New Middle-Grade releases for June!

Welcome summer! New Releases for a new season. The school year is winding down. Drop the textbooks and pick up a fun read. This list gives you several choices to tuck into your beach bag. Just don’t get any sand in the pages!

Camp Sylvania by Julie Murphy. HarperCollins/Balzer and Bray, June 6,  288 pp.

Magnolia “Maggie” Hagen is determined to be in the spotlight . . . if she can just get over her stage fright. This summer she has big plans to finally attend Camp Rising Star, the famous performing arts camp she’s been dying to go to for three summers. But on the last day of school, her parents break the news: Maggie is being shipped off to fat camp. And not just any fat camp. Camp Sylvania. It’s run by world-famous wellness influencer Sylvia Sylvania, known for her soon-to-be-patented Scarlet Diet.

When Maggie arrives at camp, things are . . . weird. The humiliating weigh-ins and grueling workouts are expected. But campers are encouraged to donate blood! The cafeteria serves only red foods and the odd rules change every day. There are even rumors of a camp ghost.

Despite these horrors, Maggie makes friends and starts to enjoy herself. There are even tryouts for a camp production of The Music Man! This place might not be so bad . . . until campers go missing and other suspicious things happen—especially after dark. A camp ghost might be the least scary thing about this place.

Garvey’s Choice: The Graphic Novel by Nikki Grimes. Wordsong, June 6, 144 pp. June 2023 release

Garvey’s father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading—anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, and a loyal friend. He is also overweight, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey’s life changes. The chorus finds a new soloist in Garvey. And through the chorus, Garvey finds a way to accept himself and finally reach his distant father—by speaking the language of music instead of the language of sports.

If you enjoy astronomy, check out Where the Sky Lives in this New Releases list.

Greenwild by Pari Thomson. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, June 6, 384 pp.

June 2023 releaseEleven-year-old Daisy Thistledown is on the run. Her mother has been keeping big, glittering secrets, and now she has vanished. Daisy knows it’s up to her to find Ma, but someone—determined to stop her from discovering the truth—hunts her through London. When Daisy flees to safety through a mysterious hidden doorway, she can barely believe her eyes. She steps out of the city and into another world, Greenwild. Bursting with magic and full of amazing natural wonders, it’s almost too astonishing to be true. Not only is this land of green magic real, it also holds the key to finding Daisy’s mother.

But someone wants to destroy it.

Daisy must band together with a botanical genius, a boy who can talk with animals, and a cat to uncover the truth about who she really is. Only then can Daisy channel the power that will change her world and save Greenwild.

Half Moon Summer by Elaine Vickers. Peachtree, June 6, 288 pp. June 2023 release

Two seventh graders discover it takes more than grit and a good pair of shoes to run 13.1 miles. You’ve got to have a partner who refuses to let you quit.

Drew was never much of a runner. Until his dad’s unexpected diagnosis. Mia has nothing better to do. Until she realizes entering Half Moon Bay’s half-marathon could solve her family’s housing problems. And just like that they decide to spend their entire summer training to run 13.1 miles. Drew and Mia have very different reasons for running, but the two twelve-year-olds have one crucial thing in common besides sharing a birthday. Hope for the future. For their families. And for each other.

The Jules Verne Prophecy by Larry Schwarz and Iva-Marie Palmer. Christy Ottaviano Books, June 27, 368 pp.

June 2023 releaseOwen Godfrey spends his summer in Paris studying science fiction writer Jules Verne, the amazing mind behind Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in Eighty Days. When Owen and his new friends find a dusty copy of Verne’s collected works in an old bookshop, they’re intrigued by the hidden codes written inside. As one clue leads to another, the trio gets swept into an epic treasure hunt spanning the city—from the depths of the catacombs to the top of the Eiffel Tower—by way of a skateboard, boat, car, and even a hot air balloon!  But they quickly realize they’re not the only ones searching for the hidden riches. There are others who will stop at nothing to get to them first. This fast-paced larger-than-life adventure is filled with action, high stakes, and three friends dead set on cracking the Jules Verne mystery.

Click here to learn more about Jules Verne.

Nightmare Island by Shakirah Bourne. Scholastic Press, June 6, 304 pp.June 2023 release

Twelve-year-old Serenity Noah has never told anyone about her recurring nightmares — the haunting images of silver butterflies with flapping wings that drive away all sound, leaving suffocating silence in their wake. Her parents already favor her “perfect” younger brother, Peace, and she doesn’t want to be seen as the “problem” child. Instead, Serenity finds a productive way to channel her fears: creating a horror movie as scary as her nightmares.

When Peace becomes afraid of the dark and refuses to sleep alone, their parents take him away for “treatment” on Duppy Island. Serenity has a very bad feeling about the mysterious island and the facility’s creepy leader, Dr. Whisper. And when she sees a silver butterfly from her nightmares in the forbidden forest she realizes that something is seriously, dangerously wrong. But nothing could’ve prepared Serenity for the truth: the island is home to douens — faceless children with backward feet who are trapped in limbo between the world of the living and the land of the dead.

If horror is your thing, check out this book list.

Out There (A Graphic Novel) by Seaerra Miller. Little, Brown Ink, June 27, 232 pp.

June 2023 releaseJulia didn’t always believe in aliens. It was her father who convinced her otherwise. You see—Julia’s dad believes he was abducted by aliens. And ever since then, he’s been obsessed with the extraterrestrial beings. So when a festival commemorating the 75th anniversary of the infamous UFO crash in New Mexico rolls around, Julia turns down a dream vacation to Hawaii with her best friend, Sara, to join her dad for a weekend trip to Roswell, where he expects the aliens to make contact.

But amid the alien-themed goofiness of the festival, Julia finds she isn’t sure whether her father really did get abducted. His memories of alien interference start to sound more and more shaky, and with them, her faith in him. Will this weekend bring the two closer together or drive them apart?

The Probability of Everything by Sarah Everett. Clarion Books, June 27, 336 pp.

Eleven-year-old Kemi Carter loves scientific facts, specifically probability. It helps her understand the world and her place in it. KemiJune 2023 release knows her odds of being born were one in 5.5 trillion, and that the odds of her having the best family ever were even lower. Yet somehow, Kemi lucked out. But everything she thought she knew changes when she sees an asteroid in the sky, casting a purple haze over her world. Amplus-68 has an 84.7% chance of colliding with Earth in four days, and if that happens, Kemi’s life as she knows it will end.

But over the course of the four days, facts don’t feel true to Kemi anymore. The town they moved to is supposed to be “better for her family.” But it isn’t welcoming. And Amplus-68 is taking over her life. Other people go to school and eat at their favorite diners like nothing has changed. Is Kemi the only one who feels the world is ending? Kemi decides to put together a time capsule that will capture her family’s truth: her mother’s creativity, her inquisitive little sister, and how much Kemi’s whole world revolves around her father. But no time capsule can change the fact that Kemi must face the most inevitable and hardest part of life: saying goodbye.

There are more fun “math” novels at this link.

A Season Most Unfair by J. Anderson Coats. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, June 20, 288 pp.

June 2023 releaseScholastica, or “Tick,” has grown up helping her father make candles in his shop. The experience has its ups and downs. Constantly smelling like tallow makes it hard for Tick to keep friends, but stray cats love her. Still, she delights in the work and the fact she can help Papa. Every summer, they use the long daylight hours to make as many candles as possible to sell at the Stourbridge Fair, the highlight of their year. And this year Tick will make the special Agnus Dei charms that keep travelers safe.

Because she’s a girl, Tick can never be a true apprentice in the trade, but if she gets to do the job anyway, does it matter what she’s called? But one morning she finds a boy sitting at her workbench. He’s the new apprentice and now Tick is forbidden from helping with the candle-making. Tick isn’t about to stand for this unfairness. She’s going prove to Papa that she deserves to be his apprentice.

The Sinister Secrets of Singe by Sean Ferrell, illus. by Graham Carter. Pixel and Ink, June 6, 384 pp.June 2023 release

Eleven-year-old Noah has grown up in a mysterious house—it grows larger every night—with only his mother and a robot boy for company. He spends his days building robotic devices for the city of Liberty, a place he’s not allowed to visit—not since his father almost destroyed it.

When Noah discovers a message hidden in one of his father’s inventions, he decides to run away and find him. He’s sure that by his father’s side, he’ll finally get the recognition he deserves. With the help of a band of smugglers including second-in-command Winona, he sails to Singe to rescue his father, who he’s certain is as misunderstood as he is. But the man he finds is even more of a monster than his mechanical creations. And when Noah returns home, he accidentally leads his father’s robot army to Liberty once more. Now, it’s up to Noah to rescue the city—but to do so, he’ll have to make a terrible choice.

The Umbrella Maker’s Son by Katrina Leno. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, June 27, 384 pp.

June 2023 releaseOscar Buckle lives in a city where it’s always raining. And when it isn’t raining, it’s about to rain, so the townspeople have learned to embrace it. Oscar’s father is an umbrella maker—appropriate for a place where you can’t leave home without one!—but while Buckle Umbrellas are strong, reliable, and high quality, they’re expensive. Because of this, people are buying from the competitor instead, which is threatening Oscar’s family’s business.

To make ends meet, Oscar must quit school and work in his father’s shop as an apprentice. But when extraordinary events start to occur in their rainy town, Oscar becomes suspicious of their competitor. Desperate to save his town, Oscar must enlist the help of his best friend, Saige, to discover if there’s more than nature involved in their city’s weather.

You can be an umbrella maker, too.

When Giants Burn by Beth Vrabel. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, June 13, 256 pp.

Gerty has a secret: She’s building an airplane. She wants to join the Civil Air Patrol, where pilots as young as twelve help with disasterJune 2023 release relief—but she knows her parents would be outraged. They’re survivalists who raised her to be independent and only enrolled her in middle school to show her why they’ve decided to opt out of society. Still, Gerty is determined to protect her beloved Pando, a nearby ancient aspen forest.

Hayes has his own problems, but they aren’t the kind that can be hidden under a tarp. His mom is back from prison, but he’s not sure he’ll ever stop missing the mom she used to be. One thing is certain: He’s never going to be like her. He follows the rules. But Gerty is the only person at school Hayes doesn’t hate, so after she tells him about her hidden plane, he helps her finish it.

When wildfires break out, Gerty wants to fly to Pando and make sure it’s safe, and Hayes is tempted to escape everything on the ground. But the duo will soon realize that they can’t escape their roots and that holding onto those connections might be the real key to survival.

Is it a rainy day? Looking for more to read on a hot sweltery day? Here’s a bookshelf of other June releases.

June 2023 releases


Weezie Prescott