Top Ten Tuesday | July 27, 2021

Posted July 27, 2021 by Kaity in Bookish Memes, Middle Grade, Most Anticipated, Top Ten Tuesday / 8 Comments

Happy Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is a Bookish Meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week’s theme is BOOKS I WANT WITH ME ON A DESERTED ISLAND!

Happy Tuesday! Today’s topic stressed me out. I know it was supposed to be a fun topic about what books you’d want with you on a deserted island, but every time I tried to come up with a list I kept getting sidetracked by all the minutiae. Why am I trapped on a deserted island? Will I have enough tissues with me on this island to make it worth bringing books that might make me cry? Are these books physical or digital copies? Should I get find ten books about escaping from deserted islands instead? and so on and so forth. (but honestly it was mostly the tissues thing- if I have access to an unlimited supply of tissues, why am I stranded on the island to begin with???)

So! I decided to do something completely different! I went ahead and made a list of my most anticipated middle grade books for the rest of 2021! When I made my list for my most anticipated books a few weeks ago, I had a good mix of YA and adult titles, but no middle grade. I decided to rectify that awful mistake today! These books are all middle grade and they all publish between now and New Year’s Eve!

And now without any further ado, here’s this week’s Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday | July 27, 2021Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai by Debbi Michiko Florence
Published on August 3, 2021 by Scholastic Press
Genres: Contemporary, Middle Grade
Pages: 304
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When Jenna Sakai gets dumped over winter break, it confirms what she learned from her parents' messy divorce: Relationships are risky and only lead to disappointment. So even though she still has to see her ex-boyfriend Elliott at newspaper club, Jenna is going to be totally heartless this semester -- no boys, just books.
But keeping her cool isn't always easy. Jenna's chief competition for a big journalism scholarship is none other than Elliott. Her best friend Keiko always seems busy with her own boyfriend. And cute-but-incredibly-annoying Rin Watanabe keeps stealing her booth at the diner she's been hiding at every day after school. Rin is every bit as stubborn and detached as Jenna. And the more Jenna gets to know him, the more intriguing a mystery he seems. Soon Jenna is starting to realize that being a loner is kind of, well, lonely. And letting people in might just be a risk worth taking.

Top Ten Tuesday | July 27, 2021The Many Meanings of Meilan by Andrea Wang
Published on August 17, 2021 by Kokila
Genres: Contemporary, Middle Grade
Pages: 368
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Meilan Hua's world is made up of a few key ingredients: her family's beloved matriarch, Nai Nai; the bakery her parents, aunts, and uncles own and run in Boston's Chinatown; and her favorite Chinese fairy tales.
After Nai Nai passes, the family has a falling-out that sends Meilan, her parents, and her grieving grandfather on the road in search of a new home. They take a winding path cross-country before landing in Redbud, Ohio. Everything in Redbud is the opposite of Chinatown, and Meilan's not quite sure who she is--being renamed at school only makes it worse. She decides she is many Meilans, each inspired by a different Chinese character with the same pronunciation as her name. Sometimes she is Mist, cooling and invisible; other times, she's Basket, carrying her parents' hopes and dreams and her guilt of not living up to them; and sometimes she is bright Blue, the way she feels around her new friend Logan. Meilan keeps her facets separate until an injustice at school shows her the power of bringing her many selves together.

Top Ten Tuesday | July 27, 2021How to Find What You're Not Looking for by Veera Hiranandani
Published on September 14, 2021 by Kokila
Genres: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade
Pages: 384
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Twelve-year-old Ariel Goldberg's life feels like the moment after the final guest leaves the party. Her family's Jewish bakery runs into financial trouble, and her older sister has eloped with a young man from India following the Supreme Court decision that strikes down laws banning interracial marriage. As change becomes Ariel's only constant, she's left to hone something that will be with her always--her own voice.

Top Ten Tuesday | July 27, 2021Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds by Samira Ahmed
Published on September 21, 2021 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Pages: 368
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Author Links: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram

On the day of a rare super blue blood moon eclipse, twelve-year-old Amira and her little brother, Hamza, can’t stop their bickering while attending a special exhibit on medieval Islamic astronomy. While stargazer Amira is wowed by the amazing gadgets, a bored Hamza wanders off, stumbling across the mesmerizing and forbidden Box of the Moon. Amira can only watch in horror as Hamza grabs the defunct box and it springs to life, setting off a series of events that could shatter their world—literally. Suddenly, day turns to night, everyone around Amira and Hamza falls under a sleep spell, and a chunk of the moon breaks off, hurtling toward them at lightning speed, as they come face-to-face with two otherworldly creatures: jinn. The jinn reveal that the siblings have a role to play in an ancient prophecy. Together, they must journey to the mystical land of Qaf, battle a great evil, and end a civil war to prevent the moon—the stopper between realms—from breaking apart and unleashing terrifying jinn, devs, and ghuls onto earth. Or they might have to say goodbye to their parents and life as they know it, forever.… 

Top Ten Tuesday | July 27, 2021The Insiders by Mark Oshiro
Published on September 21, 2021 by HarperCollins
Genres: Contemporary, Middle Grade, Mystery, Queer, Thriller
Pages: 384
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Author Links: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Tumblr

Three kids who don’t belong. A room that shouldn’t exist. A year that will change everything.
San Francisco and Orangevale may be in the same state, but for Héctor Muñoz, they might as well be a million miles apart. Back home, being gay didn’t mean feeling different. At Héctor’s new school, he couldn’t feel more alone.
Most days, Héctor just wishes he could disappear. And he does. Right into the janitor’s closet. (Yes, he sees the irony.) But one day, when the door closes behind him, Héctor discovers he’s stumbled into a room that shouldn’t be possible. A room that connects him with two new friends from different corners of the country—and opens the door to a life-changing year full of magic, friendship, and adventure.

Top Ten Tuesday | July 27, 2021The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy by Anne Ursu
Published on October 12, 2021 by Walden Pond Press
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Pages: 432
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If no one notices Marya Lupu, is likely because of her brother, Luka. And that's because of what everyone knows: that Luka is destined to become a sorcerer.
The Lupus might be from a small village far from the capital city of Illyria, but that doesn't matter. Every young boy born in in the kingdom holds the potential for the rare ability to wield magic, to protect the country from the terrifying force known only as the Dread.
For all the hopes the family has for Luka, no one has any for Marya, who can never seem to do anything right. But even so, no one is prepared for the day that the sorcerers finally arrive to test Luka for magical ability, and Marya makes a terrible mistake. Nor the day after, when the Lupus receive a letter from a place called Dragomir Academy--a mysterious school for wayward young girls. Girls like Marya.
Soon she is a hundred miles from home, in a strange and unfamiliar place, surrounded by girls she's never met. Dragomir Academy promises Marya and her classmates a chance to make something of themselves in service to one of the country's powerful sorcerers. But as they learn how to fit into a world with no place for them, they begin to discover things about the magic the men of their country wield, as well as the Dread itself--things that threaten the precarious balance upon which Illyria is built.

Top Ten Tuesday | July 27, 2021Fifty-Four Things Wrong with Gwendolyn Rogers by Caela Carter
Published on October 19, 2021 by Quill Tree Books
Genres: Contemporary, Middle Grade
Pages: 336
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No one can figure out what Gwendolyn Rogers's problem is--not her mom, or her teachers, or any of the many therapists she's seen. But Gwendolyn knows she doesn't have just one thing wrong with her: she has fifty-four.
At least, according to a confidential school report (that she read because she is #16. Sneaky, not to mention #13. Impulsive). So Gwendolyn needs a plan, because if she doesn't get these fifty-four things under control, she's not going to be able to go to horse camp this summer with her half-brother, Tyler.
But Tyler can't help her because there's only one thing "wrong" with him: ADHD.
And her best friend Hettie can't help her because there's nothing wrong with Hettie. She's perfect.
So Gwendolyn is hopeless until she remembers the one thing that helped her mother when her own life was out of control. Or actually, the twelve things. Can these Twelve Steps that cured her mother somehow cure Gwendolyn too?

Top Ten Tuesday | July 27, 2021Barakah Beats by Maleeha Siddiqui
Published on October 19, 2021 by Scholastic Press
Genres: Contemporary, Middle Grade
Pages: 288
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Twelve-year-old Nimra Sharif has spent her whole life in Islamic school, but now it's time to go to "real school."
Nimra's nervous, but as long as she has Jenna, her best friend who already goes to the public school, she figures she can take on just about anything.
Unfortunately, middle school is hard. The teachers are mean, the schedule is confusing, and Jenna starts giving hijab-wearing Nimra the cold shoulder around the other kids.
Desperate to fit in and get back in Jenna's good graces, Nimra accepts an unlikely invitation to join the school's popular 8th grade boy band, Barakah Beats. The only problem is, Nimra was taught that music isn't allowed in Islam, and she knows her parents would be disappointed if they found out. So she devises a simple plan: join the band, win Jenna back, then quietly drop out before her parents find out.
But dropping out of the band proves harder than expected. Not only is her plan to get Jenna back working, but Nimra really likes hanging out with the band-they value her contributions and respect how important her faith is to her. Then Barakah Beats signs up for a talent show to benefit refugees, and Nimra's lies start to unravel. With the show only a few weeks away and Jenna's friendship hanging in the balance, Nimra has to decide whether to betray her bandmates-or herself.

Top Ten Tuesday | July 27, 2021This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us by Katherine Locke, Nicole Melleby, Eric Bell, Ashley Herring Blake, Lisa Jenn Bigelow, Lisa Bunker, Justina Ireland, Shing Yin Khor, Marieke Nijkamp, Claribel A. Ortega, Molly Knox Ostertag, Alex Gino, Mariama J. Lockington, Mark Oshiro, A.J. Sass, Aida Salazar
Published on October 19, 2021 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genres: Anthology, Contemporary, Middle Grade, Neurodivergent, Queer
Pages: 320
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The first LGBTQIA+ anthology for middle-graders featuring stories for every letter of the acronym, including realistic, fantasy, and sci-fi stories by authors like Justina Ireland, Marieke Nijkamp, Alex Gino, and more!
A boyband fandom becomes a conduit to coming out. A former bully becomes a first-kiss prospect. One nonbinary kid searches for an inclusive atheltic community after quitting gymnastics. Another nonbinary kid, who happens to be a pirate, makes a wish that comes true--but not how they thought it would. A tween girl navigates a crush on her friend's mom. A young witch turns herself into a puppy to win over a new neighbor. A transgirl empowers her online bestie to come out.
From wind-breathing dragons to first crushes, This Is Our Rainbow features story after story of joyful, proud LGBTQIA+ representation. You will fall in love with this insightful, poignant anthology of queer fantasy, historical, and contemporary stories from authors including: Eric Bell, Lisa Jenn Bigelow, Ashley Herring Blake, Lisa Bunker, Alex Gino, Justina Ireland, Shing Yin Khor, Katherine Locke, Mariama J. Lockington, Nicole Melleby, Marieke Nijkamp, Claribel Ortega, Mark Oshiro, Molly Knox Ostertag, Aisa Salazar, and AJ Sass.

Top Ten Tuesday | July 27, 2021Candidly Cline by Kathryn Ormsbee
Published on November 9, 2021 by HarperCollins
Genres: Contemporary, Middle Grade, Queer, Romance
Pages: 320
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Born in Paris, Kentucky, and raised on her gram's favorite country music, Cline Alden is a girl with big dreams and a heart full of song. When she finds out about a young musicians' workshop a few towns over, Cline sweet-talks, saves, and maybe fibs her way into her first step toward musical stardom.
But her big dreams never prepared her for the butterflies she feels surrounded by so many other talented kids--especially Sylvie, who gives Cline the type of butterflies she's only ever heard about in love songs.
As she learns to make music of her own, Cline begins to realize how much of herself she's been holding back. But now, there's a new song taking shape in her heart--if only she can find her voice and sing it.

Are any of these books on your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments below and have a splendiferous week!

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8 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday | July 27, 2021

  1. I love your list. The Many Meanings of Meilan, Amira & Hamza, and The Troubled Girls of Dragonmir Academy look especially good. Natalie @ Literary Rambles

  2. Jo

    I don’t really read middle grade much anymore, I’ve got to the point where I definitely feel like I’ve aged out of it (even though of course you can read any book at any age) but I’m glad you have so many you’re looking forward to.
    Jo recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #326My Profile

  3. I love middle-grade books! It’s always fun to see what’s up and coming in the genre. I actually haven’t heard of most of these, so thanks for the heads-up!

    Happy TTT!


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