Fortunately, I have a nice pile of books; unfortunately, they are not shaping up to be what I want.
Emerson, Kevin. Carlos is Gonna Get It. LOVED Emerson's vampire series, so I was sad I didn't like this, but this book was just filled with unrelentingly mean children, and Carlos was irritating enough that he seemed to deserve the meanness.
Fawcett, Katie Pickard. To Come and Go Like Magic. This is my first Newbery contender. From publisher "In the 1970s, Chili Sue Mahoney longs to escape her tiny Kentucky hometown and see the world, but she also learns to recognize the beauty of the people and places around her." If you or your students like the whole quirky Southern thing, this is the novel.
Goldman, Steven. Two Parties, One Tux and a Very Short Film About the Grapes of Wrath. While I found Mitchell's voice very amusing ("At 17, your mother can no longer choose you deordorant for you. I make my stand in the personal care aisle at Walgreens, ready to decide what kind of male I really am."), too much of the content was for older students. My son is currently reading this.
Hershenhorn, Esther. The Confessions and Secrets of Howard J. Fingerhut. What I wanted: a funny books for boys. Why this didn't work: Too young, cartoony cover and print much too big. Delighful for a third grader.
Lloyd, Alison. Year of the Tiger. From the publisher "In ancient China, two boys forge an unlikely alliance in an effort to become expert archers and save their city from invading barbarians." Very nicely done historical fiction, but I have a ton on the ancient Orient, and few readers who are interested.
Reed, Dallas. Shimmer. The blurb makes it sound really spooky and horror filled, but the first 50 pages are devoted to a boy planning a beer bash while his parents are away. Once I got to the marijuana smoking, I gave up. Drat, I need more horror books.
Suma, Nova Ren. Dani Noir. What I wanted: A mystery. Why this didn't work: Too much discussion of old movies and blended family difficulties.My mystery readers lose patience with books that don't seem like mysteries right from the start.
Summy, Barrie. I So Don't Do Mysteries. This would be good for "pink" book lovers who have to read a mystery for class, but the name dropping got to me. I didn't like Sherry, the main character, either.
Trueit, Trudi. Julep O'Toole: Confessions of a Middle Child. Almost like Wimpy Kid for younger girls. Again, Julep got on my nerves. I'll pitch this and see what Picky Reader thinks. A bit young for middle school.