Middle school is often a wild and disruptive transition time in just about every area of life. Hormones, different interests, changing friendships… it can be a really tough time! Sometimes kids who used to read with gusto and enthusiasm begin to lose their love of reading. But before you give up and think that your middle schooler has sworn off reading for good, check out this list of 10 exciting adventure books for middle schoolers!
Note: The following recommendations are books that I have been comfortable letting my tweens read. I understand that all families are different and some of these titles may include more mature content than you’re comfortable with your child consuming. On the other hand, there may be some titles that your child has surpassed (as far as interest and engagement go). Please review the following to make sure you’re comfortable with your child reading these books. I’ve also got recommendations for 9-12 year-olds which include most of the following suggestions, but lots of others as well!
Now, before diving in, I’m going to assume that your middle schooler is already familiar with the Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. If they haven’t already read these books, be sure to check them out!
10 Exciting Adventure Books for Middle Schoolers
by Rick Riordan
No list of adventure books for middle schoolers would be complete without a series written by Rick Riordan! I credit this incredible author with sparking my son’s love for reading. In addition to Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, The Trials of Apollo, and The Kane Chronicles, he’s given us Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard!
As one of Odin’s chosen warriors, teenager Magnus Chase must embark upon a quest across the Norse realms in order to avoid Ragnarok.
Along with his ecclectic group of friends, they must use their unique and collective talents to defeat terrifying giants, creatures, and gods.
An exciting series for fans of Rick Riordan!
by J.C. Cervantes
This story is rooted in Mayan mythology but has a modern twist. Zane lives in New Mexico and is teased a lot by kids at school because he has a bad leg which causes him to limp.
He also lives next to a dormant volcano, which just so happens to contain an entrance to a mystical world. A new girl at school tells Zane that he is part of a prophecy which includes his involvement in this secret world. Together, they head to the volcano, where they embark on a crazy journey packed with danger, discovery, and secrets revealed.
3. Dragon Pearl
by Yoon Ha Lee
How about a science fiction adventure weaving Korean mythology throughout!?
Min is a 13-year old who comes from a long line of fox spirits. But in order to stay safe, her mother forces the family to pose as humans and not use any magic.
Min feels trapped by these imposed rules and desperately wants to escape her stifling life. Her brother has recently departed into the Space Forces and she is eager to join him. But when news arrives that her brother is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, a mystical object with magical powers, Min knows that something must be terribly wrong. She decides to run away and find him.
Throughout Min’s epic space adventure, she encounters all sorts of terrifying villains and must use her fox-magic and bravery to succeed in her quest!
By Nnedi Okorafor
Binti is a young Himba girl who has a unique gift for mathematics. This talent provides her with the chance to attend the prestigious Oomza University.
Binti embarks for Oomza on a spaceship but the entire crew is attacked by beings known as Medusae. Binti ends up as the sole survivor and still has several days left until she reaches Oomza University. She must somehow survive the voyage with the Medusae still on board and figure out how to save the inhabitants of the island where Oomza University is located.
An exciting sci-fi adventure full of twists and turns!
by Soman Chainani
Two best friends enter the School for Good and Evil, a place where boys and girls are trained to be either heroes or villains. One friend trains for Good and one trains for Evil.
But they end up being swept into the Endless Woods where they discover that their fortunes have been reversed. This results in twists and turns, mysterious forces, unexpected alliances, and an unfolding quest.
A unique concept for an adventure series that is definitely worth checking out!
by Shannon Messenger
See, I told you we’d be moving on from Rick Riordan!
In fact, this next recommendation is written by Shannon Messenger, a young female author who already has some wonderful books under her belt!
In this series, Sophie Foster is a girl struggling to belong, since she’s never felt at home in her life. Why? Well, because she’s telepathic.
Sophie finds herself embarking on an epic journey where she discovers many shocking things and encounters lots of unexpected adventures.
An exciting series with a lead female character… woo-hoo!
by Lisa McMann
Each year, in a place called Quill, all 13-year-olds are labeled as Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Wanteds receive more education and train to join the “Quillitary”, Necessaries keep the farms running, and Unwanteds are eliminated. So when Alex is labeled an Unwanted, he expects to die. What makes things even more difficult is that his twin, Aaron, has been identified as a Wanted.
But instead of being sent to his death, Alex ends up in a magical place called Artime where all of the Unwanteds are encouraged to enhance their creativity and talents. As the twin brothers try to adjust to their new realities, a severe threat arises that forces the brothers against each other.
I’ve heard this described as a cross between Harry Potter and The Hunger Games and that feels pretty accurate to me!
8. 5 Kingdoms
by Brandon Mull
This is another of my son’s top-favorites!
On Halloween, Cole Randolph’s friends disappear right before him and as he desperately tries to follow them, he finds himself transported to a place called the Outskirts. Existing in this “in-between” are the five kingdoms where some people are born and others arrive from other worlds.
Cole meets a girl named Mira and together they try to find his friends and figure their way out of the Outskirts and back home.
An engaging series by Brandon Mull!
by Tui T. Sutherland
There has been a years-long war between the dragon tribes of Pyrrhia. There is a prophecy that five dragonets will end the ongoing war and select a new queen.
The problem is that not every dragonet is eager to be part of the prophecy. As five dragons discover secrets about their upbringing, they must figure out a way to keep their freedom while trying to save the world.
Great choice for dragon enthusiasts!
by Django Wexler
When Alice’s father is lost in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon, who she knows absolutely nothing about. Her uncle lives in a manor with a huge library but Alice is told that it’s off-limits to her.
Before she can comprehend what’s happening, she meets a talking cat who sneaks her into the forbidden library where she meets a strange boy who dares her to open a book. The next thing she knows, Alice is inside of the book where she embarks on a series of wild adventures.
Another exciting adventure!
Be sure to check out these other fantastic reading recommendations for middle schoolers:
I hope that this list of 10 exciting adventure books for middle schoolers inspires you and your child to check out some of these fantastic titles. You won’t be disappointed!