Coming up next Monday is  a Merry Christmas Marvelous Middle Grade Monday. I’ll have the Golden Cup Awards revealing my favorite moments from MG books. There’s also a giveaway of two $25 Amazon gift cards (Get the gift you really wanted!).

I realize many of you will be celebrating and not blogging, but either way if you provided a link at any time the past two months at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE, I’ll provide a link to your blog as a reminder to readers of all the superb Middle Grade bloggers.

If you do have a post scheduled for Christmas just let me know. Email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com

 (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and for spreading the middle grade love!

*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.


New releases coming up in 2018 have me anticipating another great year for Middle Grade books. Here are five on the top of my list:

THE LAST GRAND ADVENTURE by Rebecca Behrens (March 20, 2018)

It’s 1967 and twelve-year-old Bea is in need of some adventure. Her mother is off in San Francisco, while her father has just gotten remarried in Los Angeles. Bea has gained a younger stepsister, and she’s not thrilled about her blended family. So when her ailing grandmother, Pidge, moves to an Orange County senior-living community and asks if Bea would spend the summer helping her get settled, Bea is happy for any excuse to get away.

But it turns out, her grandmother isn’t interested in settling in. What she really wants is to hop a train back to Atchison, Kansas—where she thinks she’ll be reunited with her long-missing sister: Amelia Earhart. And she wants Bea to be her sidekick on this secret trip.

At first, Bea thinks her grandmother’s plan is a little crazy. But Pidge has thirty years of letters written in “Meelie’s” unmistakable voice, all promising to reunite. This might be the adventure Bea needs…

With letters in hand, Bea and Pidge set off on their quest to find Amelia. But getting halfway across the country proves to be more of an adventure than either of them bargained for. And their search for Amelia leads to some surprising truths about their family—and each other.

FRONT DESK by Kelly Yang (May 29, 2018)

Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.

Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.

Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.

Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?

It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?

PLAYING ATARI with SADAM HUSSEIN by Jennifer Roy (Feb. 6, 2018)

At the start of 1991, eleven-year-old Ali Fadhil was consumed by his love for soccer, video games, and American television shows. Then, on January 17, Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein went to war with thirty-four nations lead by the United States.

Over the next forty-three days, Ali and his family survived bombings, food shortages, and constant fear. Ali and his brothers played soccer on the abandoned streets of their Basra neighborhood, wondering when or if their medic father would return from the war front. Cinematic, accessible, and timely, this is the story of one ordinary kid’s view of life during war.

THE DOLLAR KIDS by Jennifer Richard Jacobson (August 7, 2018)

Twelve-year-old Lowen Grover, a budding comic-book artist, is still reeling from the shooting death of his friend Abe when he stumbles across an article about a former mill town giving away homes for just one dollar. It not only seems like the perfect escape from Flintlock and all of the awful memories associated with the city, but an opportunity for his mum to run her very own business. Fortunately, his family is willing to give it a try. But is the Dollar Program too good to be true? The homes are in horrible shape, and the locals are less than welcoming. Will Millville and the dollar house be the answer to the Grovers’ troubles? Or will they find they’ve traded one set of problems for another? From the author of Small as an Elephant and Paper Things comes a heart-tugging novel about guilt and grief, family and friendship, and, above all, community.

DRUM ROLL, PLEASE by Lisa Jenn Bigelow (June 26, 2018)

Every heart has its own rhythm.

Melissa Goodwin only joined the school band because her best friend Olivia begged her to. But to her surprise, quiet Melly loves playing the drums. It’s the only time she doesn’t feel like a mouse.

Now, she and Olivia are excited to spend two weeks at Camp Rockaway, jamming under the stars in the Michigan woods. But the day before they leave, Melly’s parents share major news: they’re getting divorced.

Hundreds of miles from home, Melly’s life is thrown further out of sync when she meets her new bandmate, Adeline. Adeline, with her sandpaper voice and beat-up guitar, helps Melly feel confident when Melly feels anything but. And at night, when the girls in her tent compare crushes, Melly finds she isn’t thinking about boys. She’s thinking about Adeline.

To top it all off, Melly and Olivia seem to be growing apart, and Melly has to find her voice as a drummer in time for the end-of-camp show.

Will she be able to make music from all the noise in her heart?




About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Book Lists, New Release and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to LOOKING FORWARD TO 2018

  1. There are some good books in the new year. I liked the ones you shared. You’ve done a great job with MMGM and I’ve enjoyed working with you! Merry Christmas!

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