Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Best 2022 Middle Grade Book Releases

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This year is going to be excellent for middle grade releases! Here are the exciting MG books that are coming out between January and June 2022. Middle grade books are intended for an 8-14 year-old audience (approximately). If you're interested in adult book releases or young adult book releases, I have blog posts for those.

(Also, shout out to the people who design middle grade book covers. These are stunning!)

Best 2022 Middle Grade Books

Northwind by Gary Paulsen

Historical Fiction / Adventure / Survival

January 11, 2022

When a deadly plague reaches the small fish camp where he lives, an orphan named Leif is forced to take to the water in a cedar canoe. He flees northward, following a wild, fjord-riven shore, navigating from one danger to the next, unsure of his destination. But the deeper into his journey he paddles, the closer he comes to his truest self as he connects to "the heartbeat of the ocean . . . the pulse of the sea."

Why I'm excited to read it: Gary Paulsen died at the end of 2021, so (I think?) this will be his final book. He was my favorite author when I was growing up. I couldn't get enough of his survival stories. He'll always be a must-read author for me. Someday I'll catch up on his giant backlist.

Buy it on Amazon

Riley's Ghost by John David Anderson


January 11, 2022

Riley Flynn is alone.

It feels like she's been on her own since sixth grade, when her best friend, Emily, ditched her for the cool girls. Girls who don't like Riley. Girls who decide one day to lock her in the science closet after hours, after everyone else has gone home.

When Riley is finally able to escape, however, she finds that her horror story is only just beginning. All the school doors are locked, the windows won't budge, the phones are dead, and the lights aren't working. Through halls lit only by the narrow beam of her flashlight, Riley roams the building, seeking a way out, an answer, an explanation. And as she does, she starts to suspect she isn't alone after all.

While she's always liked a good scary story, Riley knows there is no such thing as ghosts. But what else could explain the things happening in the school, the haunting force that seems to lurk in every shadow, around every corner? As she tries to find answers, she starts reliving moments that brought her to this night. Moments from her own life . . . and a life that is not her own.

Why I'm excited to read it: Honestly, it sounds like my life story. I was bullied in middle school and could totally imagine myself trapped in a haunted school after everyone else left. That's definitely the kind of nonsense that routinely happened to me.

Buy it on Amazon

The Keeper by Guadalupe Garcia McCall


January 25, 2022

The first letter turns up on his desk. The second is stuck between the spokes of his bike.

The third flies through the kitchen window.

And they are all addressed to James from someone called the Keeper.

Moving from Texas to Oregon was a bad idea. No sooner have James and his family arrived in their “perfect” new town than he starts getting mysterious and sinister letters from someone called the Keeper. Someone who claims to be watching him. Someone who is looking for “young blood.” James and his sister, Ava, are obviously in danger. But the problem with making a fuss about moving and having a history of playing practical jokes is that no one believes James—not even his parents.

Now James and Ava need to figure out who is sending the letters before they become the next victims in their neighborhood’s long history of missing children. Because one thing is clear: uncovering the truth about the Keeper is the only thing that will keep them alive.

Why I'm excited to read it: It's inspired by real events. WHAT? That sounds too terrifying to pass up. If your kids (or you) like fast-paced spooky stories, check this one out. Early reviewers are comparing it to the Goosebumps series.

Buy it on Amazon

Each Of Us A Universe by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo & Ndengo Gladys Mwilelo


February 1, 2022

Ever since the day when everything changed, Cal Scott's answer has been to run—run from her mother who's fighting cancer, run from her father whom she can't forgive, and run from classmates who've never seemed to "get" her anyway. The only thing Cal runs toward is nearby Mt. Meteorite, named for the extraterrestrial object some claim crashed there fifty years ago. Cal spends her afternoons plotting to summit the mountain, so she can find the magic she believes will make possible the impossible: to heal her mother. But no one has successfully reached its peak—no one who's lived to tell about it, anyway.

Then Cal meets Rosine Kanambe, a girl who's faced more impossibles than anyone should have to. Rosine has her own secret plan for the mountain and its magic, and she convinces Cal they can summit its peak if they work together. As the girls climb high and dig deep to face the mountain's challenges, Cal learns from Rosine what real courage looks like. She begins to wonder if the magic she's been seeking all this time is really the kind she needs.

Why I'm excited to read it: I would have pounced on this book when I was a preteen. It has a beautiful cover, badass mountain climbing girls, and no fluff. It sounds like the story will tackle some serious topics. I'm interested to see how the authors handle them.

Buy it on Amazon

The Secret Of Haven Point by Lisette Auton


February 3, 2022

Washed up as a baby beside a remote lighthouse and raised by a mermaid, Alpha Lux was the first foundling at Haven Point. Now the lighthouse is a ramshackle home for any disabled person who needs somewhere to belong. Looting from passing ships to make a living, they call themselves the Wrecklings, and for the children of Haven Point life is spent adventuring on the wild shore (and getting into trouble with the grown-ups).

But when Alpha spots a strange light up on the headland, she realizes that her beloved family are in danger of being discovered by Outsiders.

With their home under threat, the Wrecklings must decide what kind of future they want . . . and what they're willing to do to get it.

Why I'm excited to read it: I know pretty much nothing about this book. I haven't seen any early reviews, and I don't think it has a US release date yet. I'm curious about it because it's supposed to be an adventure story with found families. I hope someone gets an early copy and shares all the details.

The Bird Singers by Eve Wersocki Morris


February 3, 2022

Strange things have been happening to Layah and her younger sister, Izzie, ever since their mother dragged them to a rain-soaked cottage miles from anywhere in the Lake District: there is a peculiar whistling at night, a handful of unusual feathers appear on their doorstep and there are murmurings of a shadowed woman in the forest. And their mother is behaving very oddly. Layah is mourning the loss of her dear grandmother in Poland—and can almost hear her Babcia's voice telling her the old myths and fairy tales from that magical place.

And as the holiday takes on a dark twist, Layah begins to wonder if the myths might just be real.

Why I'm excited to read it: Another book that hasn't been getting much hype. It got my attention because of the family secrets and creepy folklore. Early reviewers are praising its plot twists, mysteries, and quick pacing.

Escape Room by Christopher Edge


February 3, 2022 (UK)

July 5, 2022 (US)

When twelve-year-old Ami arrives at The Escape, she thinks it’s just a game—the ultimate escape room with puzzles and challenges to beat before time runs out. Meeting her teammates, Adjoa, Ibrahim, Oscar and Min, Ami learns from the Host that they have been chosen to save the world and they must work together to find the Answer. But as he locks them inside the first room, they quickly realize this is no ordinary game.

From a cavernous library of dust to an ancient Mayan tomb, a deserted shopping mall stalked by extinct animals to the command module of a spaceship heading to Mars, the perils of The Escape seem endless. Can Ami and her friends find the Answer before it’s too late?

Why I'm excited to read it: Serious Jumanji vibes! This book sounds like a fun, unpredictable, fast-paced romp. I've always wanted to try an escape room. (Though maybe not one that's this intense.) Note: The US title for this book might be Race For The Escape. I don't know why. Same book, different name.

Buy it on Amazon

Field Guide To The Supernatural Universe by Alyson Noel


March 22, 2022

When he first started seeing ghosts, Max mistakenly assumed everyone else could see them, too. Now, after years of being blamed for the pranks of mischievous spirits, Max is determined to do whatever it takes to make himself normal. But when he’s sent to spend the summer with his eccentric grandfather, Ramhart, being normal becomes impossible.

Here in Glimmerville, bakeries sell enchanted pies, the lake is infested with mermaids, the town’s beloved ghosts roam free, and Ramhart himself is celebrated as the world’s most famous monster hunter. At first, all Max wants is to survive the summer, but the more time he spends in Glimmerville, the more he starts to wonder if he’s finally found a place where he can truly be himself.

But when a supernatural attack steals Ramhart’s soul, Max—with the help of a few new friends—must go on a quest to find his grandfather’s renowned Field Guide, an enchanted book that contains all the knowledge Ramhart has gathered about defeating unearthly nemeses. And if they don’t find the book fast, Glimmerville will crumble into chaos, and Max will lose the only person who’s ever made him feel at home.

Why I'm excited to read it: It's being advertised for fans of Stranger Things. That's me! I'm a fan! The setting seems fun and quirky. I'm getting Nevermoor vibes. I've seen exactly 0 early reviews, so I'm not sure what reviewers are thinking yet.

Buy it on Amazon

Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone by Tae Keller


April 26, 2022

Thanks to her best friend, Reagan, Mallory Moss knows the rules of middle school. The most important one? You have to fit in to survive. But then Jennifer Chan moves in across the street, and that rule doesn’t seem to apply. Jennifer doesn’t care about the laws of middle school, or the laws of the universe. She believes in aliens—and she thinks she can find them.

Then Jennifer goes missing. Using clues from Jennifer’s journals, Mallory goes searching. But the closer she gets, the more Mallory has to confront why Jennifer might have run . . . and face the truth within herself.

Why I'm excited to read it: ALIENS! Actually, Tae Keller wrote The Science of Breakable Things, which is one of my favorite middle grade books. It's hilarious and clever. I'm looking forward to more of the same. I can't recommend her work enough. Please pick up her books! They win awards for a good reason.

Buy it on Amazon

Zachary Ying And The Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao


May 3, 2022

Zachary Ying never had many opportunities to learn about his Chinese heritage. His single mom was busy enough making sure they got by, and his schools never taught anything except Western history and myths. So Zack is woefully unprepared when he discovers he was born to host the spirit of the First Emperor of China for a vital mission: sealing the leaking portal to the Chinese underworld before the upcoming Ghost Month blows it wide open.

The mission takes an immediate wrong turn when the First Emperor botches his attempt to possess Zack’s body and binds to Zack’s AR gaming headset instead, leading to a battle where Zack’s mom’s soul gets taken by demons. Now, with one of history’s most infamous tyrants yapping in his headset, Zack must journey across China to heist magical artifacts and defeat figures from history and myth, all while learning to wield the emperor’s incredible water dragon powers.

And if Zack can’t finish the mission in time, the spirits of the underworld will flood into the mortal realm, and he could lose his mom forever.

Why I'm excited to read it: The Percy Jackson vibes are strong. If your kid likes that series, you should probably look into this book. It seems like it has the same modern, funny take on ancient mythology. Goodreads calls it "hilarious" and "action-packed."

Buy it on Amazon

Which middle grade releases are you excited to read?


  1. My daughter is a middle grade reader, and I'm so jealous and excited that she has a larger and better variety of books than I did at her age. Sometimes I read middle grade, and I'm so impressed with the books.

  2. Those are some great covers! They'll definitely entice some readers!

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday. Thank you!

  3. I don't read much Middle Grade at the moment, but every time I see those beautiful covers I tell myself I need to change that ASAP :)

  4. I love MG books, so this list makes me super excited! I'm most looking forward to NORTHWIND, I think. Paulsen is just iconic. It's sad that he's no longer around.

    Happy TTT!

  5. I will add Gary Paulsen's book to my TBR pile. He was a favorite to read with my son and as someone who loves the wilderness, his stories are right up my alley. When I saw the book, I thought, "he's dead." Glad to know there is one last book of us coming out.

  6. I just saw Jennifer Chan for the first time the other day, and it sounds fabulous.

  7. This all sound good, AJ. I am especially interested in FIELD GUIDE TO THE SUPERNATURAL UNIVERSE and ESCAPE ROOM. Both sound like books my daughter and I would enjoy.

  8. Northwind- amazing cover.

    Honestly, I wish I had had all this MG goodness growing up. I would socialize even less :)

  9. Middle Graders these days have such a wonderful collection of books. Back when I was that age, we sure didn't have much to choose from. Great list!

  10. What a fun list of middle grade books! And I agree, the covers are wonderful.

  11. Oooh! All of these books sound interesting! Great list!

    Here’s my TTT!

    Ronyell @ Rabbit Ears Book Blog

  12. This is a great list of upcoming middle grade books! I would especially love to read the Gary Paulsen book.

  13. So many great covers. I do want to keep reading more MG.

    Lauren @ www.shootingstarsmag.net