disney hyperion

Middle Grade Roundup

I have read some absolutely fantastic middle grade books lately and have been horrible about posting about them. So please enjoy this roundup of middle grade books—they are already available and you can pick them up immediately!

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

Twelve-year-old Ivy loves to draw and most of her pictures are of two girls holding hands in a treehouse—she’s never shared her drawings with anyone. She is terrified after a tornado displaces her family and she loses her notebook of drawings. In the days following the event, she begins to find her own drawings in her locker with notes encouraging her to talk to someone about her sexual identity.

This book is BEAUTIFUL and I’m so happy a middle grade book with this topic exists.

MY RATING:  ✰✰✰✰✰


Thank you Disney Hyperion for sending me these galleys!

FRIENDLY TOWN THAT’S ALMOST ALWAYS BY THE OCEAN! by Kirk Fox, M. Shelley Coates

In this first installment to the Topsea series, we watch new kid Davy get acclimated to his new, exciting, and, well…weird school and town. His new classmates are quirky and charming and they all band together to help Davy discover the secrets of Topsea.

This book is super cute and also told in newspaper clippings and web articles. Think ILLUIMINAE-style storytelling.

MY RATING:  ✰✰✰


CHARLIE & FROG by Karen Kane

Charlie is sent to live with his grandparents for the summer, where he encounters a old woman who gives him a frantic message in sign language before disappearing. Charlie teams up with Francine aka Frog, a local deaf girl, who wants nothing more than to become a real detective.

Yay for disability rep in middle grade books! Also yay for positive friendships!

MY RATING:  ✰✰✰1/2


CAPTAIN SUPERLATIVE by J.S. Puller

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Captain Superlative! Janey is as mesmerized as her classmates when a self-proclaimed superhero shows up at her middle school in a cape. When she reluctantly befriends the avenger, she learns secrets behind the mask and starts to question what it means to be a superhero.

I loved this—such a powerful message about friendship and how we look at our heroes.

MY RATING:  ✰✰✰✰


Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah is known as a bit of a fibber amongst her classmates. She often will make up grandiose stories to fit in with her classmates. When three classmates show up at the Museum of Ancient Indian Art to catch her in a lie, Aru accidentally lets loose an ancient demon, the Sleeper, who is on a mission to wake the God of Destruction. To stop this from happening, Aru must find the reincarnations of the five Pandava brothers and save the world.

As per usz, Chokshi has the most beautiful writing and I cannot wait to read the three remaining books in this series.

MY RATING:  ✰✰✰✰

Thank you Disney Hyperion, Rick Riordan Presents, for my e-galley!


Carnival Magic by Amy Ephron

Siblings Tess and Max return to England for the summer to stay with their Aunt Evie in the magical sounding Devon-by-the-Sea. Tess and Max manage to finagle attending a traveling carnival alone, but promise to meet Aunt Evie in a few hours. While attending the carnival psychic, Tess and Max are transported into a seemingly alternate universe, where they befriend two acrobat siblings. In order to return to life as they know it, they must find their way back through the mysterious House of Mirrors.

I hadn’t read the first book, THE CASTLE IN THE MIST, but still enjoyed this a lot. Such a cute MG fantasy story.

MY RATING:  ✰✰✰

Thank you Philomel books for my galley!

REVIEW: Picture Us in the Light, Kelly Loy Gilbert (April 10, 2018)

PICTURE US IN THE LIGHT, like THUNDERHEAD, is a book I will shoving down everyone’s throats for the rest of the year my life. I was initially drawn in by the beautiful cover and then I was captivated from the first page and finished in my usual fashion: crying uncontrollably into my teddy bear and pillow.

So, #sorrynotsorry for name-dropping this book up the wazoo…because I will not rest until everyone has read this beautiful book and we can all gush together.


The 411: Danny Cheng is a high school senior and talented artist, who has already been accepted to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). But ever since his acceptance, he’s felt uninspired and unable

Danny’s parents are immigrants from China. He also has an older sister who died prematurely. Even though he barely knew her, Danny has always felt an emptiness in his life where she should be. One day Danny unearths a box hidden away in the closet, full of files detailing the whereabouts of a powerful Silicon Valley family, and his parents refuse to explain.

As Danny begins to put the pieces together, he starts reflecting on things from his past that just didn’t add up. Like the time his parents moved them from Texas to California overnight with no warning. Along for the ride is Danny’s best friend, Harry, for whom he harbors a deep, hidden attraction.


First off, 90 percent of the cast of characters are of Asian descent. *insert squee here* Any typical stereotypes of Asians, i.e. Asian parents all want their kids to be doctors, are addressed head on. (And Danny’s parents are more than supportive of his future in art).

If you like getting your heart ripped out by love stories (or just in general), you’re in for a reeeeal treat. Danny’s feelings for Harry definitely aren’t the focus point of this book, but play a large role. Danny’s sexuality is also never specifically labeled, which I love. The word “gay” is never used. Danny is just Danny. And he loves Harry. (#HANNY <—  Yes, I just did that).

With all the current political conversations regarding immigrants to the US, this book feels extremely timely.  For a book that tackles many hard-hitting topics, Gilbert does it with grace. Her writing is lyrical and eloquent and her first novel, CONVICTION, skyrocketed to the top of my TBR.

Now, unfortunately, the “swerve” of this novel that touched me to my core is a spoiler and I won’t mention it more here. But just know my origin story begins the same way and it’s a storyline I’ve read very little about in YA. Once I surmised that the story was going in this direction, I actually had to hold in my gasp because it’s perfect. (Once you read, message me on Goodreads and LET’S TALK).


MY RATING:  ✰✰✰✰✰ (one of my fave books of 2018 so far)
RECOMMENDED FOR: anyone with a heart and/or soul. So everyone.
MAY I ALSO SUGGEST: STARFISH by Akemi Dawn Bowman


Thank you Disney Hyperion for my galley! Picture Us in the Light is available April 10.