There are SO many amazing middle-grade books being released next year! I’m not sure how I’m EVER going to read all the books on my TBR as I will definitely be adding all of these.
I decided to make my list more manageable by restricting each month to FIVE books and not including any I’ve already read – and then immediately broke my rules because I just have to give a shout-out to two books coming out next year that I’ve already read via NetGalley, both of which are amazing.
I was lucky enough to read A Sprinkle of Sorcery by Michelle Harrison over Christmas – it is being published on 6th February and is the follow-up to A Pinch of Magic: it is a fantastic read, and one I couldn’t not mention, despite breaking my own rules! The Widdershin sisters are thrown into another incredible adventure to save one of their own and a new friend – and this one journeys into an ancient legend! I also absolutely adored Nicola Penfold’s Where the World Turns Wild which will be also be published on 6th February. This is an ecological dystopian story which completely engrossed me: the main characters, Juniper and Bear are just wonderful as they make a dangerous journey into the wilderness to find home.
In my anticipated releases, I’ve included the synopsis for each book from Waterstones. Here goes:
The Girl Who Stole an Elephant by Nizrana Farook (256 pages) published by Nosy Crow on 2nd January:
Chaya, a no-nonsense, outspoken hero, leads her friends and a gorgeous elephant on a noisy, fraught, joyous adventure through the jungle where revolution is stirring and leeches lurk. Will stealing the queen’s jewels be the beginning or the end of everything for the intrepid gang?
The Monster in the Lake by Louie Stowell (author) and Davide Ortu (illustrator) (224 pages) published by Nosy Crow on 9th January:
Kit is a wizard. The youngest wizard in the world, in fact. But her magic keeps going wrong, and all kinds of weird stuff has started happening – exploding fireballs, animals talking when they shouldn’t be, and a very strange new arrival in a nearby park. So Kit and her two best friends – along with their local librarian – set off to investigate, and to save the world… again.
Orion Lost by Alastair Chisholm (368 pages) published by Nosy Crow on 9th January:
The transport ship Orion is four months out of Earth when catastrophe strikes – leaving the ship and everyone on board stranded in deep space. Suddenly it’s up to thirteen-year-old Beth and her friends to navigate through treacherous and uncharted territory to reach safety. But a heavily-damaged ship, space pirates, a mysterious alien species, and an artificial intelligence that Beth doesn’t know if she can trust means that getting home has never been so difficult…
Tiger Heart by Penny Chrimes (240 pages) published by Hachette Children’s Group on 9th January:
The magical tale of a bold young chimney sweep and a remarkable tiger, a dangerously hypnotic ruby and a mystical land found across an ocean and through a storm. Fly never meant to end up in a cage with a man-eating tiger. And though she’s sure she’s no princess, when the tiger addresses her as ‘your majesty’, she can’t help but vow to free him and return him home. But the bird-filled jungles and cloud-topped mountains of the tiger’s homeland are an ocean away. And not everyone wants the tiger – or Fly – to get there alive.
The Highland Falcon Thief – Adventures on Trains by M G Leonard and Sam Sedgman (authors) and Elisa Paganelli (illustrator) (256 pages) published by Pan Macmillan on 30th January:
Harrison Beck is reluctantly joining his travel-writer Uncle Nat for the last journey of the royal train, The Highland Falcon. But as the train makes its way to Scotland, a priceless brooch goes missing, and things are suddenly a lot more interesting. As suspicions and accusations run high among the passengers, Harrison begins to investigate and uncovers a few surprises along the way. Can he solve the mystery of the jewel thief and catch the culprit before they reach the end of the line?
Darkwhispers A Brightstorm Adventure by Vashti Hardy (448 pages) published by Scholastic on 6th February:
The thrilling sequel to the acclaimed BRIGHTSTORM: A SKY SHIP ADVENTURE. The Brightstorm twins are back for another adventure! Eudora Vane has organized an explorer fleet to search the last known destination of missing adventurer Ermitage Wrigglesworth. Harriet Culpepper and the crew of the Aurora join the mission, but they don’t believe that Eudora has good intentions. What is she really looking for? Arthur is determined to find out, and when disaster strikes and the Brightstorm twins are separated, will he and Maudie be able to find their way back to each other?
Evernight by Ross MacKenzie (352 pages) published by Andersen Press Ltd on 6th February:
Thousands of years ago, the Evernight came to the Silver Kingdom and turned everything to darkness and chaos. It was only defeated thanks to the skill and bravery of the Witches. But now the Evernight is about to return, released by the evil Mrs Hester, and the only spell that might stop it is lost, deep below the great city of King’s Haven. Then orphan Larabelle Fox stumbles across a mysterious wooden box while treasure-hunting in the city’s sewers. Little does she realise she is about to be catapulted into an adventure, facing wild magic and mortal danger – and a man who casts no shadow . . .
The House of One Hundred Clocks by A M Howell (304 pages) published by Usborne Publishing Ltd on 6th February:
JUNE, 1905. Helena and her parrot, Orbit, are swept off to Cambridge when her father is appointed clock-winder to one of the wealthiest men in England. There is only one rule: the clocks must never stop. But Helena discovers the house of one hundred clocks holds many mysteries; a ghostly figure, strange notes and disappearing winding keys… Can she work out its secrets before time runs out?
Little Bird Lands by Karen McCombie (256 pages) published by Nosy Crow on 6th February:
Little Bird has landed in America, far from her home in Scotland and far from the danger that stalked her family. But the new world holds new perils, and soon she’s on the run again. From the teeming streets of New York to the prairies of the west, Little Bird holds tight to secrets and dreams of freedom. Then, on her journey, she comes face-to-face with an unwelcome ghost from the past…
Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray (author) and Manuel Sumberac (illustrator) (352 pages) published by Penguin Books Ltd on 20th February:
The City was built on a sharp mountain that jutted improbably from the sea, and the sea kept trying to claim it back. That grey morning, once the tide had retreated, a whale was found on a rooftop.When a mysterious boy washes in with the tide, the citizens believe he’s the Enemy – the god who drowned the world – come again to cause untold chaos.Only Ellie, a fearless young inventor living in a workshop crammed with curiosities, believes he’s innocent. But the Enemy can take possession of any human body and the ruthless Inquisition are determined to destroy it forever.
The Pear Affair by Judith Eagle (author) and Kim Geyer (illustrator) (288 pages) published by Faber & Faber on 5th March:
When Penelope Magnificent’s awful parents tell her they’re taking a trip to Paris, she surprises them by begging to go along. Nell is usually content to avoid her money-obsessed father and her fashion-focussed mother, but Paris holds something very dear to her… her old au pair Perrine – Pear – lives there. Pear used to write to Nell every week promising to come to her rescue but recently the letters have stopped… Arriving at her parent’s posh hotel, Nell is determined to find Pear… but no one has seen her at her last known address, and no one seems to want to tell her anything about Pear’s whereabouts. Luckily she befriends the hotel bellboy who introduces her to the world of tunnels underneath the city, and together they set out to find Pear, whilst uncovering an extraordinary mystery of their own…
Skeleton Keys The Haunting of Luna Moon by Guy Bass (author) and Pete Williamson (illustrator) (256 pages) published by Little Tiger Press Group on 5th March:
The second tall-but-true tale in the darkly comic new series SKELETON KEYS from the award-winning duo behind STITCH HEAD…
Greetings! My name is Skeleton Keys and these fantabulant fingers of mine can open doors to hidden worlds… Join me for the strange tale of Luna Moon, whose family is disappearing before her very eyes… Luna is the only one to mourn the death of her grandfather Old Man Moon – the rest of her family couldn’t be happier to see the back of the bad-tempered old miser. But as they celebrate his demise with a giddy jig, Aunt Summer vanishes … only to reappear as a painting. While Luna is convinced her grandfather has kept his word to haunt them from beyond the grave, Skeleton Keys is certain that this is the work of an unimaginary. Can he get to the bottom of the mystery before the whole of Luna’s family disappears?
The House on Hoarder Hill by Mikki Lish and Kelly Ngai (384 pages) published by Chicken House Ltd on 5th March:
Magical, spooky and mysterious: welcome to the House on Hoarder Hill … When Hedy and Spencer start receiving messages on dusty picture frames, Christmas at their grandfather’s spooky house turns into a mission to solve the mystery of their grandmother’s disappearance. What is their magician grandfather not telling them? With the help of a (talking) mounted stag head, an (also talking) bear rug, and other (currently) disembodied spirits, and against the resistance of gargoyles and ravens, Hedy and Spencer set out to find the truth.
Potkin & Stubbs Ghostcatcher by Sophie Green (author) and K J Mountford (illustrator) (400 pages) published by Templar Publishing on 5th March:
After successfully ridding Peligan of Gallows’ murderous spook, Mr Grip, Lil and Nedly turn their attentions to another suspected haunting. But Peligan City has had enough of ghosts and has hired ghost catchers – and Nedly finds himself being hunted. Luckily, he has Lil on his side. Now an apprentice reporter for the Klaxon, Lil manages to talk her way into a job shadowing intrepid journalist Marsha Quake, who is writing a feature on Ghostcatcher Inc. So with Lil’s help, Nedly is able to stay one step ahead, but how long for? As Nedly develops his own inimitable and slightly haphazard haunting style, hoping to become a hero of Peligan City by protecting the weak and thwarting the powerful, Lil finds herself clashing with her mum, a journalist committed to uncovering the truth at all costs. Lil must protect Nedly by covering his tracks or risk losing him forever. Can she find a way?
Crater Lake by Jennifer Killick (254 pages) published by Firefly Press Ltd on 19th March:
Who is the mysterious bloodstained man who stops their coach? Why is no one around when Lance and the rest of Year Six arrive at the brand new Crater Lake activity centre? But this is just the beginning of the school trip from hell; a fight for survival that sees five pupils band together to save their classmates from an alien fate far worse than death. But whatever happens, they must Never. Ever. Fall asleep!
There are just SO many fantastic middle-grade books being published, I have no doubt I’ll be adding more to each month. Do you intend to read any of these, or do you have other recommendations?