The Showdown by Jessica Burkhart (July 25th)
This is the second book in the Saddlehill Academy series
Now that Abby knows which of her so-called friends is the one behind the video of her talking “trash” on Emery, she’d love to do something with that information—if only her blackmailer didn’t know Abby’s one real secret, the one she can’t risk getting out. So, Abby’s stuck. And, to make matters worse, she’s so rattled by the drama that it’s affecting her performance on Beau. Abby wants to be as great a rider as Sasha Silver, but how can she do that when she’s making rookie mistakes?
When tensions come to a head, Abby’s score at the shows isn’t the only thing in jeopardy—so is her place on the team.
Gallowgate by K.R. Alexander (August 1st)
Sebastian Wight is cursed. As a boy with the forbidden ability to traverse the lands of the dead, he must not only harness his newfound powers to fight the monster that stalks him, but also to navigate a creepy world of hunting ghosts and ghouls with his eccentric classmates.
And that’s only the start of his concerns.
There’s also the tangled on a boy who barely looks at him twice… and the deadly family history that brought him to the halls of Gallowgate Academy in the first place.
For Sebastian Wight, fighting the dead might be hard… but it’s dealing with the living that may bring him down.
The Year My Life Went Down the Toilet by Jake Maia Arlow (August 1st)
Twelve-year-old Al Schneider is too scared to talk about the two biggest things in her life:
1. Her stomach hurts all the time and she has no idea why.
2. She’s almost definitely 100% sure she likes girls.
So she holds it in…until she can’t. After nearly having an accident of the lavatorial variety in gym class, Al finds herself getting a colonoscopy and an answer—she has Crohn’s disease.
But rather than solving all her problems, Al’s diagnosis just makes everything worse. It’s scary and embarrassing. And worst of all, everyone wants her to talk about it—her overprotective mom, her best friend, and most annoyingly her gastroenterologist, who keeps trying to get her to go to a support group for kids with similar chronic illnesses. But, who wants to talk about what you do in the bathroom?
The Nameless Witch by Natalie C. Parker (August 8th)
If you give your witch your name…
…she’ll steal your magic and grind your bones…
After defeating the Devouring Wolf, Riley and her friends hoped they could leave scary legends behind and focus on being the best werewolves they can be. Nicknamed the Winter Pack because of when they turned, they’ve got a unique bond thanks to how different they are as a prime, and some of the other pups think they get special treatment. It’s all Riley and her friends can do to practice their magic skills, get all their homework done, and not let the other young wolves pick fights.
Suddenly their bond leads them to a new threat—a young witch on the run. She isn’t just any runaway, though. She’s the next in line to become the magic-hungry Nameless Witch and even being in her presence is dangerous for werewolves. They say the Nameless Witch can take anything she wants from you if she knows your name.
But this runaway doesn’t want to be Nameless, she wants to choose for herself. The Winter Pack understands better than other wolves what that feels like, and they pledge to help her. Too bad the terrible power of the Nameless Witch has already marked the runaway, and Riley and her pack have no time before their new friend will turn, steal their magic and bones, and possibly even destroy all of Clawroot…
The Mossheart’s Promise by Rebecca Mix (September 5th)
The mold takes all.
Twelve-year-old fairy Canary Mossheart knows this better than most. A few years ago, the mold took her papa, and even her famous, former-chosen-one Gran never found a cure. So when Ary’s beloved mama falls ill, Ary decides it’s taken enough. Armed with only a bucket and a prayer, she sneaks out to find a magical, underground lake whose healing waters are straight out of Gran’s adventures.
But when Ary gets there, the lake’s bone dry, and instead of healing waters, she finds a terrifying secret: Her entire world is actually trapped inside a giant terrarium—one they were meant to leave centuries ago. Worse, Gran knew and hid the truth, dooming Ary and her generation to a dying, rotting world.
Now, allied with only her doomsday-obsessed frenemy, a timid pill bug, and a particularly grumpy newt, Ary has one week to unravel the clues and find a way out of the terrarium—or they’ll be trapped for good.
Deephaven by Ethan M. Aldridge (September 5th)
When Guinevere “Nev” Tallow receives an acceptance letter to the exclusive Deephaven Academy, they know it’s the fresh start that they’ve been looking for.
But things are strange from the moment they arrive—the house itself seems to breathe, students whisper secrets in dark corridors, and the entire east wing of the academy is locked away for reasons no one wants to explain. And Nev knows something ragged stalks the shadowy corridors, something that sobs quietly and scratches at the walls, waiting to be released.
With the help of another first-year student, Nev takes it upon themselves to unravel the mysteries hidden in Deephaven’s halls. But will they risk their fresh start to bring the academy’s secret to light?
The Otherwoods by Justine Pucella Winans (September 12th)
The Otherwoods is calling. And it won’t be ignored.
Some would call River Rydell a ‘chosen one’: born with the ability to see monsters and travel to a terrifying spirit world called The Otherwoods, they have all the makings of a hero. But River just calls themself unlucky. After all, it’s not like anyone actually believes River can see these things-or that anyone even believes monsters exist in the first place. So the way River sees it, it’s better to keep their head down and ignore anything Otherwoods related.
But The Otherwoods won’t be ignored any longer.
When River’s only friend (and crush) Avery is kidnapped and dragged into The Otherwoods by monsters, River has no choice but to confront the world they’ve seen only in their nightmares-but reality turns out be more horrifying than they could have ever imagined. With only their cat for protection and a wayward teen spirit as their guide, River must face the monsters of The Otherwoods and their own fears to save Avery and become the hero they were (unfortunately) destined to be.
The Lonely Book by Meg Grehan (September 12th)
Every morning, when Annie’s moms open up their bookshop, there’s a pile of books on the counter, waiting for the right reader to come and find them.
But one day, there’s a book nobody comes for. Nobody ever comes, and each day the book gets lonelier, and the bookshop becomes an unhappy place. Who can the book be for, and why don’t they come?
Eventually, the book finds the reader who needs it: Annie’s sister, Charlotte. Charlotte asks the family to call her Charlie now, and to use ‘they/them’ pronouns.
The bookshop cheers up. Customers start buying books again.
The Problem with Gravity by Michelle Mohrweis (September 26th)
Autistic seventh-grader Maggie Weir loves spacecraft, but aerospace engineering isn’t the only thing that gives her butterflies: she’s got a secret crush on an eighth grader—the amazing, baton-twirling Tatum Jones. And they’ve just teamed up for an engineering contest! It might be the perfect chance for Maggie to tell Tatum how she feels, except . . .
Tatum is focused on outshining her genius twin brother, and Maggie’s forgetfulness isn’t making a great impression. Still, there’s something about the quirky girl with a messy backpack that sets Tatum’s heart aflutter. But before they can finish designing a low-gravity cabinet, Maggie reveals that her dad wants to move to Houston.
Now, Maggie must choose: Does she follow her dad and her dreams of NASA? Or does she stay with her mom to be near Tatum? If the stars are meant to align between these two, they’ll both have to fully realize their feelings for each other before Maggie leaves forever.
Alex Wise vs. the End of the World by Terry J. Benton-Walker (September 26th)
Alex Wise feels like his world is ending. His best friend, Loren, is leaving town for the summer, his former friend and maybe sort of crush Sky hasn’t spoken to him since he ditched Alex on first day of sixth grade, and now his mom is sending him and his annoying younger sister, Mags, on a cruise with the dad who abandoned them. And, as if things couldn’t get worse, a creepy shadow monster may or may not be stalking him.
But none of this could prepare Alex for the actual end of the world. Too bad that is exactly what’s coming, after the definitely-real Shadow Man kidnaps Mags and she is possessed by the ancient spirit of Death—one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Luckily (depending on who you ask), Alex is possessed as well by a powerful god who imbues Alex with their powers in an effort to stop the Horsemen…if he can figure out how to use them. So begins an epic battle between good and evil: Alex, Loren, a grumpy demi-god, and Alex’s fourth grade teacher vs. Death, Pestilence, Famine, War, and the waves of chaos and destruction they bring to LA and soon the rest of the globe. Just your average summer vacation.
Alex is more used to being left behind than leading the way, but now he’s the only one who can save his sister—and the world. That is, if he can unlock his new powers and and see himself as the hero he is.
Eli Over Easy by Phil Stamper (October 3rd)
The last few months have been pretty tough for Eli. He moved to New York City and left his small town in Minnesota with his extended family and everyone he knows. He hasn’t made any new friends. And his mom died unexpectedly, shattering his whole world. He misses Mom more and more every day, but Dad refuses to talk about her, leaving Eli alone in his grief.
Then Eli finds a stash of instructional cooking videos his mom made, revealing her dream of being a celebrity chef. With the help of the cute new neighbor boy, Mathias, Eli decides to follow his mother’s recipes using her videos. If he can recreate his mom’s special dishes, then maybe a part of her can stay with him forever. But what happens when the videos run out?
Green by Alex Gino (October 3rd)
Middle-grade superstar author Alex Gino returns to the world they began with MELISSA and RICK with GREEN, the story of a non-binary middle-schooler named Green who comes into their own in no small part by fighting for gender-free casting in their school’s production of THE WIZARD OF OZ.
Elle Campbell Wins Their Weekend by Ben Kahn (October 17th)
All Elle Campbell wants to do is meet their hero, non-binary icon Nuri Grena. Well, okay, they’d like a bit more than that — they’d like to learn how to do cat eye makeup, for queen bee Casey to stop critiquing their outfits, and for the finale of Elle’s favorite show to have been less terrible. But meeting Nuri means the most of all.
So when Elle learns that Nuri is coming to town for book signing on Saturday, Elle is thrilled. It’s the perfect chance to meet their hero! Elle’s never been happier since they came out as non-binary, but they have a lot of questions — questions only Nuri can answer.
But Elle’s dreams are dashed when an altercation with a surly substitute teacher lands Elle in Saturday detention. Elle is ready to give up until their two best friends come up with a plan to bust them out of school. A plan so outrageous, it just might work.
Yet that’s just step one. The kids also have to make their way across town with no money, no phones… and no driver’s licenses. But they refuse to give up — even if that means “borrowing” scooters from elementary school loan sharks, or winning a laser tag tournament with a cash prize.
Sir Callie and the Dragon’s Roost by Esme Symes-Smith (November 7th)
This is the sequel to Sir Callie and the Champions of Helston
Thanks to Callie and their friends, Helston seems to be changing for the better: Boys are allowed to explore their magic, and girls are permitted to train as warriors. Callie is an official Helston page, Willow in on track to become king, and Elowen and Edwyn are finally safe and free of their father. Everything is…perfect.
Except it isn’t.
Not in Helston, where every step forward is accompanied by a storm of opposition. Even Queen Ewella and Sir Nick are struggling against the wave of fear and anti-magical sentiment growing daily, while the encroaching threat from across the bridge looms.
Callie isn’t foolish; they notice the suspicious glances thrown Neal’s way and hear the doubtful murmurs following Willow. They know what people think about them, too. Tolerance is not the same as acceptance, and when the fragile peace finally shatters, Callie and their friends have no choice but to leave their home and run.
On the other side of the bridge, old secrets are revealed and new allegiances are formed that will throw into question everything Callie thought they knew about their world. Including what it means to be a hero.
You Owe Me One, Universe by Chad Lucas (November 7th)
This is the sequel to Thanks a Lot, Universe
Brian knows that anxiety and depression aren’t things that are magically fixed overnight, but he still doesn’t understand why it’s all hitting him so hard right now. Sure, his dad is still in prison and middle school is still stressful, but he’s seeing a therapist, he’s got good friends, and he’s doing really well on the basketball team. He should be fine, so why does he feel too tired to get out of bed some days? And why does he turn into “Cursed Monster Brian” and snap whenever someone asks him what’s wrong?
Ezra is trying his best to look out for Brian, but he’s not sure that he’s actually helping. Sure, they’re still best friends, but as Ezra starts preparing for the talent show, he also starts talking with Victor—the kid who relentlessly bullied Brian last year. It seems like Victor’s changed, and whenever he and Ezra hang out and make music together, Ezra’s stomach feels a little bit swoopy. But even if he likes making music and talking with Victor, he still feels like he’s betraying his best friend whenever they hang out. And he worries that he’s falling for another boy who won’t return his feelings . . .
Forsooth by Jimmy Matejek-Morris (November 7th)
Thirteen-year-old Calvin knows he’s destined to be a star. . . if he can just stop making embarrassing mistakes onstage, like getting stuck on a single line―”Forsooth!”―during the school play. The summer after seventh grade, he’s hoping for a fresh start. All he has to do is prove himself as an actor and fix the awkwardness with his friends that started after the play.
But nothing’s going according to plan. His parents don’t get his love of performing. His best friend is moving on without him. And he might have a crush that could change everything.
Surrounded by drama on all sides, Calvin will have to go off script if he’s going to be a real friend and be true to himself.
Buy it: Amazon
Just Lizzie by Karen Wilfrid (November 14th)
There’s the part of me that doesn’t understand kissing or cuteness or attraction, and then there’s the part of me that feels so lonely. How do I make sense of those two parts? Maybe I’ll never make sense of them.
What do you do when there’s a question inside you that feels so big, you don’t know how to put words to it? How do you even begin to ask it?
Fourteen-year-old Lizzie is experiencing a lot of change: her family had to move after the incident with their neighbor, leaving behind not only her beloved apple tree, but what feels like her childhood along with it. Lizzie’s brother is too busy for her in his first semester of college and her friends are more interested in dating than dolls. It’s hard not to feel left behind, especially as she tries to explain the fact that she still has zero interest in boys, girls, or the baffling behavior known as “flirting.”
But just as Lizzie’s world feels like its closing in, a class lesson on asexual reproduction in plants piques her curiosity, leading her to look up whether people can be asexual too—and suddenly, her world opens up. Lizzie finally finds an identity, a word for all her messy, unnamable feelings that feels like it fits, although she quickly realizes that a label isn’t enough if no one believes it’s real.
Accessible, moving, and compassionate, Just Lizzie effortlessly braids a nuanced individual journey of identity with the bittersweet angst of growing up, growing apart, and learning there are many ways to live and love.