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5 Middle Grade Books Publishing in 2023 That I’m Excited About

For me, the biggest hurdle to discovering new middle-grade books I’m interested in reading is just that — discovering them.

Quite simply, there are a lot of books out there, and it can feel exhausting to wade through descriptions, trying to find one that sparks something in you.

But I really like discovering new favorite reads, so I’m using this post as an excuse to push myself into taking the time to really explore what’s out there.

Will this be useful to other people? Maybe.

I tend to be drawn to speculative fiction of all types — sci-fi, fantasy, horror — as well as nerdy stuff in general and certain kinds of adventure and mystery stories. So this list definitely leans in that direction.

Okay. Ready? In no particular order…

Falling Out of Time – Margaret Peterson Haddix

Publishing May 30

I’m not an MPH person. I don’t mean I don’t like her books — somehow I’ve just never read one. (I know, I know.)

Falling Out of Time sounds intriguing, though. A 12-year-old girl living in the “perfect” virtual future of 2193 discovers that the world may not be what she thinks it is.

The only caveat for me: it’s a sequel of sorts to another Haddix book, Running Out of Time. I’m not usually a fan of reading books out of sequence. But that may just mean I have to read both….

Juniper Harvey and the Vanishing Kingdom – Nina Varela

I’m a sucker for books that mix our world with fantasy worlds or elements. Probably leftover from being introduced to The Chronicles of Narnia when I was 5 or 6. How could that not be formative?
Juniper Harvey isn’t a portal book, though. At least not in the traditional sense. Copy for the book describes Juniper dreaming of fantastical things, then drawing a picture of a girl from those dreams and wishing she was there… only to wake up the next day to find that very girl standing in her bedroom and pointing a sword at her.
Fantasy adventure and an adolescent crush ensue, as Juniper tries to help the girl return home while wrestling with romantic feelings for her and attempting to evade supernatural forces from the other world that are hunting them down.

The Destiny of Minou Moonshine – Gita Ralleigh

Publishing July 6

An alternate-history set in a magical India? A journey with friends on a mechanical elephant? A world that feels rich and lush and dreamlike?

For some reason, Minou Moonshine gives me vibes like The Girl Who Drank The Moon, one of my favorite lyrical middle-grade books ever. Sign me up!

Lei and the Fire Goddess – Malia Maunakea

Modern day tween dealing with Hawaiian folktales come to life as she tries to save friends and family? As a fan of pretty much anything in the Rick Riordan Presents line, Lei sounds right up my alley. 

Between Monsters and Marvels – Alysa Wishingrad

Publishing September 12
A world where everyone insists monsters no longer exist. The mysterious death of the main character’s father. A girl named Dare determined to uncover the truth — even if it upends everything she thought she knew about her family and her world.
Between Monsters and Marvels feels like a story of disillusionment/coming of age, where the main character has to face how the world really works and come to terms with it. I may be a bit predisposed to those types of stories….
So there you have it. Totally biased. Totally uncomprehensive. Totally me.
But hopefully some of these books will speak to you, too.

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