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    If You Loved These 20 YA Books, Then Pick Up These 20 Middle Grade Books

    If you enjoy reading young adult novels, be sure to check out these middle grade novels with similar themes.

    1. If you enjoyed The Hate U Give, check out A Good Kind of Trouble.

    Balzer + Bray

    Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give follows 16-year-old Starr Carter, who is forced into activism after her friend dies from a police shooting. If you enjoyed this young adult novel, which was adapted into a blockbuster movie, then you should read Lisa Ramee Moore’s A Good Kind of Trouble, in which 12-year-old Shayla takes a similar stance after racially motivated murders in her community.

    Get The Hate U Give and A Good Kind of Trouble from Bookshop.

    2. If you loved Fat Chance, Charlie Vega, try Starfish.

    Holiday House, Nancy Paulsen Books

    Charlie Vega is smart, funny, artistic, and fat. She’s trying to be alright with her body, but people won’t stop sharing their opinions — especially her mom. On top of that, Charlie’s skinny best friend likes the same guy she likes. This fat-positive debut from Crystal Maldonado is already well loved, as is Starfish, Lisa Fipps's verse novel about a 12-year-old girl whose mother won’t let her live. With help from her dad, a new friend, and a therapist, Ellie finds her voice and learns to take up space.

    Get Fat Chance, Charlie Vega and Starfish from Bookshop.

    3. If you enjoyed Like Home, read Take Back the Block.

    Penguin Random House, Random House

    In Like Home, Nelo stands up against a hate crime and gentrification in her Ginger East neighborhood. Louisa Onomé’s debut novel about gentrification, family, and community is a perfect pairing for Chrystal D. Giles’ debut middle grade book, Take Back the Block. Wes and his band of friends have to speak up when a housing development company threatens to tear down their homes and build shiny apartment complexes.

    Get Like Home and Take Back the Block from Bookshop.

    4. If you read and loved Wings of Ebony, check out Amari and the Night Brothers.

    Simon & Schuster, Balzer + Bray

    Both Rue in Wings of Ebony and Amari in Amari and the Night Brothers are fighting to save beloved siblings. If you enjoy excellent worldbuilding and compulsively readable fantasy, you should be reading both of these books.

    Get Wings of Ebony and Amari and the Night Brothers from Bookshop.

    5. If you liked Love Is a Revolution, try Genesis Begins Again.

    Bloomsbury, Atheneum Books

    Nala Robertson learns a thing or two about loving herself and being exactly who she is in Renée Watson’s latest release. If that’s your kind of love story, don’t miss Alicia D. Williams’ Genesis Begins Again, about a girl coming to love the color of her skin after years of internalized colorism.

    Get Love Is a Revolution and Genesis Begins Again from Bookshop.

    6. If you enjoyed Twelve Steps to Normal, check out Life in the Balance.

    Little, Brown, Feiwel & Friends

    If you’re looking for t(w)een books featuring kids dealing with an alcoholic parent, these two are just right. Farrah Penn’s Twelve Steps to Normal features a teen grappling with the loss of her grandmother, even as her father enters rehab. In Life in the Balance, 12-year-old Veronica’s life is thrown off balance when her mom has to go into rehab for alcoholism. Both of these books are realistic and full of hard emotions, but also hopeful.

    Get Twelve Steps to Normal and Life in the Balance from Bookshop.

    (Note: Farrah Penn is an editor at BuzzFeed.)

    7. If you loved The Downstairs Girl, try Front Desk.

    G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Arthur A. Levine Books

    Mia Tang, the hero in Kelly Yang’s debut middle grade book, loves words and writing. Just like Stacey Lee’s Jo, she uses her voice to support those who are unjustly treated. If you enjoy relevant historical fiction featuring strong Asian American girls finding and advocating for their community, both of these books are perfect for you.

    Get The Downstairs Girl and Front Desk from Bookshop.

    8. If you read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, then you might enjoy Keep It Together, Keiko Carter.

    Simon & Schuster, Scholastic Press

    Sometimes a lighthearted book with romance, frenemies, and warm family dynamics is just what the doctor ordered. To All the Boys I've Loved Before's Lara Jean is the quintessential YA hero whom we’ve loved following on the pages and onscreen. Now meet Keiko Carter. She’s a people pleaser caught between two feuding BFFs and dealing with changes in her home life. If you loved Lara Jean, you’ll love Keiko. Plus, a companion title, Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai, is being released this summer.

    Get To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Keep It Together, Keiko Carter from Bookshop.

    9. If Where the Rhythm Takes You is on your list, then also check out When Life Gives You Mangos.

    Balzer & Bray / Harperteen, Delacorte

    In Sarah Dass’s forthcoming debut, Reyna lives on the small island of Tobago and is not pleased when her first love returns, now one-third of a Grammy-nominated band. She is also dealing with grief over her mother’s death. Kereen Getten’s When Life Gives You Mangos is also set on a small Caribbean island, where Clara is dealing with grief, but in a different way.

    Get Where the Rhythm Takes You and When Life Gives You Mangos from Bookshop.

    10. If you liked Love, Hate and Other Filters, then check out Amina’s Voice.

    Soho Teen, Simon & Schuster

    Seventeen-year-old Maya is Indian American and Muslim, just like young Amina. Both girls are creatively inclined. Maya is hoping to to go to film school, and Amina has the voice of an angel — if only she would use it. In both stories, Maya and Amina learn that their voices matter in the face of Islamophobia. Amina's Song, the sequel to Amina’s Voice, is also out now.

    Get Love, Hate and Other Filters and Amina’s Voice from Bookshop.

    11. If you loved When You Were Everything, try So Done.

    Ember, Greenwillow Books

    Friendship breakups are uncomfortable and heartbreaking. Just ask the besties in these two books. Ashley Woodfolk’s YA book When You Were Everything follows the disintegration of Cleo and Layla’s friendship — and the aftermath. In So Done, Mila and Tai learn that they may not fit together as well as they used to anymore.

    Get When You Were Everything and So Done from Bookshop.

    12. If you liked Darius the Great Is Not Okay, then check out How to Make Friends With the Sea.

    Penguin Books, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

    Darius is clinically depressed and visiting family in Iran. This heartfelt YA novel is reminiscent of Tanya Guerrero’s middle grade debut, which follows Pablo, a 12-year-old dealing with chronic anxiety. Both books are perfect for anyone looking for a book about belonging and finding home in people, cultures, and places.

    Get Darius the Great Is Not Okay and How to Make Friends With the Sea from Bookshop.

    13. If you enjoyed Long Way Down, check out The Stars Beneath Our Feet.

    Atheneum Books, Yearling Books

    Long Way Down, Jason Reynolds’ phenomenal YA novel about Will, a boy on his way to avenge his brother’s murder, will knock out any reader. This story takes place over the course of a minute. David Barclay Moore’s The Stars Beneath Our Feet covers a longer period, but just like Will, Lolly is still dealing with the aftermath of his brother’s death. Both stories show boys dealing with grief and gun violence in an accessible voice.

    Get Long Way Down and The Stars Beneath Our Feet from Bookshop.

    14. If you read No Place Like Here, then pick up Summer at Meadow Wood.

    Blink, HarperCollins

    No Place Like Here is a perfect summer camp story with real family issues and a sprinkling of romance: When Ashlyn’s father goes to jail for tax evasion and her mother gets checked into a facility for depression, her only option is to go work with her cousin at a team-building retreat. Amy Rebecca Tan’s Summer at Meadow Wood has even stronger summer camp vibes and a main character who realizes, while she's at camp, that her parents are separating.

    Get No Place Like Here and Summer at Meadow Wood from Bookshop.

    15. If you loved The Black Kids, check out It All Comes Down to This.

    Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Clarion Books

    It’s always a good time to read historical fiction by Black authors. Both of these titles feature girls coming of age during historical riots. The Black Kids is a YA novel set in '90s Los Angeles during the Rodney King riots, while It All Comes Down to This is a middle grade title set in Los Angeles during the Watts riots.

    Get The Black Kids and It All Comes Down to This from Bookshop.

    16. If you enjoyed The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling, check out Where the Watermelons Grow.

    Scholastic Press, Quill Tree Books

    Wai Chim’s The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling features a Chinese American teen who is parenting her younger siblings because her mom can’t get out of bed and her dad won’t leave their restaurant. In Cindy Baldwin’s debut middle grade book, 12-year-old Della Kelly has to watch her baby sister when their mother starts hearing voices.

    Get The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling and Where the Watermelons Grow from Bookshop.

    17. If you liked We Are Not from Here, pick up Efrén Divided.

    Philomel Books, Quill Tree Books

    Teens Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña are crossing from Guatemala through Mexico, hoping to get to the US border in We Are Not From Here. This searing YA novel is a perfect match for Efrén Divided, a realistic, moving middle grade book about a boy whose mother is deported after the authorities discover that she is undocumented.

    Get We Are Not From Here and Efrén Divided from Bookshop.

    18. If you read The Silence Between Us, then you may enjoy Show Me a Sign.

    Blink, Scholastic Press

    These two #OwnVoices books highlight the challenges faced by the Deaf community while also showing that “deafness is not an affliction.” The Silence Between Us centers Maya, a deaf teen who moves to a new city for her brother’s cystic fibrosis treatment and falls in love with a hearing boy. In Show Me a Sign, Mary Lambert is kidnapped by a scientist in the 1800s who wants a live specimen to study the prevalent deafness in her community.

    Get The Silence Between Us and Show Me a Sign from Bookshop.

    19. If you enjoyed On the Edge of Gone, then check out The Someday Birds.

    Amulet Books, HarperCollins

    If you’re looking for autism rep in middle grade and YA literature, both of these books are great to start with. On the Edge of Gone is a brilliant science fiction/dystopian YA about an autistic girl and her mother who may not be protected when a comet is set to hit Earth. In the middle grade book The Someday Birds, a boy with autism is on a family road trip to get his father treatment after he is injured in Afghanistan. He finds solace in a bird project he’s working on for his dad.

    Get On the Edge of Gone and The Someday Birds from Bookshop.

    20. If you loved Rain Is Not My Indian Name, pick up Apple in the Middle.

    Heartdrum, North Dakota State University Press

    The girls in both of these stories are half Native American. In Rain Is Not My Indian Name, Rain is reeling from the death of her friend and is drawn into the Indian community while working on a feature article for her town’s newspaper. Apple in Apple in the Middle, on the other hand, decides to have nothing to do with her Indian side after being called a racial slur. She quickly realizes, however, that the white side doesn’t seem to want her, either. A visit to her Native American relatives changes her perspective.

    Get Rain Is Not My Indian Name from Bookshop and Apple in the Middle from Amazon.

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