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Fall Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels: A Sneak Peek!

April 8, 2011

We had a wonderful response to the fall picture book preview post we did, here. Today we’re back to preview some of our fall favorites for middle readers and teens. As we read more, we will be sure to come back and share more reviews with you!


The Only Ones by Aaron Starmer

Martin Maple has spent his entire childhood living on an island with his father, building a machine and only seeing the “outside world” when the summer people come. One day his father tells him he needs to leave the island to find one last piece to complete his machine and he never returns. Then the summer people don’t arrive. Martin’s curiosity leads him to the mainland where he finds that he and a band of kids around his age are the only ones left in the world. Everyone else simply disappeared on The Day. The book takes many twists and turns from there and keeps the you guessing as to the mystery of what happened to everyone. Ultimately it was satisfying and thought-provoking bit of post-apocalyptic magical realism (new genre!). We have it categorized as YA but it can be read by strong middle grade readers as there’s no objectionable content.


Bigger than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder

One of my early favorites on the fall list is Laurel Snyder’s forthcoming middle-grade novel Bigger than a Bread Box. I read it straight through and loved it. It’s her most personal book yet and delivers a touching story about family dislocation with magic thrown in. This novel has become a quick in-house favorite at Random House and we really feel it’s her breakthrough book.


The Code Busters Club by Penny Warner

The first of what I hope will be many books in a new mystery series featuring four friends who like to create codes and solve them. You just know with their eye for detail that this team will find mysteries that need solving. I loved this because the kids use all kinds of codes to communicate with each other—Braille, American Sign Language, Semaphore, Morse Code and several alpha numeric codes, too. A great story and you don’t even realize you’re learning. Just right for that inquisitive 8-12 year old.

The Tanglewood Terror by Kurtis Scaletta

At first the glowing mushrooms seem to be cool and interesting, then they seem to be multiplying. Then there’s the missing girl from the nearby school…..and did I mention that our main character Eric has been having a bit of a crazy time with his football buddies  and his sometimes annoying brother Brian? From the author of two of my favorite middle grade books Mudville and Mamba Point, a smart mystery with a sense of humor and a perfect dose of friendship and family.


The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen

I read the first chapter of this amazing book on the author’s website about a year ago……only to find out that I’d have to wait many months to read the rest. When I finally got my hands on the manuscript I read it in 2 sittings (had to work in between). I’ve only recently arrived as a fan of the “paranormal” novel, but I’ve always been a fan of stories with a good battle between good & evil, and BONUS(!) The Mephisto Covenant has a smoking hot love story all wrapped up in mythology and great dialogue. A smart, exciting read to look forward to this Fall.

You Are My Only by Beth Kephart

Fourteen-year-old Sophie lives a sheltered life, she’s “home schooled” by her Mom, has never known her Dad and she and her Mom have had to pick up and move, often, to avoid the “No Good”. I was hooked from the first chapter. Sophie’s chapters alternate with the story of Emmy, a young mother whose child has disappeared. As these two stories unfold, as each character finds people who can help them Sophie and Emmy  learn to deal with their losses and to trust and love again. This amazing story reads like a first class thriller.


You Against Me by Jenny Downham

Several years ago, we had the pleasure of selling a book called Before I Die by Jenny Downham, about a dying teenager named Tessa who wants to fully experience life in the short time she has left. It was met with rave reviews and accolades, and we all loved it as well. Jenny is back and this book is even better than her first. Mikey’s sister has just accused Ellie’s brother of rape, and when Mikey crashes a party at the accused’s house with a plan to avenge his sister, he meets Ellie. Despite their different class levels and personalities, they fall in love. The story handles the fallout for both families from the rape accusation and trial and the new relationship sensitively and realistically. This book was like a modern-day update of “Romeo and Juliet” and would pair nicely with Exposed by Kimberly Marcus, another favorite of ours.

Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

This book makes a perfect companion to Bigger than a Breadbox, mentioned above. It also deals with a young girl starting middle school, trying to find her place in a new school and dealing with bullies, changing relationships, and fitting in. On top of that, Elise is an orphan being raised by her loving aunt and uncle. She has always known the barn at her house had eight locked rooms, but when she finds a mysterious key that opens the first door, she begins to learn more about her dead parents and her past. This is funny, sweet and heartbreaking. I read it on a plane and cried unabashedly throughout the whole book, but please don’t let that stop you from reading it. I think kids will really be able to relate to Elise’s attempt to navigate the line between childhood and the teen years.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. April 8, 2011 8:34 am

    I’m very excited to see Beth Kephart has a new book coming out!

    • Nic permalink
      April 11, 2011 7:18 pm

      I just finished the new Beth Kephart. It has all the usual charm, with a few twists you don’t expect! Be sure to keep an eye out for it!

  2. April 8, 2011 12:43 pm

    I loved Suzanne’s last book, Love, Aubrey. It made me sob! This new one looks equally great. So excited!

  3. April 8, 2011 12:44 pm

    I’m beyond thrilled with this list! A new Suzanne LaFleur book, Beth Kephart’s latest, and the lovely Trinity’s YA debut. And the Only Ones sounds like something both my boys and I would enjoy.

  4. Christina permalink
    April 8, 2011 12:48 pm

    What a great list — looking forward to Mephisto as well — I love me a smoking hot love story!

  5. April 8, 2011 6:47 pm

    I love this list…especially The Mephisto Club!!! Already preordered it for my Kindle.

  6. thomas permalink
    November 9, 2011 8:36 pm

    love eight keys!!!

  7. thomas permalink
    November 9, 2011 8:38 pm

    best book in the world to!!!


  1. Fall 2011 Sneak Peeks: Part III « Random Acts of Reading
  2. An Evening With Our Fall Rep Pick Author Laurel Snyder « Random Acts of Reading

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