Tag Archives: Michelle Mohrweis

Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Middle Grade Fiction: July-December 2022

The Language of Seabirds by Will Taylor (July 19th)

Jeremy is not excited about the prospect of spending the summer with his dad and his uncle in a seaside cabin in Oregon. It’s the first summer after his parents’ divorce, and he hasn’t exactly been seeking alone time with his dad. He doesn’t have a choice, though, so he goes… and on his first day takes a walk on the beach and finds himself intrigued by a boy his age running by. Eventually, he and Runner Boy (Evan) meet — and what starts out as friendship blooms into something neither boy is expecting… and also something both boys have been secretly hoping for.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Devouring Wolf by Natalie C. Parker (August 2nd)

59856872. sy475 Little wolf, little wolf, here I come.

They say that the Devouring Wolf isn’t real, just an old legend, a giant creature who consumes the magic inside young werewolves. The elders tell the tale to scare young pups into obedience. It’s a spooky campfire story for fledging wolves. Or is it?

It’s the eve of the first full moon of summer, and twelve-year-old Riley Callahan is ready. This is the year she will finally turn into a wolf. She has to–no one transforms after twelve.

Nothing can ruin her mood: not her little brother Milo’s teasing, not mama N’s smothering, and not even her other mom C’s absence from their pack’s ceremony. But then the unthinkable happens–something that violates every rule of wolf magic: Riley doesn’t shift.

Along with the four other kids who somehow didn’t transform, Riley is left with questions that even the pack leaders don’t have answers to. And to make matters far worse, it appears something was awoken in the woods that same night. A creature with an insatiable hunger . . . has the Devouring Wolf been awakened?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

City of Speed by Alex London (August 2nd)

This is the second book in the Battle Dragons series.

In the city of Drakopolis, dragons and humans have co-existed for centuries. Dragons burn the city’s garbage, taxi its busy citizens from place to place, and even compete in vicious underground battles for ganglike kins.

But the dragons also compete in legal sports, like the spectacular aerial races that draw in cheering crowds by the tens of thousands.

Abel is at just such a race when he witnesses the unthinkable. A long-shot competitor pulls off an impossible win — then flies into a destructive rage! Someone in the city is experimenting on dragons: hacking their DNA, rebuilding their bodies, and breaking their minds. Who could be driving the dragons berserk?

Abel must find out who’s behind the experiments and put a stop to them, and to do so he’ll infiltrate the kins’ underground street races on a long-shot dragon of his own. But with his sister working for a kin, his brother serving the city’s secret police, and a bully at school racing for Abel’s worst enemies, will Abel find any safety past the finish line?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Moonflower by Kacen Callender (September 6th)

58713803. sy475 Moon has been plunged into a swill of uncertainty and confusion. They travel to the spirit realms every night, hoping never to return to the world of the living.

But when the realm is threatened, it’s up to Moon to save the spirit world, which sparks their own healing journey through the powerful, baffling, landscape that depression can cause.

From this novel’s very first utterance, author Kacen Callender puts us behind Moon’s eyes so that we, too, are engulfed by Moon’s troubling exploration through mental illness.

Moon’s mom is trying her best, but is clueless about what to do to reach the ugly roiling of her child’s inner struggles. At the same time, though, there are those who see Moon for who they are – Blue, the Keeper, the Magician, Wolf. These creature-guides help Moon find a way out of darkness. The ethereal aspects of the story are brilliantly blended with real-world glimmers of light. Slowly, Moon grows toward hope and wholeness, showing all children that each and every one of us has a tree growing inside. That our souls emerge when we discover, and fully accept, ourselves.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Trouble with Robots by Michelle Mohrweis (September 6th)

Eighth-graders Evelyn and Allie are in trouble. Evelyn’s constant need for perfection has blown some fuses among her robotics teammates, and she’s worried nobody’s taking the upcoming competition seriously. Allie is new to school, and she’s had a history of short-circuiting on teachers and other kids.

So when Allie is assigned to the robotics team as a last resort, all Evelyn can see is just another wrench in the works! But as Allie confronts a past stricken with grief and learns to open up, the gears click into place as she discovers that Evelyn’s teammates have a lot to offer—if only Evelyn allowed them to participate in a role that plays to their strengths.

Can Evelyn learn to let go and listen to what Allie has to say? Or will their spot in the competition go up in smoke along with their school’s robotics program and Allie’s only chance at redemption?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

You Only Live Once, David Bravo by Mark Oshiro (September 20th)

Middle school is the worst, especially for David Bravo. He doesn’t have a single class with his best (and only) friend, Antoine. He has to give a presentation about his heritage, but he’s not sure how—or even if—he wants to explain to his new classmates that he’s adopted. And after he freezes up at his first cross-country race, causing an accident that leaves Antoine with a busted ankle, he’s 100 percent sure he’s cursed.

David wishes he could do it all over. He doesn’t expect his wish to summon a pushy, annoying talking dog who claims to be his new timeline guide. According to Fea, somewhere in his past, David made a choice that put his life on the wrong track. And she can take him back to fix it.

David knows exactly what he wants to undo: the accident that hurt Antoine. But when his first try (and the second, and the third) is a total disaster, he and Fea are left scrambling through timeline after timeline, trying to figure out what she’s really here to fix—a quest that may lead them to answers in the most unexpected places.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Nikhil Out Loud by Maulik Pancholy (October 11th)

60141378. sy475 Thirteen-year-old Nikhil Shah is the beloved voice actor for Raj Reddy on the hit animated series Raj Reddy in Outer Space. But being a star on TV doesn’t mean you have everything figured out behind the scenes. . .

When his mom temporarily moves them to the small town in Ohio where she grew up to take care of Nikhil’s sick grandfather, Nikhil feels as out of orbit as his character.

Nikhil’s fame lands him the lead in the school musical, but he’s terrified that everyone will realize he’s a fraud once they find out he has stage fright. And when a group of conservative parents start to protest, making it clear they’re not happy with an openly gay TV star being in the starring role, Nikhil feels like his life would be easier if only he could be Raj Reddy full-time.

Then Nikhil wakes up one morning and hears a crack in his voice, which means his job playing Raj will have to come to an end. Life on earth is way more complicated than life on television. And some mysteries—like new friendships or a sick grandparent or finding the courage to speak out about what’s right—don’t wrap up neatly between commercial breaks.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Where the Lost Ones Go by Akemi Dawn Bowman (October 11th)

59406554Eliot is grieving Babung, her paternal grandmother who just passed away, and she feels like she’s the only one. She’s less than excited to move to her new house, which smells like lemons and deception, and is searching for a sign, any sign, that ghosts are real. Because if ghosts are real, it means she can find a way back to Babung.

When Eliot chases the promise of paranormal activity to the presumably haunted Honeyfield Hall, she finds her proof of spirits. But these ghosts are losing their memory, stuck between this world and the next, waiting to cross over. With the help of Hazel, the granddaughter of Honeyfield’s owner (and Eliot’s new crush), she attempts to uncover the mystery behind Honeyfield Hall and the ghosts residing within.

And as Eliot fits the pieces together, she may just be able to help the spirits remember their pasts, and hold on to her grandmother’s memory.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Hazel Hill is Gonna Win This One by Maggie Horne (October 18th)

In this funny, feminist, and queer middle grade debut, seventh-grader Hazel Hill is too busy for friends. No, really. She needs to focus on winning the school-wide speech competition over her nemesis, the popular and smart Ella Quinn, after last year’s embarrassing Hyperbole/Hyperbowl mishap that cost her first place. But when Hazel discovers Ella is being harassed by golden boy Tyler Harris, she has to choose between winning and doing the right thing. No one would believe that a nice boy like Tyler would harass and intimidate a nice girl like Ella, but Hazel knows the truth—and she’s determined to prove it.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | B&N | IndieBound

Anne: An Adaptation of Anne of Green Gables by Kathleen Gros (October 25th)

In this modern graphic novel retelling of Anne of Green Gables from graphic novelist Kathleen Gros, foster kid Anne Shirley finally lands in a loving home and befriends a girl who she may have more-than-friends feelings for.

Anne Shirley has been in foster care her whole life. So when the Cuthberts take her in, she hopes it’s for good. They seem to be hitting it off, but how will they react to the trouble that Anne can sometimes find herself in . . . like accidentally dyeing her hair green or taking a dangerous dare that leaves her in a cast?

Then Anne meets Diana Barry, a girl who lives in her apartment building, the Avon-Lea. The two become fast friends, as Anne finds she can share anything with Diana. As time goes on, though, Anne starts to develop more-than-friends feelings for Diana.

A new foster home, a new school, and a first-time crush—it’s a lot all at once. But if anyone can handle life’s twists and turns, it’s the irrepressible Anne Shirley.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Sir Callie and the Champions of Helston by Esme Symes-Smith (November 8th)

60323939. sy475 My name is Callie, and I’m not a girl. I am here as Papa’s squire, and I want to train as a knight.

In a world where girls learn magic and boys train as knights, twelve-year-old nonbinary Callie doesn’t fit in anywhere. And you know what? That’s just fine. Callie has always known exactly what they want to be, and they’re not about to let a silly thing like gender rules stand in their way.

When their ex-hero dad is summoned back to the royal capital of Helston to train a hopeless crown prince as war looms, Callie lunges at the opportunity to finally prove themself worthy to Helston’s great and powerful.

Except the intolerant great and powerful look at Callie and only see girl.

Trapped in Helston’s rigid hierarchy, Callie discovers they aren’t alone–there’s Elowen, the chancellor’s brilliant daughter, whose unparalleled power is being stifled; Edwyn, Elowen’s twin brother, locked in a desperate fight to win his father’s approval; and Willow, the crown prince who was never meant to be king.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Happy International Asexuality Day!

We’re switching things up this year from Asexual Awareness Week to International Asexuality Day, because why not and also because who wants to wait a whole year to get a great list of ace books?? That said, a bunch of books from the last list are newly available or will be soon, so make sure you take a look there too! (Books from 2022 have been reposted here.)

Available Now(ish)

At the End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp

53403613. sy475 The Hope Juvenile Treatment Center is ironically named. No one has hope for the delinquent teenagers who have been exiled there; the world barely acknowledges that they exist.

Then the guards at Hope start acting strange. And one day…they don’t show up. But when the teens band together to make a break from the facility, they encounter soldiers outside the gates. There’s a rapidly spreading infectious disease outside, and no one can leave their houses or travel without a permit. Which means that they’re stuck at Hope. And this time, no one is watching out for them at all.

As supplies quickly dwindle and a deadly plague tears through their ranks, the group has to decide whom among them they can trust and figure out how they can survive in a world that has never wanted them in the first place.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Forward March by Skye Quinlan

All Harper McKinley wants is for her dad’s presidential campaign to not interfere with her senior marching band season.

But Harper’s world gets upended when the drumline’s punk-rock section leader, Margot Blanchard, tries to reject her one day after practice. Someone pretending to be Harper on Tinder catfished Margot for a month and now she’s determined to get to know the real Harper.

But the real Harper has a homophobic mother who’s the dean and a father who is running for president on the Republican ticket. With the election at stake, neither of them are happy about Harper’s new friendship with out-and-proud Margot.

As the election draws closer, Harper is forced to figure out if she even likes girls, if she might be asexual, and if it’s worth coming out at all.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | B&N | IndieBound

The Circus Infinite by Khan Wong

Hunted by those who want to study his gravity powers, Jes makes his way to the best place for a mixed-species fugitive to blend in: the pleasure moon where everyone just wants to be lost in the party. It doesn’t take long for him to catch the attention of the crime boss who owns the resort-casino where he lands a circus job, and when the boss gets wind of the bounty on Jes’ head, he makes an offer: do anything and everything asked of him or face vivisection.

With no other options, Jes fulfills the requests: espionage, torture, demolition. But when the boss sets the circus up to take the fall for his about-to-get-busted narcotics operation, Jes and his friends decide to bring the mobster down. And if Jes can also avoid going back to being the prize subject of a scientist who can’t wait to dissect him? Even better.

Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Target | Angry Robot

The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann

Thirty, flirty, and asexual Joy is secretly in love with her best friend Malcolm, but she’s never been brave enough to say so. When he unexpectedly announces that he’s met the love of his life—and no, it’s not Joy—she’s heartbroken. Malcolm invites her on a weekend getaway, and Joy decides it’s her last chance to show him exactly what he’s overlooking. But maybe Joy is the one missing something…or someone…and his name is Fox.

Fox sees a kindred spirit in Joy—and decides to help her. He proposes they pretend to fall for each other on the weekend trip to make Malcolm jealous. But spending time with Fox shows Joy what it’s like to not be the third wheel, and there’s no mistaking the way he makes her feel. Could Fox be the romantic partner she’s always deserved?

Buy it: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | The Ripped Bodice

Arden Grey by Ray Stoeve

58667398Sixteen-year-old Arden Grey is struggling. Her mother has left their family, her father and her younger brother won’t talk about it, and a classmate, Tanner, keeps harassing her about her sexuality—which isn’t even public. (She knows she likes girls romantically, but she thinks she might be asexual.) At least she’s got her love of film photography and her best and only friend, Jamie, to help her cope. Then Jamie, who is trans, starts dating Caroline, and suddenly he isn’t so reliable. Arden’s insecurity about their friendship grows. She starts to wonder if she’s jealous or if Jamie’s relationship with Caroline is somehow unhealthy—and it makes her reconsider how much of her relationship with her absent mom wasn’t okay, too.

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

To Preorder

Never Been Kissed by Timothy Janovsky (May 3rd)

(Wren is demisexual.)

57352258Dear (never-been-quite-over-you) Crush,
It’s been a few years since we were together,
but I can’t stop thinking about the time we almost…

Wren Roland has never been kissed, but he wants that movie-perfect ending more than anything. Feeling nostalgic on the eve of his birthday, he sends emails to all the boys he (ahem) loved before he came out. Morning brings the inevitable Oh God What Did I Do?, but he brushes that panic aside. Why stress about it? None of his could-have-beens are actually going to read the emails, much less respond. Right?

Enter Derick Haverford, Wren’s #1 pre-coming-out-crush and his drive-in theater’s new social media intern. Everyone claims he’s coasting on cinematic good looks and his father’s connections, but Wren has always known there’s much more to Derick than meets the eye. Too bad he doesn’t feel the same way about the infamous almost-kiss that once rocked Wren’s world.

Whatever. Wren’s no longer a closeted teenager; he can survive this. But as their hazy summer becomes consumed with a special project that may just save the struggling drive-in for good, Wren and Derick are drawn ever-closer…and maybe, finally, Wren’s dream of a perfect-kiss-before-the-credits is within reach.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson (May 10, 2022)

(Lou is demisexual.)

58782872. sy475 Lou has enough confusion in front of her this summer. She’ll be working in her family’s ice cream shack with her newly ex-boyfriend—whose kisses never made her feel desire, only discomfort—and her former best friend, King, who is back in their Canadian prairie town after disappearing three years ago without a word.

But when she gets a letter from her biological father—a man she hoped would stay behind bars for the rest of his life—Lou immediately knows that she cannot meet him, no matter how much he insists.

While King’s friendship makes Lou feel safer and warmer than she would have thought possible, when her family’s business comes under threat, she soon realizes that she can’t ignore her father forever.

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

I Want to Be a Wall by Honami Shirono (May 10, 2022)

Yuriko, an asexual woman, agrees to take a husband to satisfy her parents-which is how she finds herself tying the knot with Gakurouta, a gay man in love with his childhood friend with his own family circumstances. And so begins the tale of their marriage of convenience.

Buy it: Yen Press

It Sounds Like This by Anna Meriano (August 2nd)

(Yasmín is questioning.)

It Sounds Like This by Anna MerianoYasmín Treviño didn’t have much of a freshman year thanks to Hurricane Humphrey, but she’s ready to take sophomore year by storm. That means mastering the marching side of marching band—fast!—so she can outshine her BFF Sofia as top of the flute section, earn first chair, and impress both her future college admission boards and her comfortably unattainable drum major crush Gilberto Reyes.

But Yasmín steps off on the wrong foot when she reports an anonymous gossip Instagram account harassing new band members and accidentally gets the entire low brass section suspended from extracurriculars. With no low brass section, the band is doomed, so Yasmín decides to take things into her own hands, learn to play the tuba, and lead a gaggle of rowdy freshman boys who are just as green to marching and playing as she is. She’ll happily wrestle an ancient school tuba if it means fixing the mess she might have caused.

But when the secret gossip Instagram escalates their campaign of harassment and Yasmín’s friendship with Sofia deteriorates, things at school might be too hard to bear. Luckily, the support of Yasmín’s new section—especially introverted section leader Bloom, a sweet ace and aro-spectrum boy—might just turn things around.

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia (August 9, 2022)

(Firuz is aroace.)

Firuz-e Jafari is one of the fortunate ones who have emigrated to the Democratic Free State of Qilwa. Firuz has escaped the slaughter of other traditional Sassanid blood-magic practitioners. They have a good job at a free healing clinic in Qilwa; a kindly new employer, Kofi; and a gifted new student, Afsoneh, a troubled orphan refugee.

But Firuz and Kofi have discovered a terrible new disease which leaves mysterious bruises on its victims. The illness is spreading quickly through Qilwa, and there are dangerous accusations of ineptly-performed blood magic.

In order to survive, Firuz must break a deadly cycle of prejudice while finding a fresh start for their both their blood and found family.

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

The Trouble With Robots by Michelle Morweis (September 6, 2022)

Evelyn strives for excellence. Allie couldn’t care less. Together,
these polar opposites must work together if they have any hope
of saving their school’s robotics program.

Eighth-graders Evelyn and Allie are in trouble. Evelyn’s constant
need for perfection has blown some fuses among her robotics
teammates, and she’s worried nobody’s taking the upcoming
competition seriously. Allie is new to school, and she’s had a history
of short-circuiting on teachers and other kids.

So when Allie is assigned to the robotics team as a last resort, all
Evelyn can see is just another wrench in the works! But as Allie
confronts a past stricken with grief and learns to open up, the gears
click into place as she discovers that Evelyn’s teammates have a lot
to offer—if only Evelyn allowed them to participate in a role that plays to their strengths.

Can Evelyn learn to let go and listen to what Allie has to say? Or will
their spot in the competition go up in smoke along with their school’s robotics program and Allie’s only chance at redemption?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Aces Wild: A Heist by Amanda DeWitt (September 6, 2022)

Six of Crows goes to Las Vegas in debut author Amanda DeWitt’s suspenseful casino heist, starring an entire crew of asexual teens.

Some people join chess club, some people play football. Jack Shannon runs a secret blackjack ring in his private school’s basement. What else is the son of a Las Vegas casino mogul supposed to do?

Everything starts falling apart when Jack’s mom is arrested for their family’s ties to organized crime. His sister Beth thinks this is the Shannon family’s chance to finally go straight, but Jack knows that something’s not right. His mom was sold out, and he knows by who. Peter Carlevaro: rival casino owner and jilted lover. Gross.

Jack hatches a plan to find out what Carlevaro’s holding over his mom’s head, but he can’t do it alone. He recruits his closest friends—the asexual support group he met through fandom forums. Now all he has to do is infiltrate a high-stakes gambling club and dodge dark family secrets, while hopelessly navigating what it means to be in love while asexual. Easy, right?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Funeral Girl by Emma K. Ohland (September 6, 2022)

(Georgia is aroace.)

58651960. sx318 Sixteen-year-old Georgia Richter feels conflicted about the funeral home her parents run―especially because she has the ability to summon ghosts.

With one touch of any body that passes through Richter Funeral Home, she can awaken the spirit of the departed. With one more touch, she makes the spirit disappear, to a fate that remains mysterious to Georgia. To cope with her deep anxiety about death, she does her best to fulfill the final wishes of the deceased whose ghosts she briefly revives.

Then her classmate Milo’s body arrives at Richter―and his spirit wants help with unfinished business, forcing Georgia to reckon with her relationship to grief and mortality.

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

Silver in the Mist by Emily Victoria (November 1, 2022)

(Devlin is aroace.)

Eight years ago, everything changed for Devlin: Her country was attacked. Her father was killed. And her mother became the Royal Spymistress, retreating into her position away from everyone… even her daughter.

Joining the spy ranks herself, Dev sees her mother only when receiving assignments. She wants more, but she understands the peril their country, Aris, is in. The malevolent magic force of The Mists is swallowing Aris’s edges, their country is vulnerable to another attack from their wealthier neighbor, and the magic casters who protect them from both are burning out.

Dev has known strength and survival her whole life, but with a dangerous new assignment of infiltrating the royal court of their neighbor country Cerena to steal the magic they need, she learns that not all that glitters is weak. And not all stories are true.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | B&N | IndieBound

Add to Your TBR

Exclusive Cover Reveal: The Trouble with Robots by Michelle Mohrweis

I’m so excited to have Michelle Mohrweis on the site today to reveal the cover of her upcoming bi and aro/ace MG debut, The Trouble with Robots, which releases from Peachtree on September 6th! Here’s the story:

Evelyn strives for excellence. Allie couldn’t care less. Together,
these polar opposites must work together if they have any hope
of saving their school’s robotics program.

Eighth-graders Evelyn and Allie are in trouble. Evelyn’s constant
need for perfection has blown some fuses among her robotics
teammates, and she’s worried nobody’s taking the upcoming
competition seriously. Allie is new to school, and she’s had a history
of short-circuiting on teachers and other kids.

So when Allie is assigned to the robotics team as a last resort, all
Evelyn can see is just another wrench in the works! But as Allie
confronts a past stricken with grief and learns to open up, the gears
click into place as she discovers that Evelyn’s teammates have a lot
to offer—if only Evelyn allowed them to participate in a role that plays to their strengths.

Can Evelyn learn to let go and listen to what Allie has to say? Or will
their spot in the competition go up in smoke along with their school’s robotics program and Allie’s only chance at redemption?

An excellent pick for STEAM enthusiasts, this earnestly told narrative features a dual point of view and casually explores Autistic and LGBTQ+ identities.

And here’s the ridiculously cute cover, with art by Kris Mukai, design by Maria Fazio, and art direction by Adela Pons!

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

And here’s a word from the author herself!

If you asked me three years ago what I wanted to write, I never imagined I’d say middle grade contemporary. I loved reading it, but my writing heart was locked in fantasy. Then COVID hit. I found myself stuck inside my house and missing my students so badly. I was aimless and lost, so I started writing. The Trouble With Robots poured out of me, this story full of queer robotics kids and silly pranks and everything I missed about my own robotics classes.

The Trouble With Robots is a book about friendship, about learning how to make things work and giving others a chance. It’s about the chaotic fun of robotics tournaments and the little moments with your friends that make each day a delight. It’s a book about grief and how those viewed as “trouble” kids often have so much more going on than anyone realizes. It’s also a very personal book to me. Evelyn is autistic like myself, and it’s a story where queer autistic girls can see themselves having their adventures and leading a team.

***

Michelle Mohrweis is a middle school robotics and engineering teacher and a moderator at the Tucson Festival of Books. When not writing, she can be found launching paper rockets down the middle of her street. She lives with her husband and two dogs in Arizona. The Trouble with Robots is Michelle’s debut novel. Follow her on Twitter @Mohrweis_Writes and visit her on the web at http://www.michellemohrweis.com.