Carvell, Tim. Planet Tad.
8 May 2012, HarperCollins
Tad is starting a new blog, trying to grow a mustache, and putting up with his annoying younger sister, Sophie. Told in daily entries (some of which are about things in his life, some of which are random observations like "If breakfast cereal is so popular, how come nobody makes dinner cereal. I'd eat it." page 137), this is more episodic than plot driven, covering everything from his interest in asking girls to dances to his science fair project.
Strengths: This will be popular because it is funny and a Notebook Novel. The Mad magazine designation on the front means that most middle school libraries need two copies. This doesn't have anything inappropriate, but does realistically address many middle school concerns. Where is the sequel?We need it now.
Weaknesses: This feels vaguely like feeding my children PopTarts for breakfast. Actually, there were a lot of brand name products mentioned, and there were also some unrealistic things that make me think Mr. Carvell hasn't been near an actual middle school for a while. Can't think of anywhere they do Secret Santa gift exchanges, allow gaming devices in study hall, or get standardized tests back shortly after they are taken!
Holly Kowitt's Jinx of the Loser (Loser List #3) This comes out 1 May, and I won't be able to get a copy right away but I want it! The other two in the series have been popular.