violet, Violet feels like she is stuck between her best friend and the boy who she just might have a crush on, too…

Auma loves to run. In her small Kenyan village, she’s a track star with big dreams. A track scholarship could allow her to attend high school and maybe even become a doctor. But a strange new sickness called AIDS is ravaging the village, and when her father becomes ill, Auma’s family needs her help at home. Now Auma faces a difficult choice. Should she stay to support her family or leave to pursue her own future? Auma knows her family depends on her, but leaving might be the only way to find the answers to questions about this new disease.

“The Mola Lisa is missing!

Someone sneaky has stolen the world’s most famous painting. Good thing Q and Ray are on the case! These second-grade critters are Elm Tree Elementary’s best crime solvers. Ray loves magic and stinky cheese. Q loves disguises and surprises. But can the super sleuths outwit an art thief?”

African penguins waddle around nesting colonies in lower numbers than ever before. Despite South African government efforts to protect the penguin colonies and their ocean fish supply, young penguins still struggle to survive. Fuzzy chicks waiting for food in open nests may overheat in the sun or become prey. Others simply may not get enough food to survive on their own once their parents leave. But new conservation methods, including rescuing and hand-feeding vulnerable chicks, are giving experts hope. Can volunteers and scientists help save Africa’s only penguins before it’s too late?

During World War I, British and American ships were painted with bold colors and crazy patterns from bow to stern. Why would anyone put such eye-catching designs on ships?

 

 

When twelve year-old misfit Midnight Reynolds takes a job helping out eccentric Miss Appleby in the mansion down the street, she never imagined her work would involve battling ghosts. But as it turns out, Midnight and her new employer have quite a bit in common—they were both born on Halloween and have the power to see spirits of the dead. But when Midnight learns more about the history of her town, she starts to wonder if she’s fighting on the right side.

Women have been doing amazing, daring, and dangerous things for years, but they’re rarely mentioned in our history books as adventurers, daredevils, or rebels. This new compilation of brief biographies features women throughout history who have risked their lives for adventure—many of whom you may not know, but all of whom you’ll WANT to know, such as:

• Annie Edson Taylor, the first person who dared to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel
• Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman who dared to fly in space
• Helen Gibson, the first woman who dared to be a professional stunt person
• And many more!

This is the perfect read for anyone who wants to know what it means to explore, discover, play, climb, and fight like a girl!

Well, there you have’em! A great collection of new books for you to explore. And don’t forget that there are many more amazing reads out there, too.

Have a wonderful September,

Sheri~