Better You Than Me by Jessica BrodyStarring: Ruby Rivera, an ultra-famous TV star who longs to be a typical seventh-grader, and Skylar, a middle school misfit who idolizes Ruby and her glamorous life.
What happens: A magic prop from Ruby's show causes the girls to switch bodies, giving each a chance to live her dream…and begin to wonder if it's what she really wants.
Why you might like it: Ruby and Skylar take turns narrating, making this feel-good fantasy a breeze to read.
Never Evers by Tom Ellen and Lucy IvisonWhat it's about: After getting kicked out of an elite ballet program and transferring back to her old school, Mouse feels out of place on a ski trip with her classmates. Meanwhile, musician Jack embarrasses himself at the talent show, but still hopes for his first kiss during the school snowboarding trip. When Mouse and Jack meet, will it be love at first sight? Or disaster on the slopes?
Read it for: a winning blend of romance and humor.
Monstrous Devices by Damien LoveWhat it's about: British 12-year-old Alex is curious when his grandfather sends him an antique tin robot with a note reading "this one is special," but he doesn't realize just how special the toy is until he and his grandfather are chased across Europe by blood-fueled automatons and human assassins.
Why you might like it: If you prefer unusual fantasy, you don't want to miss the intrigue, suspense, and genuine scares in this fast-paced read.
The Flooded Earth by Mardi McConnochieIn a world... where floodwaters cover much of the planet Earth, twins Annalie and Will search for their fugitive father while trying to avoid pirates, cannibals, and the corrupt Admiralty.
Is it for you? If you're looking for a gripping seafaring story that will make you think and keep you turning pages, The Flooded Earth might float your boat.
Look for: The sequel, The Castle in the Sea, on shelves in June 2019.
Gamer Army by Trent ReedyWhat it's about: At age 12, Rogan is already one of top players of the virtual reality game Laser Viper. When he's invited to compete in an elite tournament, Rogan soon begins to suspect that there's more than the championship at stake.
Why you might like it: Each Laser Viper mission is shown from multiple points of view, allowing readers to follow the action like a playthrough.
The Silver Gate by Kristin BaileyWhat it's about: After they flee from the cruelty of their village, Wynn (who's wise, kind, and developmentally disabled) and Elric (her caring, skeptical brother) search for the fabled fairy realm, where all children are welcome.
Series alert: If you want to know what's next for this authentic sibling duo, look for the sequel, Into the Nightfell Wood, in April 2019.
For fans of: Shannon Hale and Jessica Day George.
Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded by Sage BlackwoodWhat happens: All of the adult sorceresses at Miss Ellicott's School for Magical Maidens have disappeared, leaving talented student Chantel searching for a way to get them back -- and also protect the city from invading Marauders.
Read it for: clever humor, a take-charge black heroine, and quirky magic-school adventure.
Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie HaskellWhat it's about: Princess Tilda never thought she'd find herself chasing dragons -- she was born with a twisted foot, and she longs to be a writer, not an adventurer. But after escaping both a kidnapper and her responsibilities, Tilda agrees to join her friends on an epic quest to slay dragons...or, in Tilda's case, write about them.
You might also like: the charming fantasy settings and relatable, well-drawn heroines in Gail Carson Levine's books.
Mighty Jack by Ben HatkeIntroducing: Jack, who shoulders a lot of responsibility while his busy mom works, and who might be in over his head after his sister Maddy, who has autism and rarely talks, insists on trading their mom's car for seeds that produce magical, monstrous plants.
Series alert: This eye-catching fairy tale remix is the 1st in a graphic novel series, followed by Mighty Jack and the Goblin King, with an exciting crossover, Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl, on the way.
The Night Parade by Kathryn TanquaryWhat it's about: While reluctantly visiting her grandmother's remote village (you can't even get a phone signal there!), Saki Yamamoto accidentally brings a death curse on her family. To break it, she'll have to follow three guides -- a four-tailed fox, a raccoon-like tanuki, and a feathery tengu -- into the perilous spirit world.
Why you might like it: The Night Parade pairs Japanese folklore with a modern heroine who's both flawed and brave.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 10-13!
If you are having trouble unsubscribing to this newsletter, please contact NextReads at 919-489-3713, 3710 Mayfair Street, Durham, NC 27707