In Raina Telgemeier's Sisters, Raina and her little sister's relationship is under the microscope. Despite having always prayed for a little sister, Raina realizes as soon as her sister comes home with her parents that things may not exactly have worked out as she planned. Her sister is a fussy baby and often moody toddler who likes to play by herself. Plus, Raina herself has to learn to share space and time -- and of course, she struggles in the beginning. The sisters squabble over the years until a three-week family road trip from California to Colorado changes everything.
In Summer at Meadow Wood, Vic and her little brother have been sent off to summer camp for eight weeks. Although summer at Meadow Wood seems to be a regular occurrence, Vic is convinced that the reason they've been "shipped off" this time is different. Besides things are going poorly between her parents. As a result, she's not excited to be there. Still, she tries to make it work, reconnecting with her friends in Yarrow camp while trying to be a good camp sister to a younger camper, Vera.
Guts is based on Telegmeier's experience with anxiety as a tween. After a case of the stomach flu in their family, Raina becomes terrified of vomit and vomiting. Her anxiety manifests physically as a stomachache which further exacerbates her fear of vomiting and intensifies her anxiety. Her parents take her to see a doctor who after multiple tests assures them that Raina is "healthy as a horse." Unsure what to do next, they take her to see a therapist.
In Caterpillar Summer, Cat and her brother Chicken spend a lot of time together because no one knows how to calm him down like she does. Chicken hates loud noises and is obsessed with sharks. Since their father (who was Black) died, their mom (who is White) has had to work longer hours to provide for them. It doesn't help that she actually LOVES her job and is sometimes a bit too eager to leave Cat in charge of her brother.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Summary: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone In Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, licensed therapist Lori Gottlieb pulls back the curtain on the process of therapy while analyzing the lives of four of her clients and the way they relate to hers. The four clients -- John (a seemingly narcissistic TV producer), Charlotte (a [...]
Kat Greene lives in New York City with her mom and attends an unconventional middle-school (where no one gets disciplined). Since her parents' divorce and her mom's job loss, Kat's mom has been cleaning and washing her hands a bit too often. Her hands are red and chapped, and she has to wipe down cans at the grocery store before she can buy them -- no matter how long it takes.
Keep It Together, Keiko Carter is Debbi Michiko Florence's middle-grade debut. Keiko is thrilled that her two BFFs, Jenna and Audrey, are reuniting with her after their first ever summer apart. But when Jenna returns from Texas, she's doesn't seem to fit back in seamlessly anymore -- probably because they stopped texting each other after a while. It doesn't help that Audrey seems boy-crazy and has never really gotten on too well with Jenna anyway.
In Ways to Make Sunshine, Ryan Hart and her family are moving to a new (old) house because her dad lost his post office job and his new job doesn't pay as much. Ryan is unhappy about the change for many reasons. She liked their old house, and even though she has her own room in this new house, this house is a smaller bungalow, which means there will be no stairs to play on. She also fears that it will be too small to entertain guests, because Ryan loves to create new recipes -- and cook them!
In Broken Strings, Shirli Berman has her eyes set on a role in her school's play. It's 2002 and just after the Twin Towers and the death of Shirli's grandmother. Even though she doesn't eventually score her desired role, she ends up playing another one of the key roles anyway. To add to it, her stage husband is Ben Morgan, the most popular boy in school. At the same time, Shirli is also learning about her family's history from her grandfather (Zayde) who has been silent on the matter his entire adult life.