A Treasure Trove of February MG New Release Books

What’s better than one new book review? How about four at once? I try not to write batch reviews, but I am struggling to catch up this week. If you would like any more details on any of these amazing new titles: please comment here or on any of my social links.

When Mia moves to Vermont the summer after seventh grade, she’s recovering from the broken arm she got falling off a balance beam. And packed away in the moving boxes under her clothes and gymnastics trophies is a secret she’d rather forget.

Mia’s change in scenery brings day camp, new friends, and time with her beloved grandmother. But Gram is convinced someone is trying to destroy her cricket farm. Is it sabotage or is Gram’s thinking impaired from the stroke she suffered months ago? Mia and her friends set out to investigate, but can they uncover the truth in time to save Gram’s farm? And will that discovery empower Mia to confront the secret she’s been hiding–and find the courage she never knew she had?

Published February 4th 2020 by Bloomsbury Children’s Books

I think: this is a critical (possibly future award winning) book to hand to the pre-teens in your life. The simple solidarity of all the women in the story amazed me. The author told some hard truths in a simple, believable way. In short, it has two plotlines: the mystery of who is sabatoging Mia’s grandma’s cricket farm and Mia figuring out how to find her voice to share why she is avoiding gymnastics. Best for Middle Grade- YA readers

When Big Ben sounds the stroke of midnight, Emily’s parents vanish.

As an adventurous eleven year old, Emily packs her sandwiches and her hedgehog, Hoggin, and heads into the Midnight Hour. A Victorian London frozen in time, the Midnight Hour is a magical place of sanctuary and of peril dreamt up by children – and inhabited by monsters of legend, creatures of the imagination, and a Postal Service determined to save the day (and night!). To save her mum and dad, Emily must be brave enough to embrace her own inner magic …

Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere meets The Phantom Tollbooth in this classic-feeling adventure, full of astonishing world-building.

Published February 7th 2019 by Chicken House Books

What I thought: We’ll be listening to this one on Audible soon. Modern girl meets Victorian London with magical creatures? That’s our love language. 5 stars.

Lydia knows more about death than most thirteen-year-olds. Her mother was already sick when her father left them six years ago. When her mother dies, it is Lydia who sits by her side.

Fully orphaned now, Lydia follows the plan her mother made with her. She uproots to rural Connecticut to live with her “last of kin.” Aunt Brat, her jovial wife Eileen, and their ancient live-in landlord Elloroy welcome Lydia. Only days after her arrival the women adopt a big yellow dog.

Expected publication: February 25th 2020 by Katherine Tegen Books

What do I think?

Bring on the tissues. (in a good way.) Sometimes life is full of hard things and I firmly believe that the more kids read about real life troubles the easier they will have dealing with them in their own lives.

After a harrowing summer camp, Arlo Finch is back in Pine Mountain, Colorado, preparing to face a new school, new threats, and two new Rangers in Blue Patrol.

Arlo is about to undertake his most dangerous journey yet: all the way to China to try to bring his father home.

But when the mysterious Eldritch reveal their true agenda, Arlo must make an impossible choice: save his friends and family, or save the Long Woods. Both worlds will never be the same. 

Published February 4th 2020 by Roaring Brook Press

What did we think?

This was an excellent wrap up to the Arlo Finch Trilogy. If you haven’t read these, now is the time when you can binge through all three at once.

If this is the kind of book that your kid adores, imagine the joy of your child going to the mailbox each month for a shiny new book of their very own, and then meeting with kids their age to talk about the latest, greatest middle-grade titles. Consider a Bookish Society Membership!

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