In Center of Gravity, Tessa has become more anxious after losing her mother to breast cancer. This middle-grade novel is set in 1985, which I guess would make it historical fiction. To soothe her anxiety, Tessa cuts pictures of missing kids out of milk cartons. For her, it is crucial that every next milk carton bear the face of a child not already in her collection. So, at lunch, she has to take time sifting through milk cartons to find a new face.
After his father dies by suicide, Drew tries to move forward with life by volunteering at the library where his mom works. The kids love him for his zombie story time sessions and because he’s a generally responsible boy. He helps his mom watch his little brother, Xander and helps cook dinner -- he even mows the lawn. But this summer, three years after his Father’s death, a new girl Audrey starts volunteering at the library too. She’s good with computers and he’s worried she’ll steal his shine — and that’s not even the worst part of his summer. A new man, Phil seems to have ridden into his mother’s life and Drew isn't sure what's up between them. Somehow he begins to think that Phil might be his father.
Eve, Sophie, and Nessa are three different girls in Ford middle-school whose lives are changed when their names appear on "The Prettiest" list posted online by someone called "LordTesla." Sophie is the Queen Bee of middle-school who loves makeup and has a legion of female followers. However, she's also hiding the fact that she lives on the poorer side of town and mostly shops at thrift stores and Goodwill. Sophie is distraught to be placed at the number two position on the list.
In That's What Friends Do, Sammie and David are best friends who first met at Little League. As the only girl on the baseball team, Sammie enjoys being one of the guys and she and David get along excellently. She also thinks all the other girls do "girly" things which she feels are not her style. She's convinced herself that she's just better being friends with the boys. Things are great until a new boy, Luke moves into the neighborhood.
Pablo is used to moving around and feeling unmoored. His mama has been packing up and moving every few months since she and his father got separated. Now, they're in the Philippines where mama is working with an animal sanctuary Pablo is struggling to cope with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Things take a somewhat positive turn when "Chiqui," an orphaned Filipino girl with a cleft lip is thrust upon mama.
Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business is the first book in the Mindy Kim series. Mindy and her father have recently moved from the city to a suburb in Florida where she is the only Asian girl in her school. On top of that, Mindy's mom died shortly before their move and her dad is adjusting to being a single parent. Like any normal child, Mindy wants to be liked at her new school. She's fortunate to meet a new friend on her first day, even though the kids complain about the way her Korean lunch smells.
In Efrén Divided, Efrén’s life changes drastically after his mother gets deported. With his father working long hours to care for the family financially and also raise funds to bring his mother back to the States, Efrén has to take charge of the home front. He cares for his younger twin siblings, Max and Mia, while balancing schoolwork and school politics as well as his issues with his best friend, David.
The World Ends in April is author Stacy McAnulty's sophomore middle-grade novel. Her strong-willed protagonist Eleanor Dross's grandfather is a survivalist. When a renowned scientist begins to spread news of an impending asteroid hit, Eleanor gets caught up in end-of-the-world propaganda. Along with Mack she starts a survivalist club at school. The club attracts some unexpected members, including Eleanor's nemesis, Londyn. But as the kids prepare for TEOTWAWKI (the End of the World as We Know It), they learn more about each other and life than they expect.