New Year, New Middle Grade Fiction


New Year, New Middle Grade Fiction


Middle grade fiction selections for the new year! I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing some great middle grade authors over the past month on my blog Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb, and here are some excerpts…



Ellen Prager’s new novel, Escape Undersea, is part of her Wonder List Adventures series; this book features an undersea lab. Prager, a scientist who worked in such a lab, said: “I hope readers of all ages can escape into the story, learn about the undersea world, relate to the characters and their issues, and laugh. As in the other books, there’s plenty of humor involved, so I hope readers will have fun while they learn.”



Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch’s timely new novel, Winterkill, is set in Ukraine in the 1930s. “I was doing the final edits for Winterkill on Feb. 24 [when Russia invaded Ukraine],” Skrypuch told me. “I feel absolutely sick to my stomach how accurately Winterkill predicts and depicts the current war, even down to its title, as Russia uses the cold of winter as another weapon from his genocidal toolbox.”



Caroline Brooks DuBois’s new novel in verse, Ode to a Nobody, focuses on a girl whose life is upended by a tornado. “I hope [readers] witness Quinn finding what makes her happy,” DuBois said. “In turn, I hope readers find what makes them happy—whether it’s writing, painting, dancing, kickboxing, rock collecting, or something else…Everyone has their own magic—even if they can’t see it yet.”  



Meira Drazin’s new novel, Honey and Me, looks at the friendship between two girls. “One of the main character arcs of the novel is Milla needing to realise that as much as she admires Honey with her brash, can-do, not-overthinking-it attitude, she provides just as much to the friendship as Honey does, and that Honey admires her right back,” Drazin said.



Nancy Tandon’s new novel, The Ghost of Spruce Point, is set in Maine. Tandon said: “In this story in particular, the setting was paramount, and I meant for it to become almost a character on the page. But with anything I’m writing, I love to bring sensory elements onto the page, so setting is always important to me.”



Michelle Mohrweis’s new novel, The Trouble with Robots, focuses on a group of kids in a school robotics club. “When I wrote The Trouble with Robots, I didn’t necessarily mean to write a girl power type STEM book. I just liked writing female presenting main characters, and I liked robotics, so the two fit together naturally for me,” Mohrweis said.



And last but not least, Daisy May Johnson’s new middle grade novel, How to Be True, is set in Paris. “Edie is passionate and heartfelt and lives her life at the edge of the world,” Johnson said of her protagonist. “She's also influenced a lot by my childhood holidays in France and the way I adored wandering around the supermarkets and looking at all the new and exciting food.”


There’s a lot to feast on here, so enjoy! And happy new year!


--Deborah Kalb



  1. So many great titles! My 2023 to read list is already piling up! Thanks for sharing these Deborah.

  2. !! I just snagged Ode to a Nobody and Winterkill.


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