Chirp was my first Kate Messner novel. Mia and her parents have moved to Vermont the summer after seventh grade to help look after her grandma. Before the move, Mia broke her arm falling off a balance beam in gymnastics. Since then, she's packed up everything related to the sport she once loved, deciding to call it quits.
So many people have told me how hard it is to find middle-grade books for boys. Okay, okay, before you think "how sexist of you!" this is a real issue -- one I've also experienced in my brief stint as an English tutor. Many boys (far from all) gravitate towards books with boys on the cover, and it makes sense -- windows and mirrors and all that. I read a lot of books by women, about women/girls, so for a while I didn't even pick up middle-grade books about boys. Thankfully, that is changing, thanks to these excellent middle-grade boy books.
In The Queen Bee and Me, Beatrix and Meg have always been a package deal -- best friends since kindergarten! Lately though, things have changed between the girls. Meg can't forget the time Beatrix froze her out when she annoyed her and she's also noticed that Beatrix can't stand it when she disagrees with any of her opinions. Still, Meg loves science and when she's invited to join a special advanced science class, she can't say no.
I define short middle-grade books as middle-grade books under 250 pages. Once we're past that 250-page mark, it can be tough for beginning or reluctant readers. Personally, I'm good until page 400 -- then my interest starts to dissolve. That's why I've made this list of middle-grade books under 250 pages! There's surprisingly a good number of short middle-grade books (I've read many on this list myself). However, I did go ahead and include a few additional picks which barely miss the mark at 256 pages but are also super quick and easy reads.
Ava Andrews is a deeply anxious middle-grader whose best friend (and mouthpiece), Zelia has moved to a different city, leaving her quite unmoored. Ava also has a rare heart condition. In Five Things About Ava Andrews, she learns to build a social life and a voice through therapy, improv classes, her dad's etiquette class (Cottilion), and activism against her neighborhood's gentrification. She also has to work on a school project with a classmate who seems to dislike her and the fact the "gets away" with not doing some class activities.
I hope you enjoy middle-grade books with multiple narrators, because I've dug deep for this book list. Most of the books here are ones I've read. I'm also splitting my list into "two narrators" and "more than two narrators" -- the more the merrier, eh? In this list you'll mostly find middle-grade books with multiple narrators from the first-person perspective. So, that means for each of these books, each chapter is probably titled by the name of the narrating character who then narrates in first person.
What Happens Next is Claire Swinarski's debut middle-grade novel. The book follows Abby McCourt, astronomy lover, and her family as they deal with her oldest sister, Blair getting diagnosed with anorexia. As Blair goes off to rehab, leaving a potential ballet career in the lurch, the McCourt's small town is abuzz with a highly anticipated solar eclipse. Abby is not handling her sister's absence very well. Especially because she was closest to Blair and doesn't have the best relationship with her more brash middle-sister, Jade.
In We Dream of Space, siblings Cash, Fitch, and Bird move through the daily trials of pre-teen life in the 1980's. Fitch and Bird are twins who are now in the same grade as their older brother, Cash -- because Cash keeps repeating grades. Bird is a space aficionado and dreams of being an astronaut. Fitch has anger issues and hates that he's getting crushed on by a girl he doesn't like -- and whom his best friends consider unattractive. Cash feels lost and cannot seem to find his place anywhere. It doesn't help that the situation at home is tense, with parents who are constantly bickering and a family that cannot seem to make time to talk as a unit or nurture their children.