Thursday, October 29, 2015

2015 Must-Read Middle Grade: November and December 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

Happy Reading!

Dead Possums Are Fair Game by Taryn Souders (November 3)

The world would be a better place without math or messy roommates. At least, that’s what Ella Hunter believes. Life is about keeping order and avoiding long division, fractions, or really anything with an equal sign.

As the end of the school year approaches, the fifth-grade teachers at Victor Waldo Elementary conclude there’s not enough time to complete a new math unit before summer break. Great news for math-phobic Ella, right?

Wrong! The teachers decide instead to have their students host the first-ever Math Fair. And the fair project is worth two major math grades.

Add in one dead possum plus two horrible roommates who come to stay while their house is being renovated, and you have an equation for disaster. Ella is headed for summer school and math tutoring for sure. Can she stop her troubles from multiplying before it’s too late?

A Bitter Magic by Roderick Townley (November 10)

Everything is in place: the packed theater, the Amazing Thummel, and, center stage, the magician's mysterious assistant. Some have called her the most beautiful woman in Europe.

Then, in a swirl of light, she vanishes!

An astounding illusion, but she never reappears. All that remains are a bloodstained white scarf and her daughter, Cisley, who lives in a glass castle and walks her pet lobster each morning by the sea.

Enter Cole, a rambunctious boy from town and Cisley's first true friend. Together they hunt for clues to her mother's disappearance. They puzzle over broken mirrors, ever-shifting labyrinths, a closet full of whispering ball gowns, and a fatal quest for a pure black rose.

Roderic Townley spins a deliciously spooky tale of one girl's journey to discover what's real and what is simply an illusion.

Finding Fortune by Delia Ray (November 10)

Running away from home isn't as easy as Ren thinks it will be. At least she isn't running very far -- just a few miles to the ghost town of Fortune . . . or Mis-Fortune as everyone else calls it. Mis-Fortune on the Mississippi. Supposedly, there's an abandoned school on the outskirts with cheap rooms for rent. Ren knows her plan sounds crazy. But with only a few more weeks until Dad comes home from his tour of duty in Afghanistan, she also knows she has to do something drastic so Mom will come to her senses and stop seeing that creep Rick Littleton for good. 

From the moment she enters the school's shadowy halls, Ren finds herself drawn into its secrets. Every night old Mrs. Baxter, the landlady, wanders the building on a mysterious quest. What could she be up to? And can Mrs. Baxter's outlandish plan to transform the gym into a pearl-button museum ever succeed? With a quirky new friend named Hugh at her side, Ren sets out to solve the mystery that could save Fortune from fading away. But what about her family's future? Can that be saved too?

On the Run by Tristan Bancks (November 17)

One afternoon, four police officers visit Ben Silver’s home. Minutes after they leave, his parents arrive. Ben and his little sister Olive are bundled into the car and told they’re going on a holiday. Which is weird, because Ben’s family never goes on holidays. 

Things aren’t right and Ben knows it. His parents are on the run. So Ben and Olive are running, too. 

Ben’s always dreamt of becoming a detective – his dad even calls him ‘Cop’ because he asks so many questions. Now Ben gathers evidence, jots notes and tries to uncover what his parents have done. The trouble is, if he figures it out, what does he do next? Tell someone? Or keep the secret and live life on the run?

The Rosemary Spell by Virginia Zimmerman (December 1)

Part mystery, part literary puzzle, part life-and-death quest, and chillingly magical, this novel has plenty of suspense for adventure fans and is a treat for readers who love books, words, and clues. 

Best friends Rosie and Adam find an old book with blank pages that fill with handwriting before their eyes. Something about this magical book has the power to make people vanish, even from memory. The power lies in a poem—a spell. When Adam's older sister, Shelby, disappears, they struggle to retain their memories of her as they race against time to bring her back from the void, risking their own lives in the process.

What 2015 books are you looking forward to as the year draws to a close?


  1. You've picked some really interesting sounding ones, Caroline. I was particularly intrigued by ON THE RUN. Now, after I finish all my Cybils reading, I'll have time to put it on my TBR list.

  2. Oh my goodness, all of these sound wonderful! I'm going to try to read all of these, but the premise for THE ROSEMARY SPELL and A BITTER MAGIC are particularly appealing to me this morning :) I'm in a fantasy-ish mood!

    1. I'm not the fantasy person I used to be, so the fact that these compel me means they sound extra good!

  3. I generally prefer magical realism to bit heavier, but all-in fantasy. So some of those titles sound great. For a change of pace, I am looking forward to RUBY REINVENTED by Ronni Arno. I went to college in Maine so the Maine setting alone caught my interest. But the story itself seems like a good one.

  4. This is a wonderful list! Your description of THE ROSEMARY SPELL has me hooked already! There's something about rosemary (the herb, the idea, the aroma) that just haunts me in the nicest way. "Rosemary for remembrance" showed up in my own BOX OF GARGOYLES, come to think of it.
    November will be a very busy month, no doubt about that!


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!