September 2014 New Releases

Fire up that library card or head to the bookstore: Fall 2014 releases are rolling out, starting today. Here are just a few of the September new middle grade books, starting with stand-alone fiction titles:

ambassador     creature keepers     Fantasy League    Graham Cracker Plot

Ambassador by William Alexander (Sept. 23)
Appointed Earth’s ambassador to the universe, 12-year-old Gabe Fuentes faces two sets of “alien” problems. Turns out his parents are illegal aliens and face deportation, and the Earth is in the path of a destructive alien force.

Creature Keepers and the Hijacked Hydro-Hide by Peter Nelson, illustrated by Rohitash Rao
Twelve-year-old Jordan Grimsley has moved with his family into an old, abandoned house in Florida that belonged to his long-lost grandfather. While clearing stuff out of the attic, Jordan finds a scrapbook filled with old news clippings about local sightings of the mythological South Florida Skunk Ape, leading him into the swamp where many of the sightings occurred. (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)

Fantasy League by Mike Lupica (Sept. 16)
Twelve-year-old Charlie is a fantasy football guru. He may be just a bench warmer for his school’s football team, but when it comes to knowing and loving the game, he’s first-string. Everything changes when Charlie befriends the elderly owner of the L.A. Bulldogs — a fictional NFL team — and convinces him to take a chance on an aging quarterback. (Philomel)

The Graham Cracker Plot by Shelley Tougas (Sept. 2)
No one believes her, but Daisy Bauer knows her dad has been wrongfully imprisoned and that it’s up to her to break him out of jail. She has a plan that she’s calling the Graham Cracker Plot because it was all Graham’s idea. She just needs a miniature horse, a getaway truck, and a coin from 1919. (Roaring Brook)

Half a World AwayJust a drop of water Magic in the mixMissing Pieces of me

Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata (Sept. 2)
Eleven-year-old Jaden, an emotionally damaged adopted boy, feels a connection to a small, weak toddler with special needs in Kazakhstan, where Jaden’s family is trying to adopt a “normal” baby. (Simon & Schuster/Atheneum)

Just a Drop of Water by Kerry O’Malley Cerra
In this gripping and intensely touching debut novel, Cerra brings the events of September 11, 2001, into the lens of a young boy who is desperately trying to understand the ramifications of this life-altering event. (Sky Pony Press)

The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis (Sept. 30)
A powerful companion to “Elijah of Buxton.” Benji and Red aren’t friends, but their fates are entwined. The boys discover that they have more in common than meets the eye. Both of them have encountered a strange presence in the forest. Could the Madman of Piney Woods be real? (Scholastic)

Magic in the Mix by Annie Barrows (Sept. 16)
Molly and Miri Gill are twins. They look the same, act the same, sometimes even think the same. But they weren’t always twins. . . . Molly used to live in 1935, until Miri traveled back in time to save her from the clutches of Molly’s evil adoptive family. Only they know about the magic, and its power to set things right. In the follow up to The Magic Half, the twins time travel to the Civil War. (Bloomsbury)

The Missing Pieces of Me by Jean Van Leeuwen (Sept. 2)
If only Weezie could find her daddy, she’s sure her life would be happier. Tired of making up stories about a parent she knows nothing about, Weezie teams up with her bike-riding buddy, Calvin, and new friend, Louella, to find her mysterious father. Does he drive a truck? Sing country and western songs? Why, her real daddy might even be better than the made-up father she’s been telling lies about at school Now, all she has to do is find him. (Amazon/Two Lions)

Mister Max     Nest     Nightmares     Paper Cowboy

Mister Max by Cynthia Voigt, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno (Sept. 10)
Until he can figure out why his parents disappeared, Max feels it’s safer to keep a low profile. Hiding out is no problem for a child of the theater. Max has played many roles, he can be whoever he needs to be to blend in. But finding a job is tricky, no matter what costume he dons. (Knopf)

Nest by Esther Ehrlich (Sept. 9)
In 1972 home is a cozy nest on Cape Cod for eleven-year-old Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein, her older sister, Rachel; her psychiatrist father; and her dancer mother. But then Chirp’s mom develops symptoms of a serious disease, and everything changes. (Random/Wendy Lamb)

Nightmares by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller (Sept. 9)
Charlie lives in a purple mansion he is sure is haunted; his step mother probably moonlights as a witch – and his problems are about to get a whole lot more real. Nightmares can ruin a good night’s sleep, but when they start slipping out of your dreams and into the waking world—that’s a line that should never be crossed.  (Delacorte)

The Paper Cowboy by Kristine Levine (Sept. 4)
Tommy uses his sister’s paper route as a way to investigating his neighbors after stumbling across a copy of The Daily Worker, a communist newspaper. (Putnam)

Scandalous Sisterhood     Scavengers     Shadows of the Silver Screen     Space Case

Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry (Sept. 23)
The students of St. Etheldreda’s School for Girls face a bothersome dilemma. Their irascible headmistress, Mrs. Plackett, and her surly brother, Mr. Godding, have been most inconveniently poisoned at Sunday dinner. Now the school will almost certainly be closed and the girls sent home—unless these seven very proper young ladies can hide the murders and convince their neighbors that nothing is wrong.

The Scavenger by Michael Perry
With a neighbor’s help, 12-year-old Ford Falcon learns to survive in the harsh world outside the Bubble Cities by scavenging for items to use or tradeNskills she needs after her parents go missing. (HarperCollins)

Shadows of the Silver Screen by Christopher Edge
A mysterious filmmaker approaches the “Penny Dreadful” magazine with a proposal to turn Montgomery Flinch’s sinister stories into motion pictures. The production is plagued by a series of strange events. Penny Tredwell is drawn into the mystery, but soon finds herself trapped in a nightmare penned by her own hand. (Albert Whitman)

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs (Sept. 16)
After Moon Base Alpha’s top scientist turns up dead, 12-year-old lunarnaut Dashiell Gibson senses foul play. Dash discovers that Dr. Holtz was on the verge of an important new discovery that could change everything for the base and those who live there. (Simon & Schuster)

Swallow     Tell Me     Unstoppable Octobia     Walk On

The Swallow: A Ghost Story by Charis Cotter (Sept. 9)
When Polly and Rose find a tombstone with Rose’s name on it in the cemetery and encounter an angry spirit in her house who seems intent on hurting Polly, they have to unravel the mystery of Rose and her strange family… before it’s too late.  (Tundra )

Tell Me by Joan Bauer (Sept. 16)
The unofficial town motto is “Nothing bad ever happens in Rosemont” where  12-year-old Anna has come to stay with her grandmother, Mim. But when Anna observes a girl her own age who seems to be being held against her will, she is determined to investigate. “When you see something, say something” she’s been told—now she just has to get people to listen. (Viking)

Unstoppable Octobia May by Sharon Flake (Sept.  30)
It’s 1953, and 10-year-old Octobia May lives in her aunt’s boarding house in a southern African-American community. When Octobia starts to question the folks in her world, an adventure and a mystery unfold that beg some troubling questions: Who is black and who is “passing” for white? What happens when their vibrant community must face its own racism? (Scholastic)

The Walk On by John Feinstein (Sept. 9)
Alex is a quarterback, but from the first day of football practice in his new town, it’s clear that that position is very much filled by the coach’s son, Matt. Someone is trying very hard to make it sure Alex can’t play as the tema heads to the state championship, and Alex must taken on the entire sports establishment in his town. (Knopf)


Bad MagicBad Magic by Pseudonymous Bosch (Sept. 16)
When words from his journal appear mysteriously on his school wall as graffiti, Clay never imagines that magic might be to blame. And when the same graffiti lands him at Earth Ranch, a camp for “troubled” kids on a remote volcanic island, magic is the last thing he expects to find there. First in a new series. (Little, Brown)

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (Sept. 2)
New series from Black (The Spiderwick Chonicles) and Clare (the Mortal Instruments trilogy). Callum Hunt completes the Iron Trial and enters the Magisterium a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future. (Scholastic)

The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth by Ian Lendler, illustrated by Zack Giallongo. (Sept. 30)
First in a graphic novel series. The Stratford Zoo looks like a normal zoo… until the gates shut at night. That’s when the animals come out of their cages to stage elaborate performances of Shakespeare’s greatest works. They might not be the most accomplished thespians, but they’ve got what counts: heart.  (First Second)


Whispering skullThe Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co.) by Jonathan Stroud (Sept. 16)
Things look up when a new client, Mr. Saunders, hires Lockwood & Co. to be present at the excavation of Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor who reportedly tried to communicate with the dead. Saunders needs the coffin sealed with silver to prevent any supernatural trouble. All goes well-until George’s curiosity attracts a horrible phantom. (Disney/Hyperion)

Danny’s Doodles: The Squirting Donuts by David A. Adler
Something is amiss in Danny and Calvin’s fourth-grade class when their loud, rule-enforcing teacher Mrs. Cakel suddenly transforms into a whole new person. Danny and Calvin decide the only way to find out what’s really going on is to spy on their personality-switching teacher. But spying soon leads to a greater mystery filled with dog chasing, jelly-injected donuts, peanut-butter-induced experiments, riddle mania, and more. (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky)

The Bully Bug by David Lubar (Sept. 2)
Sixth in The Monsterrific Tales series: There’s something strange going on at Washington Irving Elementary School. Kids are turning into monsters—literally! (Tor/Starscape)

The Key that Swallowed Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos (Sept. 2)
Everything goes topsy-turvy for Joey just as he starts to get his feet on the ground. With his dad MIA in the wake of appearance-altering plastic surgery, Joey must give up school to look after his new baby brother and fill in for his mom, who hospitalizes herself to deal with a bad case of postpartum blues. As his challenges mount, Joey discovers a key that could unlock the secrets to his father’s whereabouts. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Last-But-Not-Least Lola and the Wild Chicken by Christine Pakkala. Illus. by Paul Hoppe
Lola patched things up with frenemy Amanda Anderson, but it’s not happily ever after for these two best friends, at least not yet. Lola doesn’t want to share Amanda, especially not with Jessie around. Can there be more than two best friends? (Boyds Mills)


Little Author in the Big Woods: A Biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Yona Zeldis McDonough, illustrated by Jennifer Thermes (Sept. 16)
This narrative biography describes details of the young Laura’s real life as a young pioneer homesteading with her family on many adventurous journeys. (Holt/Christy Ottaviano)

Guys Read: True Stories
Ten true tales from Jon Scieszka, Jim Murphy, Elizabeth Partridge, James Sturm, Candace Fleming, Douglas Florian, Sy Montgomery, Steven Sheinkin, T. Edward Nickens, Thanhha Lai.

Linda Johns