It’s officially October and I have some amazing middle grade reads for you! I’ve already brought you a list of 40 new young adult and adult books this month, so why not add more?

Today I’m bringing you 23 new middle grade October 2019 releases that all look fantastic! These are perfect for teachers, your children or if you’re like me and just love reading middle grade books.

October 1st

Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy - The Contented ReaderThe first middle grade novel from Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’ (now a popular Netflix film), is a funny, heartwarming story perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead, Ali Benjamin, and Holly Goldberg Sloan.

Patricia “Sweet Pea” DiMarco wasn’t sure what to expect when her parents announced they were getting a divorce. She never could have imagined that they would have the “brilliant” idea of living in nearly identical houses on the same street. In the one house between them lives their eccentric neighbour Miss Flora Mae, the famed local advice columnist behind “Miss Flora Mae I?”

Dividing her time between two homes is not easy. And it doesn’t help that at school, Sweet Pea is now sitting right next to her ex–best friend, Kiera, a daily reminder of the friendship that once was. Things might be unbearable if Sweet Pea didn’t have Oscar—her new best friend—and her fifteen-pound cat, Cheese.

Then one day Flora leaves for a trip and asks Sweet Pea to forward her the letters for the column. And Sweet Pea happens to recognize the handwriting on one of the envelopes.

What she decides to do with that letter sets off a chain of events that will forever change the lives of Sweet Pea DiMarco, her family, and many of the readers of “Miss Flora Mae I?”

Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee - The Contented ReaderBarbara Dee explores the subject of #MeToo for the middle grade audience in this heart-wrenching – and ultimately uplifting – novel about experiencing harassment and unwanted attention from classmates.

For seventh grader Mila, it starts with an unwanted hug on the school blacktop.

The next day, it’s another hug. A smirk. Comments. It all feels … weird. According to her friend Zara, Mila is being immature, overreacting. Doesn’t she know what flirting looks like?

But it keeps happening, despite Mila’s protests. On the bus, in the halls. Even during band practice-the one time Mila could always escape to her “blue-sky” feeling. It seems like the boys are EVERYWHERE. And it doesn’t feel like flirting–so what is it?

Mila starts to gain confidence when she enrolls in karate class. But her friends still don’t understand why Mila is making such a big deal about the boys’ attention. When Mila is finally pushed too far, she realizes she can’t battle this on her own–and finds help in some unexpected places.

From the author of Star-Crossed, Halfway Normal and Everything I Know About You comes this timely story of a middle school girl standing up and finding her voice. 

Words on Fire by Jennifer A. Nielson - The Contented ReaderNew York Times bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen transports readers to a corner of history with this inspiring story of a girl who discovers the strength of her people united in resisting oppression.

Danger is never far from Audra’s family farm in Lithuania. She always avoids the occupying Russian Cossack soldiers, who insist that everyone must become Russian — they have banned Lithuanian books, religion, culture, and even the language. But Audra knows her parents are involved in something secret and perilous.

When Cossacks arrive abruptly at their door, Audra’s parents insist that she flee, taking with her an important package and instructions for where to deliver it. But escape means abandoning her parents to a terrible fate.

As Audra embarks on a journey to deliver the mysterious package, she faces unimaginable risks, and soon she becomes caught up in a growing resistance movement. Can joining the underground network of book smugglers give Audra a chance to rescue her parents?

Redwood and Ponytail by K.A. Holt - The Contented ReaderTold in verse in two voices, with a chorus of fellow students, this is a story of two girls, opposites in many ways, who are drawn to each other; Kate appears to be a stereotypical cheerleader with a sleek ponytail and a perfectly polished persona, Tam is tall, athletic and frequently mistaken for a boy, but their deepening friendship inevitably changes and reveals them in ways they did not anticipate.

The Disaster Days by Rebecca Behrens - The Contented ReaderHatchet meets The Babysitters Club in this epic and thrilling survival story about pushing oneself to the limit in the face of a crisis.

Hannah Steele loves living on Pelling, a tiny island near Seattle. It’s a little disconnected from the outside world, but she’s always felt completely safe there.

Which is why when she’s asked one day to babysit after school, she thinks it’s no big deal. Zoe and Oscar are her next-door neighbors, and Hannah just took a babysitting class that she’s pretty sure makes her an expert. She isn’t even worried that she left her inhaler at home.

Then the shaking begins.

The terrifying earthquake only lasts four minutes but it changes everything, damaging the house, knocking out the power, and making cell service nonexistent. Even worse, the ferry and the bridge connecting the kids to help―and their parents―are both blocked. Which means they’re stranded and alone… With Hannah in charge, as things go from bad to dangerous.

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day - The Contented ReaderIn her debut middle grade novel – inspired by her family’s history – Christine Day tells the story of a girl who uncovers her family’s secrets – and finds her own Native American identity. 

All her life, Edie has known that her mom was adopted by a white couple. So, no matter how curious she might be about her Native American heritage, Edie is sure her family doesn’t have any answers.

Until the day when she and her friends discover a box hidden in the attic—a box full of letters signed “Love, Edith,” and photos of a woman who looks just like her.

Suddenly, Edie has a flurry of new questions about this woman who shares her name. Could she belong to the Native family that Edie never knew about? But if her mom and dad have kept this secret from her all her life, how can she trust them to tell her the truth now?

Throwback by Peter Lerangis - The Contented ReaderPeter Lerangis, the New York Times bestselling author of the Seven Wonders and Max Tilt series, returns with an electrifying new trilogy about a boy who discovers that he alone may be able to alter the course of history. 

Corey Fletcher has an active imagination. He sees things no one else does. Cracks jokes no one else gets. And goes places few would ever dare go. Like the past.

All he needs is a metal artifact from a point in time, and Corey can go there. Although hundreds of time travelers live in secret throughout the world, including Corey’s own grandfather, none has the ability to change past events.

But when Corey accidentally saves a life while time traveling, he realizes that he is the first-ever “Throwback,” with the power to alter life as we know it. Which means his own life is now in all sorts of danger.

This is the first book in a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat adventure series from New York Times bestselling author Peter Lerangis, whose books have sold over five and a half million copies worldwide.

A Way Between Worlds by Melanie Crowder - The Contented ReaderGriffin and Fi continue on their quest to save all worlds from invasion in this fantastical follow-up to The Lighthouse Between the Worlds, which Kirkus Reviews called “a fast read that ends too soon.”

There is more than just one world—and all of them are in grave danger.

After a narrow escape from the battle-torn world of Somni, Griffin and his fierce, newfound ally Fi find themselves at the center of a war that threatens not only the people of Earth, but those of other worlds entirely. Connected by the lighthouse that acts as a portal, each world harbors a unique kind of magic that the greedy rulers of Somni are determined to capture for themselves.

Unless Griffin and Fi can find a way to stop these would-be conquerors, everything they hold dear will be lost. Navigating magical worlds of mist, water, vines, and fire in search of an answer, the two friends will have to discover their own gifts before they can save not only themselves but the worlds—every single one of them.

Roll With It by Jamie Sumner - The Contented ReaderThe story of an irrepressible girl with cerebral palsy whose life takes an unexpected turn when she moves to a new town.

Ellie’s a girl who tells it like it is. That surprises some people, who see a kid in a wheelchair and think she’s going to be all sunshine and cuddles. The thing is, Ellie has big dreams: She might be eating Stouffer’s for dinner, but one day she’s going to be a professional baker. If she’s not writing fan letters to her favorite celebrity chefs, she’s practicing recipes on her well-meaning, if overworked, mother.

But when Ellie and her mom move so they can help take care of her ailing grandpa, Ellie has to start all over again in a new town at a new school. Except she’s not just the new kid—she’s the new kid in the wheelchair who lives in the trailer park on the wrong side of town. It all feels like one challenge too many, until Ellie starts to make her first-ever friends. Now she just has to convince her mom that this town might just be the best thing that ever happened to them!

Ember and the Ice Dragons by Heather Fawcett - The Contented ReaderA fantasy about a girl who used to be a dragon, and her adventure to save her new home.

Ember St. George is a dragon. At least she was, before her adoptive father – a powerful but accident-prone Magician – turned her into a human girl to save her life. Unfortunately, Ember’s growing tendency to burst into flames at certain temperatures – not to mention her invisible wings – is making it too dangerous for her to stay in London. The solution: ship Ember off to her aunt’s research station in frigid Antarctica.

Though eccentric Aunt Myra takes getting used to, Ember quickly feels at home in a land of ice storms, mischievous penguins, and twenty-four-hour nights. She even finds herself making friends – with a girl genius called Nisha and a mysterious orphan named Moss. Then she discovers that Antarctica is home to the Winterglass Hunt, a yearly tradition in which rare ice dragons are hunted for their jeweled scales. Furious, Ember decides to join the hunt to sabotage it from the inside.

But being an undercover dragon isn’t easy – especially among dragon hunters. Can a twelve-year-old fire dragon survive the many dangers that come her way in the Antarctic wilderness and protect the ice dragons from extinction?

October 8th

The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy - The Contented ReaderFrom actor Maulik Pancholy comes an incredibly charming, heartfelt middle grade debut about Rahul Kapoor, a gay Indian American boy coming into his own in a small town in the Midwest.

Rahul Kapoor is heading into seventh grade in a small town in Indiana. The start of middle school is making him feel increasingly anxious, so his favorite person in the whole world, his grandfather Bhai, gives him some well-meaning advice: Find one thing you’re really good at. And become the BEST at it.

Those four little words sear themselves into Rahul’s brain. While he’s not quite sure what that special thing is, he is convinced that once he finds it, bullies like Brent Mason will stop torturing him at school. And he won’t be worried about staring too long at his classmate Justin Emery. With his best friend, Chelsea, by his side, Rahul is ready to crush this challenge … But what if he discovers he isn’t the best at anything?

Funny, charming, and incredibly touching, this is a story about friendship, family, and the courage it takes to live your truth.

The Paris Project by Donna Gephart - The Contented ReaderFans of the Nate series by Tim Federle and The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm will love Cleveland Rosebud Potts in this poignant and heartfelt novel from the award-winning author of Lily and Dunkin.

Cleveland Rosebud Potts has a plan. If she can check off the six items on her très important Paris Project List she will make it out of the small-minded and scorching town of Sassafras, Florida, to a rich and cultured life at The American School of Paris.

Unfortunately, everything seems to conspire against Cleveland reaching her goal.

Cleveland is ashamed of her father and angry that her mother and sister are never around because they have to work extra shifts to help out the family. Her Eiffel Tower tin has zero funds. And to top it all off, Cleveland’s best friend Jenna Finch has decided she’s too fancy for her and her neighbor Declan seems to be hiding something.

As Cleveland puts her talents to the test, she must learn how to forgive family for their faults, appreciate friends for exactly who they are, and bloom where she’s planted—even if that’s in a tiny town in central Florida that doesn’t even have a French restaurant. C’èst la vie! 

Hazel's Theory of Evolution by Lisa Jenn Bigelow - The Contented ReaderPerfect for fans of The Thing About Jellyfish and Raymie Nightingale, this tender middle grade novel from Lisa Jenn Bigelow, acclaimed author of Drum Roll, Please, follows a precocious girl whose life is turned upside down in her last year of middle school.

Hazel knows a lot about the world. That’s because when she’s not hanging with her best friend or helping her two moms care for the goats on their farm, she loves reading through dusty encyclopedias. But even Hazel doesn’t have answers for the questions awaiting her as she enters eighth grade. How can she make friends in a new school where no one seems to understand her? What’s going to happen to one of her moms who’s pregnant again after having two miscarriages? Why does everything have to change when life was already perfectly fine?

As Hazel struggles to cope, she’ll come to realize that sometimes you have to look within yourself – instead of the pages of a book – to find the answers to life’s most important questions.

Hazel’s Theory of Evolution is a genuine, thoughtful, and ultimately uplifting novel about learning to flourish no matter what changes life throws your way.

Friend or Fiction by Abby Cooper - The Contented ReaderOne creative middle-schooler schooler discovers that the best friend a girl can have is the one she makes herself in this charming magical realism read.

Jade’s life hasn’t exactly been normal lately, especially since her dad’s cancer diagnosis. Jade wishes her family could leave their no-name town in Colorado already–everybody else does sooner rather than later, including every best friend Jade’s ever had. So she makes one up. In the pages of her notebook, she writes all about Zoe–the most amazing best friend anyone could dream of.

But when pretend Zoe appears in real life thanks to a magical experiment gone right, Jade isn’t so sure if she likes sharing her imaginary friend with the real world. To keep her best friend (and even make some new ones), Jade learns how to cope with jealousy, that friends should let friends be true to themselves, and that maybe the perfect best friend doesn’t exist after all.

Homerooms and Hall Passes by Tom O'Donnell - The Contented ReaderIn the mystical realm of Bríandalör, every day the brave and the bold delve into hidden temples or forgotten dungeons, battling vile monsters and evil wizards to loot their treasure hoards for sweet, sweet magic items.

But in their free time, our heroes – Thromdurr the mighty barbarian, Devis the shifty thief, Vela the noble paladin, Sorrowshade the Gloom Elf assassin, and Albiorix the (good!) wizard – need to relax and unwind.

That’s why they meet up once a week to play Homerooms & Hall Passes: a role-playing game where they assume the characters of average American eighth graders.

But when the five young adventurers are magically transported into their H&H game by an ancient curse, they must band together to survive their toughest challenge yet: middle school.

Who knew that battling ogres would be easier than passing algebra or navigating the cafeteria social scene? They must use what they’ve learned from playing Homerooms & Hall Passes to figure out how to save their game world (which might actually be real…).

Dungeons & Dragons meets Jumanji in this new, laugh-out-loud adventure series from the author of the beloved Hamstersaurus Rex series.

October 15th

The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao - The Contented ReaderInspired by Chinese mythology, this high-action middle-grade fantasy follows an outcast as she embarks on a quest to prove herself – perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time and The Serpent’s Secret.

As a member of the Jade Society, twelve-year-old Faryn Liu dreams of honoring her family and the gods by becoming a warrior. But the Society has shunned Faryn and her brother Alex ever since their father disappeared years ago, forcing them to train in secret.

Then, during an errand into San Francisco, Faryn stumbles into a battle with a demon–and helps defeat it. She just might be the fabled Heaven Breaker, a powerful warrior meant to work for the all-mighty deity, the Jade Emperor, by commanding an army of dragons to defeat the demons. That is, if she can prove her worth and find the island of the immortals before the Lunar New Year.

With Alex and other unlikely allies at her side, Faryn sets off on a daring quest across Chinatowns. But becoming the Heaven Breaker will require more sacrifices than she first realized … What will Faryn be willing to give up to claim her destiny?

This richly woven contemporary middle-grade fantasy, full of humor, magic, and heart, will appeal to readers who love Roshani Chokshi and Sayantani DasGupta.

Rose Coffin by M.P. Kozlowsky - The Contented ReaderA startlingly original magical adventure that gives the phrase “unlikely hero” a whole new meaning.

Rose Coffin can’t win. She’s teased for her secondhand clothes. She’s teased for blushing all the time. And she’s teased for slipping into song at inopportune moments, though that’s the only thing that keeps her panic at bay.

After a particularly mortifying incident, Rose escapes to the woods where she’s captured by a group of otherworldly creatures. They take her to Eppersett-a magical, eerily beautiful place where cemeteries are full of dead dreams, moving castles roll along on tracks, and most shocking of all … people seem to love Rose at first sight. They tell her that she’s “the one they’ve been waiting for. The one who’s going to save them.” An evil force called the Abomination is on the loose, and there’s only one thing powerful enough to stop it-her voice.

There’s just one catch. Rose hasn’t been brought to Eppersett to fight the Abomination.

She’s going to be sacrificed to it. She’s the chosen one all right … the one who’s been chosen to die.

In this startlingly original fantasy, M.P. Kozlowsky takes readers on a journey like no other-an adventure that’ll transform everything you thought you knew about friendship, love, and the true power of finding your voice.

The Memory Keeper by Jennifer Camiccia - The Contented ReaderFish in a Tree meets The Thing About Jellyfish in this heartfelt middle grade debut about long-buried secrets, the power of memory, and the bond between a girl and her gram.

All Lulu Carter wants is to be seen. But her parents are lost in their own worlds, and Lulu has learned the hard way that having something as rare as HSAM – the ability to remember almost every single moment in her life – won’t make you popular in school.

At least Lulu has Gram, who knows the truth about Lulu’s memory and loves her all the more for it. But Gram has started becoming absentminded, and the more lost she gets, the more she depends on Lulu … until Lulu realizes her memory holds the very key to fixing Gram’s forgetfulness. Once Lulu learns that trauma can cause amnesia, all she needs to do to cure Gram is hunt down that one painful moment in Gram’s life.

With her friends Olivia and Max, Lulu digs into Gram’s mysterious past. But they soon realize some secrets should stay buried, and Lulu wonders if she ever knew Gram at all. It’s up to Lulu to uncover the truth before the only person who truly sees her slips away.

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia - The Contented ReaderSeventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he’s going to spend on his grandparents’ farm in Alabama, where he’s being sent to heal from the tragedy. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie’s journal. Tristan chases after it-–is that a doll?-–and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature’s hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world. Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left black American gods John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky. But bartering with the trickster Anansi always comes at a price. Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves?

Give and Take by Elly Swartz - The Contented ReaderTwelve-year-old Maggie knows her new baby sister who smells like powder isn’t her sister for keeps. Izzie is a foster baby awaiting adoption. So in a day or a week, she’ll go to her forever family and all that sweetness will be gone. Except for those things Maggie’s secretly saving in the cardboard boxes in her closet and under her bed. Baby socks, binkies, and a button from Bud the Bear. Rocks, sticks, and candy wrappers. Maggie holds on tight. To her things. Her pet turtle. Her memories of Nana. And her friends. But when Maggie has to say goodbye to Izzie, and her friend gets bumped from their all-girl trapshooting squad to make room for a boy, Maggie’s hoarding grows far beyond her control and she needs to find the courage to let go.

The Wizards of Once-Knock Three Times by Cressida Cowell - The Contented ReaderCressida Cowell, author of How to Train Your Dragon, brings us the next thrilling installment in the internationally bestselling Wizards of Once series! 

Xar and Wish are heroes with a huge task ahead – confronting the Nuckalavee is not for the faint hearted. But with Magic and Iron together, they might just have a chance of saving their beloved homes from those who seek to destroy everything they hold dear. The third electrifying book in The Wizards of Once series fizzes with magic and introduces us to a host of glorious new characters: bears and piskies and magical pins and needles to name but a few.

Beloved, bestselling author Cressida Cowell once again brings her trademark wit and stunning combination of action, adventure, humor, and incredible artwork to this epic new adventure, sure to transport and enchant readers. Stunningly written, magnificent in scope, hilarious and thrilling, Knock Three Times immerses you in a world you won’t ever wish to leave.

Make Trouble Young Readers Edition-Standing Up, Speaking Out and Finding the Courage to Lead by Cecile Richards and Lauren Peterson - The Contented ReaderFrom former Planned Parenthood president and activist Cecile Richards comes the young readers edition of her New York Times bestselling memoir, which Hillary Rodham Clinton called an “inspiration for aspiring leaders everywhere.”

To make change, you have to make trouble.

Cecile Richards has been fighting for what she believes in ever since she was taken to the principal’s office in seventh grade for wearing an armband in protest of the Vietnam War. She had an extraordinary childhood in ultra-conservative Texas, where her father, a civil rights attorney, and her mother, an avid activist and the first female governor of Texas, taught their kids to be troublemakers.

From the time Richards was a girl, she had a front row seat to observe the rise of women in American politics. And by sharing her story with young readers, she shines a light on the people and lessons that have gotten her though good times and bad, and encourages her audience to take risks, make mistakes, and make trouble along the way.

October 22nd

Revenge of the Red Club by Kim Harrington - The Contented ReaderA tween reporter discovers an important and beloved club at school is being shut down – and uses the power of the pen to try and activate some much-needed social change in this period-positive and empowering middle grade novel about the importance of standing up for what you believe in.

Riley Dunne loves being a member of the Red Club. It’s more than a group of girls supporting each other through Aunt Flo’s ups and downs; it’s a Hawking Middle School tradition. The club’s secret locker has an emergency stash of supplies, and the girls are always willing to lend an ear, a shoulder, or an old pair of sweatpants.

But when the school administration shuts the Red Club down because of complaints, the girls are stunned. Who would do that to them? The girls’ shock quickly turns into anger, and then they decide to get even.

But wallpapering the gym with maxi pads and making tampon crafts in art class won’t bring their club back. Only Riley can do that. Using the skills she has cultivated as her school paper’s top investigative reporter (okay, only investigative reporter), she digs for the truth about who shut the club down and why. All the while dealing with friendship drama, a new and ridiculous dress code, and a support group that is now more focused on fighting with each other than fighting back.

Can she save the Red Club before this rebellion turns into a full-scale war?

Let’s Chat in the Comments!

Which middle grade cover is your favourite? Do you want to read any of these now? Do you like to read middle grade books?

Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Avid reader and tea drinker. I read and review young adult books on my blog, The Contented Reader!

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