Pop! Goes The Reader’s 40 Most-Anticipated Middle Grade Novels: July-December 2020

Today’s post is sponsored by Lisa Schroeder and Don’t Judge Me!

Title Don’t Judge Me
Author Lisa Schroeder
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Publication Date November 1st 2020 by Scholastic Press
Find It On GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book DepositoryBarnes & NobleIndieBound

Inspired by a true story of girl empowerment, acclaimed author Lisa Schroeder’s new novel explores trust, self-worth, and speaking up – especially when you’re told to keep quiet.

Well-behaved girls seldom make historyHazel doesn’t like to make waves. Middle school is hard enough without causing more trouble, right? She’s happy just eating lunch in the library with her BFF, writing secret haikus, and taking care of an adorable rescue tortoise.But then Hazel discovers a list that rates the girls at her middle school based on their looks – started by her best friend’s older brother. She knows she has to do something, and she can’t do it alone. The wave she’ll be making might turn into a tsunami, but if Hazel can find the courage to speak up, she might just change everything.


After sharing a list of my 60 Most-Anticipated Young Adult Novels: July-December 2020 last week, I knew immediately I wanted to share a similar list this week featuring my most-anticipated forthcoming middle grade titles. I’m constantly in awe of what authors who write for this age group are able to accomplish and of the boundless depth and creativity of the stories being told. As I sat down to compose the list below, I was particularly thrilled to see horror-themed novels feature so prevalently. As someone who grew up devouring everything from Goosebumps to Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, horror in middle grade and young adult literature holds a very special place in my heart and evokes a feeling of fondness and nostalgia like little else. From The Stitchers and Whispering Pines to Scritch Scratch and Hide and Seeker, I could not be more excited for the thrills and chills awaiting me in the next six months!

Please Note: If you’re a middle grade author with a novel being published in 2020 and you don’t see your book on this list, please don’t be hurt or upset! This list is entirely subjective and based on my own personal reading taste. My favourite genres are contemporary fiction, horror and historical fiction, which is why you won’t see many books outside of these genres on this list. While I try my best to remain up-to-date about upcoming releases, it’s also entirely possible that I simply haven’t heard of your book! If you’re the author of a 2020 middle grade novel that you think might make a good fit for me and Pop! Goes The Reader, please don’t hesitate to reach out – I would love to hear from you!

For even more wonderful middle grade novels being published in 2020, please check out this Goodreads list which includes over 450 MG novels being published this year for you to choose from. Hopefully you’ll be able to find the perfect book for you. Happy reading!

The publication dates listed below might be subject to change.


Publication Date July 7th 2020 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

In this debut middle-grade girl-power friendship story, an eighth grader starts a podcast to protest the unfair dress code enforcement at her middle school and sparks a rebellion.

Molly Frost is FED UP…

Because Olivia was yelled at for wearing a tank top.

Because Liza got dress coded and Molly didn’t, even though they were wearing the exact same outfit.

Because when Jessica was pulled over by the principal and missed a math quiz, her teacher gave her an F.

Because it’s impossible to find shorts that are longer than her fingertips.

Because girls’ bodies are not a distraction.

Because middle school is hard enough.

And so Molly starts a podcast where girls can tell their stories, and before long, her small rebellion swells into a revolution. Because now the girls are standing up for what’s right, and they’re not backing down.




Publication Date July 7th 2020 by Katherine Tegen Books
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

In the fourth Monsterstreet book, the best summer of Harper’s life could be her last…

On the way to Camp Moon Lake, the most magical summer camp on earth, all Harper can think about is her parents’ looming divorce. Soon enough, though, the outdoor movie theater, the water park, and the chocolate buffet begin to work their magic on her.

But then campers start to disappear, and Harper notices the counselors acting unusual. The cheerful facade of the camp falls apart to reveal strange secrets and a sinister plan. Escaping will take everything Harper has — maybe even her life.




Publication Date July 7th 2020 by Scholastic Press
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

A multicultural story full of heart and hilarity about what it means to be all-American.

Lauren and her best friend, Tara, have always done absolutely everything together. So when they don’t have any classes together in sixth grade, it’s disastrous. The solution? Trying out for the school play. Lauren, who loves to sing, wonders if maybe, just maybe, she will be the star instead of Tara this time.

But when the show is cast, Lauren lands in the ensemble, while Tara scores the lead role. Their teacher explains: Lauren just doesn’t look the part of the all-American girl. What audience would believe that she, half-Jewish, half-Chinese Lauren, was the everygirl star from Pleasant Valley, USA?

From amidst the ensemble, Lauren tries to support her best friend. But when she can’t bring herself to sing anymore, her spot in the play and her friendship are in jeopardy. With the help of a button-making business, the music of Patsy Cline, and her two bickering grandmothers, can Lauren find her voice again?

Acclaimed coauthors Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang return to the 1980s world of Sydney Taylor Honor Book This Is Just A Test with this laugh-out-loud coming-of-age story.


Publication Date July 14th 2020 by Balzer + Bray
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

From the author of A Good Kind of Trouble, a Walter Dean Myers Honor Book, comes another unforgettable story about finding your voice – and finding your people. Perfect for fans of Sharon Draper, Meg Medina, and Jason Reynolds.

Eleven-year-old Jenae doesn’t have any friends — and she’s just fine with that. She’s so good at being invisible in school, it’s almost like she has a superpower, like her idol, Astrid Dane. At home, Jenae has plenty of company, like her no-nonsense mama; her older brother, Malcolm, who is home from college after a basketball injury; and her beloved grandpa, Gee.

Then a new student shows up at school — a boy named Aubrey with fiery red hair and a smile that won’t quit. Jenae can’t figure out why he keeps popping up everywhere she goes. The more she tries to push him away, the more he seems determined to be her friend. Despite herself, Jenae starts getting used to having him around.

But when the two are paired up for a class debate about the proposed name change for their school, Jenae knows this new friendship has an expiration date. Aubrey is desperate to win and earn a coveted spot on the debate team.

There’s just one problem: Jenae would do almost anything to avoid speaking up in front of an audience — including risking the first real friendship she’s ever had.


Publication Date July 28th 2020 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Quintessence is an extraordinary story from Jess Redman about friendship, self-discovery, interconnectedness, and the inexplicable elements that make you you.

Find the Elements. Grow the Light. Save the Starling.

Three months ago, twelve-year-old Alma moved to the town of Four Points. Her panic attacks started a week later, and they haven’t stopped ― even though she’s told her parents that they have. She’s homesick and friendless and every day she feels less and less like herself.

But one day she finds a telescope in the town’s junk shop, and through its lens, she watches a star ― a star that looks like a child ― fall from the sky and into her backyard. Alma knows what it’s like to be lost and afraid, to long for home, and she knows that it’s up to her to save the star. And so, with the help of some unlikely new friends from Astronomy Club, she sets out on a quest that will take a little bit of science, a little bit of magic, and her whole self.

This title has Common Core connections.




Publication Date August 4th 2020 by Scholastic Inc.
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

A heart-expanding story of hope, friendship, and the power that comes with realizing that magic, like family, doesn’t always look the way you expect it to.

Eleven-year-old June is a problem-solver. Some people might call her a busybody, but that’s okay. Just look at all the couples she helped find love! (Grateful newlyweds Marlene and Big Vic have even promised June free hot chocolate for life at their café.)

However, when June learns that her parents are getting divorced, she has to face the fact that there are some problems too big even for her. At least, that’s what the adults in her life keep saying.

But June’s convinced there’s a way to make her parents fall back in love. While brainstorming ideas on her new secondhand laptop – purchased from a mysterious store in town called The Shop of Last Resort – June gets a strange IM from someone named JuniePie28…someone who claims to be an older version of June messaging her from the future.

At first, she assumes it’s a prank. But JuniePie28 knows too much about June’s life to be a fraud, and future June warns her against interfering with her parents’ marriage. But June can’t just sit around and watch her parents’ marriage dissolve, not when there’s a magical shop in town that could be the answer to all her problems! Will June prove her older self wrong and stop the divorce? Or will she have to accept that there are some things she can’t control?




Publication Date August 4th 2020 by Scholastic Press
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

The magical story of a hex that goes haywire, and the power of friendship to set things right!

In the town of Howler’s Hollow, conjuring magic is strictly off-limits. Only nothing makes Delpha McGill’s skin crawl more than rules. So when she finds her family’s secret book of hexes, she’s itching to use it to banish her mama’s money troubles. She just has to keep it quieter than a church mouse – not exactly Delpha’s specialty.

Trouble is, Katybird Hearn is hankering to get her hands on the spell book, too. The daughter of a rival witching family, Katy has reasons of her own for wanting to learn forbidden magic, and she’s not going to let an age-old feud or Delpha’s contrary ways stop her. But their quarrel accidentally unleashes a hex so heinous it resurrects a graveyard full of angry Hearn and McGill ancestors bent on total destruction. If Delpha and Katy want to reverse the spell in time to save everyone in the Hollow from rampaging zombies, they’ll need to mend fences and work together.

Fans of A Snicker of Magic and The Witch Boy will love this funny, folksy, fresh debut from Ash Van Otterloo that proves sometimes it takes two witches to make the strongest magic happen.




Publication Date August 4th 2020 by HarperCollins
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

A Malaysian folk tale comes to life in this emotionally layered, chilling middle grade debut, perfect for fans of The Book of Boy and The Jumbies.

I am a dark spirit, the ghost announced grandly. I am your inheritance, your grandmother’s legacy. I am yours to command.

Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink, and the two quickly become inseparable.

But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits have a dark side — and when Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both, they must find enough light to survive…before they are both lost to the darkness.

Fans of Holly Black’s Doll Bones and Tahereh Mafi’s Furthermore series will love this ghostly middle grade debut that explores jealousy, love, and the extraordinary power of friendship.




Publication Date August 4th 2020 by Rick Riordan Presents
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Space-obsessed 12-year-old Paola Santiago and her two best friends, Emma and Dante, know the rule: Stay away from the river. It’s all they’ve heard since a schoolmate of theirs drowned a year ago. Pao is embarrassed to admit that she has been told to stay away for even longer than that, because her mother is constantly warning her about La Llorona, the wailing ghost woman who wanders the banks of the Gila at night, looking for young people to drag into its murky depths.

Hating her mother’s humiliating superstitions and knowing that she and her friends would never venture into the water, Pao organizes a meet-up to test out her new telescope near the Gila, since it’s the best stargazing spot. But when Emma never arrives and Pao sees a shadowy figure in the reeds, it seems like maybe her mom was right…

Pao has always relied on hard science to make sense of the world, but to find her friend she will have to enter the world of her nightmares, which includes unnatural mist, mind-bending monsters, and relentless spirits controlled by a terrifying force that defies both logic and legend.


Publication Date August 11th 2020 by Clarion Books
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

A timely, accessible, and beautifully written story exploring themes of food, friendship, family and what it means to belong, featuring sixth graders Sara, a Pakistani American, and Elizabeth, a white, Jewish girl taking a South Asian cooking class taught by Sara’s mom.

Sixth graders Sara and Elizabeth could not be more different. Sara is at a new school that is completely unlike the small Islamic school she used to attend. Elizabeth has her own problems: her British mum has been struggling with depression. The girls meet in an after-school South Asian cooking class, which Elizabeth takes because her mom has stopped cooking, and which Sara, who hates to cook, is forced to attend because her mother is the teacher. The girls form a shaky alliance that gradually deepens, and they make plans to create the most amazing, mouth-watering cross-cultural dish together and win a spot on a local food show. They make good cooking partners…but can they learn to trust each other enough to become true friends?




Publication Date August 11th 2020 by Penguin Workshop
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Driftwood Harbor may seem like an ordinarily boring, small New England town, but there’s something extremely strange and downright creepy happening within town limits.

Twins Beacon and Everleigh McCullough are moving from their home in sunny LA to Driftwood Harbor, a rainy fishing village in New England. If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s something strange about this town and the mysterious group of too-perfect students called The Gold Stars. After Everleigh is recruited into their ranks, Beacon must uncover Driftwood Harbor’s frightening secret before he loses his sister forever.

This Town Is Not All Right is the middle-grade horror debut from M.K. Krys (YA author Michelle Krys). Be prepared for a thrilling page-turner with a major mystery because the residents of Driftwood Harbor will do whatever it takes to keep their dark secrets from rising to the surface.




Publication Date August 11th 2020 by Quill Tree Books
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

From the critically acclaimed author of the ALA Notable and Charlotte Huck Honor Book Forever, or A Long, Long Time comes a poignant coming-of-age novel about the complicated parts of growing up, finding your voice, and claiming your space. Perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead, Laurel Snyder, or Ali Benjamin!

Lydia hasn’t felt comfortable in her own skin since the boys at her school started commenting on the way she looks in her uniform. Her cousin and friends think she should be flattered, but the boys — and sometimes her mom’s boyfriend, Jeremy — make Lydia uncomfortable and confused. Even more confusing is when Jeremy hovers too close and hugs a little too long.

Then her mom surprises her by buying a dilapidated house in their neighborhood. Lydia hopes to find a little bit of magic in their new home. But just like the adults in her life, and God, and her friends, the magic Lydia deeply believes in eventually loses its power to keep her safe.

And as seventh grade begins, Lydia wonders: Is there a secret to figuring out how to be a girl in the world?


Publication Date August 18th 2020 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

A feisty girl from a family of ranchers lands a job as a daredevil stunt girl in the early days of silent film in this adventurous and funny cross between Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken and Ramona.

Pearl lives on a ranch where her chores include collecting eggs and feeding ornery ostriches. She has three older brothers, who don’t coddle her at all. And she knows a thing or two about horses, too.

One day, Pearl’s brothers get cushy jobs doing stunts for this new form of entertainment called “moving pictures.” They’re the Daredevil Donnelly Brothers, a Death-Defying Cowboy Trio. Before she knows it, Pearl has stumbled into being a stunt girl herself – and dreams of becoming a star. The only problem is, her mother has no idea what she’s up to. And let’s just say she wouldn’t be too happy to find out that Pearl’s been jumping out of burning buildings in her spare time.

Filled with action, humor, and heart – not to mention those pesky ostriches – The Nerviest Girl In The World introduces a spunky heroine whose adventures will have kids on the edge of their seats and whose sense of humor will have them laughing until the very last line.




Publication Date August 18th 2020 by Amulet Books
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Something strange is happening on Goodie Lane…

Thirteen-year-old Quinn Parker knows that there’s something off about her neighbors. She calls them “the Oldies” because they’ve lived on Goodie Lane for as long as anyone can remember, but they never seem to age. Are they vampires? Or aliens? Or getting secret experimental surgeries? Or is Quinn’s imagination just running wild again?

If her dad were still around, he’d believe her. When he was alive, they’d come up with all sorts of theories about the Oldies. Now, Quinn’s determined to keep the investigation going with the help of Mike, her neighbor and maybe-crush. They’ll have to search for clues and follow the mystery wherever it leads — even if it’s to the eerie pond at the end of the street that’s said to have its own sinister secrets. But the Oldies are on to them. And the closer Quinn and Mike get to uncovering the answers, the more they realize just how terrifying the truth may be.




Publication Date September 1st 2020 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Stranger Things meets The X-Files in this eerie, heart-pounding middle grade adventure about a young boy and girl who must protect their small town from otherworldly forces threatening to destroy it.

Rae’s father vanished without a trace — and Rae knows what happened to him. But no one believes her when she says that her father didn’t run off, that he was actually taken. Now, a year of therapy later, Rae’s mother decides they need a fresh start, and so they move to a new town in the hope that life can return to normal.

The problem is, there is nothing normal about the town of Whispering Pines.

No one knows this better than Caden. He’s lived in Whispering Pines his entire life, and he’s seen more than his fair share of weird — starting with his own family, as the town is the perfect home base for his mother’s ghost hunting business.

When several kids go missing and then show up like zombies with their eyes removed, many locals brush it off. Just another day in Whispering Pines. But Caden has a dark secret, one that may explain why someone is stealing eyes. And Rae, who knows how it feels to not be believed, may be just the person Caden needs to help him put things right.




Publication Date September 1st 2020 by Sourcebooks Young Readers
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

For fans of Small Spaces comes a chilling ghost story about a malevolent spirit, an unlucky girl, and a haunting mystery that will tie the two together.

Claire has absolutely no interest in the paranormal. She’s a scientist, which is why she can’t think of anything worse than having to help out her dad on one of his ghost-themed Chicago bus tours. She thinks she’s made it through when she sees a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the bus. There’s something off about his presence, especially because when she checks at the end of the tour…he’s gone.

Claire tries to brush it off, she must be imagining things, letting her dad’s ghost stories get the best of her. But then the scratching starts. Voices whisper to her in the dark. The number 396 appears everywhere she turns. And the boy with the dark eyes starts following her.

Claire is being haunted. The boy from the bus wants something…and Claire needs to find out what before it’s too late.




Publication Date September 1st 2020 by Philomel Books
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

A dream world turns haunting nightmare in this spellbinding debut novel, perfect for fans of Circus Mirandus and The Night Gardener.

After Andrea’s brother, Francis, disappeared, everything changed. Her world turned upside down, and there was nothing she could do to right it. So when she discovers a magical dream world called Reverie in the woods near her home, Andrea jumps at the chance to escape her pain and go inside. But the cost of admission is high: Andrea must give up a memory in order to enter. And she knows exactly which memory she’d like to give up.

Once inside, Andrea discovers tent after tent of dreams come alive; she can fly on a gust of wind, brave swashbuckling pirates and search for buried treasure, reach for – and wish on – a tangible star, and much, much more. But Andrea soon realizes that not all of Reverie’s dreams are meant to delight, and the Sandman behind the circus tents seems to have plans of his own. When Andrea finds a tent in which her brother’s darkest nightmare has been brought to life, she realizes the dark truth: Reverie is not an escape; it’s a trap.

Will Andrea and her new friend Penny have what it takes to find Francis, figure out what’s really going on in Reverie, and break free from this nightmarish dream world?

A wonderfully inventive, deliciously creepy debut novel that is sure to linger in readers’ minds long after the last thrilling page has been turned.




Publication Date September 1st 2020 by Holiday House
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Murderous ghosts and buried family secrets threaten young Eleanor and Alice Roosevelt in this thrilling middle-grade novel that puts a supernatural spin on alternate history.

It’s 1898 in New York City and ghosts exist among humans.

When an unusual spirit takes up residence at the Roosevelt house, thirteen-year-old Eleanor and fourteen-year-old Alice are suspicious. The cousins don’t get along, but they know something is not right. This ghost is more than a pesky nuisance. The authorities claim he’s safe to be around, even as his mischievous behavior grows stranger and more menacing. It’s almost like he wants to scare the Roosevelts out of their home – and no one seems to care!

Meanwhile, Eleanor and Alice discover a dangerous ghost in the house where Alice was born and her mother died. Is someone else haunting the family?

Introverted Eleanor and unruly Alice develop an unlikely friendship as they explore the family’s dark, complicated history. It’s up to them to destroy both ghosts and come to terms with their family’s losses.

Told from alternating perspectives, thrills and chills abound in Dianne K. Salerni’s imaginative novel about a legendary family and the ghosts that haunt their secrets.




Publication Date September 1st 2020 by Albert Whitman & Company
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

When eleven-year-old Jayla finds out that her mother used to be a Double Dutch champion, she’s stunned. Her mom, who’s on doctor’s orders to lower her blood pressure, could move like that?!? Jayla decides to follow in her mom’s footsteps, thinking that maybe double Dutch can make her stand out in her big, quirky family. As she puts together a team at school and prepares to compete, Jayla finds that Double Dutch is about a lot more than jumping rope ― and it just might change her life in ways she never imagined. Full of hilarious family dynamics and plenty of jump rope action, Jayla Jumps In follows one girl’s quest to get her mom healthy and find her place in her community.




Publication Date September 1st 2020 by Groundwood Books
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Buying and moving into the run-down Jewel Motor Inn in upstate New York wasn’t eleven-year-old Miriam Brockman’s dream, but at least it’s an adventure. Miriam befriends Kate, whose grandmother owns the diner next door, and finds comfort in the company of Maria, the motel’s housekeeper, and her Uncle Mordy, who comes to help out for the summer. She spends her free time helping Kate’s grandmother make her famous grape pies and begins to face her fears by taking swimming lessons in the motel’s pool.

But when it becomes clear that only a miracle is going to save the Jewel from bankruptcy, Jewish Miriam and Catholic Kate decide to create their own. Otherwise, the No Vacancy sign will come down for good, and Miriam will lose the life she’s worked so hard to build.


Publication Date September 8th 2020 by Levine Querido
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

My gym shorts burrow into my butt crack like a frightened groundhog.

Don’t you want to read a book that starts like that?

Lupe Wong is going to be the first female pitcher in the Major Leagues.

She’s also championed causes her whole young life. Some worthy…like expanding the options for race on school tests beyond just a few bubbles. And some not so much…like complaining to the BBC about the length between Doctor Who seasons.

Lupe needs an A in all her classes in order to meet her favorite pitcher, Fu Li Hernandez, who’s Chinacan/Mexinese just like her. So when the horror that is square dancing rears its head in gym? Obviously she’s not gonna let that slide.

Not since Millicent Min, Girl Genius has a debut novel introduced a character so memorably, with such humor and emotional insight. Even square dancing fans will agree…




Publication Date September 8th 2020 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

In this pitch-perfect middle grade adventure, twelve-year-old Dagmar must endure a summer living off-the-grid with her family in a tiny home.

The last thing twelve-year-old Dagmar wants is to spend her summer vacation squished into a tiny house with her dad, her stepmom, and her annoying five-year-old half brother. But after a sudden financial setback, her family is evicted from their Oakland apartment, and that’s just where they end up, parked among the towering redwoods of Northern California.

As Dagmar explores the forest around their new and (hopefully) temporary home, she discovers they are living next door to an eccentric tech billionaire and his very unusual extended family. There’s his brother, a woodsman who sets dangerous booby traps all over the place, and his sister, a New Age animal lover who meditates to whale songs in an isolation tank. And then there’s the billionaire’s son, Blake, who has everything he could ever wish for – except maybe a friend.

But when a wildfire engulfs the forest, everyone – rich and poor, kid and adult – will have to work together to escape. And with both families at risk of losing everything, it turns out it’s not the size of the home but the people you share it with that matters.


Publication Date September 15th 2020 by Scholastic Press
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

One of our most iconic childhood games receives a creepy twist as it becomes the gateway to a nightmare world.

I went up the hill, the hill was muddy, stomped my toe and made it bloody, should I wash it?

Justin knows that something is wrong with his best friend.Zee went missing for a year. And when he came back, he was…different. Nobody knows what happened to him. At Zee’s welcome home party, Justin and the neighborhood crew play Hide and Seek. But it goes wrong. Very wrong.

One by one, everyone who plays the game disappears, pulled into a world of nightmares come to life. Justin and his friends realize this horrible place is where Zee had been trapped. All they can do now is hide from the Seeker.




Publication Date September 15th 2020 by Random House Graphic
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Lora wants to stay a kid forever, and she’ll do anything to make that happen…including befriending Alexa, the ghost who haunts her house. A middle-grade graphic novel about growing up that’s perfect for fans of Ghosts and Making Friends.

Growing up sounds terrible.

No one has time to do anything fun, or play outside, or use their imagination. Everything is suddenly so serious. People are more interested in their looks and what others think about them than having fun adventures. Who wants that?

Not Lora.

After watching her circle of friends seemingly fade away, Lora is determined to still have fun on her own. A tea party with a twist leaves Lora to re-discovering Alexa, the ghost that haunts her house – and Lora’s old imaginary friend! Lora and Alexa are thrilled to meet kindred spirits and they become best friends…but unfortunately, not everything can last forever.

Reimena Yee brings to life a story about growing up, childhood, and what it means to let go. A fantastical story following lovable characters as they each realize what it means to be who you are.




Publication Date September 15th 2020 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

For fans of deeply poignant middle grade about friendship and loss like The Thing About Jellyfish, comes the story about a young girl who can’t remember anything from her previous summer after a hurricane.

Twelve-year-old Clara lives on an island that visitors call exotic. But there’s nothing exotic about it to Clara. She loves eating ripe mangos off the ground, running outside in the rain with her Papa during rainy season, and going to her secret hideout with Gaynah — even though lately she’s not acting like a best friend.

The only thing out of the ordinary for Clara is that something happened to her memory that made her forget everything that happened last summer after a hurricane hit. Sometimes things come back to her in drips like a tap that hasn’t been turned off properly. Other times her Mama fills in the blanks…only she knows those aren’t her memories and it is hard feeling like she is not like everybody else.

But this summer is going to be different for Clara. Everyone is buzzing with excitement over a new girl in the village who is not like other visitors. She is about to make big waves on the island — and give Clara a summer she won’t forget.




Publication Date September 15th 2020 by Candlewick
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

A riveting middle-grade fantasy about sibling bonds, enchanted houses, and encroaching wildness, lyrically told in eerily beautiful prose.

The grass grew taller than the house itself, surrounding it on all sides. It stuffed the keyholes and scraped against the roof. It shook the walls and made paintings shiver.

Seven years ago, the Ballastian sisters’ parents left them in the magical Straygarden Place, a house surrounded by tall silver grass and floating trees. They left behind a warning saying never to leave the house or go into the grass. “Wait for us,” the note read. “Sleep darkly.” Ever since then, the house itself has taken care of Winnow, Mayhap, and Pavonine — feeding them, clothing them, even keeping them company — while the girls have waited and grown up and played a guessing game: Think of an animal, think of a place. Think of a person, think of a face. Until one day, when the eldest, fourteen-year-old Winnow, does the unthinkable and goes outside into the grass, and everything twelve-year-old Mayhap thought she knew about her home, her family, and even herself starts to unravel.

With luscious, vivid prose, poet and author Hayley Chewins transports readers to a house where beloved little dogs crawl into their owners’ minds to sleep, sick girls turn silver, and anything can be stolen — even laughter and silence.


Publication Date September 22nd 2020 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Stranger Things meets The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl in this lightly spooky debut about Maggie, an aspiring young naturalist, and her YouTuber best friend, Nate, who use their smarts and science to solve the mystery behind a mutant fungus that’s threatening the town.

Ever since Magnolia Stone’s scientist dad left Shady Pines to find a new job, Maggie’s been stuck in her gramma’s mobile home with her grumpy older brother, Ezra. Now she’s on a mission to put her family back together by winning the Vitaccino Junior Naturalist Merit Award.

When Maggie and her best friend, Nate, a wannabe YouTube star and alien conspiracy theorist, scout out a rare bioluminescent fungus, Maggie is certain she’s a shoo-in to win. But after animals around town start sprouting unusual growths and Ezra develops a bluish glow and hacking cough, Maggie wonders what they’ve really stumbled onto.

As things in Shady Pines become stranger and more dangerous, and conversations with her dad get complicated, Maggie must use her scientific smarts and Nate’s impressive knowledge of all things spooky to put things back in order and prevent these peculiar glowing mushrooms from taking over their home.


Publication Date September 29th 2020 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Nancy Drew meets Harriet the Spy in this action-packed and heartfelt debut middle grade following an overzealous amateur sleuth as she investigates a shocking family secret — and unravels the mystery of her developing feelings for girls.

Rule One: Your loyalty is to the case.

Amateur detective Pepper Blouse has always held true to this rule, even if it meant pushing people away. But when the results of Pepper’s latest case cost her any hope of the girl she likes returning her feelings, she decides that maybe she should lay low for a while.

That is, until her Great Aunt Florence passes away under mysterious circumstances. And even though her dad insists there’s nothing to investigate, Pepper can’t just ignore rule fourteen: Trust your gut.

But there’s nothing in the rulebook that could’ve prepared her for the family secrets her investigation uncovers.

Maybe it’s time to stop playing by the rules.




Publication Date October 1st 2020 by Sourcebooks Young Readers
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

From the author of The Disaster Days comes a thrilling survival story about two former best friends who must work together to stay alive after getting lost in a remote national forest.

Jocelyn and Alex have always been best friends…until they aren’t. Jocelyn’s not sure what happened, but she hopes the annual joint-family vacation in the isolated north woods will be the perfect spot to rekindle their friendship.

But Alex still isn’t herself when they get to the cabin. And Jocelyn reaches a breaking point during a rafting trip that goes horribly wrong. When the girls’ tube tears it leaves them stranded and alone. And before they know it, the two are hopelessly lost.

Wearing swimsuits and water shoes and with only the contents of their wet backpack, the girls face threats from the elements. And as they spend days and nights lost in the wilderness, they’ll have to overcome their fractured friendship to make it out of the woods alive.




Publication Date October 1st 2020 by Kar-Ben Publishing
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Noah is a would-be filmmaker who has trouble making friends and understanding people. In Noah Green Saves the World, by Laura Toffler-Corrie, Noah thinks that this summer, the best place for him is the David Lynch Film Camp, to work on his film “opus,” and not his parents’ choice, Camp Challah, to work on his bar mitzvah project. But before camp starts, Noah’s grandfather, “Pops” takes him aside, along with Simon, a new arrival but not quite friend, and tells them both “It’s up to you to save the world!” Is Pops just confused, or is he onto something? When a pigeon flies into camp carrying mysterious messages, Noah and Simon wonder if maybe they do really have to save the world. With help from his new friends, Josh, Tyler, environmentalist and upcoming singer-songwriter Mia, and even his popular sister Lily, Noah finds that he can make films, make friends, do his bar mitzvah project, and maybe even save the world after all.


Publication Date October 6th 2020 by Feiwel & Friends
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Jake Burt’s Cleo Porter and the Body Electric presents a future forever changed by a pandemic, where a girl survives in total isolation.

A woman is dying. Cleo Porter has her medicine. And no way to deliver it.

Like everyone else, twelve-year-old Cleo and her parents are sealed in an apartment without windows or doors. They never leave. They never get visitors. Their food is dropped off by drones. So they’re safe. Safe from the disease that nearly wiped humans from the earth. Safe from everything. The trade-off?

They’re alone. Thus, when they receive a package clearly meant for someone else – a package containing a substance critical for a stranger’s survival – Cleo is stuck. As a surgeon-in-training, she knows the clock is ticking. But people don’t leave their units.

Not ever. Until now.




Publication Date October 6th 2020 by Algonquin Young Readers
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Introducing Myrtle Hardcastle, your favorite new amateur detective: a wickedly smart twelve-year-old with a keen interest in criminology and a nose for murder.

Twelve-year-old Myrtle Hardcastle has a passion for justice and a Highly Unconventional obsession with criminal science. Armed with her father’s law books and her mum’s microscope, Myrtle studies toxicology, keeps abreast of the latest developments in crime scene analysis, and Observes her neighbors in the quiet village of Swinburne, England.

When her next-door neighbor, a wealthy spinster and eccentric breeder of rare flowers, dies under Mysterious Circumstances, Myrtle seizes her chance. With her unflappable governess, Miss Ada Judson, by her side, Myrtle takes it upon herself to prove Miss Wodehouse was murdered and find the killer, even if nobody else believes her — not even her father, the town prosecutor.

With sparkling wit and a tight, twisty plot, Premeditated Myrtle, the first in a series from an award-winning author, introduces a brilliant young investigator ready to take on hard cases and maddening Victorian rules for Young Ladies of Quality in order to earn her place among the most daring and acclaimed amateur detectives of her time or any other.




Publication Date October 6th 2020 by Levine Querido
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Best friends Matt and Eric are hatching a plan for one big final adventure together before Eric moves away: during the marching band competition at a Giant Amusement Park, they will sneak away to a nearby comics convention and meet their idol-a famous comic creator. Without cell phones. Or transportation. Or permission. Of course, their final adventure together is more than just that – really, it’s a way for the boys to celebrate their friendship, and their honest love and support for one another.

That’s exactly what we love so much about The Boys In The Back Row: it’s an unabashed ode to male friendship, because love between boys, platonic or otherwise, is something to celebrate. And of course, because this is Mike Jung, we’ll be celebrating it with hilariously flawed hijinks and geekiness galore!




Publication Date October 6th 2020 by Quill Tree Books
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Set against the backdrop of Karachi, Pakistan, Saadia Faruqi’s tender and honest middle grade novel tells the story of two girls navigating a summer of change and family upheaval with kind hearts, big dreams, and all the right questions.

Mimi is not thrilled to be spending her summer in Karachi, Pakistan, with grandparents she’s never met. Secretly, she wishes to find her long-absent father, and plans to write to him in her beautiful new journal.

The cook’s daughter, Sakina, still hasn’t told her parents that she’ll be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test score — but then, how could her family possibly afford to lose the money she earns working with her Abba in a rich family’s kitchen?

Although the girls seem totally incompatible at first, as the summer goes on, Sakina and Mimi realize that they have plenty in common — and that they each need the other to get what they want most.

This relatable and empathetic story about two friends coming to understand each other will resonate with readers who loved Other Words For Home and Front Desk.


Publication Date October 13th 2020 by Greenwillow Books
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

A suspenseful tale of witches, family, and magic from internationally bestselling author Stefan Bachmann. When a twelve-year-old orphan unexpectedly becomes the mistress of a seemingly abandoned castle, she is thrust into a mysterious plot involving murderous spells, false identity, and a magical battle of wills between the living and the dead. Readers of Kate Milford’s Greenglass House, Victoria Schwab’s City of Ghosts, and Diana Wynne Jones will be riveted.

Twelve-year-old Zita, an orphan and a housemaid, has resigned herself to a life of drudgery when a strange letter arrives, naming her the only living heir to the Brydgeborn fortune. Now the mistress of the castle, Zita soon realizes foul play led to the death of her family. And as she is guided through lessons in the art of witchcraft by the somewhat mysterious Mrs. Cantanker, Zita begins to wonder who is friend and who is foe.

Unforgettable and utterly enchanting, this stand-alone tale about family, belonging, and friendship will bewitch readers of Tahereh Mafi’s Whichwood, Katherine Arden’s Small Spaces, and Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle. Cinders & Sparrows is a magical page-turner by the author of The Peculiar, the acclaimed international bestseller.




Publication Date October 13th 2020 by Holiday House
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Twelve-year-old Adam is whisked away from his imperfect but quiet life with the arrival of a stranger and a magical promise in this time travel mystery.

It’s 1999 and Adam doesn’t mind living at his uncle’s bakery, the Biscuit Basket, on the Lower East Side in New York City. The warm, delicious smells of freshly baked breads and chocolate croissants make every day feel cozy, even if Adam doesn’t have many friends and misses his long dead parents very much.

When a mysterious but cheerful customer shows Adam a snow globe and says that adventures await him, it’s too strange to be true. But days later, an unbelievable, incredible thing happens. Adam finds a similar looking snow globe and immediately travels back in time, first to Times Square in 1935, then a candle factory fire in 1967.

But how are these moments related? What do they have to do with his parents’ death? And why is a tall man with long eyebrows and a thin mustache following Adam’s every move?

In her debut novel G. Z. Schmidt has crafted a world filled with serendipity, mystery, and adventure for readers of Roald Dahl and Lemony Snicket.


Publication Date October 20th 2020 by Scholastic Press
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

In this edge-of-your-seat survival story, four classmates are stranded in a desert wilderness after a flash flood separates them from the rest of their grade. Can they make it to safety?

Lavender’s class is on a field trip in the desert of Chiricahua National Park, hiking down a ravine, when a flash flood strikes!

As the water hurtles down the ravine, everyone sprints for safety. Lavender runs in the opposite direction as the rest of her class and scrambles up a tree while the torrential river rages by.

When the waters finally recede, Lavender finds herself stranded in the brutal heat of the desert with only her ex-best friend Marisol, mean-girl Rachelle, and a boy named John. They are shaken, disoriented, and have just one pack of supplies and the most basic wilderness knowledge. Can they find their way back to safety? They will have to learn to work together in spite of their differences – if they want to survive.


Publication Date October 27th 2020 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

A young girl learns how to cope with her noise sensitivity and step outside of her comfort zone in this heartwarming middle grade novel that’s perfect for fans of If This Were A Story and El Deafo.

Ten-year-old Amelia does not like noise. From subway brakes to squeaky sneakers, she is sensitive to sound, just like her dad. Amelia has always worn noise-canceling headphones, but now that she’s going into fifth grade, her parents want her to stop wearing them. To make matters worse, she must learn to play an instrument! Or, as Amelia sees it, make noise on purpose.

To help Amelia cope, her father gives her a pair of earmuffs to wear instead. Even with her new earmuffs, Amelia struggles at school…until she gets partnered with Madge in music class. Madge is loud and bold and goofy — everything Amelia is not. And so Amelia is surprised when Madge wants to be friends.

Still, it’s not long though before Amelia’s quiet nature clashes with Madge’s loud personality. And when Madge disappears after an argument, Amelia fears Madge might be in trouble. If she’s going to help her friend, she will have to find a way to let in the noisy world she’s muffled for so long.




Publication Date November 3rd 2020 by Katherine Tegen Books
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Award-winning author Tanita S. Davis delivers a heartwarming and humorous middle grade tale about a young Black girl who finds her own voice through vlogging and learns to speak out. Perfect for fans for Sharon M. Draper and Lisa Greenwald.

JC shines like a 4th of July sparkler. She has the best ideas, the biggest, funniest laugh, and the party starts when she arrives. Serena St. John is proud to be known as her best friend.

Everything changes when JC returns from the hospital with a new kidney — and a new best friend. Out of the spotlight of JC’s friendship, suddenly things aren’t quite so sparkly in Serena’s world.

Lonely Serena works on perfecting her vlogs, hoping to earn a shot at becoming a classroom reporter. If she can be smart and funny on video, why can’t she manage that in real life? If only she could always pause, edit, or delete conversations. It would be so much easier to say the right thing at the right time…instead of not saying what she should, or, even worse, blurting out a secret that wasn’t hers to share.

Life doesn’t have a pause button — but as Serena discovers her voice through vlogging, she learns that she’s not just there to reflect JC’s light — she’s fully capable of shining on her own.




Publication Date December 1st 2020 by HMH Books for Young Readers
GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

In this standalone companion to The Van Gogh Deception, Art and Camille team up once again to solve a large museum theft, using one of the biggest heists in history to help them solve the case. Perfect for fans of Dan Brown and the Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and Book Scavenger series.

Something’s brewing at the National Portrait Gallery Museum in Washington, D.C. twelve-year-old Art is sure of it. But his only proof that a grand heist is about to take place is iced mocha, forty-two steps, and a mysterious woman who appears like clockwork in the museum.

When Art convinces his best friend, Camille, that the heist is real, the two begin a thrilling chase through D.C. to uncover a villainous scheme that could be the biggest heist since the Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum theft in 1990. With a billion dollars’ worth of paintings on the line, the clock is ticking for Art and Camille to solve the conspiracy.

3 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Jen is a thirty-something Canadian book blogger and bibliophile currently residing in the wilds of suburbia. Aside from a penchant for older men, particularly those with the surnames Firth, Elba and Norton, Jen is also passionately interested in running, Mad Men, and Marilyn Monroe. In addition to being a voracious reader and self-proclaimed television addict, Jen is also an aspiring children and youth services librarian who would like to pursue a MLIS and better help readers find the perfect book for them.

Categories