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What to read next: The Right Hook of Devin Velma

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The Right Hook of Devin Velma

Everyone wants to be known for something and Devin Velma is no different -- well, his motives may be a little different.

In the novel The Right Hook of Devin Velma, Devin Velma wants to go viral on Twitter by pulling a stunt, with the help of his anxious best friend Addison Gerhardt, at an NBA game. Devin’s reason behind wanting to pull this crazy stunt could be a number of things: from wanting to help his dad, redemption for an embarrassing moment of Devin’s past or something else unknown to Addison. But Addison, being a good best friend, agrees to help Devin on his mission to go viral.

Of course things take a turn when they actually attempt their stunt at an NBA Clippers’ game and the spotlight is shown on the wrong person.

Author Jake Burt does a great job of blending that type of silly humor you expect in a middle grade novel, with some of the hardships that come along with anxiety, middle school friendships, and difficult family situations. Not to mention what it takes to be brave in coping with your anxiety.

Anxiety is a commonality for most people, especially those sweet middle schoolers. In the novel Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom by Booki Vivant, our main character Abbie, an expert in being in the middle, has to cope with her worries about finding her place as she enters middle school.

This book is full of middle school humor and plenty of crazy middle school antics while Abbie figures out what her niche is in middle school.

Another book that tackles the topic of anxiety with a humorous twist is Stanley Will Probably Be Fine by Sally J. Pla, which features a middle school boy who has anxiety for days and, after an embarrassing incident at a safety assembly, decides to cope with his anxiety by creating his own superhero. Stanley, a comic book enthusiast, decides to enter a comics-trivia treasure hunt and while on the hunt, has to grapple with his anxiety and face some of his fears because isn’t that what John Lockdown (his imaginary superhero) would do?

Now if you’re looking to face your fears and anxiety head-on with a brave face, these books will certainly meet that need:

The first up is the second book in the Berrybrook series by Svetlana Chmakova, appropriately named Brave. Our main character in this novel, Jensen, has always taken it one day at a time. That’s really the only way to make it through middle school, am I right?

Jensen reaches out to two girls on the school newspaper to spread the word about sunspots -- a brave move for him -- but things don’t exactly go well for Jensen.

Another middle grade novel you might want to try is The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty. This book features Lucy Callahan who, after a brush with lightning at age eight, is a certified math genius and is now set to head off to college at age 12. But her challenge (surprise surprise) is to make it through a year of middle school, which takes its own special type of bravery.

Be sure to visit the Recommendation page, which feature a variety of librarian-curated book suggestions for all ages.