Felix Yz by Lisa BunkerScience Fiction. ZeroDay is approaching for 13-year-old Felix Yz. As a little kid, Felix was accidentally fused with a fourth-dimensional alien called Zyx, and now the date has been set for Felix and Zyx to undergo a high-risk separation procedure. As they count down to what might be their final day, Felix (with lots of interruptions from Zyx) pours his feelings into a secret blog, describing his lovably quirky family, his comic book project, his crush on classmate Hector, and his fears about the procedure. Filled with diverse characters, this blend of realistic fiction and science fiction is "joyful, heartbreaking, completely bonkers, and exuberantly alive" (Kirkus Reviews).
Mango Delight by Fracaswell HymanFiction. Winning the Girls on Track race would be exciting for 7th-grader Mango -- if only her best friend Brooklyn and her queen-bee nemesis Hailey Joanne weren't such sore losers. Soon, Mango's social life is in a tailspin with serious consequences, leaving her feeling shaken and betrayed. Thankfully, a part in the school play helps her find some confidence, as well as some surprising new friendships. If you relate to the authentic characters and middle school drama in Mango Delight, you might also want to try Frances O'Roark Dowell's The Secret Language of Girls series.
This Would Make a Good Story Someday by Dana Alison LevyFiction. Family togetherness is the last thing that Sara Johnston-Fischer wants from her summer. It's only under protest that she joins the whole embarrassing clan (two moms, loudmouth little sister Ladybug, activist older sister Laurel, and Laurel's boyfriend Root) on an epic train trip across the U.S. With prickly humor and reluctant enjoyment, Sara's journal entries recount the places her family visits, the "New Train Friends" they make, and the unexpected changes that happen along the way. Fans of author Dana Alison Levy's Family Fletcher books will recognize some familiar characters in this offbeat slice of life.
The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship by Philip Pullman; illustrated by Fred FordhamGraphic Novel Adventure. Shipwrecked and nearly drowned, Australian teen Serena is pulled from the ocean -- only to find herself in more danger. She's been rescued by the ghost ship Mary Alice, which is being pursued by an American investigator, a British Naval spy, and a scheming tech tycoon. They -- and now Serena -- are all caught in the complex web that surrounds one member of the ship's crew: teenage time traveler John Blake. Sweeping artwork captures the futuristic technology and adrenaline-fueled action in this inventive graphic novel written by popular author Philip Pullman.
The Shadow Cipher by Laura RubyFantasy/Mystery. No one has ever solved the Old York Cipher. Built long ago by the Morningstarr twins -- the architects who created New York City's solar streets, sideways elevators, and Underway trains -- the Cipher is a city-wide puzzle that's supposed to lead to treasure. And treasure is just what seventh-graders Tess, Theo, and Jaime need to save their beloved old apartment building. The trio's daring hunt for clues will intrigue mystery and fantasy fans alike, and will leave you looking forward to the next book in this imaginative new trilogy set in an alternate version of New York.
A Pocket Full of Murder by R.J. AndersonFantasy/Mystery. In Tarreton, money and magic are hoarded by the wealthy few, leaving the poor to scrape by with basic spells. As lower-class Moshites, Isaveth and her family face injustice every day, but never more so than when their father is accused of murdering a high-profile citizen. Intent on proving her father's innocence, Isaveth -- aided by a curiously helpful street boy named Quiz -- sets out on a quest to find the real murderer. If you love diving into vivid fantasy worlds with their own complicated systems of religion, magic, and politics, you won't want to miss A Pocket Full of Murder (or its sequel, A Little Taste of Poison).
Hold Fast by Blue BalliettMystery. After her father disappears off the bitter cold streets of Chicago, and a devastating break-in forces her family to move to a homeless shelter, bright, determined fifth-grader Early Pearl begins to suspect that the clues she needs to reunite her family are hidden in the Langston Hughes book her father left behind. Combining Blue Balliett’s distinctive brand of clever mystery with the harsh but hopeful struggle of a family in a tough situation, this touching, compassionate novel is sure to captivate readers long after they've turned the last page.
Chasing Secrets by Gennifer CholdenkoHistorical Mystery. Despite the lack of science classes at her fancy finishing school, 13-year-old Lizzie Kennedy hopes to become a doctor. It's an unusual ambition for a girl in 1900, but Lizzie is smart and curious. That curiosity leads her to question the rumors of a bubonic plague outbreak in Chinatown, especially after Chinatown is quarantined and Jing (the Kennedys' cook and father to Lizzie's friend Noah) is trapped inside. Blending strange-but-true history with politics and mystery, Chasing Secrets will captivate readers of all kinds. For another visit to San Francisco with author Gennifer Choldenko, check out the Al Capone at Alcatraz series, beginning with Al Capone Does My Shirts.
Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking by Erin DionneMystery. A shocking family revelation turns a carefree summer into a high-stakes scavenger hunt for feisty math geek Moxie. Years ago, Moxie's grandfather hid several stolen and extremely valuable paintings from infamous mob boss Sully Cupcakes, and now Sully wants his paintings back…or else. Her grandfather's memory isn't what it used to be, but Moxie and her best friend Ollie are up to the task of dodging the mobsters and tracking down the hidden masterpieces. Fans of Blue Balliett's books will appreciate the likable characters and twisty puzzles in this mystery inspired by a real (and still unsolved) theft from Boston's Isabella Gardner Museum.
Murder is Bad Manners by Robin StevensHistorical Mystery. Thoughtful Hazel Wong keeps a low profile, unlike her best friend Daisy Wells, who is the queen bee of their boarding school. Both girls, however, are smarter than they let on, and neither can resist a good mystery. Together they form the covert Wells & Wong Detective Society, uncovering secrets about their classmates and solving small cases, until a murder at the school presents them with their biggest sleuthing opportunity yet. Set in 1934 England, this smart, suspenseful series starter is sure to grab mystery-lovers. For another whodunit set at a British boarding school, try Esme Kerr's The Girl with the Glass Bird.
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