Unsettled by Reem FaruqiThe setup: Middle-schooler Nurah is devastated when her family relocates to Peachtree City, Georgia, from Karachi, Pakistan. But with the help of a new friend, she begins to feel more at home.
Who it’s for: Anyone who’s ever moved to a new place and felt alone will relate to what Nurah goes through in this hopeful story told through easy-to-read poetry.
by Ally Malinenko
Zee Puckett loves ghost stories. She just never expected to be living one. It all starts with a dark and stormy night. When the skies clear, everything is different. People are missing. And Zee is seeing frightening things: large, scary dogs that talk and maybe even . . . a ghost. When she tells her classmates, only her best friend Elijah believes her. Worse, mean girl Nellie gives Zee a cruel nickname: Ghost Girl. But whatever the storm washed up isn't going away. To fight for what's right, Zee will have to embrace what makes her different and what makes her Ghost Girl. And all three of them--Zee, Elijah, and Nellie--will have to work together if they want to give their ghost story a happy ending.
How to Become a Planet by Nicole MellebyStarring: Pluto Jean Timoney, a 12-year-old space enthusiast who's trying to manage depression on top of friendships, family changes, and middle school.
Why you should read it: Pluto’s story is an honest, gentle, and a realistic look at the way that anxiety and depression can impact a person's life.
Healer of the Water Monster by Brian YoungThe setting: New Mexico, where Nathan Todacheenie’s nali (grandmother) hosts him for the summer on their ancestral lands -- but there is more to the desert than meets the eye.
For fans of: Rebecca Roanhorse’s Race to the Sun, another fast-paced fantasy focusing on Navajo characters and legends.
Reviewers say: “Gentle, complex characters and flawed, loving human relationships lend depth to Young’s worlds-spanning novel” (Publishers Weekly).
Summer at Meadow Wood
by Amy Rebecca Tan
A girl finds unexpected support and healing after reluctantly rejoining her friends at summer camp, while her mother navigates a crisis at home that will completely change their family. By the author of This Kind of Paradise.
Be Prepared by Vera BrosgolExpectations: Frustrated misfit Vera hopes that she'll finally fit in among the other Russian kids at a Russian American summer camp.
Reality: From mean girls to a terrifying outhouse, camp is nothing like Vera expected.
For fans of: Raina Telgemeier, since she often writes about her own life, and this relatable graphic novel is based on the summer camp woes of author Vera Brosgol.
Camp by Kayla MillerWhat it is: This sequel to Kayla Miller’s Click takes on the same concepts of friendship and self-discovery, but places them in a new setting.
Starring: best friends Willow and Olive, who go off to summer camp together, but find that tension in their friendship forces them to make compromises.
Try this next: Many of the same themes and topics show up in Kristen Gudsnuk’s Making Friends, which is also a graphic novel.
Here in the Real World by Sara PennypackerWhat it's about: While avoiding "Meaningful Social Interaction" at rec center camp, 11-year-old dreamer Ware hides out in the crumbling abandoned church next door, turning it into the Middle Ages castle of his dreams and making friends with Jolene, the tough, practical girl who's been growing a garden on the church's land.
Read it for: short chapters, memorable characters, and a sensitive story about misfits who band together.
Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis; illustrated by Shannon Watters and Brookyln AllenWelcome to: Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, which looks like a typical Lumberjanes scout camp.
What's really happening: Cabin-mates Mal, Molly, April, Jo, and Ripley are earning their merit badges through bizarre supernatural activities such as arm-wrestling giants and battling three-eyed beasts.
Series alert: If you're hooked on this high-octane comic about "friendship to the max!", we've got good news: this collection is the 1st of many in the ongoing Lumberjanes series.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 10-13!