2017 MG Debut Books and Goals for 2018
It’s a new year, and we’re talking about new goals! I definitely have some goals for the year, many centered around my new book coming out this fall, 24 HOURS IN NOWHERE, an adventure story about four kids who live in the poor desert town of Nowhere, AZ and decide to venture into an old abandoned mine one night in hopes of finding a piece of gold to buy back a dirt bike that was taken by a bully.
It can be tough to focus on working on a new project when you are so caught up in promoting current ones, but I definitely want to write a third book this year and maybe even get started on a fourth. My second book is quite different from my first book, so I’m struggling a bit in figuring out what direction I want to take with my writing. I’m about to be the Writer in Residence at Tempe Public Library here in a couple of weeks, so I better figure out something to work on soon so I'm not just sitting there for eight hours a day staring at the stacks!
I reached out to some of my fellow 2017 middle grade debuts to see what they had going on this year. It’s wonderful to hear that many of them have a second book coming out—some sequels and some stand alones—and most are working on another project. Be sure to mark your calendars for all of these fabulous new books coming out this year!
Sally Pla’s (THE SOMEDAY BIRDS) sophomore stand alone novel, STANEY WILL PROBABLY BE FINE, releases in only a couple of weeks and has already received a starred review from Kirkus. "A book two is like going from freshman to sophomore year of high school," Sally says. "The newness has worn off, but a certain unmistakable aura of anxiety/insecurity every remains... which may be a fitting way to look at it as my book-two is about anxiety."
Jake Burt’s (GREETINGS FROM WITNESS PROTECTION) sophomore stand alone novel, THE RIGHT HOOK OF DEVIN VELMA, chronicles one boy's quest to figure out why his best friend punched him in the face (sounds amazing, doesn't it?). It releases on October 2nd, and they’re in the midst of fine-tuning the cover art right now.
Rob Vlock has a second book coming out in his SVEN CARTER series called SVEN CARTER & THE ANDROID ARMY releasing in the fall of 2018. Filled with just as much humor and action as the first book, SVEN CARTER & THE ANDROID ARMY follows Sven, Will and Alicia, as they set off on a frantic race across the country to seek out and stop six other Omicron model androids, each just as deadly as Sven, before they carry out their plans to destroy the human race. Along the way, Sven has to come to terms what it really means to an android in a human world -- and figure out where his allegiances really lie. Ultimately, Sven and his friends come to realize that the threat to humanity is greater than they ever imagined. And the only way they can stop it involves putting not only their friendships, but their very lives in grave peril.
Jen Petro-Roy is the author of P.S. I MISS YOU, an LGBTQ middle grade novel told in letters from twelve-year-old Evie to her older sister Cilla, out on March 6th from Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends. Jen has two more books coming out in early 2019: GOOD ENOUGH is about Riley, a seventh grader struggling to recovery from anorexia nervosa while dealing with overbearing parents, a gymnastic star sister, and a fellow patient intent on sabotaging her process. YOU ARE ENOUGH is a nonfiction guide to self-esteem, body image,and eating disorder recovery, based on Jen's own journey to recovery. Jen's goal for 2018 is to filter out the internet a bit more--both distraction-wise and review-wise, and to write for herself and her readers above all!
Karina Glaser (THE VANDERBEEKERS OF 141ST STREET) will be releasing a sequel to her debut on September 25, 2018 with HMH Books for Young Readers. It’s called THE VANDERBEEKERS AND THE HIDDEN GARDEN. "This book felt different to write from the first because it needed to feel fresh and different but continue with the Vanderbeeker family story line," Karina says. "There are also a lot more illustrations!"
Jonathan Rosen has a sequel (not yet titled) coming out around August to his hilarious debut, NIGHT OF THE LIVING CUDDLE BUNNIES. It has the same cast of characters from the first book, but this time, they go up against a Performing Arts School of Vampires. Jonathan's goals for this year are to keep writing--a third book in the Cuddle Bunnies universe, and something entirely different as well.
Wendy McLeod MacKnight (IT'S A MYSTERY, PIG FACE), has a second book coming out on June 5 called THE FRAME UP. Set in the real-life Beaverbrook Art Gallery, The Frame Up tells the story of the friendship between the gallery director's son, Sargent Singer and Mona Dunn, a portrait. A celebration of art and artists, this inventive mystery features devious plots, shady characters, and a grand art heist. Wendy recently turned her third book into Greenwillow and plans to complete her fourth book this year!
Beth Von Ancken McMullen (MRS. SMITH'S SPY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS) has a sequel releasing on July 3 called POWER PLAY. "Second books are tough," Beth says, "especially with a series. I was trying to amp things up to keep them exciting but not ‘jump the shark’. Yikes! In the end, being back with Abby and her friends was totally worth the book two jitters. I made a deal with myself back in December that 2018 would be less about marketing, social media-ing, etc and more about writing. My goal for the next few months is to finish Mrs. Smith’s Spy School #3 without ripping my hair out and finish up ten chapters of another idea that I love. We’ll see how it goes."
Kristin L. Gray (VILONIA BEEBE TAKES CHARGE) will be working on her next book during 2018. "I began my second novel, THE AMELIA SIX (2019), three times before I found the right start," Kristin says. "I learned that having one book out does not give you a magic formula. Each story takes its own path. That’s okay! My goal for 2018 is to simply enjoy this story’s journey. And to make time for these great reads!"
Jarrett Lerner, who released the hilarious ENGINERDS in 2017, has a sequel coming out in early 2019. “My writing goal for 2018," Jarrett says, "is to finish up a few of the projects that I've left in various stages of completion. I'll also be working soon with a young writer or two as part of my Kid Lit Mentorship Project, and so another goal of mine will be to help them complete a writing project of their choice, and to make sure that, at the end of the process, they are more confident, eager, and skilled creators.”
Susan Tan has a sequel coming out to her charming debut, CILLA-LEE JENKINS, FUTURE AUTHOR EXTRAORDINAIRE. It’s called CILLA-LEE JENKINS, THIS BOOK IS A CLASSIC and releases on March 27.
Alison Hymas also has a sequel coming out to her fun debut, UNDER LOCKER AND KEY. It’s called ARTS AND THEFTS and releases on February 13.
Katie Silvensky’s debut, THE COUNTDOWN CONSPIRACY, is currently a Cybils finalist! Her sophomore title, THE SEISMIC SEVEN, comes out in June.
Kiersi Burkhart (SHY GIRL AND SHY GUY) will be changing genres in 2018 and releasing her first YA novel, HONOR CODE, available March 1. I can't wait to see what Kiersi does for young adult!
For those who don't have a second book releasing this year, the work certainly doesn't stop! Danielle Davis (ZINNIA AND THE BEES) is trying her hand at a zany and fun chapter book. Melissa Roske (KAT GREENE COMES CLEAN) is working away at her second novel and Darcey Rosenblatt (LOST BOYS) is just about to finish hers! I can't wait to see what they have in store for us next!
So as you can see, everyone's journey from book one to book two is different. I'm looking forward to having many new books to read in 2018 and hopefully one or two to write. Good luck to everyone in the new year!