When Jeremy “JB” Barnes is tasked by his research scientist mom and her teammates aboard a research ship to invite a group of scientists aboard their ship for publicity, he makes a huge mistake. Instead of inviting THE Dr. Sidney Miller, he ends up sending an invite to 12-year-old Sidney Miller who’s looking for an engaging, STEM-related science activity for the summer. When he realizes his mistake, he has to conceal Sidney aboard the ship even as they collaborate to help find more publicity for the research work on the Pacific Garbage Patch.
Squad Goals (Hearts & Crafts #1) is the first in a new middle grade series about Mackenzie Miller, a new seventh-grader who calls herself a “maker.” Mackenzie loves projects especially when they involve crafting artsy things or planning things. After her parents’ divorce and her father’s remarriage, it’s just Kenzie and her mom and Kenzie wants her mom to find a boyfriend. Last year, her BFFs also dumped her and Kenzie is convinced she can try to win them back this year while working hard to make new friends. In the spirit of making, she quickly finds herself embroiled in a fundraiser to help get some of the Band kids in her school (she’s also in Band) new instruments. But can Mackenzie balance it all?
12-year-old Wren lives with her mom after her parents’ divorce. Her dad has moved to New York City and married his lover (with whom he was unfaithful to her mother) who is now expecting twins. Wren is also a special effects makeup aficionado. Caught up in a new school, navigating new friendships, and balancing her relationships with her parents — whose relationship with each other is strained — Wren notices her mom has begun behaving strangely.
Big Apple Diaries is Alyssa Bermudez’s graphic memoir detailing her life experiences in New York City between the 7th and 8th grades. Her middle school years also coincide with the attack on 9/11 and the book documents the impact on her and her circle. Prior to that, though, Alyssa is an average tween who attends a Catholic co-ed school, likes doodling, and has a crush on a schoolmate named Alejandro. Her parents are also divorced, so she spends time between each of their apartments in New York.
Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai is the companion title to fan favorite, Keep It Together, Keiko Carter. Jenna and Keiko have remained BFFs after their fall out with Audrey. But Jenna is having a hard time with several life issues. For one, she and her boyfriend have just broken up (but she’s still stuck in the same school newspaper as he is) and now her parents are divorcing. Jenna is coping by keeping her feelings shut in and brooding a lot — until she begins to write an investigative piece for the school newspaper contest. She also starts hanging out at a cute Broadway-themed Diner where she meets a schoolmate Rin Watanabe with whom she argues a lot but begins a tentative friendship. Can Jenna find time for all the things in her life, while addressing her hurt feelings and opening up to those who love her?
In her new graphic memoir, Just Pretend, Tori Sharp shares stories from her life just before the seventh grade. Her parents are divorced, but not quite amicably. They bicker a lot still and because they share custody of Tori and her siblings, Tori is constantly between houses and sometimes wakes up unsure which house she’s in. The strained relationship is understandably hard on her, so she seeks solace in her relationship with her best friend and in storytelling.
50 Middle-Grade books about divorce, separation, or/and blended families. This list features novels and graphic novels by a variety of authors.
Clues to the Universe follows Ro and a boy in her school Benji. In this debut middle grade book told from two points of view, Ro and Benji become lab partners and form a pact to help each other achieve their goals. For Ro, that’s building the rocket she and her dad always meant to build before he died a year ago. And for Benji, it’s not getting a failing grade in science by tacking on to Ro’s science project. But when Benji discovers that a popular comic artist is his estranged father, Ro insists on helping Benji reunite with his father.
Rigel has 365 days to Alaska. After her parents split up, her mom moves Rigel and her two sisters from their Alaskan bush living to Connecticut where their grandmother lives. At first, Rigel hates it in the Connecticut suburbs, even though her sisters seem to be having a better time. They’re excited about the comforts of running water, a television, and malls, among other things. But Rigel yearns for the quiet of bush life, wants to return to the simplicity of hunting animals for food, and being with her dad. So her father promises her that in a year, when he’s earned a bit of money from working, Rigel can return to live with him in Alaska.
Fizzy is the daughter of divorced parents. Her father has remarried and her mother is in a serious relationship. Fizzy is also an excellent cook — so good that she’s entering the Southern Living cook-off. But she has other struggles to contend with. At school, she doesn’t have any real friends, and then her mom announces that she’s marrying her boyfriend, Keane (whom Fizzy dislikes). Fizzy also has to shuttle between both parents’ homes, and she’s constantly feeling like the “leftover” child since both her parents are moving on and forming new families.
I’ve had Solving for M on my TBR for a long time now! Mika and her mom are used to things just being the both of them because her parents divorced when she was a baby. Her dad remarried soon after, and her mom hasn’t yet. She’s a new middle schooler and is enjoying her math class, although the new pod system in their school means she isn’t in the same group as her best friend. Their math teacher is very engaging and asks the kids to keep a semi-private math journal for the math problems they will do during the school year. All is well until Mika’s mom discovers a spot on the back of her leg, which turns out to be a melanoma.