Middle Grade Fiction

The Deep-Sea Duke by Lauren James

When Hugo and Ada travel to their friend Dorian’s planet for the holidays, android Hugo is anxious about being accepted by Dorian’s powerful family. But when they arrive on Hydrox, there are more pressing things to worry about, as the planet has been overrun by refugee butterflies. Displaced from their home by climate change, the butterflies have been offered sanctuary by Dorian’s parents, but they’re quickly running out of space. Meanwhile, beneath the seas, a strange creature is wreaking all kinds of havoc …
Can Hugo, Dorian and Ada step in before the crisis gets out of control?

The sequel to The Starlight Watchmaker is particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 12+. 

Categories: Science Fiction, Dyslexia-friendly, Romance, Scavenger hunt

Published by Barrington Stoke (Feb 2021)

The Last Wild by Piers Torday

In a world where animals no longer exist, twelve-year-old Kester Jaynes sometimes feels like he hardly exists either. Locked away in a home for troubled children, he’s told there’s something wrong with him. So when he meets a flock of talking pigeons and a bossy cockroach, Kester thinks he’s finally gone crazy. But the animals have something to say. And they need him. The pigeons fly Kester to a wild place where the last creatures in the land have survived. A wise stag needs Kester’s help, and together they must embark on a great journey, joined along the way by an overenthusiastic wolf cub, a military-trained cockroach, a mouse with a ritual for everything, and a stubborn girl named Polly. The animals saved Kester Jaynes. But can Kester save the animals?

Categories: Middle Grade, Animals, Dystopia, Fantasy

Published by Viking Books (out now)

Burning Sunlight by Anthea Simmons

Zaynab is from Somaliland, a country that doesn’t exist because of politics and may soon be no more than a desert. Lucas is from rural Devon, which might as well be a world away. When they meet, they discover a common cause: the climate crisis. Together they overcome their differences to build a Fridays For Future group at their school and fight for their right to protest and make a real impact on the local community. But when Zaynab uncovers a plot which could destroy the environment and people’s lives back home in Somaliland, she will stop at nothing to expose it. Lucas must decide if he is with her or against her – even if Zaynab’s actions may prove dangerous…

Categories: Middle Grade, Politics, Activism

Published by Anderson Press (April 2021)

Beauty and the Bin by Joanne O’Connell

Parents are humiliating – especially when they’re eco-warriors.

Laurie loves her family and she wants to join them in making the world a better place. But right now, she doesn’t want to fish food out of bins, she wants to wear a pair of ordinary tights and have the money to order a hot chocolate at the café after school.

When a competition comes to Silverdale High looking for the next generation of entrepreneurs, Laurie finds herself unexpectedly in the spotlight. The homemade beauty remedies and potions that she has been posting online are stealing the show, and the most popular girl in the school wants to team up for the win. It seems like Laurie can achieve normality – and even popularity – at last. But will her eco-warrior family accept that she no longer wants to be part of their close-knit gang, and can she find success and glory without losing sight of her true self?

Joanne O’Connell’s Beauty and the Bin is a fresh and funny debut about friends, family, school and being a young eco-warrior.

Categories: Middle Grade, Beauty, Activism

Published by Macmillan (Feb 2021)

Crowfall by Vashti Hardy

Cast out from the clockwork island of Ironhold, where mechanical technology controls everything, Orin Crowfall finds himself adrift on a small boat in the middle of the ocean. As Orin and his robot friend Cody struggle to make sense of the events that brought them here, the one thing they know for sure is that Ironhold is in trouble. They need to get back, whatever the cost. Plagued by perilous seas and freak storms, and with a terrifying sea monster on their tail, Orin soon realises their journey won’t be easy. It will take courage and strength, trusting in new friends and embracing the spirit of adventure, if Orin wants to save his home.

Categories: Middle Grade, Ocean, Ecology

Published by Scholastic (July 2021)

Across the Risen Sea by Bren MacDibble

Neoma and Jag and their small community are ‘living gentle lives’ on high ground surrounded by the risen sea. When strangers from the Valley of the Sun arrive unannounced, the two friends find themselves drawn into a web of secrecy and lies that endangers their whole way of life. Soon daring, loyal, Neoma must set off on a solo mission across the risen sea, determined to rescue her best friend and find the truth that will save their village.

In a post climate change affected world, this adventure with sinkholes, crocodiles, sharks, pirates, floating cities, vertical farms and a mystery to solve poses the question of how we will all live ‘afterwards’. Will kindness and a sense of community win over selfish greed to preserve our planet – and humanity?

Categories: Middle Grade, Science, Ocean, Dystopia

Published by Old Barn Books (out now)

FloodWorld by Tom Huddleston

Kara and Joe spend their days navigating the perilous waterways of a sunken city, scratching out a living in the ruins. But when they come into possession of a mysterious map, they find themselves in a world of trouble. Suddenly everyone’s after them: gangsters, cops and ruthless Mariner pirates in their hi-tech submarines. The two children must find a way to fight back before Floodworld’s walls come tumbling down…

Categories: Middle Grade, Dystopia

Published by Nosy Crow (out now)

Kat Wolfe on Thin Ice by Lauren St. John

The Wolfe Pet Sitting Agency returns to unravel another mystery–and this time, it’s a slippery slope for our heroes and their newfound husky-dog sidekicks! Kat Wolfe on Thin Ice is the third book in the middle-grade series about animals and friendship from award-winning author Lauren St. John.

Best friends Kat Wolfe and her American sidekick Harper Lamb can’t wait to travel from England to join their parents on a winter vacation in a mountain cabin in the Catskill Mountains. But a series of misadventures leave them alone in the wilderness with eight huskies.

When Kat discovers that an argument she witnessed in New York City holds the key to a major crime, she’s certain that it won’t be long until the killers come looking for her. With a snow storm moving in and no way out, detectives Wolfe & Lamb will need the help of some exotic animals if they’re to survive. 

Categories: Middle Grade

Published by Macmillan Children’s Books (Jan 2021)

Melt by Ele Fountain

United by greed and self-interest. But not their own. A boy lives in a remote, snow-bound village with his elderly grandmother. Their traditional way of life is threatened by the changing snow and ice: it melts faster every year. When the sea-ice collapses while he is out hunting, he only just escapes with his life and is left stranded in the Arctic tundra. Meanwhile a girl is trying to adapt to another new school. Her father promises his new job at an oil company will mean they never have to move again, but not long after, his behaviour becomes odd and secretive. When their fates take a drastic turn the girl’s world collides with the boy’s and they find themselves together in a desperate search for survival, and for the truth.

Categories: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Adventure

Published by Pushkin Press (April 2021)

Hope Jones Saves the World by Josh Lacey and Beatriz Castro (Illustrator)

My name is Hope Jones. I am ten years old. I am going to save the world.

Hope Jones’ New Year’s resolution is to give up plastic, and she’s inspiring others to do the same with her website hopejonessavestheworld.com. When she realises her local supermarket seems to stock more unnecessary plastic than food, she makes it her mission to do something about it. She may be just one ten-year-old with a homemade banner, but with enough determination, maybe Hope Jones really can save the world. 

Categories: Middle Grade, Activism, pollution

Published by Anderson Press (out now)

Sky Dancer by Gill Lewis

Joe has always loved the moorlands above his home: the wildness, the freedom, the peace. But since his father died, everything has changed, and the moors are no longer a place of refuge. Now the whole community is divided over the fate of the hen harriers that nest up there in the heather – and Joe is stuck right in the middle, with a choice to make, and a huge secret to keep. Joe can’t do what’s right for everyone. But can he find the strength to fight for what he really believes in? Expert storyteller Gill Lewis presents a beautiful tale of loss, expectation, and change – with an important and thought-provoking environmental message. 

Categories: Middle Grade, Activism, Animals

Published by Oxford University Press (out now)

Where The World Turns Wild by Nicola Penfold

Juniper Greene lives in a walled city from which nature has been banished, following the outbreak of a deadly man-made disease many years earlier. While most people seem content to live in such a cage, she and her little brother Bear have always known about their resistance to the disease, and dream of escaping into the wild. To the one place humans have survived outside of cities. To where their mother is.

When scientists discover that the siblings provide the key to fighting the disease, the pair must flee for their lives. As they cross the barren Buffer Zone and journey into the unknown, Juniper and Bear can only guess at the dangers that lie ahead. Nature can be cruel as well as kind… Will they ever find the home they’ve been searching for? 

Categories: Middle Grade, Dystopia

Published by Little Tiger Press (out now)

The Ballad of Tubs Marshfield by Cara Hoffman

There’s no other place Tubs Marshfield would rather be than singing a song in his perfect little swamp along the Louisiana bayou. His music can make anyone feel happy.

But something terrible is happening within the swamp that even Tubs’ songs can’t fix—and it’s making his neighbors feel sick! No one knows what to do, least of all Tubs.

A mysterious prophecy may hold the key…or send Tubs away from his friends forever.

Categories: Middle Grade, Music, Pollution

Published by HarperCollins (out now)

The Last Bear by Hannah Gold

There are no polar bears left on Bear Island. At least, that’s what April’s father tells her when his scientific research takes them to this remote Arctic outpost for six months. But one endless summer night, April meets one. He is starving, lonely and a long way from home. Determined to save him, April begins the most important journey of her life…

This moving story will win the hearts of children the world over and show them that no one is too young or insignificant to make a difference. The Last Bear is a celebration of the love between a child and an animal, a battle cry for our world and an irresistible adventure with a heart as big as a bear’s.

Categories: Middle Grade, Animals

Published by HarperCollins (Feb 2021)

The Extraordinary Colours of Auden Dare by Zillah Bethell

I am how I’ve always been. My name is Auden Dare. I am eleven years old. Auden Dare has an unusual perspective on life: he cannot see in colour. He’s always had this rare condition – and life is beginning to get harder for Auden. The war for water that is raging across the world is getting a little closer all the time. It hardly rains any more, anywhere. Everyone is thirsty all the time, and grubby, and exhausted. Auden has to learn to live without his father, who is away fighting, and has had to move to a new town with his mother, and start a new school, where everyone thinks he’s a weirdo. But when he meets Vivi Rookmini, a smiling girl bright with cleverness, his hopes begin to lift. It soon becomes clear to Auden, though, that there are some strange things afoot in his new hometown. He and his mother have moved into the old cottage of his recently-dead uncle Jonah Bloom – a scientist and professor at the university. The place is in disarray – and although Auden’s mother tells him it’s because Jonah was a messy old thing, Auden knows differently. Someone else did this – someone who was looking for something of Jonah’s. Auden had heard too that Jonah was working on something that could cure Auden’s condition – could this be it? Then Auden and Vivi make an extraordinary discovery. Hidden away under the shed at the bottom of Jonah’s garden is an enigmatic and ingenious robot, who calls himself Paragon. A talking, walking, human-like robot. Apparently built by Jonah – but why? The answer to this will take Auden and Vivi on a thrilling journey of discovery as they seek to find out just what exactly Paragon is – and what link he has to Auden – and find that the truth is bigger and more wonderful than either of them could have imagined.

Categories: Middle Grade, Dystopia, Robots

Published by Piccadilly Press / Feiwel & Friends (out now)

Effie the Rebel by Laura Wood

Effie is changing the world, one classroom at a time.
Dark forces are at work at Highworth Grange school: the student council has been taken over by a tyrannical villain with his own agenda. But Effie Kostas isn’t about to stand by and watch democracy crumble! She’s leading the resistance – but politics can be a dirty game and Effie will need to keep her wits about her as she faces down the enemy. With the help of her brilliant band of misfit friends, a bad-tempered parrot, and a former nemesis, can Effie save the school she loves before it’s too late?

Categories: Middle Grade, Environmental activism, Politics

Published by Scholastic

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