cover image Chirp


Kate Messner. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0281-0

When Mia’s grandma has a mild stroke, the middle schooler’s family moves from Boston to Burlington, Vt., to help her grandmother sell her cricket farm. As a former entomology professor and entomophagist, however, Gram is determined to get more people eating protein-rich crickets and expand the farm—if she can first figure out who is sabotaging it. With the help of two friends she meets at Launch Camp for Young Entrepreneurs, Mia—a fearless gymnast until an injury and a painful secret leaves her uncertain and cautious—creates a business plan for Gram’s cricket farm and starts sleuthing for Gram’s saboteur. But doing so means that Mia must find both her courage and her voice. Messner addresses #MeToo themes authentically and with care as her story moves toward empowerment: Mia displays fear and confusion alongside a hope to reclaim the strength she once felt as a gymnast. Layering mystery elements, strong and myriad female characters, and a poignant analogy involving chirp-less female crickets, Messner gently guides Mia on a journey of resilience that both comforts and inspires. Ages 10–14. [em]Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary. (Feb.) [/em]