The Best At It by Maulik PancholyWhat it’s about: Nervous about fitting in as he starts seventh grade, Rahul takes his grandfather’s advice and sets out to find one thing he’s good at and become the best at it.
What happens: While fending off bullies and fostering a crush on classmate Justin, Rahul throws himself into football, acting, Mathletes...he’s got to be good at something, right?
About the author: This funny, honest, and hopeful book is the first by actor Maulik Pancholy -- you might know him as the voice of Sanjay from TV's Sanjay and Craig.
Roll With It by Jamie SumnerWhat it’s about: Twelve-year-old baker Ellie just wants to perfect her pie recipes, but when her grandfather’s Alzheimer's gets worse, Ellie and her mom move to be near him -- and Ellie, who has cerebral palsy, has to deal with being "the new kid in the wheelchair" at school.
Why you might like it: From sarcastic, spirited Ellie to her quirky new friends to her overprotective mom, you’ll want to spend time with the characters in this fast-moving read.
2019 books you might have missed!
This Was Our Pact by Ryan AndrewsWhat it’s about: Every year, during the Autumn Equinox Festival, the whole town gathers to send paper lanterns down the river. This year, a group of boys pledge to follow the lanterns and find out where they go.
What happens: The boys encounter odd sights (a telephone in the middle of a stream?) and meet even odder characters (a stylish talking fisherbear).
Art alert: Eerie blue and red illustrations highlight the dreamy, unreal feeling of this graphic novel.
To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan & Meg WolitzerWhat it is: a collection of emails from Bett and Avery, two girls who’ve just learned that their single dads have been secretly dating each other.
What happens: The girls are sent off to summer camp, and despite their annoyance at being thrown together, they start to become friends.
Why you might like it: Bett and Avery’s clever, funny messages help to balance out the serious moments in this offbeat read about the importance of family.
The Bridge Home by Padma VenkatramanFeaturing: Viji and Rukku, two sisters who run away from their abusive father; Mathu and Arul, two homeless boys who sell recycled trash on the streets of Chennai, India; Kutti, a lovable stray dog; and the abandoned bridge that provides shelter for them all.
Is it for you? These characters’ lives aren’t easy, but if you enjoy sad, realistic stories that are deeply felt, The Bridge Home might be your kind of book.
Spy Runner by Eugene YelchinWhat it’s about: It’s 1953 in the U.S., and 12-year-old Jack’s suspicion that his mom’s new tenant might be a Russian spy kicks off an adventure just as dangerous as those of Spy Runner, Jack’s favorite comic book hero.
Why you might like it: Fascinating photos and tons of twists will keep you guessing throughout this historical thriller.
Try this next: Avi’s Catch You Later, Traitor, another suspenseful story set during the height of the anti-Communist “Red Scare.”
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 10-13!