Fun new novels for your 10+ year-olds

Disclosure: I was sent these books to review free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

Are you looking for something new for your middle grades? Today I am sharing three new novels about ordinary kids and their lives. They each have joys and lots of struggles. The first book is Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar. 

In this book, Ruthie and her family has moved from Cuba to New York City. Some of the family is happy to live in a free country while some struggle with missing Cuba and home. Ruthie is somewhere in between. Life in America is very different from the life they lived in Cuba before Castro took over. Ruthie's family is Jewish. They are trying to figure out their lives in America. Her father lives his dream and buys the car he wanted, but then one night on the way home with the family in the car he gets hit and Ruthie ends up with a broken leg and a full body cast for a year. Her year in bed gives her many new perspectives on life. She was told she was lucky she only had broken bones. People in the other cars were dead. Somehow Ruthie did not feel that lucky. With the help of many people around her, Ruthie learns how to heal not only her bones but also her spirit. 

There are so many important messages in this book. It is about friendship, struggle and life. There is also so much culture put into this book. Ruthie shares her Cuban culture with her Indian friend, Ramu, and Ramu shares his Indian culture with her. Then there is Danielle who is from Belgium and the cultures are shared again. Then there is the Mexican neighbor who brings Ruthie supplies to paint and teaches her about Frida Kahlo. It has so much packed into the story with historical events as well. This is a wonderful story. There are times where you want to cry for and with Ruthie and there are times of complete joy. I feel many kids will relate to parts of this story and others will learn a bit about immigration and relationships. 

Our second book is Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. Arianna Hazard has had it rough. Her father died in Afghanistan during the war. Her mother died four years ago. On her deathbed her mother asked Ari and her brother, Gage to promise to stay together and for Ari to go to Carter Middle School. However it gets hard when Gage is 19 and wants to leave the home of their guardian, Janna. Who should Ari choose to live with? When she picks her brother she doesn't realize he was lying to Janna about having an apartment. They spend months floor surfing and her Ari's grades are dropping and her friends are leaving her behind. Now she struggles to stay afloat and Carter is now a reach. The most important thing to Ari is her paper things. She has cut out people and props for them from magazines and catalogs and plays with them. This is her escape from the reality she lives in.

This book shares so much about homelessness and the pressure on our young. It also delves into the imagination and how our brains give us coping mechanisms to survive. The story will open kids eyes to the struggles of some families whether homeless or in poverty. It certainly opens eyes to how others live. It helps the reader to try to look at other people's perspectives. It also shows a bit about compassion, friendship and relationships.

Our third book is See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng. This is the story of eleven-year-old Alex who loves space, his dog and his family. He has only a few goals like launching his golden iPod into space. He has an amazing journey from Colorado to New Mexico to Las Vegas to Los Angeles. He discovers many secrets and meets lots of friendly people along the way. He is always recording his journey so he will be able to show other life forms what life is like on Earth. 

This story gives the reader another look at our world and family. Alex discovers he has more family than he knew as he adventures around the country. It is the perfect book for someone who loves space. Each chapter has his recording for the other life forms in space. He describes things that happen to him as well as happenings in the world and he sometimes even records conversations. It is a story that makes you wonder what he will discover next and keeps you reading and wanting more. 

I hope you will take time to check out these fun books for your 10-14 year-olds!!