Over 60 Engaging Books to Captivate Your Middle School Boy

Save or Share:

I love finding great books for middle school boys because they are often just as fantastic for me to read. Stories that boys love are often full of adventure, fantasy, or survival.

Of course, these stories can be enjoyed by girls as well but this list, in particular, was created with boys in mind. These are the stories that capture their imaginations and their sense of humor and make them want to keep reading.

This list contains over 60 captivating books for middle school boys that they will lvoe to read.

This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.

Capturing The Attention Of Middle School Boys

Middle school boys have so many unique interests. From sports to video games to the great outdoors, boys at this age begin to discover a lot of different passions which can also help connect them to fantastic book suggestions. There are so many books available that capture the varied interests of middle school boys. A boy’s particular interests are a great jumping point when looking for a good book.

Many parents will also discover that their sons are particularly drawn to non-fiction titles. This is quite common with boys so non-fiction titles should be considered an important part of the home library for middle school boys. In addition to non-fiction, parents should encourage their sons to try a variety of fiction genres as they explore the books that they like best.

Of course, boys at this age mature at very different rates, and their growth and maturity occur very rapidly during their middle school years. A sixth-grade boy might seem quite young when compared to his eighth-grade brother. For this reason, a booklist at this age will contain a wide variety of titles. Some will be perfect for younger middle schoolers while others will be more appropriate for an older middle school boy.

Offer Options For Reading

There isn’t one right way to enjoy a story. Your child can read the book (or ebook), listen to an audiobook, or listen to a family member read the story aloud.

All of these options are completely valid, so do not be discouraged if your child is resistant to reading the book on their own. Audiobooks and reading aloud absolutely count as reading. In fact, reading together can be a fantastic bonding experience during the tumultuous middle school years.

Another type of book format you might try for a reluctant middle school boy is the graphic novel. You can find graphic novels in all genres and middle school readers just love them. This collection of graphic novels is perfect for your middle school boy to explore.

Over 60 Captivating Books For Middle School Boys

Of course, these books can be enjoyed by both middle school girls and boys, but I kept my sons in mind while creating this list. These books include the types of adventures, characters, and topics that appealed specifically to the boys in this house, though the girls in my house have enjoyed many of these titles as well.

Realistic Fiction Books


Gary Paulsen

Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson takes a trip alone to visit his father for the first time since his parents’ divorce. The small, single-engine plane crashes, killing the pilot and leaving Brian alone in the Canadian wilderness with only his clothing, a windbreaker, and a hatchet. Slowly, Brian begins to learn the skills he needs to survive and spends the next 54 days learning more about himself and his parents as well.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid book

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Jeff Kinney

Based on the middle school experiences of the author, this book follows Greg Heffley, a “wimpy kid” who has just started middle school. He is surrounded by bigger, meaner, and hairier kids in the hallways. Join him on his adventures and laugh at the tales of growing up as they are revealed through the words and drawings in Greg’s diary.

This is a popular series with over 16 titles capturing the ups and downs of life during the middle years. The unique diary format that includes doodles and silly comics is sure to delight your son.

Restart book

Gordon Kormon

After slipping off the roof and hitting his head, Chase loses his memory and suddenly has to learn everything about himself again…including his name! Once he learns the basics, it’s time to dig deeper and find out who Chase really is because it is obvious some of the kids at school are completely terrified of him. Of course, there are others cheering him on but he isn’t quite sure why. Eventually, Chase begins to see very clearly who he was, and now he must decide who he wants to be going forward.

I absolutely love this book and the opportunities for discussion it provides. From bullying to forgiveness to choosing a new path, there are plenty of great discussions to have with your son after he reads this one.


Jason Reynolds

The only thing Ghost (Castle Crenshaw) has ever known is running, but it has usually been for the wrong reasons. It started when he and his mother had to run away from his father who was chasing them with a gun. Now Ghost has been given the chance to be someone because Coach sees natural running talent in him and Coach thinks he can be the best sprinter in the city. Will Ghost be able to develop his speed and find his natural talent or will he be unable to avoid trouble?

New kid

New Kid: A Graphic Novel
Jerry Craft

Jordan Banks, seventh grader, loves to draw cartoons about life. He would love to attend art school but instead, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school where Jordan is only one of the few black kids in the school.

Jordan begins to find himself torn between two worlds – his friends in the neighborhood where he lives and his friends at the fancy private school. Now he must learn to navigate this new situation while staying true to himself. Can he do it?

This award-winning graphic novel is a fantastic read for middle school students.

Pie in the sky

Pie in the Sky
Remy Lai

Jingwen has moved to a new country and he might as well have landed on Mars. Everything feels impossible, especially because he doesn’t speak English. To make himself feel better, he daydreams about making all of the cakes at the bakery, Pie in the Sky, which his father planned to open before he passed away. Unfortunately, Jingwen’s mother said he and his little brother can not use the oven while she is at work so they have to keep their cake-making secret hidden from their mom.

Fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid will definitely enjoy this story, told in the same style with doodles and words.

Wednesday Wars

Wednesday Wars
Gary D. Schmidt

Seventh grader, Holling Hoodhood, is certain that his teacher, Mrs. Baker, doesn’t like him and now he must spend every Wednesday afternoon with her while the rest of the class goes to religion classes. Mrs. Baker decides to make Holling spend his Wednesday class time reading and studying the works of Shakespeare. In the meantime, Holling is handling many of the typical problems of middle school such as siblings, parents, bullies, and embarrassment. In the midst of it all, Holling will learn more about himself and how to embrace the person he wants to become.


Vanderbeekers of 141st Street
Karina Yan Glaser

The Vanderbeeker family loves their home on 141st Street. Their brownstone has been a wonderful home for the Vanderbeeker parents and their five delightful children. Unfortunately, when their cranky landlord, the Beiderman, decides not to renew their lease, the Vanderbeeker children take matters into their own hands and win back the approval of the Beiderman so they can stay. Will their wild ideas win him over or destroy their chances for good?

the one and only ivan

The One and Only Ivan
Katherine Applegate

Ivan the gorilla has lived behind the walls of his glass cage in the local shopping mall for twenty-seven years. Humans come by to watch him and he rarely thinks about his previous life. He spends his days watching television, talking to his friends, and painting. One day, Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, joins the other animals at the mall and Ivan begins to think about life outside his cage.

The Crossover

The Crossover
Kwame Alexander

Publisher’s Description: “With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering,” announces dreadlocked, 12-year-old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court.

But Josh has more than basketball in his blood. He’s got mad beats, too, that tell his family’s story in verse, in this fast and furious middle-grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander. Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story’s heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.”

NOTE: This entire book is told in free verse poetry.

Books About Dystopic Societies

Hunger Games

Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins

In the ruins of North America, the nation of Panem has been built. It consists of the Capitol surrounded by twelve districts. Long ago, the districts waged war on the Capitol and lost the battle. As a result, each district must send one boy and one girl to participate in “The Hunger Games,” a live broadcast that is a fight to the death. This year, 16-year-old, Katniss Everdeen has volunteered to participate as the representative of District 12 instead of her sister who was randomly chosen. She and Peeta Mellark, the male representative from District 12, must now enter the arena and begin the fight, but there is more to the battle than what it appears.

This is one of my favorite series for teens, but use your judgment about the violent content, especially if your son is particularly sensitive.

The maze runner

Maze Runner
James Dashner

Thomas wakes up alone on the lift and the only thing he can remember is his name. He is surrounded by strangers – other teen and tween boys who also lost their memories. No one knows who they are or why they are in the field. Most importantly, no one knows the point of the ever-changing maze located on the other side of the large stone walls.

Then one day a girl arrives in the lift. She is the first girl and she will be the last arrival. The message she carries with her is terrifying: Remember. Survive. Run. Now the boys must face their fear of the maze, find a way to escape, and survive the ordeal.


Neal Shusterman

In this dystopic tale, there is no longer hunger, disease, war, or misery. In fact, there is no longer even death, so Scythes are now chosen and trained to be the ones who can end human life. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice a scythe and neither of them wants to be there, but they must learn the “art” of taking a life because the consequences of not doing so could be the loss of their own life.

*I loved this book and immediately gave it to my son. It was an intriguing concept and we had a great discussion!

The Giver

The Giver
Lois Lowry

Everything about life in the community is perfect. Children are brought into the world by birthmothers and then assigned to the most fitting family unit. Once they are old enough, children become citizens and are trained for various jobs. Everyone obeys and no one questions. Everyone is the same.

Everyone, except Jonas.

Because of his differences, Jonas begins training as the Receiver of Memory and slowly beings to understand the dark secrets behind the “perfect” community. He begins to realize that feelings and differences weren’t all bad. Now he must decide what to do with his new knowledge and whether or not he can save himself or anyone else.

City of ember

City of Ember
Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember is the last refuge for the human race that was built over two hundred years ago. Now the lamps that light the city are beginning to dim and time is running out. When Lina finds an ancient message, she is certain it will hold the answers to save the city. She and her friend, Doon, must figure out the clues before time runs out. Of course, they must all figure out how to convince others to follow them even though the unknown feels dangerous. They must work quickly or the darkness will close in forever and it will be too late.

Monster missions

The Monster Missions
Laura Martin

The world changed when the ocean rise covered all of the land. Now Berkeley and her best friend, Garth, live with their families on an old cruise ship. They are both scavengers for the ship, diving into the covered cities to find usable supplies. Life is predictable and routine until one day they discover that there is more beneath the ocean depths than they have been told.

If you are looking for an enjoyable dystopian sci-fi read for middle schoolers, then look no further. This book had me hooked right from the start and I absolutely loved the ride. I enjoyed the way the author used sea monsters from myths and legends and brought them to life in this story. As soon as I finished this one, I handed it to my 14-year-old and 12-year-old kids to read next.

Science Fiction Books

Wrinkle in time

Wrinkle in Time
Madeleine L’Engle

Meg Murry and her little brother, Charles Wallace are in the kitchen for a midnight snack when they are interrupted by a disturbing and mysterious visitor. This visitor invites them to join her on a mysterious journey through space and time and it holds the possibility of saving Meg and Charles’ father. Together with Meg’s friend, Calvin O’Keefe, they set out on their adventure and must fight forces they are only beginning to understand.

the martian

The Martian (Classroom Edition)
Andy Weir

Astronaut Mark Watney became the first person to walk on Mars and it appears that he might become the first person to die on Mars.

After a terrible dust storm, his crew was forced to evacuate and left Mark behind because they believed he was dead. Now Mark is stranded and alone on Mars. Without any way to reach out to his team or to signal Earth, he just use his own ingenuity and survival skills to overcome the odds and survive his situation.

NOTE: The original version of this book is filled with language so the classroom edition eliminates all of that. If you are comfortable with it, depending on the age of your child, you could also get the original version to read.


Glitch: A Graphic Novel
Sarah Graley

Izzy’s new video game, Dungeon City, isn’t like any other because she can actually enter the video game world. While playing, she meets Rae, a robot who convinces her that she is the only one who can save Dungeon City. Now she is trying to balance life in the real world with her quest in the virtual world and she isn’t doing a great job. She is neglecting school, her family, and most of all, her best friend, Eric. Eventually, Izzy learns the truth about the video game and Eric joins her to help save the day.

Glitch is a fun graphic novel and offers a great opportunity to talk with kids about balancing life and video game play. I appreciated so much about this graphic novel, including the fact that the main character is a female gamer! Many kids will find both the gaming language and the video game storyline quite relatable.

Lion of Mars

Lion of Mars
Jennifer L. Holm

Bell is an 11-year-old kid who has spent most of his life on Mars. He enjoys his friends and community, but wonders why they must remain so isolated from the other communities on Mars. When a mysterious virus infects all of the adults in Bell’s community, he and the other kids must determine what to do. Will they turn to the other countries for help or follow the direct orders from Earth command?

This book was a completely delightful read. It is a science fiction book that feels very realistic and relatable. I loved the details about life on Earth that continually fascinated the kids on Mars, including information about animals and fashion. As a middle school book, this one has a lot of great potential for discussion with your tween. It’s an engaging story with some great themes about community and developing relationships outside of your own tribe.

Fantasy & Adventure Books

The inquisitors tale

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
Adam Gidwitz

It’s 1242 and a dark night in France where travelers have gathered at an inn and started to tell stories of three children. The stories they share follow the children through France where the children are held captive by knights and even save the land from a farting dragon. The children are on the run to save holy texts from being burned and their journey brings them to a final moment at Mont Saint-Michel.

Told in a fashion reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales, middle schoolers will love this delightful and humorous story.

Wings of fire

The Dragonet Prophecy, Wings of Fire Book 1
Tui T. Sutherland

Publisher’s Description: “Clay and his friends have grown up under a mountain, secretly raised by the Talons of Peace to fulfill a mysterious prophecy. The five young dragons are destined to end the war that’s been raging between the tribes of Pyrrhia — but how they’ll do this, none of them knows.But not every dragonet wants a destiny. When one of their own is threatened, Clay and his friends decide to escape. Maybe they can break free and end the war at the same time — or maybe they’ll risk everything …”

the iron trail

The Iron Trial, Magesterium Book 1
Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

In a world where magic exists, most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial and proceed to the Magisterium for magic training. Not Callum Hunt. Instead, he wants to fail because his father has warned him how dangerous magic and the Magisterium really are. Unfortunately for Callum, he is granted entrance to the Magisterium and the several mysteries about his past and his future begin to unfold.

I thoroughly enjoy this story and the characters. I liked Callum and I appreciated the focus on his point of view so that the mysteries unfolded to the reader as they unfolded to him. I appreciated his tendency to bend the rules a bit – HA!

Yes. It’s true, the parallels to Harry Potter are there but that doesn’t mean this isn’t an original story worth reading. One bonus of this series is that I think it appeals to older readers and what impressed me most was finding a YA book without foul language and other questionable content. I was able to hand this to my 15-year-old son without hesitation and now he is ready to finish the next four books.

Tristan strong punches the sky

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky
Kwame Mbalia

Think “Percy Jackson meets West-African and African-American Folktales” in this fantastic adventure story Kwame Mbalia. Tristan is spending a month with his grandparents to heal from the death of his best friend in a tragic accident. While there, a strange and tiny creature sneaks into his room to steal his best friend’s journal. Tristan chases the creature and during the fight for the journal, he tears open a hole into another world and begins his adventure to save the world.

In addition to the epic adventure that Tristan is forced to embark upon, this book has a genuinely human side as Tristan processes his grief. There are plenty of fantastic plot twists and unforgettable characters making this a late elementary/early middle school favorite. My sons (6th and 8th grade) and I absolutely loved it and all three of us give it 5 starts without hesitation.

NOTE: The audiobook has fantastic voices and is well worth the listen!

Percy Jackson

Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief
Rick Riordan

Life at boarding school is getting pretty tough for Percy Jackson. In fact, he is pretty sure his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him on their field trip. When he confesses his suspicions to his mother, she tells him that it is time for him to learn the truth about who he is, so she sends him to Camp Half Blood. At camp, Percy learns that his father is Poseidon, God of the Sea, and that Percy has been accused of stealing from Zues. Now Percy has to set out on a quest to prove his innocence and find Zues’s lighting bolt before a war breaks out among the gods.

Navigating early

Navigating Early
Clare Vanderpool

Publisher’s Description: “When Jack Baker’s father sends him from his home in Kansas to attend a boys’ boarding school in Maine, Jack doesn’t know what to expect. Certainly not Early Auden, the strangest of boys. Early keeps to himself, reads the number pi as a story, and refuses to accept truths others take for granted. Jack, feeling lonely and out of place, connects with Early, and the two become friends.
During a break from school, the boys set out for the Appalachian Trail on a quest for a great black bear. As Jack and Early travel deeper into the mountains, they meet peculiar and dangerous characters, and they make some shocking discoveries. But their adventure is only just beginning. Will Jack’s and Early’s friendship last the journey? Can the boys make it home alive?”

The candy shop

The Candy Shop War
Brandon Mull

Join four friends – Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon – as they meet Mrs. White, the grandmotherly owner of the Sweet Tooth, an Ice Cream & Candy Shoppe. These four friends will soon learn that Mrs. Whilte’s sweets are a bit on the mysterious side. Her rock candy makes you weightless while the chocolate balls make you a master of disguise.

The danger begins to unfold as the friends discover that magical strangers have come to town in search of a hidden treasure that could be used for evil in the wrong hands. The kids must try to find the treasure before the strangers and so the Candy Shop War begins…

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
J. K. Rowling

Ever since his parents’ mysterious death, Harry Potter is stuck living with his miserable aunt and uncle who are scared that Harry will be a wizard just like his parents. They try their best to hide him from the wizarding world, but their efforts are in vain. On his birthday, Harry is summoned to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. While there, Harry begins to learn more about the mystery surrounding his parent’s death and the mysterious mark on his forehead. Soon Harry finds himself deep in the magical world and face to face with some of the greatest evil that is known to exist there.

Keeper of the lost cities

Keeper of the Lost Cities, Book 1
Shannon Messenger

Twelve-year-old Sophie has never fit in with the other kids at school, mostly because she has a secret – she is a Telepath, someone who can read minds. One day Sophie meets Fitz and learns that she isn’t the only Telepath. He tells her the truth and she is forced to leave her family behind to learn about life in a new place. But why was Sophie hidden among the humans? There is definitely more to the story and time is running out for Sophie and Fitz.

The hobbit

The Hobbit
J. R. R. Tolkein

Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, enjoys his comfortable and uneventful life in The Shire. That all changes the day the wizard Gandalf and several dwarves arrive in the Shire to whisk Bilbo away on an adventure. Now, this unlikely team is going to raid Lonely Mountain for the treasure being guarded by Smaug the Dragon. Bilbo is completely unaware of the adventure that lies ahead of him, including an unlikely meeting with Gollum and the magic ring.

Artemis fowl

Artemis Fowl
Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl may only be twelve-years-old, but he is a millionaire, a genius, and a criminal mastermind. But when Artemis kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit, he has started a battle that might be larger than he can handle. After all, these fairies are most definitely not the sweet fairies of bedtime stories. These fairies are dangerous and Artemis better be ready.


Brian Jacques

The mice of Mossflower Wood have gathered to celebrate a year of peace, but things aren’t going according to plan. A dark shadow falls across the ancient stone abbey and rumors begin to spread that Cluny is coming. Cluny is a terrible one-eyed rat who has promised to bring his army to conquer Redwall Abbey. The mice must prepare to fight back and their only hope lies in the lost sword of Martin the Warrior. Now the sword must be found and an unlikely hero will rise up!

Invasion of the overworld

Invasion of the Overworld: Book One in the Gameknight999 Series: An Unofficial Minecrafters Adventure
Mark Cheverton

For Minecrafter players of all ages comes this take of Gameknight999. The adventure begins when an invention by Gameknight999’s father teleports him into the game. Now he has to live out a real-life adventure in the game. He’ll have to learn how to outsmart the zombies and spiders while making friends so they can work as a team to survive.

The green ember

The Green Ember
S.D. Smith

Heather and Picket are rabbits living ordinary lives until danger invades their home. Suddenly, their world as they have always known it is turned completely upside down. They learn more about the larger world and their family’s story as part of it. Now with so many threats to the kingdom, they must find their place in bigger story so they can make their stand.

The candy shop

The Candy Shop War
Brandon Mull

Join four friends – Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon – as they meet Mrs. White, the grandmotherly owner of the Sweet Tooth, an Ice Cream & Candy Shoppe. These four friends will soon learn that Mrs. Whilte’s sweets are a bit on the mysterious side. Her rock candy makes you weightless while the chocolate balls make you a master of disguise.

The danger begins to unfold as the friends discover that magical strangers have come to town in search of a hidden treasure that could be used for evil in the wrong hands. The kids must try to find the treasure before the strangers and so the Candy Shop War begins…


Brandon Mull

Fablehaven is a hidden refuge for the mystical creatures that have been gathered there for centuries. It’s one of the last strongholds of true magic, but it isn’t as safe as one might think.

Kendra and her brother, Seth, don’t know that their grandfather is the caretaker of Fablehaven to keep order despite the trolls, satyrs, witches, imps, and fairies who threaten Fablehaven. Unfortunately, the rules are broken and powerful forces of evil are unleashed. Now, in order to save their family and Fablehaven, Kendra and Seth must find the courage to do the thing they fear the most.

The chocolate touch

The Chocolate Touch
Patrick Skene Catling

In this fun twist on the story of King Midas and his golden touch, a young boy acquires a magical gift that turns everything that touches his lips into chocolate. Now it is time for John Midas (and the reader) to find out if you can ever have too much chocolate.

Boys will love this strange twist on an old legend.


Eragon (Inheritance, Book 1)
Christopher Paolini

Fifteen-year-old Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest and thinks it is simply a lucky discovery, but instead, the stone brings a dragon hatchling and Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy as old as the Empire. Overnight, his life completely changes and he is swept into a dangerous game. Now he only has an ancient sword, his dragon, and advice from an old storyteller as he faces what lies ahead.

Out from Boneville: A Graphic Novel
Jeff Smith

In this graphic novel series, the three cousins – Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone – have been run out of Boneville and now find themselves separated in a vast desert. They each being to find their way into the valley, meeting wonderful and strange creatures along the way. Eventually, they are reunited at Gran’ma Ben’s farmstead, but their adventure is only just beginning.

Find a list of books that middle school boys will love.

Historical Fiction Books


Alan Gratz

Josef is a Jewish boy who must escape Nazi Germany in the 1930’s and does so on a ship bound for the other side of the world. Isabel is a young girl escaping Cuba in 1994 on a raft bound for America. Mahmoud is running from his hometown, Syria, in 2015 with the hopes of arriving in Europe. All three children are on journeys where they will face horrible dangers while their family risks everything. And although they are separated by time, their stories will connect in surprising ways.

Bud not buddy

Bud, Not Buddy
Christopher Paul Curtis

Ten-year-old Bud lives in Flint, Michigan but he is about to hit the road. Even though he no longer has his mother, she did leave him some clues about how to find his father, including a flyer advertising Herman E. Calloway and his famous band, the Duskey Devastators of the Depression. Now Bud is going to take off and find his father and he is determined that nothing will stop him.

 Pam Muñoz Ryan

Publisher’s Description: “Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.Richly imagined and masterfully crafted, Echo pushes the boundaries of genre, form, and storytelling innovation to create a wholly original novel that will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck.”

Finding langston

Finding Langston
Lesa Cline-Ransome

The year is 1946 and Langston’s mother has just died. Now he and his father must leave the rest of the family and all of his friends. Langston is lonely and feels lost. The only good thing about his new home in the city is the Chicago Public Library where everyone is welcome no matter the color of their skin. He decides to visit the library after school and he discovers the poet, Langston, and learns that he is named after this poet.

Elijah of Buxton

Elijah of Buxton
Christopher Paul Curtis

Publisher’s Description: “Eleven-year-old Elijah lives in Buxton, Canada, a settlement of runaway slaves near the American border. Elijah’s the first child in town to be born free, and he ought to be famous just for that — not to mention for being the best at chunking rocks and catching fish. Unfortunately, all that most people see is a “fra-gile” boy who’s scared of snakes and tends to talk too much. But everything changes when a former slave steals money from Elijah’s friend, who has been saving to buy his family out of captivity in the South. Now it’s up to Elijah to track down the thief — and his dangerous journey just might make a hero out of him, if only he can find the courage to get back home.”

Mystery Books

Spy School
Stuart Gibbs

Ben’s dream job is to be a CIA agent but he is only in middle school. In addition, he is so awkward that accidents happen around him all of the time. Of course, he isn’t surprised when he is recruited for a magnet school with a focus on science because he loves science. Little does he know that the school is actually a junior CIA academy which means the CIA might actually want him!

the Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mysterious Benedict Society
Trenton Lee Stewart

“Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children–two boys and two girls–succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. But what they’ll find in the hidden underground tunnels of the school is more than your average school supplies. So, if you’re gifted, creative, or happen to know Morse Code, they could probably use your help.

Murder at midnight

Murder at Midnight

In the Kingdom of Pergamontio, Fabrizio is astounded by his master’s ability to perform magic, but his master, Mangus the magician, is frustrated with the uneducated boy’s belief in the impossible. When Mangus is accused of using magic to participate in a plot to overthrow the king, he must rely on his servant to piece together the clues and come to his rescue. Fabrizio is determined to save his master and with the help of a new friend, he gets to the bottom of the treachery in the kingdom.

I enjoyed the historical time period of this book, set about the time of the newly invented printing press. It would be a great addition to a medieval booklist as a fun read for a middle schooler. There was plenty of foreshadowing and enough clues were dropped for the reader to solve the mystery, yet the way in which Magnus’s innocence was made for a surprising ending.

At the start of the book, I was frustrated with the main character, Fabrizio, but he grew on me as the story unfolded. I found it a little tough to keep track of many of the roles of the characters from the King’s Royal Court because we didn’t actually know them very well.

Overall, this was a fun read and perfect for a middle school audience. A discussion about the importance of the setting (especially in regard to the “magic” of the printing press) would be a great way to tackle this story.

The Greenglass House

Greenglass House
Kate Milford

Twelve-year-old Milo and his parents have decided to spend their wintertime holidays relaxing at Greenglass house, their creaky smuggler’s inn. They expect the winter holiday season to be quiet the way it normally is, but that isn’t how things turn out.

As soon as they arrive, the doorbell continues to ring again and again.

Within a few hours, the home is full of strange guests who all have connections to the house. When objects begin to go missing, Milo and the cook’s daughter, Meddy, must do their best to decipher the clues and discover the truth about Greenglass House.

Escape from mr limincellos library

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
Chris Grabenstein

The world’s most famous game maker, Lugi Lemoncello, has designed the town’s brand-new library and has decided to host a lock-in on opening night. Kyle Keeley is determined to be there with the rest of his friends. Turns out, getting into the library lock-in wasn’t nearly as hard as getting out is going to be. Instead, Kyle and his friends must play a game created by the best game maker of all time in order to find the mysterious route out of the library.

39 clues

The Maze of Bones (39 Clues, Book One)
Rick Riordan

The Cahill family is the most powerful family in history. Members of this family include Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Benjamin Franklin. Unfortunately, the source of the family power has been lost over time….until now.

The matriarch of the family has died and she left clues hidden around the world that will lead someone to the source of power. Now all of the members of the Cahill family are racing against each other to be the first to find the source of the Cahill family’s power.

Follow cousins Amy and Dan Cahill as they join the search.

The Westing Game

The Westing Game
Ellen Raskin

Sam Westing has died and sixteen unlikely people have gathered for the reading of his will. Although no one can determine why Sam Westing selected a basic stranger to inherit his fortune, it is clear to everyone that he seems to be playing one last game with everyone.

This “clue-like” mystery requires keeping track of quite a number of characters, but it’s a fun read for sure.

If you find this book

If You Find This
Matthew Baker

Publisher’s Description: “Nicholas is a math and music genius with no friends and a huge problem: His father has lost his job, and they’ll have to sell their house, which holds the only memory Nicholas has of his younger brother. Just in time, Nicholas’s senile grandfather arrives, filled with tales of priceless treasure he has hidden somewhere in town–but where?”


Louis Sachar

Stanley Yelnats has been sent to a boy’s detention center for a crime he didn’t commit and he is certain it is because of his family’s curse – the curse caused by his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. Now he is serving his sentence at Camp Green Lake where boys must build character by digging one hole each day. Slowly, Stanley begins to realize that there is more going on at Camp Green Lake than character building. In fact, it seems like the Warden is more interested in finding something than in building character in the boys, but Stanley isn’t quite sure what it is….yet.

Michael Vey

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell Block 25
Richard Paul Evans

Michael Vey seems like just an average student with Tourette’s syndrome at Meridian High School, but in truth, he has special electric powers. Michael believes he is the only one until he meets Taylor, a cheerleader with the same mysterious powers. Together, with Michael’s friend, Ostin, they begin to investigate the mystery of their electrical powers which leads them to discover a group that wants to control electric teens because it turns out…there are more of them.


Gordon Korman

Publisher’s Description: “After a mean collector named Swindle cons him out of his most valuable baseball card, Griffin Bing must put together a band of misfits to break into Swindle’s compound and recapture the card. There are many things standing in their way — a menacing guard dog, a high-tech security system, a very secret hiding place, and their inability to drive — but Griffin and his team are going to get back what’s rightfully his . . . even if hijinks ensue. This is Gordon Korman at his crowd-pleasing best, perfect for readers who like to hoot, howl, and heist.”


The boy who harnessed the wind

Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Reader’s Edition)
William Kamkwamba

A terrible drought destroyed all of the crops in William Kamkwamba’s tiny village in Malawi. There was nothing left for his family to eat or sell. William began to research using science books in his village and came up with the idea to build a windmill. Using scrap metal and old bicycle parts, he was able to build a windmill that brought electricity to his home and changed his family’s life forever.

When stars are scattered

When Stars are Scattered: A Graphic Novel
Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed and Iman Geddy

Omar and Hassan, brothers from Somalia, have spent most of their lives living in a refugee camp in Kenya. Their lives are difficult without access to enough food or water. In addition, Hassan doesn’t have the access he needs to medical care and relies on his brother to care for him. Now that Omar has been offered a chance to go to school, he has to leave his brother every day for this chance at a new life. But could there be an even greater chance for his life to change?

This powerful graphic novel is a great read for middle school students. While life is hard in the refugee camp, Omar’s story is also filled with hope. Pictures of the real Omar and Hassan are included in the story.

Elon Musk biography for middle school

Elon Musk and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (Young Reader’s Edition)
Ashlee Vance

Follow Elon’s journey starting with his childhood in South Africa to living as a young man in the United States. Learn about his dramatic inventions and brilliant companies along the way. Elon is an innovator and this book gives the reader exclusive access to Elon, his family, and his friends with a detailed but fast-paced look at his life story.

My husband read this book out loud to my middle school boys and all three of them enjoyed it immensely. It’s an incredible story of a name that many young men know well.

They Called Us Enemy

They Called Us Enemy: A Graphic Novel
George Takei and Steven Scott

In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered that every person of Japanese descent on the west coast has to be gathered and relocated to one of ten “relocation centers” far from their home. There they would be held under armed guard for many years.

It is under these circumstances that the well-known Star Trek actor, George Takei, would spend his childhood. This graphic novel is his firsthand account of his childhood spent behind barbed wire. He shares his father’s never-ending faith in democracy and his mother’s difficult choices in this story about a tragic time in American history.

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team
Christina Soontornvat

On June 23, 2018, twelve young soccer players and their coach entered a cave in Northern Thailand looking for an afternoon of adventure. When it is time to leave, floodwaters blocked their path and trapped them. Thus begins a seventeen-day rescue operation that involved thousands of rescuers from around the globe.

This story combines firsthand interviews with details of the area to tell the story of how thirteen young people survived the most ambitious cave rescue in history.

One dead spy

One Dead Spy (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales)
Nathan Hale

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous tales are true stories about historical events and figures told in graphic novel form with tons of humor. One Dead Spy follows the story of Nathan Hale, spy for the American rebels during the Revolutionary War. Learn who Nathan Hale was and how the US rebels defeated a bigger, better, and stronger army in this first book in the hazardous tales series.

Chasing Space is Leland Melvin's biography for middle school students

Chasing Space (Young Reader’s Edition)
Leland Melvin

Young Readers will be inspired by the true story of this former Detroit Lion turned astronaut.

When Leland Melvin’s football career was cut short by an injury, he didn’t waste anytime before finding a new dream. He joined NASA and mustered the courage to travel into space on the shuttle Atlantis to help build the International Space Station. His incredible attitude and problem-solving abilities helped turned his dream into a reality.

Looking for More Book Lists For Middle Schoolers?

Over 25 Biographies That Will Inspired Your Middle School Student

Winter Themed Chapter Books for Middle School

Graphic Novels for Middle School

Another Fantastic List of Graphic Novels for Teens and Tweens

Over 50 Teen Books Made into Engaging Teen Movies


Save or Share:

Similar Posts

One Comment

  1. Mary, you’ve done it again. Thank you for this outstanding list! I saw several well-loved titles on here. I am happy to see a couple of graphic novels on the list – my 12-year-old son *loves* Nathan Hale, so I’m happy to try some new authors from your recommendations. The Crossover is an excellent, deep read (and also a terrific graphic novel if you want to try that version, too). He just read The Westing Game for a mystery unit for his enrichment classes. He likes both Percy Jackson and Magnus Chase books by Rick Riordan. Thank you for sharing such a thoughtfully curated list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.