Kudos to all the amazing writers who put in the work this year. Whether or not your book is on this list, you wrote a book! And I'm sure many people read and loved yours even if I either didn't get the chance to read it or love it as much.
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.
In Braced, Rachel Brooks has finally scored a spot as a forward on her soccer team. She just needs one more doctor's visit to check on her scoliosis -- one she hopes will be the last. Unfortunately, the doctor has bad news for her: the curve has worsened and she'll have to wear a back brace. Worse still, she needs to be in a back brace for twenty-three hours a day. How will she still play soccer? What will her friends think? And what about Tate, the boy she's crushing on?
Twelve-year-old Ellie is a sassy, determined baker. It just so happens that she also has cerebral palsy and has to use a wheelchair. Her dad couldn't deal with her being ill at birth (and for months after), so he pretty much skipped out on her and her mom who's been her #1 advocate. When Ellie's grandfather's Alzheimer's takes a turn for the worse, Ellie and her mom move into her grandparents trailer in Oklahoma to help out for six months.
Bryan loves comics and hanging out with his mom -- and even his big sister sometimes -- with no drama. His dad has a temper and has been in jail for some misdemeanor. Now though, he's on parole, and it seems like things may be looking up. But when a new boy his age, Mike, worms his way into Bryan's family, it appears Bryan may have a new friend.
In Strange Birds, four girls form an unlikely friendship that leads to activism. Ofelia Castillo (budding journalist), Aster Douglas (bookish foodie), Cat Garcia (bird aficionado), and Lane DiSanti (artist) are as different as can be. But when the Floras -- their local Scout troop -- plans to crown its next queen with a hat of feathers, the girls band together to fight for birds.