The Kids Are All Right

Middle School Stories, Outdoor Reading Chair, and More!

Hi Kid Lit Friends!

Summer break is upon us! My kids just got out of school this past week, as New York City public schools like to go to the very end of June. I wonder what plans you all have for the summer? I am looking forward to a slower pace and to not having to pack school lunches! I don’t know why packing school lunches are so annoying, but it is!

I’ve seen some good books for middle schoolers come across my desk recently. Middle school is a rough time, as I can attest from having my own two kids experiencing it currently and recently. For those of you looking for some books to add to your collection for middle schoolers in the fall, I’ve got some recommendations. But first…let’s talk about reading outside!

Speaking of the summer, my wonderful colleague Margaret will be covering some of my newsletters over the next few months as I work on my next book deadline, spend time with my family, and get ready for my next Vanderbeekers book, The Vanderbeekers Ever After, to launch in September. I’ve written nearly 400 of these newsletters, and I’m grateful for a little bit of a break. I know you’ll be in good hands with Margaret!

Bookish Goods

Wooden reading chair

Outdoor Reading Chair by hardywoodproducts

I love reading outside! If you have a porch or patio, first I would like to state that I am very jealous. Second, this wooden chair would be a lovely place to hang out with a good book and a lemonade. Tag me in your photo so I can live vicariously through you!

New Releases

How We Say I Love You cover

How We Say I Love You by Nicole Chen, illustrated by Lenny Wen

In this sweet book, a family shows their love from actions like making food, spending time with each other, and trying to make each other proud.

Moving the Millers Mine Moore Mine Mansion cover

Moving the Millers’ Minnie Moore Mine Mansion by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Julia Sarda

I am nuts about the illustrations in this book! As a huge fan of architecture (my dad is an architect), I loved this story about how a beloved building holds stories of true love, ingenuity, and illegal pigs.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Middle school stories, here we go!

Falling Short cover

Falling Short by Ernesto Cisneros

This book, told in alternating points of view, follows two friends who struggle to find belonging in 6th grade. Unlike other middle-grade books centered around friendship, this one doesn’t center on drama or a falling out. Instead, the two friends continue to support each other through the ups and downs of middle school. I really love this book!

Talia's Codebook for Mathletes cover

Talia’s Codebook for Mathletes by Marissa Moss

Middle school is filled with unspoken rules, which Talia finds out when her best friend suddenly doesn’t want to be friends with a girl. Furthermore, when the mathletes captain doubts her abilities, Talia leans into girl power. She’ll start her own all-girls mathletes team!

Good Different cover

Good Different by Meg Eden Kuyatt

This novel-in-verse, inspired by the author’s experience living on the spectrum as someone who largely “passes” in society as neurotypical, follows a neurodivergent girl who always sticks to her rules for being normal. But when an incident at school causes her to lose friends and even face expulsion, Selah needs to figure out how to get the school to realize that different doesn’t mean damaged.

What Lane cover

What Lane? by Torrey Maldonado

Torrey Maldonado is a middle school teacher, and he writes from such an authentic experience about growing up in New York City. In What Lane?, Stephen, a mixed kid, finds that rules are different depending on who he’s hanging out with. Can he figure out how to be his authentic self?

Two black and white dogs sleeping by the author's chair

What are you reading these days?

Let me know! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at

Before I sign off, have you heard about Book Riot’s newest podcast, First Edition? co-founder Jeff O’Neal explores the wide bookish world and has wonderful guests such as S.A. Cosby, Khaled Hosseini, Sarah Bakewell, and Yahdon Israel. Subscribe to hear them and stay to hear Book Riot’s editors pick the “it” book of the month.

Happy reading!