Wednesday, April 18, 2018

New Release Spotlight--April 17, 2018

Last week's Spotlight was heavy on YA and light on MG books. Though this week is pretty light on new releases overall, it's the middle grade books taking the spotlight. One in particular to notice: Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes.

 photo 9900cc-blog-line.png

In Her Skin (Kim Savage)
Fifteen-year old Jolene "Jo" Chastain is homeless. A con artist since early childhood, Jo assumes the identity of a girl who went missing years before and weaves a new life of deception with a wealthy Boston family. The family welcomes "Vivi" back with open arms, giving Jo a warm home, money, and love. But something isn't right in the Lovecraft household, and long-buried secrets are about to come to the surface. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Thriller, mystery.
Your Robot Dog Will Die (Arin Greenwood)
Seventeen-year-old Nano Miller was born and raised on Dog Island: home to Mechanical Tail, the company behind lifelike replacements for "man's best friend." The island is also home to the last living dogs, all but extinct. Every spring, Mechanical Tail gives her the latest robot dog model to test, only to tear it from her arms a year later. This year is complicated by another heartbreak: the loss of her brother, Billy, who recently vanished without a trace. But nothing can prepare her for a discovery that upends everything she's taken for granted: a living puppy. There's no way she's letting this dog go. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Science fiction, dogs.

 photo 9900cc-blog-line.png

Ghost Boys (Jewell Parker Rhodes)
Wow, this one. Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that's been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing. Soon Jerome meets the ghosts of other young black men, including Emmett Till, Tamir Rice, and Trayvon Martin. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Multiple starred reviews. Realistic fiction, race relations, police shooting.
Every Shiny Thing (Cordelia Jenson and Laurie Morrison)
Told in prose and verse. Lauren prides herself on being a good sister, and Sierra is used to taking care of her mom. When Lauren’s parents send her brother to a therapeutic boarding school for teens on the autism spectrum and Sierra moves to a foster home in Lauren’s wealthy neighborhood, both girls are lost until they find a deep bond with each other. But when Lauren recruits Sierra to help with a Robin Hood scheme to raise money for autistic kids who don’t have her family’s resources, Sierra has a lot to lose if the plan goes wrong. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Realistic fiction, poetry, autism spectrum disorder.
Deep Water (Watt Key)
Looking for something to recommend to Hatchet fans? Twelve-year-old Julie Sims takes over a dive after her father falls ill and must stay behind in the boat. Julie's two diving clients, a reckless boy Julie's age and his equally foolhardy father, disregard Julie's instructions during the dive, she quickly realizes she's in over her head. One client gets injured, and their dive boat has vanished--along with Julie's father, the only person who knows their whereabouts. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Adventure, diving.
The Battle of Junk Mountain (Lauren Abbey Greenberg)
Twelve-year-old Shayne looks forward to spending her summers with her grandmother, but she is disappointed when her best friend is more interested in boys than making bracelets and her grandmother's hobby has become a hoarding problem. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Realistic fiction, coming of age, grandparents, hoarding.


 photo 9900cc-blog-line.png

Wallpaper (Thao Lam)
I am always looking for good wordless picture books--there is so much teachers can do with them! This one tells the story of a young girl whose family moves into a new house. Outside, she can hear other kids playing, but she's too shy to say hello. So she picks at the old wallpaper in her room--revealing an entryway to a fantastic imaginary adventure world behind the walls. Publishers Weekly and Kirkus starred.
The Breaking News (Sarah Lynne Reul)
This one will be a great discussion starter, especially considering the effect of today's neverending news cycle on children. When devastating news rattles a young girl's community, her normally attentive parents and neighbors are suddenly exhausted and distracted. Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books starred.

 photo 9900cc-blog-line.png
This list also appears on my New Releases--Weekly Board on Pinterest:


  1. Just discovered your blog - so much fun and great information!
    I have a question though - what does your YA and MG abbreviations stand for? Thanks

    1. Hi, Anonymous--YA is Young Adult, which I specify as grade 7+ (the publishing industry calls YA ages 12+, which is Grade 7-ish)

      MG is Middle Grades, which I specify as Grades 4-7. Of course, there is crossover sometimes as grouping books by grade level can be fuzzy.


Let's start a conversation! All commenting on Mrs. ReaderPants is moderated and CAPTCHA-free! Please submit your comment only once--it will appear shortly.