It’s summertime and the reading is easy. Take a look at just a few of the middle-grade books coming out this month:
Invisible by Christina Diaz Gonzalez and Gabriela Epstein (illustrator)
Can five overlooked kids make one big difference? There’s George: the brain. Sara: the loner. Dayara: the tough kid. Nico: the rich kid. And Miguel: the athlete. They’re all stuck together when forced to complete their school’s community service hours. Although they’re sure they have nothing in common with one another, some people see them as all the same . . . just five Spanish-speaking kids.
Then they meet someone who truly needs their help, and they must decide whether they are each willing to expose their own secrets to help . . . or if remaining invisible is the only way to survive middle school.
With text in English and Spanish, Invisible features a groundbreaking format paired with an engaging, accessible, and relatable storyline.
Amari and the Great Game by B.B. Alston
After finding her brother and saving the entire supernatural world, Amari Peters is convinced her first full summer as a Junior Agent will be a breeze. But between the fearsome new Head Minister’s strict anti-magician agenda, fierce Junior Agent rivalries, and her brother Quinton’s curse steadily worsening, Amari’s plate is full.
So when the secretive League of Magicians offers her a chance to stand up for magiciankind as its new leader, she declines. She’s got enough to worry about! But her refusal allows someone else to step forward, a magician with dangerous plans for the League. This challenge sparks the start of the Great Game, a competition to decide who will become the Night Brothers’ successor and determine the future of magiciankind.
The Great Game is both mysterious and deadly, but among the winner’s magical rewards is Quinton’s last hope—so how can Amari refuse?
Gravebooks by J.A. White
Alex thought he was done with witches. But when Natacha, the witch who held him captive for scary stories, appears again one night, Alex realizes he’s trapped in a nightmare—literally. She’s found a way to enter his dreams with a new, terrifying familiar named Simeon. And they once again want Alex to write. Transported to a story graveyard with best friend Yasmin, Alex will have to complete an original scary story each night.
But what does Natacha plan to do with his finished stories? And what makes a story good enough? While Natacha might have control of the beginnings, only Alex has the power to write the ending.
Empty Smiles by Katherine Arden
It’s been three months since Ollie made a daring deal with the smiling man to save those she loved, and then vanished without a trace. The smiling man promised Coco, Brian and Phil, that they’d have a chance to save her, but as time goes by, they begin to worry that the smiling man has lied to them and Ollie is gone forever. But finally, a clue surfaces. A boy who went missing at a nearby traveling carnival appears at the town swimming hole, terrified and rambling. He tells anyone who’ll listen about the mysterious man who took him. How the man agreed to let him go on one condition: that he deliver a message. Play if you dare.
Game on! The smiling man has finally made his move. Now it’s Coco, Brian, and Phil’s turn to make theirs. And they know just where to start. The traveling carnival is coming to Evansburg. Meanwhile, Ollie is trapped in the world behind the mist, learning the horrifying secrets of the smiling man’s carnival, trying everything to help her friends find her. Brian, Coco and Phil will risk everything to rescue Ollie—but they all soon realize this game is much more dangerous than the ones before. This time the smiling man is playing for keeps. The summer nights are short, and Ollie, Coco, Brian, and Phil have only until sunrise to beat him once and for all—or it’s game over for everyone.
Crunch by Kayla Miller
Kayla Miller, the New York Times bestselling author-illustrator of Click, Camp, Act, and Clash, returns with a new Olive story! Olive is balancing the too-many things she wants to do with the too-few hours in the day to do them. When everything adds up, suddenly it’s crunch time!
It’s no secret that Olive loves trying new things. Between taking guitar lessons, making a short film, joining Berry Scouts, and leading the charge on her school’s dress code reform, Olive has her hands full! But she enjoys being busy, so staying on track with her jam-packed schedule should be no problem … right?
As weeks fly by, it gets harder and harder for Olive to find time for her activities, never mind time for herself. Will she be able to accomplish her goals, or will all her sizzle turn to fizzle?
The New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Kayla Miller delivers a vibrant and timely story about the importance of balance, effort, and reaching out for help.
I can’t wait for the next Amari book to come out.