Best Middle Grade Books from 2021

Best Middle Grade Books of 2021

Best Middle Grade Books from 2021

Well. 2021 was certainly a mixed year for me. It had a really rough start, not a great middle, and a painful and chaotic end. But, it also had some really great books!

Maybe it feels silly to think that the books were one of the brightest spots in the year, but to be honest, they kinda were? I mean, some other good things happened, too, and I have a lot to be grateful for, but the books… those are one of the best gifts from this past year to me.

2021 was a good year for me particularly for middle grade books. When I first started blogging, I only reviewed young adult books, but once I started reading middle grade, I couldn’t stop. I had to add them to my review list, and I’ve never been sorry I did!

With all that in mind, here’s the list of the best middle grade books I read last year. There are a couple backlist titles on there that I didn’t get to until this year that were too good to leave off the list. Other than that, all of these books came out in 2021. I hope you enjoy!

Best Middle Grade Books from 2021

Vasilisa by Julie Mathison

Vasilisa (Old Rus #1) by Julie Mathison

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Based on Russian Folklore. Set in 1919. The story of a brave girl and first love.

Published February 23, 2021 | My Review


These Unlucky Stars by Gillian McDunn

These Unlucky Stars by Gillian McDunn

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Intergenerational friendship. An adorable dog. A small town parade. So much fun and so heartfelt!

Published March 2, 2021 | My Review


Amina's Song by Hena Khan

Amina’s Song by Hena Khan

Amazon | BookshopGoodreads

What you need to know: Faith-positive. Family. A trip to Pakistan. An anxious but talented singer. The unforgettable companion to AMINA’S VOICE.

Published March 2, 2021 | My Review


Breathing Underwater by Sarah Allen

Breathing Underwater by Sarah Allen

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: A younger sister worried about her older sister’s depression. A road trip in an RV. Deeply moving storytelling.

Published March 30, 2021 | My Review


The Great Cookie War by Caroline Stellings

The Great Cookie War by Carolyn Stellings

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: COOKIES! A Mennonite community. A snarky New York Lawyer. A talented artist with big dreams. Based on a true story.

Published April 13, 2021 | My Review


Six Feet Below Zero by Ena Jones

Six Feet Below Zero by Ena Jones

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: OMG. This book is hilarious and so sweet. I can’t say it any better than this clip from Goodreads: A dead body. A missing will. An evil relative. The good news is, Great Grammy has a plan. The bad news is, she’s the dead body.

Published April 20, 2021 | My Review


Ways to Grow Love by Renée Watson

Ways to Grow Love (Ryan Hart #2) by Renée Watson

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: A precocious protagonist. Adjusting to a new baby. Summer camp! A sweet, fun read following WAYS TO MAKE SUNSHINE.

Published April 27, 2021 | My Review


Glitter Gets Everywhere by Yvette Clark

Glitter Gets Everywhere by Yvette Clark

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: New friends and heartbreaking grief. New York City. Family relationships. I laughed and cried. So good.

Published May 4, 2021 | My Review


The Kate In Between by Claire Swinarski

The Kate In Between by Claire Swinarski

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Explores consequences of bullying and the cost of telling the truth. Broken friendship. Loneliness. Courage.

Published May 18, 2021 | My Review


Everywhere Blue by Joanne Rossmassler-Fritz

Everywhere Blue by Joanne Rossmassler Fritz

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: An oboe player in a musical family. A missing brother. Told in beautiful verse.

Published June 1, 2021 | My Review


The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe by Tricia Springstubb

The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe by Tricia Springstubb

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Quirky, unforgettable characters. Friendship, birds and found family.

Published June 1, 2021 | My Review


The Firebird Song by Arnée Flores

The Firebird Song by Arnée Flores

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: One of my favorite books of the year. Unforgettable, hopeful, and beautifully told.

Published June 8, 2021 | My Review


Rea and the Blood Nectar by Payal Doshi

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Set in India. A girl travels to a magical world to find her missing brother. Fun and adventurous.

Published June 15, 2021 | My Review


The Other Side of Luck by Ginger Johnson

The Other Side of Luck by Ginger Johnson

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Lyrical prose. Friendship, grief, and magic. Gorgeous storytelling. I’m so glad I read this one.

Published August 10, 2021 | My Review


The Raven Heir by Stephanie Burgis

The Raven Heir (Raven Crown #1) by Stephanie Burgis

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: One of my latest favorite MG titles. Siblings! Magic! A high-stakes quest to find a lost crown! It’s so, so good.

Published September 14, 2021 | My Review


Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna by Alda P. Dobbs

The Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna by Alda P. Dobbs

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Set during the Mexican Revolution in 1913. A small family flees violent soldiers, led by a brave girl.

Published September 14, 2021 | My Review


The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy by Anne Ursu

The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy by Anne Ursu

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Magic and friendship. A boarding school packed with secrets. Girls who are told they’re broken discovering their true strength.

Published October 12, 2021 | My Review


Frankie and Amelia by Cammie McGovern

Frankie and Amelia by Cammie McGovern

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Told from a cat’s perspective observing a girl on the Autism spectrum. Sweet and genuine. The companion to CHESTER AND GUS.

Published October 26, 2021 | My Review


Tidesong by Wendy Xu

Tidesone by Wendy Xu

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Graphic novel. Witches and water dragons. Unexpected friendships. Discovering self-worth. A deliciously fun story.

Published November 16, 2021 | My Review


Spell Sweeper by Lee Edward Fodi

Spell Sweeper by Lee Edward Födi

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Quirky characters. A fun and fantastic story about the under-appreciated crew who clean up after spellcasters.

Published November 30, 2021 | My Review


Birdie's Billions by Edith Cohn

Birdie’s Billions by Edith Cohn

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Explores ideas about integrity and the snowball effect of lying. A skateboarding girl and a friendly cat named Jackpot.

Published December 14, 2021 | My Review


The Storm Keeper's Battle by Catherine Doyle

The Storm Keeper’s Battle (Storm Keeper #3) by Catherine Doyle

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: One of my most-anticipated books of 2021. I adore this series from beginning to end. It’s packed with magic, friendship, courage, and a time pretzel. Last book in the series that began with THE STORM KEEPER’S ISLAND.

Published December 28, 2021 | My Review


Brother's Keeper by Julie Lee

Brother’s Keeper by Julie Lee

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: A brother and sister set out on a desperate attempt to escape North Korea during the Korean War. Beautiful and aching. (This technically came out in 2020, but I read it in January 2021.)

Published July 21, 2020 | My Review


Double the Danger and Zero Zucchini by Betsy Uhrig

Double the Danger and Zero Zucchini by Betsy Uhrig

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: A reluctant reader critiques his aunt’s book, testing the stunts, discovering ghosts, and making new friends along the way. Hilarious and heartfelt. (This technically came out in 2020, but I read it in April 2021.)

Published September 22, 2020 | My Review

What were your favorite books from 2021?

What were the best middle grade books from 2021 that you read? Did you read any of the books on my list? If so, did any of them rank among your favorites?

If not, are there any books on my list that you’re thinking of checking out now that you’ve seen them here? Please let me know! There’s nothing better than knowing someone is going to check out one of my favorite books.

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About Kasey Giard

I'm a mama, reader, and writer. Passionate about peppermint (it's not just for Christmas, okay?!), fly fishing, and movie night.

2 Responses to Best Middle Grade Books from 2021

  1. Jeane Campbell says:

    I would have to add these books to name a few:

    Skunk and Badger: Egg Marks the Spot by Amy Timberlake
    Starfish by Lisa Fipps
    Once Upon a Camel by Kathi Appelt
    Pony by R.J. Palacio
    Willodeen by Katherine Applegate,
    The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo
    Linked by Gordon Korman
    The Adventure is Now by Jess Redman
    Finding Junie Kim by Ellen Oh
    A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus
    Da Vinci’s Cat by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
    Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

    • Kasey says:

      Yay! Thank you for sharing your favorites! I’ve had a few of them on my reading list, but there are some I hadn’t heard of yet. I will definitely check these out. 😁

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