Thursday, April 30, 2015

Must Read Mid-Grade for 2015: May Edition by Caroline Starr Rose

There are so many incredible middle-grade titles releasing this year, I decided to dedicate my posts these next months to sharing as many as I can with you. My list is not exclusive and is actually just the tip of the iceberg. I hope these glimpses get you excited enough to ask your library to purchase a copy or buy one yourself. All descriptions are taken from

A whole lotta books this month are from debut authors. Go, debuts, and happy reading!

Wilder Boys -- Brandon Wallace (May 5)

Two brothers will need all their wilderness skills to survive when they set off into the woods of Wyoming in search of their absent father.

Jake and Taylor Wilder have been taking care of themselves for a long time. Their father abandoned the family years ago, and their mother is too busy working and running interference between the boys and her boyfriend, Bull, to spend a lot of time with them. Thirteen-year-old Jake spends most of his time reading. He pours over his father’s journal, which is full of wilderness facts and survival tips. Eleven-year-old Taylor likes to be outside playing with their dog, Cody, or joking around with the other kids in the neighborhood.

But one night everything changes. 

The Sound and Life of Everything -- Krista Van Dolzer (May 5)

Twelve-year-old Ella Mae Higbee is a sensible girl. She eats her vegetables and wants to be just like Sergeant Friday, her favorite character on Dragnet. So when her auntie Mildred starts spouting nonsense about a scientist who can bring her cousin back to life from blood on his dog tags, Ella Mae is skeptical—until he steps out of a bio-pod right before her eyes.

But the boy is not her cousin—he’s Japanese. And in California in the wake of World War II, the Japanese are still feared and despised. When her aunt refuses to take responsibility, Ella Mae and her Mama take him home instead. Determined to do what’s right by her new friend, Ella Mae teaches Takuma English and defends him from the reverend’s talk of H-E-double-toothpicks. But when his memories start to resurface, Ella Mae learns some shocking truths about her own family and more importantly, what it means to love.

The Runaway’s Gold - Emilie Christie Burack (May 12)

The year is 1842, and thirteen-year-old Christopher Robertson and his family are struggling to survive in Shetland, a cluster of islands off the northern coast of Scotland.  Poverty, hunger, and being in debt are all they've known, until an unexpected twist of fate changes Christopher's life forever.

When John, Christopher's devious brother, frames him for the theft of their father's secret pouch of coins, Christopher embarks on a journey to return the coins and clear his good name.

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer - Kelly Jones (May 12)

Twelve-year-old Sophie Brown feels like a fish out of water when she and her parents move from Los Angeles to the farm they’ve inherited from a great-uncle. But farm life gets more interesting when a cranky chicken appears and Sophie discovers the hen can move objects with the power of her little chicken brain: jam jars, the latch to her henhouse, the entire henhouse....

And then more of her great-uncle’s unusual chickens come home to roost. Determined, resourceful Sophie learns to care for her flock, earning money for chicken feed, collecting eggs. But when a respected local farmer tries to steal them, Sophie must find a way to keep them (and their superpowers) safe.

Wild Boy and the Black Terror -- Rob Lloyd Jones (May 12)

London, 1842. Wild Boy, master detective and former freak-show performer, and Clarissa, circus acrobat and troublemaker, are the secret last hope of a city beset by horror. A poisoner stalks the streets, leaving victims mad with terror—and then dead. Can the Black Terror be traced to a demon called Malphas? With their partnership threatened by rules and regulations, can Wild Boy and Clarissa uncover a cure in time to save the queen and the city?

Joshua and the Lightning Road: The Lost Realm - Donna Galanti* (May 19)

Twelve-year-old Joshua Cooper learns the hard way that lightning never strikes by chance when a bolt strikes his house and whisks away his best friend—possibly forever. To get him back, Joshua must travel the Lightning Road to a dark world where stolen human kids are work slaves and ruled by the frustrated heirs of the Greek Olympians who come to see Joshua as the hero prophesied to restore their lost powers. New friends come to Joshua’s aid and while battling beasts and bandits and fending off the Child Collector, Joshua’s mission quickly becomes more than a search for his friend—it becomes the battle of his life.

*A Project Mayhem author!

What new releases are you looking forward to?


  1. Caroline, thanks for mentioning Joshua and the Lightning Road! And these others sound so fun and full of adventure! I love survival tales (like the amazing Surviving Bear Island by our very own Paul Greci!) so the Wilder Boys is right up my alley.

    1. I'm a huge survival fan, so this is right up my alley, too. Congrats on your release, Donna!

  2. So much good stuff to read. I need to hole up in a cave for months and just read, read, read...

  3. These are all on my radar! My plans for the summer are holing up on my front porch and reading for as much time as I can, Michael!


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!