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Updated by Jen Blair on Jun 11, 2022
Headline for Summer Reading - Best So Far 2022 - Middle School
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Summer Reading - Best So Far 2022 - Middle School

Here is the list of the best books I’ve read (so far) this year. You can add them to your summer TBR right now. [Hint: you can click on the title to see more about each title on GoodReads.]
Summer Break and READING begin now! Welcome summer!

The Aquanaut: A Graphic Novel by Dan Santat

The Aquanaut - Dan Santat

Just the most peculiar story you will ever read. Sophia is trying to help save the marine theme park her dad and uncle started and is helped by this odd creature from the sea…that is actually several creatures together inside a diving helmet? I know. It’s weird. And truly enjoyable.

Batpig: When Pigs Fly by Rob Harrell

Batpig: When Pigs Fly - Rob Harrell

Gary is just an ordinary pig…who isn’t really good at anything…until he is bitten by a radioactive bat and now he has SUPERPOWERS. It’s an awkward transition, from regular old Gary to become a superhero. You have to learn to fly, find a costume… Just a laugh a minute this one. One of the most enjoyable books I have ever read. Joy on every page. For fans of Dog Man.

Between Shades of Gray: The Graphic Novel by Andrew Donkin

Between Shades of Gray: The Graphic Novel - Ruta Sepetys; adapted by Andrew Donkin; illustrated by Dave Kopka

This graphic novel version is just as beautiful and compelling as the original. Lina and her family’s story remind us how important it is to speak up, speak out, and bear witness. A work of art.

Movie trailer:

Cinder & Glass by Melissa de la Cruz

Cinder and Glass - Melissa de la Cruz

Romance! Fabulous gowns! Evil stepmothers! Versailles! The perfect escapist re-telling of Cinderella. What more do you need?

From the publisher:
Based on: Cinderella. In 1682 France, Cendrillion, to escape her wicked stepmother, must compete with the other women at court for the Prince's favor, forcing her to decide if she can bear losing the boy she loves in order to leave a life she hates.

Falling Short by Ernesto Cisneros

Falling Short - Ernesto Cisneros

Marco and Isaac are complete opposites. And best friends. When everything else is falling apart around them they know they can count on each other. Basketball, bullies, homework, and families falling apart and coming back together. This book has it all.

Forging Silver into Stars (Forging Silver into Stars, #1)

Forging Silver Into Stars - Brigid Kemmerer

A new series about our favorite characters from Emberfall. This is Tycho’s story. He must prove his loyalty to the throne over and over again, while making some surprising allies along the way. If you have not yet read any of the_ Curse Breakers_ books, do so NOW. No one does it better than Kemmerer.

Gallant by V.E. Schwab

Gallant - V. E. Schwab

Olivia can’t speak. But she can see ghosts and shadows. And once she arrives at Gallant, she must fight to belong to her newfound family and home. With nods to Jane Eyre and Coraline, this is the perfect haunting tale to curl up and read on a rainy, stormy night.

The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat

The Last Mapmaker - Christina Soontornvat

Using her wits, her stamina, and her natural abilities, Sai is able to apprentice to the most legendary mapmaker in the country. They embark on a voyage of exploration and encounter stowaways, storms, dragons, cheaters and more. For those of you who love a good seafaring adventure story.

League of Liars by Astrid Scholte

League of Liars - Astrid Scholte

In a world where everyone has access to the magical powers of shadows, their justice system is an all-seeing, all-powerful entity. But what happens when those who lead this justice system become drunk on its power? It’s up to five teens to take them on. Of course. A fast-paced courtroom drama that you won’t be able to put down.

Linked by Gordon Korman

Linked - Gordon Korman

“Let’s get one thing straight: None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for dinosaur poop.”

After their school is vandalized with a swastika, the students at this middle school come together with a project to fight hate and racism. As the students try to discover the identity of the graffiti artist, they uncover mysteries about each other and themselves. Told with humor [see above] and honesty, this is Korman at the top of his game.

Making of the audiobook trailer:

My Own Lightning by Lauren Wolk

My Own Lightning - Lauren Wolk

If you loved Wolf Hollow, there’s MORE. This is the sequel.
After Annabelle is struck by lightning (really!) she finds herself aware of those around her at a heightened level. Is this a superpower? Lyrical, poetic writing about nature, animals, and the BEST family. Another perfect novel by Wolk about the tough questions children face, even in the most loving and idyllic settings.

The Name She Gave Me by Betty Culley

The Name She Gave Me - Betty Culley

Rynn is the most loving, empathetic, strong human who makes a fascinating narrator of her family’s story in this novel-in-verse. A story of adoptive families, found families, and ties that break. This book will break your heart and paste it all back together again.

The Second Chance of Benjamin Waterfalls by James Bird

The Second Chance of Benjamin Waterfalls - James Bird

For those that loved Touching Spirit Bear. This is the story of a kid who can’t stop stealing. In family court his mother persuades the judge to send Benny to his father for a Native “boot camp” instead of juvie. Benny keeps waiting for some kind of outdoor living experience, but is instead taken under the wing of an odd masked girl, who is also the daughter of the tribal leader. Unexpectedly he learns lessons of compassion and healing, even though he fights it every step of the way.

The Silent Unseen: A Novel of World War II by Amanda McCrina | Goodreads

The Silent Unseen - Amanda McCrina

A prescient novel about WWII Poland and the fighting that took place between the Polish Resistance fighters, Ukraine Army, and the Soviets. Maria and a Ukrainian prisoner risk their lives to rescue family members. An impossible task when there is no one that they can trust. Not even each other.

Solimar: The Sword of the Monarchs by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Solimar - Pam Munoz Ryan

Solimar is a princess who has been given a remarkable ability to see the future. With her brother and father on a trip, the king of the neighboring kingdom takes over her country, it’s up to Solimar and her new-found friend to save her kingdom. Adventure, magic, and butterflies.

Sort of Super by Eric Gapstur | Goodreads

Sort of Super - Eric Gapstur

One of my favorite graphic novels ever. A rollicking adventure that had me laughing out loud. A combination of The Incredibles, The Simpsons, and Captain Underpants. Deft humor, moments of poignance, lots of heart, and TONS of action, this graphic novel has something for everyone.

Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler by Ibi Zoboi

Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler - Ibi Zoboi

A beautiful biography written in poetry and prose that captures the awe and admiration for Ms. Butler’s craft as well as the era in which it was created. With glimpses of the lonely, fierce child who became a science-fiction writing icon. Not to be missed.

This Woven Kingdom (This Woven Kingdom, #1) by Tahereh Mafi

This Woven Kingdom - Tahereh Mafi

A delicious fantasy with all of the crucial ingredients: a strong, intelligent protagonist who can take out multiple assassins without any help, gorgeous dresses, court intrigue, excellent kissing scenes, magic, dragons…even a midnight deadline at the ball. I’m telling you, you’re going to love it.

Those Kids from Fawn Creek by Erin Entrada Kelly | Goodreads

Those Kids from Fawn Creek - Erin Entrada Kelly

When there are only 13 kids in your entire grade, the arrival of a new person can really shake things up. Especially when it’s a kid like Orchid. For fans of Stargirl.

Tokyo Dreaming (Tokyo Ever After, #2) by Emiko Jean

Tokyo Dreaming - Emiko Jean

Because I’m still excited about Tokyo Ever After… and now we get a sequel??? I’m here for more of Princess Izumi trying to find herself while finding her way to fit into the Japanese Imperial family. Priceless vases are broken. Friends are made. And there is kissing. More kissing. I don’t think you need to know anything more.