25 of the best new middle grade novels

These titles are the very best of new middle grade novels released so far this year.

5. 'Steering Toward Normal,' by Rebecca Petruck

Diggy Lawson’s mother left him at his father’s front door when he was an infant and hasn’t been seen since. Now Diggy has a good life in rural Minnesota with his father, and he’s determined to impress an older high school girl by winning a 4-H championship for the cow he’s raising. Meanwhile, his favorite teacher has died.

Diggy’s life is shaken when the teacher's son, Wayne, gets dropped off at the same doorstep and the boys learn they share the same biological father. Suddenly Wayne is taking over his half-brother’s life, from forging a relationship with their father to entering his own cow in the 4-H contest. The ensuing story is both hilarious and moving. The boys are well-developed, likeable characters who react to the upheaval in their lives in thoroughly imperfect yet believable ways. (Ages 9 to 13)

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