The Life and Times of Benny Alvarez (Harper, $16.99) aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. Benny is a normal seventh-grader, navigating middle school with the typical lack of finesse. Seen as the downer, negative type, Benny has to deal with classes, like poetry, in which he isn’t the least bit interested and with trying to figure out the opposite sex, in which he is very interested. Stuck in between a wild, hyperactive younger brother and an older sister who believes she is always right, Benny seeks comfort and refuge from his elderly grandfather. His loving parents are there to help and offer Benny some advice, especially when his grandfather’s health begins to decline. Peter Johnson’s novel is the perfect read for any middle-schooler trying to fit in and make sense of the early teenage years. Ages 12-15. Kasie Griffitts

The Life and Times of Benny Alvarez Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062215963
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: HarperCollins - June 24th, 2014

Daniel Pratzer is a freshman on the chess team, not really good at anything, struggling with grades and fitting in with his fellow classmates. Therefore, he is taken by surprise when the leaders on the team request that he and his father take part in a weekend-long chess tournament, promising a large cash reward and bragging rights. Chess doesn’t seem like the most adventurous of games, but when Daniel discovers that his father is a Grandmaster (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99) of the game with deep secrets, this weekend parent-child chess tournament turns into a life-or-death battle for the truth. David Klass plunges readers deep into a fast-paced tournament of wits and willpower. Ages 13-15. Kasie Griffitts

Grandmaster: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374327712
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) - February 25th, 2014

Nick Bertozzi details an epic expedition in his latest graphic novel, Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey (First Second, $16.99). Through rich artwork laced with fun and informative graphics, Bertozzi delves into the bleak, fast-paced adventures of Ernest Shackleton, one of the most notable explorers to traverse the South Pole, as he and his team members fight for survival and journey from coast to coast. Hunger, disease, and brutal weather conditions are all part of this harrowing tale, as Shackleton struggles to succeed in his lifelong goal and bring all his men back home alive. Ages 12-18. Kasie Griffitts (Available in June)

Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey Cover Image
By Nick Bertozzi, Nick Bertozzi (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781596434516
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: First Second - June 17th, 2014