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Middle Grade Book Spotlight--2024-25 Middle Grade VRC Titles!!!

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Our middle grade book spotlight this week is all about books that have been nominated for the Virginia Reader’s Choice (VRC) Middle School award for the 2024-2025 school year!!  The VRC award was started back in the 1980s with the goal being that students across the state choosing what they thought the best book of the year is instead of adults.  Every year, there are 10 middle grade books nominated for the award by a committee; readers then have a few months to read as many of the 10 as they can and then they will cast their vote for which one they think is the best.  The book with the most votes wins the award!!  Every tween, as long as you live in Virginia, qualifies to participate in this amazing experience and you can vote right here at your local Handley Regional Library System library (if you are interested just stop by and see someone in Youth Services!).  These books and more can be found by searching the catalog using the search tag #vrcmiddle2024 as well as on Libby and Hoopla.  Check back next week for a new middle grade book spotlight and if you have any book suggestions, please let us know!!

Crash from Outer Space by Candace Fleming--Explores the truth behind what happened after an unidentified flying object crashed in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. Explains how speculations that it was an alien ship began, the rise in UFO hysteria during the 1950s, and the allegations of those claiming UFO encounters are real. Also discusses government and military investigations into the crash, the debunking of false evidence, and what questions still remain about the incident.

Eb & Flow by Kelly J. Baptist--A novel in verse told in two voices that describes how African American tween girl Ebony "Eb" gets into a fight with her classmate De'Kari "Flow" Flood, a boy, and they both get suspended. Now they have ten days to explain their behavior to their families and reflect on their actions.

Invisible by Christina Diaz Gonzalez--When five middle school kids are thrown together to complete community service hours in the local cafeteria, Miguel, Dayara, Sara, Nico, and George, who come from different backgrounds, learn that they've been put together because administrators only see them as Latinx. However, during their time together, they learn that someone is in desperate need of help. The five band together to help in the best way they know how and later must explain themselves to skeptical school officials.

The Lost Year by Katherine Marsh--The COVID-19 pandemic strands thirteen-year-old Matthew's journalist dad overseas indefinitely, making the boy miserable. Worse, his stress and isolation only grow when his mom moves his great-grandmother into their home to ride out the pandemic. Then, Matthew discovers an ancient photo in his great-grandmother's belongings--one that unearths a life-changing family secret from all the way back to Soviet Ukraine in the 1930s.

Simon Sort of Says by Erin Bow--Over a year ago, Simon O’Keeffe was the only one in his fifth grade class to survive a school shooting, and he wishes he and everyone else could just forget about it. When he and his family move to Grin and Bear It, Nebraska, a town that bans the internet, wifi, and other electronic devices that may interfere with research radio telescopes in the town, Simon feels he's finally found a place where no one has heard of him. Though he makes new friends and has a series of analog adventures with local animals, he must eventually contend with the news getting out and coping with his PTSD symptoms.

The Girl in the Lake by India Hill Brown--Celeste is not looking forward to spending two weeks at her grandparents' lake house with her brother, Owen, and their cousins Capri and Daisy. Celeste has never been comfortable around water and she's just failed her swim test, so the lake has no appeal to her. But not long after they arrive, strange things start happening, and Celeste starts to see a ghostly girl everywhere she looks. She thinks she's imagining things, but she begins to wonder what could the girl want if she is real.