|Eight new middle grade releases this week:|
|Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale (David Kudler)|
This is the first book in the Seasons of the Sword series. Young Risuko is a fatherless girl living in a Japan torn by 100 years of war. Risuko is raised far from the war, Risuko finds herself pulled into a plot that might save her country...or destroy it. Risuko is a MG/YA blend, with a young heroine in her early teen years.
|The Gallery (Laura Marx Fitzgerald)|
From the author of Under the Egg. This one sounds cool for students who love mysteries like When You Reach Me or Chasing Vermeer. Set in 1929, 12-year old Martha works in the New York mansion of the Sewell family. People say that the mistress of the house, Rose Sewell, is crazy, but Martha isn't so sure. Could the paintings in the family gallery hold the truth?
|The Shadow of Cadets (M.A.Larson)|
Pennyroyal Academy, book 2. Princess Cadet Evie returns to Pennyroyal Academy as a second-class cadet. But when Evie witnesses an innocent woman attacked by a trio of princesses, no one believes her.
|Girl Vs. Boy Band: The Right Track (Harmony Jones)|
Shy but talented eighth grader Lark secretly writes songs about her life--school, boys, and missing her dad. But those secrets will be hard to hide when Lark's mother, a music executive, announces a British boy band will be coming to live with them while they record their first album. *Cue high-pitched squealing* Sounds contrived to me, but I can see this being a hit with my middle school girls.
|The "It" Girl (Katy Birchall)|
This book was released in 2015 in the UK and is now being released in the US. I like the UK front cover better--this one looks a big younger than the target audience. Billed as a "clean romance" (we certainly need more of those for middle grade girls) for fans of Geek Girl or Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging. Young cover aside, I'm sure this will be a hit with my Year7 (6th grade) girls, who really do love pink romances.
|Project (Un)Popular (Kristen Tracy)|
"Middle School isn't a popularity contest. It's a war." Geeks versus Teen Queens, yearbook style. A cute cover and popularity theme will make this one an easy sell with the girls in my school.
|Ballad of a Broken Nose (Arne Svingen and Karen Dickson, trans.)|
I can't find a single review for this book, but it actually sounds pretty cute. The cover is pretty awful, but I love male protagonists in fiction, especially when they are middle graders. Thirteen-year old Bart is an eternal optimist, despite his difficult life. He copes through his love for opera and singing. Yep! This sounds really different from Greg Heffley and Rafe Katchedorian, and I'm kind of excited about getting it. It also goes well with my lesson on optimism and pessimism using the picture book The Last Stop on Market Street, so that's another plus for me!
|The Transatlantic Conspiracy (G.D. Falksen)|
With a 17-year old protagonist, this book could be more YA than MG. Some early reviews mark it as YA, and others say it reads more MG. I included it on this list though because it does sound like something my middle graders might like, and the front cover does look more MG than YA. But an underwater transoceanic railroad from Germany to America? With a steampunky murder mystery and a romance? Despite mixed early reviews, that sounds interesting to me!