Toppsta - Childrens Books – Reviews

Best New Middle Grade Books

31st October 2019

Best Middle Grade Books

We're so fortunate to hear about new books BEFORE they're published and are delighted to present our top picks coming next year. They are so HOT OFF THE PRESS that some of them don't even have covers yet but we're delighted to share what we know, so you can feast your eyes and plan your 2020 reading. You heard it here first!

Toppsta
2019-11-13
Best New Middle Grade Books
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Shadowsea (Jan)

The Cogheart series by Peter Bunzl has so many fans and I'm personally, such a fan. This is the fourth and final adventure with Lily, Robert and Malkin and is sure to be an absolute treat. If you're not familiar with the series, start with Book #1: Cogheart.

Swept into the bright hustle and bustle of New York, Lily, Robert and Malkin discover shadowy secrets lie beneath its surface. For there are chilling goings-on in their hotel... A strange boy held captive, haunted by an undersea mystery; and a revengeful villain with a treacherous plan. Searching for clues, Robert and Lily are plunged into deep water... But can they reveal the deadly truth before the secrets submerge them? 

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The Kid Who Came From Space (Jan)

The stunning new 10+ story from the bestselling and award-winning author of TIME TRAVELLING WITH A HAMSTER, for anyone who loved the humour of WALL-E, the action of STAR WARS and the deeply touching emotion of ET.

A small village in the wilds of Northumberland is rocked by the disappearance of twelve-year-old Tammy. Only her twin brother, Ethan, knows she is safe - and the extraordinary truth of where she is. It is a secret he must keep, or risk never seeing her again.

But that doesn't mean he's going to give up.

Together with his friend Iggy and the mysterious (and very hairy) Hellyann, Ethan teams up with a spaceship called Philip, and Suzy the trained chicken, for a nail-biting chase to get his sister back... that will take him further than anyone has ever been before.

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Nothing Ever Happens Here (Jan)

"This is Littlehaven. Nothing ever happens here. Until the spotlight hits my family." Izzy's family is under the spotlight when her dad comes out as Danielle, a trans woman. Izzy is terrified her family will be torn apart. Will she lose her dad? Will her parents break up? And what will people at school say? Izzy's always been shy, but now all eyes are on her. Can she face her fears, find her voice and stand up for what's right?

This is a really special middle-grade debut which contains some big issues but told in the most accessible way. The author, Sarah Hagger-Holt works at Stonewall and was inspired to write the story following many conversations with trans parents and their children.

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Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow Book 3 (Feb)

Return to the magical world of Nevermoor, where Morrigan Crow's adventures continue. If you want to start at the beginning, you'll need to begin with Book #1: Nevermoor.

Morrigan Crow and her friends have survived their first year as proud scholars of the elite Wundrous Society, helped bring down the nefarious Ghastly Market, and proven themselves loyal to Unit 919. Now Morrigan faces a new, exciting challenge: to master the mysterious Wretched Arts, and control the power that threatens to consume her.

But a strange and frightening illness has taken hold of Nevermoor, turning infected Wunimals into mindless, vicious Unnimals on the hunt. As victims of the Hollowpox multiply, panic spreads. And with the city she loves in a state of fear, Morrigan quickly realises it's up to her to find a cure for the Hollowpox, even if it will put her - and everyone in Nevermoor - in more danger than she ever imagined.

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A Sprinkle of Sorcery (Feb)

From the bestselling author of A PINCH OF MAGIC comes another spellbinding adventure that will take your breath away and make you believe in magic.

A missing sister, a secret island and ... a sprinkle of sorcery.

The family curse has been lifted and the Widdershins sisters: Betty, Fliss and Charlie are free to leave the misty prison isle of Crowstone. But when a mysterious girl arrives at the Poacher's Pocket with a pocketful of hagstones and accompanied by a will-o'-the-wisp, it seems another adventure has landed on their doorstep. And when Charlie goes missing, it's up to Betty and Fliss to journey through misty marches, past wisp catchers and on to a secret island that doesn't exist on any map...

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Evernight (Feb)

Evernight is the new book from Ross MacKenzie, the multi-award winning author of The Nowhere Emporium and Shadowsmith.

Thousands of years ago, the Evernight came to the Silver Kingdom and turned everything to darkness and chaos. It was only defeated thanks to the skill and bravery of the Witches. But now the Evernight is about to return, released by the evil Mrs Hester, and the only spell that might stop it is lost, deep below the great city of King's Haven.

Then orphan Larabelle Fox stumbles across a mysterious wooden box while treasure-hunting in the city's sewers. Little does she realise she is about to be catapulted into an adventure, facing wild magic and mortal danger - and a man who casts no shadow . . .

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The Highland Falcon Thief (Mar)

Adventures on Trains is a major mystery series from the prize-winning M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman. First stop, The Highland Falcon Thief, a breat hless train journey full of deceptions, puzzles and clues to solve.

Harrison Beck is reluctantly joining his travel-writer Uncle Nate for the last journey of the royal train, The Highland Falcon. But as the train makes its way to Scotland, a priceless brooch goes missing, and things are suddenly a lot more interesting. As suspicions and accusations run high among the passengers, Harrison begins to investigate and uncovers a few surprises along the way. Can he solve the mystery of the jewel thief and catch the culprit before they reach the end of the line?

Hear whispers in the dining car, find notes in the library, and unknown passengers among the luggage as you help Harrison to solve the mystery aboard one of the world's grandest trains. Fast-paced and packed with illustrations and clues, Adventures on Trains is a stop you won't want to miss!

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Kid Normal and the Final Five (Apr)

The epic conclusion to the awesome, award-winning, bestselling, super-charged KID NORMAL series by Greg James and Chris Smith. It's perfect for Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans with tons of illustrations and lots of laughs.

Murph Cooper and the Super Zeroes are about to face their greatest challenge yet ... the general public!

The Heroes' Alliance has operated in secret for decades, but that's all set to change. Super-smarmy ubervillain Nicholas Knox has a plan to become the planet's most powerful leader, and he's using the Heroes to do it. He's revealed the existence of Heroes to the world at large, painting them as mad, bad and dangerous to know. With fear and suspicion of Capes growing amongst the public, Heroes are forced underground, making it harder than ever to do their duty and combat evil wherever they find it. And all the while Knox is reaping the rewards of their efforts ...

Can Kid Normal take down Knox and prove that superheroes aren't the enemy?

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Nightshade (Apr)

If you're an Alex Rider fan you are going to LOVE next year. Not only is it the 20 year anniversary for Book #1 Stormbreaker but there's an Alex Rider World Book Day title out in February and a new title, Nightshade in April! 

Get ready for some serious action, adrenaline and adventure. Alex Rider is sent by MI6 Special Operations to infiltrate a new and sinister organization known only as Nightshade. Alex is on his own, with the fate of thousands of people resting in his hands. 

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Skulduggery Pleasant Untitled 13 (Apr)

Little is known about book #13 in the fabulous Skulduggery Pleasant series but I know this series has a very loyal following. I'm a relative newbie to the series, only getting into it earlier this year but I'm absolutely hooked and cannot recommend it enough. If you have a Harry Potter fan at home or a reader who loves a good mystery, think of this as a kind of Benedict Cumberbatch-style Sherlock Holmes meets a grown up and very savvy Lyra from His Dark Materials. I'd say Year 5/Age 10+

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The Strangeworlds Travel Agency (Apr)

Pack your suitcase for a magical adventure! Perfect for fans of The Train to Impossible Places and The Polar Bear Explorers' Club .

At the Strangeworlds Travel Agency, each suitcase transports you to a different world. All you have to do is step inside . . .

When 12-year-old Flick Hudson accidentally ends up in the Strangeworlds Travel Agency, she uncovers a fantastic secret: there are hundreds of other worlds just steps away from ours. All you have to do to visit them is jump into the right suitcase. Then Flick gets the invitation of a lifetime: join Strangeworlds' magical travel society and explore other worlds.

But, unknown to Flick, the world at the very centre of it all, a city called Five Lights, is in danger. Buildings and even streets are mysteriously disappearing. Once Flick realizes what's happening she must race against time, travelling through unchartered worlds, seeking a way to fix Five Lights before it collapses into nothingness - and takes our world with it.

A magical adventure for 9+ readers that will take you to whole new worlds.

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The Super-Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates (Apr)

Get ready to hear a lot more about Jenny Pearson, the new star of middle-grade comedy. Her pairing with illustrator super-star Rob Biddulph is genius and we're super excited to have a new writer on the block.

Freddie Yates loves facts. A fact can't leave you and no one can take it away. But when he learns the surprising fact that his biological dad might be living in Wales, Freddy and his best friends sneak off to find him, unwittingly causing a chain of 'miraculous' events involving an onion-eating contest, superhero scarecrows and life-saving sheep.

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Gargantis (May)

There's a storm raging in Eerie-on-Sea. Has the mighty Gargantis come back from the deep...?

Malamander was the runaway success of 2019 and our reviewers fell in love with Herbert Lemon and quirky Eerie-on-Sea, so we were delighted to hear that there's a new book coming out in 2020.

When an ancient bottle is found washed up on the beach after a ferocious electrical storm, all the residents of Eerie-on-Sea seem to want it ... but should they in fact fear it? Legend has it that the bottle contains an extraordinary secret that spells doom for the whole of Eerie-on-Sea. Could it be true that the vast sea creature Gargantis has awoken from her slumbers, and is causing the large cracks that are appearing all across the town? Finding themselves entrusted with the bottle, Herbie and Violet discover they will need to ride the terrible storm and pacify the creature if they want to save Eerie-on-Sea from sliding into the ocean and being lost for ever.

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Jungledrop (May)

Abi Elphinstone is BACK! The second novel in her new series, The Unmapped Chronicles, takes readers to the magical kingdom of Jungledrop. A breath-taking adventure story, that's also about being kind - to others, to our planet and, perhaps hardest of all, to ourselves. Our reviewers absolutely LOVED Rumblestar and we are hugely excited about getting our hands on the next instalment.

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The Unadoptables (May)

"A corker of a story." Emma Carroll, author of Letters to the Lighthouse and The Somerset Tsunami

The amazing humour and world-building of Nevermoor meets the wisdom and warmth of Rooftoppers in this completely unforgettable and totally gorgeous comedy-adventure!

In all the years that Elinora Gassbeek has been matron of the Little Tulip Orphanage, not once have the Rules for Baby Abandonment been broken. Until the autumn of 1886, when five babies are left in outrageous circumstances: one in a tin toolbox, one in a coal bucket, one in a picnic hamper, one in a wheat sack, and finally, one in a coffin-shaped basket.

Those babies were Lotta, Egg, Fenna, Sem and Milou, who were swiftly and firmly deemed 'the unadoptables'. Twelve years on the children still have each other - until the fateful night a most sinister gentleman appears and threatens to tear them apart. The gang decide to make a daring escape, fleeing the frozen canals of Amsterdam for an adventure packed with puppets and pirate ships, clock-makers and cruel villains - and with only a scrap of a clue to guide them to their mysterious new home . . .

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Toppsta
2019-11-13
Best New Middle Grade Books

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