We’re falling for these new releases already, and they haven’t even hit the shelves yet! Here are some of the most exciting chapter books coming out this Fall. Which one are you going to grab first?!
Sweet and Sour, by Debbi Michiko Florence
For as long as she can remember, Mai has spent every summer in Mystic, Connecticut visiting family friends. Hanging out with her best-friend-since-birth, Zach Koyama, was always the best part.
Then two summers ago everything changed. Zach humiliated Mai, proving he wasn’t a friend at all. So when Zach’s family moved to Japan, Mai felt relieved. No more summers together. No more heartache.
But this year, the Koyamas have returned and the family vacation is back on. And if Mai has to spend the summer around Zach, the least she can do is wipe away the memory of his betrayal… by coming up with the perfect plan for revenge!
Only Zach isn’t the boy he used to be, and Mai’s memories of their last fateful summer aren’t the whole truth of what happened between them. Now she’ll have to decide if she can forgive Zach, even if she can never forget.
A heartfelt and uplifting contemporary story about the complex relationships between friends and family.
Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting, by Roseanne Brown
For most kids, catching fireflies is a fun summer activity. For twelve-year-old Serwa Boateng, it’s a matter of life and death.
That’s because Serwa knows that some fireflies are really adze, shapeshifting vampires from the forests of Southeastern Ghana. Slayers like Serwa and her parents have protected an unknowing public from their threats for generations.
But when a witch destroys her childhood home, Serwa’s parents dump her with her hippie aunt and cryptic-obsessed cousin in the middle of Nowheresville, Maryland “for her own safety.” Now, instead of crossbows and battle armor, she’s dealing with mean girls and algebra, and for the first time in her life she doesn’t have to carry a staff everywhere she goes, which is . . . kind of nice, actually.
Just as Serwa starts to get the hang of this whole “normal girl” thing, an adze infiltrates her school and Serwa must train some of her classmates into monster-fighting shape. And when she uncovers a secret that upends everything she thought she knew about her family’s role in the slayer vs. adze war, Serwa will have to decide which side of herself – normal girl or slayer – is the right one.
A fantastic, action-packed series starter full of Ghanaian folklore and middle school hijinks.
Windswept, by Margi Preus
In Tag’s world, children are disappearing. “Youngers” who venture Outside are windswept, vanishing in the swirling snow. Many have tried to find the lost children; all have failed. And since the Other Times, the Powers That Be seem intent on keeping it that way.
Little remains from those times: snippets of songs, heaps of plastic trash, and a few banned texts—including a book of fairytales.
An unlikely crew of Youngers join forces: Boots, who can climb anything; Ant, who will eat anything; Ren, who will say anything; and Tag, who doesn’t appear to have any talent whatsoever. With their dubious skills, the book of fairytales, a possibly magic ribbon, and an unwillingness to accept “that’s impossible,” they set off to rescue their windswept siblings.
A gripping middle-grade dystopian fantasy steeped in Norwegian fairy tales, perfect for fans of detailed world-building and clever storytelling.
The Door of No Return, by Kwame Alexander
11-year-old Kofi Offin dreams of water. Its mysterious, immersive quality… the rich, earthy scent of the current… the clearness, its urgent whisper that beckons with promises and secrets…
Kofi has heard the call on the banks of Upper Kwanta, in the village where he lives. He loves these things above all else: his family, the fireside tales of his father’s father, a girl named Ama, and, of course, swimming.
When Kofi’s brother is chosen to represent Upper Kwanta in the annual wrestling contest against Lower Kwanta, an unthinkable death turns his world upside down and Kofi soon ends up in a fight for his life. What happens next will send him on a harrowing journey across land and sea, and away from everything he loves.
The first installment in a new historical fiction trilogy, set in the 1860s in West Africa’s Asante Kingdom.
Roll for Initiative, by Jaime Formato
Riley Henderson has never taken a bus to school in her entire life. Or made an afterschool snack, or finished her homework on her own, or—ewww—done her own laundry. That’s what her older brother Devin was for.
But now Devin’s off in California attending a fancy college gaming program while Riley is stuck alone in Florida with her mom. That is, until a cool nerd named Lucy gives Riley no choice but to get over her shyness and fear of rejection and become friends. The best part is . . . both girls are into Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, playing D&D was something Riley and Devin used to do together, with Devin as the dungeon master guiding Riley through his intricately planned campaigns. So, of course, Riley is more than a little nervous when Lucy suggests that she run a campaign for them. For the chance at a friend, though, she’s willing to give it a shot.
Soon, their party grows and with the help of her new D&D friends, Riley discovers that not only can she function without Devin, she kind of likes it. But when Devin runs into trouble with his program and returns home, it’s pretty clear that since he can’t navigate his own life, he’s going to live Riley’s for her. Now she has to help Devin go back to college and prove to her mom that she can take care of herself . . . all before the upcoming Winter-Con.
A heartfelt coming-of-age novel about finding your voice and believing in your best geeky self, perfect for fans of D&D, Raina Telgemeier, and Jessica Kim.
The Lords of Night, by J.C. Cervantes
Fourteen-year-old Renata Santiago is the most powerful godborn of them all, a bruja with a unique combination of DNA: the daughter of Pacific, the Maya goddess of time, and heir to the most powerful shadow brujxs from her Mexica father.
Ren is also a girl with ordinary hopes and dreams. She wishes, for example, that her blog about alien sightings would get more respect. She’s always been absolutely convinced that there’s a connection between aliens and the Maya civilization.
When Ren receives an email about an alien sighting in Kansas, she soon finds herself embroiled in a quest to prevent the troublemakers from awakening the nine Aztec Lords of Night. Teaming up with two strangers – Edison, a teen hybrid demon, and Montero, an eleven-year-old Aztec hunter – Ren’s challenge could well be an impossible one that leaves her questioning her very existence.
The first book of a new companion duology to the Storm Runner trilogy, perfect for fans of fantasy and mythology.
Keep an eye on the New Books shelf for these and other great middle grade releases coming this Fall.
–Melanie Bruchet, Youth Services Librarian