The Distance to Home is Jenn Bishop’s debut middle-grade novel. I read and loved her most recent release, Things We Can’t Say about a boy dealing with parental suicide. The Distance to Home focuses on an equally sensitive subject: the death of a sibling. This summer, Quinnen isn’t playing baseball with her team — she decided to quit after her sister, Haley died the summer before. But when her family decides to host a player from a Minor League Baseball team, Quinnen starts to bond with the a couple of the players.
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 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.
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.
Emily’s parents travel to China to adopt her little sister, they learn about Chinese culture and trans-racial/continental adoption. Emily also meets Katherine, a girl her age who was adopted from China and is — unbeknownst to anyone but Emily — looking for her birth mother.
In this slice-of-life middle grade novel, we follow twelve-year-old Jessie who’s staying at her cousin, Ann’s for the summer. Jessie and Ann have grown apart since Ann became friends with a popular girl. Jessie throws herself into trying to score a dog-walking apprenticeship with a grumpy dog-walker, Wes. Things are going well until a new dog-walker moves into town. Jessie’s also dealing with a crush on a new boy in town and of course her nemesis, Ann’s friend.
Can’t Beat the Chemistry is an Australian young adult novel which follows MJ and Luke, two polar opposites. MJ is a super smart half-Asian girl whose parents have extremely high expectations for her future career as a cardiothoracic surgeon. She lives to study, and readers immediately see that she is more than lacking in the social skills department.
Who loves road trips? Road trips always feel like an adventure to me. Now, what books about road trips? I didn’t even realize how much I enjoy this genre until I read these books about road trips. While these books evoke the feeling of a good ol’ road trip, some of them are tearjerkers, others romance, and still others comedy, and even non-fiction.
I’ve read that the best books of the year are released during fall and looking through this list, it’s hard to disagree.