Bea is winning at being a shortstop, finally making headway with her crush, and is excited to go to summer camp with her friends when her dad’s legal license is suspended in a town scandal. Suddenly, she develops a case of the yips and begs her parents to send her to another softball summer camp on Gray Island, where her mom grew up. Throughout the summer, Bea learns more about her parents’ previous marriages and other secrets.
After she and her dad move from Brooklyn to Florida, Bree is excited for her first day in middle school. But also, she’s super anxious about whether she’ll make friends and fit in. Thankfully, she makes a new friend in the housing complex where they live. Unfortunately, when Bree goes to choose her math club elective, it’s fully booked. As a math lover who can’t swim, she’s crushed to hear that the only elective left is swim 101.
New seventh-grader Maggie Diaz is not the most organized person. But she’s trying to become her best self this school year so she can win her parents’ trust and get a new phone by the end of the year. She soon finds out that getting on honor roll is not that easy. Worse still, Maggie’s dealing with so many changes. Her best friends have joined after-school clubs to pursue their interests and have little or no time for Maggie (who can’t seem to find her interests). Since her Abuelo died, her Abuela has become her roommate and Maggie just wants some alone time! Will Maggie find her place and “join the club”?
Golden Girl is Reem Faruqi’s sophomore middle grade novel. I liked her debut, Unsettled, but I loved this one. Afiyah has a problem with taking things (seemed like kleptomania) even when she tries really hard not to. Fortunately, she’s often remorseful and returns the stolen items. She’s shaken when her father is wrongfully arrested for embezzlement at the airport during a family trip. The situation puts a strain on her family and moves Afiyah to strongly examine her tendency to steal — especially after she gets caught in the act.
Fast Pitch is a companion title to Nic Stone’s Clean Getaway, which I really enjoyed! It stars Scoob’s crush Shenice, an U12 softball team captain whose concentration is shot when she stumbles upon a decades-long family mystery. Shenice and her team are preparing to win the Fastpitch World Series, when she discovers that a crime her great-grand father was accused of — which cost him his reputation and place in the Negro leagues — may have actually been a set-up all along. And now, Shenice is the only one who can clear his name.
Golden Macaroni is having a tough year. First, he really wants to get bigger and become the captain of his middle school soccer team. As a dedicated Messi fan, he’s working on putting in ten thousand hours of soccer practice so that he can become as good as Messi. His former-soccer-star father has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). His best friend, Lucy Littlehouse is also moving away from her home next door to Golden’s. Despite his dad’s obvious deterioration, Golden stubbornly believes that his dad will get better. How will he cope with everything on his plate — and the heartbreaking challenges ahead of his family?
Chunky is a new graphic memoir in which Yehudi (Hudi) conjures an imaginary friend/mascot, Chunky to support him through a challenging time in his life. Hudi is a funny kid with a serious interest in comedy Because of childhood illness, Hudi has had one lung removed. He is also chubby with zero athletic prowess, in a family of athletic people. His dad won so many sports trophies in school and encourages Hudi to pick a sport. His mother thinks sports will also help Hudi regulate his weight. And so Hudi begins to try sport after sport — with hilarious results, and Chunky cheering him all the way.
Magic Pointdexter is her family’s “ugly duckling.” Her father is an ex-NBA player, her sister a famous cheerleader, and her late grandmother was also a ceiling-shattering cheerleader. Magic is awkward, chubbier than your typical cheerleader, and loves sweets more than anything else. But she’s decided: she’s going to cheer camp to try her hand out at becoming a Honeybee. Her best friend and child star Capricorn is coming with her (mostly for moral support — Cappie is an athletic, talented dancer). But once they arrive at camp and get sorted into teams by ability, Magic and Cappie’s friendship starts to show cracks.
Books about sports were tricky at first for me. You see, I never enjoyed sports as a child. But the wonderful thing about books is that they open your eyes to a world you haven’t necessarily been a part of. The picks I’ve read on this list of middle-grade books about sports were all massively entertaining for me, despite being heavy on the sport. I’ve also taken care to choose books centered around the specific sport and not just with side characters playing the sport.
In The Kate in Between, Kate McAllister’s life is in need of a refresh. Her mother has left town chasing the highest tier in an MLM scheme and Kate is living with her cop dad and getting driven to school in his police car. When a bunch of popular kids seems to welcome Kate into their clique, she is torn about ditching her longtime best friend, Haddie. Haddie marches to the beat of her own drum and could care less about being accepted. Things get complicated, however, when Kate is a passive participant in a bullying incident that leads to Haddie sinking on thin ice. Then, Kate is captured on camera saving Haddie, and the video goes viral
Bea Is for Blended is Lindsay Stoddard’s fourth middle grade novel. Bea’s mother has married her school arch-nemesis’s father. Bryce (her arch-nemesis) is friends with bullies in Bea’s class and they always make fun of her best friend Maximillian who’s on the autism spectrum. Now, as if it wasn’t bad enough that Bea and Bryce share the exact same birth date, now they’ll also share a house and blended family. In the past, it was always just Bea, her mother, and her grandmother — the Embers girls — and her mother’s friend, Aunt Tam. Now Bea has three step-brothers, two dogs, and a cat, and oh a new sibling on the way!
Summary: Peter Lee’s Notes From the Field Peter Lee’s Notes from the Field is Angela Ahn’s second middle grade novel. Her debut, Krista Kim-Bap is one of my favorites, and this did not disappoint either. Peter, or Petey, as he’s…