Books and Reading

Recommended Reads: Tween and Middle Grades



Some old favorites and new discoveries for readers in 5th-7th grade.


Cover Image My Name Is Mina
Almond, David, 1951-
New York : Delacorte Press, [2011], c2010.


Creative, intelligent, nine-year-old Mina keeps a journal in her own disorderly way that reveals how her mind is growing into something extraordinary, especially after she begins homeschooling under the direction of her widowed mother.


Cover Image Skellig
Almond, David, 1951-
New York : Delacorte Press, 1999.


Unhappy about his baby sister's illness and the chaos of moving into a dilapidated old house, Michael retreats to the garage and finds a mysterious stranger who is something like a bird and something like an angel.


Cover Image The Game of Sunken Places
Anderson, M. T.
New York : Scholastic, 2004.


When two boys stay with an eccentric relative at his mansion in rural Vermont, they discover an old-fashioned board game that draws them into a mysterious adventure.


Cover Image Chasing Vermeer
Balliett, Blue, 1955-
New York : Scholastic Press, 2004.


When seemingly unrelated and strange events start to happen and a precious Vermeer painting disappears, eleven-year-olds Petra and Calder combine their talents to solve an international art scandal.


Cover Image Hold Fast
Balliett, Blue, 1955-
New York, N.Y. : Scholastic Press, 2013.


On a cold winter day in Chicago, Early's father disappeared, and now she, her mother and her brother have been forced to flee their apartment and join the ranks of the homeless--and it is up to Early to hold her family together and solve the mystery surrounding her father.


Cover Image I'd Tell You I Love You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You
Carter, Ally.
New York : Hyperion, 2006.


As a sophomore at a secret spy school and the daughter of a former CIA operative, Cammie is sheltered from "normal teenage life" until she meets a local boy while on a class surveillance mission.


Cover Image Happenstance Found
Catanese, P. W.
New York : Aladdin, 2009.


A boy awakens, blindfolded, with no memory of even his name, but soon meets Lord Umber, an adventurer and inventor, who calls him Happenstance and tells him that he has a very important destiny--and a powerful enemy.


Cover Image Bad Unicorn
Clark, Platte F.
New York : Aladdin, 2013.


Max Spencer is an underachiever but when a carnivorous unicorn, Princess the Destroyer, and an evil wizard, Rezormoor, bring him, the only one who can read the legendary Codex of Infinite Knowability, to their magical realm, he must find the courage to save himself, his friends, and the entire human race.


Cover Image The Roar
Clayton, Emma.
New York : Chicken House/Scholastic Inc., 2009.


In an overpopulated world where all signs of nature have been obliterated and a wall has been erected to keep out plague-ridden animals, twelve-year-old Mika refuses to believe that his twin sister was killed after being abducted, and continues to search for her in spite of the dangers he faces in doing so.


Cover Image The Land of Stories : The Wishing Spell
Colfer, Chris, 1990-
New York : Little, Brown, 2012.


"Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, twins Alex and Conner leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about"--Provided by publisher.


Cover Image Gregor the Overlander
Collins, Suzanne.
New York, N.Y. : Scholastic Press, c2003.


When eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister are pulled into a strange underground world, they trigger an epic battle involving men, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders while on a quest foretold by ancient prophecy.


Cover Image The London Eye Mystery
Dowd, Siobhan.
New York : David Fickling Books, 2008, c2007.


When Ted and Kat's cousin Salim disappears from the London Eye ferris wheel, the two siblings must work together--Ted with his brain that is "wired differently" and impatient Kat--to try to solve the mystery of what happened to Salim.


Cover Image Out of My Mind :
Draper, Sharon M. (Sharon Mills)
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010.


Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.


Cover Image The City of Ember
DuPrau, Jeanne.
New York : Random House, 2003.


In the year 241, twelve-year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day to be a Messenger to run to new places in her decaying but beloved city, perhaps even to glimpse Unknown Regions.


Cover Image Michael Vey : The Prisoner of Cell 25
Evans, Richard Paul.
New York : Mercury Ink/Simon Pulse, 2011.


To everyone at Meridian High School, fourteen-year-old Michael Vey is nothing special, just the kid who has Tourette's syndrome. But in truth, Michael is extremely special--he has electric powers. Michael thinks he is unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor has the same mysterious powers. With the help of Michael's friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up with their abilities, and their investigation soon brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric teens--and through them, the world.


Cover Image Dark Life
Falls, Kat.
New York : Scholastic Press, 2010.


When fifteen-year-old Ty, who has always lived on the ocean floor, joins Topside girl Gemma in the frontier's underworld to seek and stop outlaws who threaten his home, they learn that the government may pose an even greater threat.


Cover Image The Ruins of Gorlan
Flanagan, John (John Anthony)
New York : Philomel Books, 2005.


When fifteen-year-old Will is rejected by battleschool, he becomes the reluctant apprentice to the mysterious Ranger Halt, and winds up protecting the kingdom from danger.


Cover Image The Outcasts
Flanagan, John (John Anthony)
New York : Philomel Books, 2011.


Skandian outcasts Hal, Stig, and others do battle at sea against the Wolves and the Sharks, in the ultimate race across icy waters where not everyone thinks of the competition as play.


Cover Image There Will be Bears
Gebhart, Ryan, author.



Thirteen-year-old Tyson sneaks off with his roughneck, but ill, grandpa to go on his first elk hunt, amid reports of a stalking man-eating grizzly.


Cover Image Among the Hidden
Haddix, Margaret Peterson.
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1998.


In a future where the Population Police enforce the law limiting a family to only two children, Luke has lived all his twelve years in isolation and fear on his family's farm, until another "third" convinces him that the government is wrong.


Cover Image Shug
Han, Jenny.
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c2006.


Annemarie "Shug" Wilcox, facing junior high school, disgruntled with her appearance, and confused by changing relationships, decides there is nothing worse than being twelve-years-old.


Cover Image Olive's Ocean
Henkes, Kevin.
New York : Greenwillow Books, 2003.


On a summer visit to her grandmother's cottage by the ocean, twelve-year-old Martha gains perspective on the death of a classmate, on her relationship with her grandmother, on her feelings for an older boy, and on her plans to be a writer.


Cover Image Stormbreaker
Horowitz, Anthony, 1955-
New York : Philomel Books, 2001.


After the death of the uncle who had been his guardian, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider is coerced to continue his uncle's dangerous work for Britain's intelligence agency, MI6.


Cover Image Fly By Night
Hardinge, Frances.
New York, N.Y. : HarperCollinsPublishers, 2006.


A twelve-year-old orphan, Mosca Mye, and her homicidal goose, Saracen, travel to the city of Mandelion on the heels of smooth-talking con-man Eponymous Clent, driven by her love of language to find a better life.


Cover Image Mr. and Mrs. Bunny-- Detectives Extraordinaire!
Horvath, Polly.
New York : Schwartz & Wade Books, 2012.


Middle-schooler Madeline's hippy parents have been kidnapped from Hornby Island, Canada, by foxes and Madeline, upon discovering that she can understand animal languages, hires two rabbit detectives to find them.


Cover Image Into the Wild
Hunter, Erin.
New York : HarperCollins, c2003.


For generations, four clans of wild cats have shared the forest. When their warrior code is threatened by mysterious deaths, a house cat named Rusty may turn out to be the bravest warrior of all.


Cover Image The Summer I Saved the World ... in 65 Days
Hurwitz, Michele Weber.



Inspired by her late grandmother, 13-year-old Nina spends a summer secretly doing good deeds for her neighbors and enjoying the changes she brings about, even as she's dealing with changing friendships and family issues.


Cover Image Rise of the Wolf
Jobling, Curtis.
New York : Viking Childrens Books, 2011.


When a vicious beast invades his father's farm and sixteen-year-old Drew suddenly transforms into a werewolf, he runs away from his family, seeking refuge in the most out of the way parts of Lyssia, only to be captured by Lord Bergan's men and forced to battle numerous werecreatures while trying to prove that he is not the enemy.


Cover Image The Mark of the Dragonfly
Johnson, Jaleigh.



Since her father's death in a factory in the Dragonfly territories, thirteen-year-old Piper has eked out a living as a scrapper in Merrow Kingdom, but the arrival of a mysterious girl sends her on a dangerous journey to distant lands.


Cover Image Alabama Moon
Key, Watt.
New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 2006.


After the death of his father, ten-year-old Moon leaves their forest shelter home and is sent to an Alabama institution, becoming entangled in the outside world he has never known and making good friends, a relentless enemy, and finally a new life. I could trap my own food and make my own clothes. I could find my way by the stars and make fire in the rain. Pap said he even figured I could whip somebody three times my size. He wasn't worried about me. For as long as ten-year-old Moon can remember, he has lived out in the forest in a shelter with his father. They keep to themselves, their only contact with other human beings an occasional trip to the nearest general store. When Moon's father dies, Moon follows his father's last instructions: to travel to Alaska to find others like themselves. But Moon is soon caught and entangled in a world he doesn't know or understand, apparent property of the government he has been avoiding all his life. As the spirited and resourceful Moon encounters constables, jails, institutions, lawyers, true friends, and true enemies, he adapts his wilderness survival skills and learns to survive in the outside world, and even, perhaps, make his home there.


Cover Image No More Dead Dogs
Korman, Gordon.
New York : Hyperion Books for Children, 2000.


Eighth-grade football hero Wallace Wallace is sentenced to detention attending rehearsals of the school play where, in spite of himself, he becomes wrapped up in the production and begins to suggest changes that improve not only the play but his life as well.


Cover Image Skulduggery Pleasant
Landy, Derek.
New York : HarperCollins, c2007.


When twelve-year-old Stephanie inherits her weird uncle's estate, she must join forces with Skulduggery Pleasant, a skeleton mage, to save the world from the Faceless Ones.


Cover Image Hattie Big Sky
Larson, Kirby.
New York : Delacorte Press, c2006.


After inheriting her uncle's homesteading claim in Montana, sixteen-year-old orphan Hattie Brooks travels from Iowa in 1917 to make a home for herself and encounters some unexpected problems related to the war being fought in Europe.


Cover Image Rules
Lord, Cynthia.
New York : Scholastic Press, 2006.


Frustrated at life with an autistic brother, twelve-year-old Catherine longs for a normal existence but her world is further complicated by a friendship with an young paraplegic.


Cover Image The Merchant of Death
MacHale, D. J.
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2007, c2002.


Bobby Pendragon is a seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy. He has a family, a home, and even Marley, his beloved dog. But there is something very special about Bobby. He is going to save the world. Before he can object, he is swept off to an alternate dimension known as Denduron, a territory inhabited by strange beings, ruled by a magical tyrant, and plagued by dangerous revolution.


Cover Image The Hero and the Crown
McKinley, Robin.
New York : Greenwillow Books, c1984.


Aerin, with the guidance of the wizard Luthe and the help of the blue sword, wins the birthright due her as the daughter of the Damarian king and a witchwoman of the mysterious, demon-haunted North.


Cover Image Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life
Mass, Wendy, 1967-
New York : Little, Brown, c2007.


Just before his thirteenth birthday, Jeremy Fink receives a keyless locked box--set aside by his father before his death five years earlier--that purportedly contains the meaning of life.


Cover Image Finally
Mass, Wendy, 1967-
New York, N.Y. : Scholastic Press, 2010.


After her twelfth birthday, Rory checks off a list of things she is finally allowed to do, but unexpected consequences interfere with her involvement in the movie being shot at her school, while a weird prediction starts to make sense.


Cover Image The Unwanteds
McMann, Lisa.
New York : Aladdin, 2011.


In a society that purges thirteen-year-olds who are creative, identical twins Aaron and Alex are separated, one to attend University while the other, supposedly Eliminated, finds himself in a wondrous place where youths hone their abilities and learn magic.


Cover Image The False Prince
Nielsen, Jennifer A.
New York : Scholastic Press, 2012.


In the country of Carthya, a devious nobleman engages four orphans in a brutal competition to be selected to impersonate the king's long-missing son in an effort to avoid a civil war.


Cover Image Wonder
Palacio, R. J.
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2012.


Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.


Cover Image Middle School, the Worst Years of My Life
Patterson, James, 1947-
New York : Little, Brown, 2011.


When Rafe Kane enters middle school, he teams up with his best friend, "Leo the Silent," to create a game to make school more fun by trying to break every rule in the school's code of conduct.


Cover Image Sandry's Book
Pierce, Tamora.
New York : Scholastic, c1997.


Four young misfits find themselves living in a strictly disciplined temple community where they become friends while also learning to do crafts and to use their powers, especially magic.


Cover Image Eragon
Paolini, Christopher.
New York : Alfred A. Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 2003.


In Aagaesia, a fifteen-year-old boy of unknown lineage called Eragon finds a mysterious stone that weaves his life into an intricate tapestry of destiny, magic, and power, peopled with dragons, elves, and monsters.


Cover Image The True Meaning of Smekday
Rex, Adam.
New York, N.Y. : Hyperion Books for Children, c2007.


When her mother is abducted by aliens on Christmas Eve (or "Smekday" Eve since the Boov invasion), 11 year-old Tip hops in the family car and heads south to find her and meets an alien Boov mechanic who agrees to help her and save the planet from disaster.


Cover Image Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Rowling, J. K.
New York : A.A. Levine Books, 1998.


Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.


Cover Image The Cabinet of Wonders
Rutkoski, Marie.
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.


Twelve-year-old Petra, accompanied by her magical tin spider, goes to Prague hoping to retrieve the enchanted eyes the Prince of Bohemia took from her father, and is aided in her quest by a Roma boy and his sister.


Cover Image The Bad Beginning
Snicket, Lemony.
New York : HarperCollins Publishers, 1999.


After the sudden death of their parents, the three Baudelaire children must depend on each other and their wits when it turns out that the distant relative who is appointed their guardian is determined to use any means necessary to get their fortune.


Cover Image The Lightning Thief
Riordan, Rick.
New York : Hyperion Books for Children, c2005.


Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson learns he is a demigod, the son of a mortal woman and Poseidon, god of the sea. His mother sends him to a summer camp for demigods where he and his new friends set out on a quest to prevent a war between the gods.


Cover Image Magyk
Sage, Angie.
New York : Katherine Tegen Books, 2005.


After learning that she is the Princess, Jenna is whisked from her home and carried toward safety by the Extraordinary Wizard, those she always believed were her father and brother, and a young guard known only as Boy 412--pursued by agents of those who killed her mother ten years earlier.


Cover Image Alcatraz Smedry Versus the Evil Librarians
Sanderson, Brandon.
New York : Scholastic Press, 2007.


On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry receives a bag of sand which is immediately stolen by the evil Librarians who are trying to take over the world, and Alcatraz is introduced to his grandfather and his own special talent, and told that he must use it to save civilization.


Cover Image How to Grow Up and Rule the World
Seegert, Scott.
New York : Egmont USA, 2010.


A top supervillain offers rules and advice to readers on how to develop an evil plan to rule the world.


Cover Image Interstellar Pig
Sleator, William.
Toronto ; New York : Bantam, 1986, c1984.


Barney's boring seaside vacation suddenly becomes more interesting when the cottage next door is occupied by three exotic neighbors who are addicted to a game they call "Interstellar Pig."


Cover Image Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie
Sonnenblick, Jordan.
Lehigh Valley, Pa. : Turning Tide Press, c2004.


When his younger brother is diagnosed with leukemia, thirteen-year-old Steven tries to deal with his complicated emotions, his school life, and his desire to support his family.


Cover Image Stargirl
Spinelli, Jerry.
New York : Alfred Knopf, 2002, c2000.


In this story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica High School forever.


Cover Image Switched At Birthday
Standiford, Natalie, author.



Lavender sees herself as the miserable but tough outsider at school, while Scarlet knows she is talented and popular, but insecure on the inside--then, on their mutual thirteenth birthday, they wake up in each other's bodies and are forced to learn what it means to walk in someone else's shoes.


Cover Image When You Reach Me
Stead, Rebecca.
New York : Wendy Lamb Books, c2009.


As her mother prepares to be a contestant on the 1980s television game show, "The $20,000 Pyramid," a twelve-year-old New York City girl tries to make sense of a series of mysterious notes received from an anonymous source that seems to defy the laws of time and space.


Cover Image The Mysterious Benedict Society
Stewart, Trenton Lee.
New York : Little, Brown, 2007.


After passing a series of mind-bending tests, four children are selected for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.


Cover Image Montmorency : Thief, Liar, Gentleman?
Updale, Eleanor.
New York : Orchard Books, 2004, c2003.


In Victorian London, after his life is saved by a young physician, a thief utilizes the knowledge he gains in prison and from the scientific lectures he attends as the physician's case study exhibit to create a new, highly successful, double life for himself.


Cover Image The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Valente, Catherynne M., 1979-
New York : Feiwel and Friends, 2011.


Twelve-year-old September's ordinary life in Omaha turns to adventure when a Green Wind takes her to Fairyland to retrieve a talisman the new and fickle Marquess wants from the enchanted woods.


Cover Image Flipped
Van Draanen, Wendelin.
New York : Knopf, 2001.


In alternating chapters, two teenagers describe how their feelings about themselves, each other, and their families have changed over the years.


Cover Image Dealing with Dragons
Wrede, Patricia C., 1953-
San Diego : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, c1990.


Bored with traditional palace life, a princess goes off to live with a group of dragons and soon becomes involved with fighting against some disreputable wizards who want to steal away the dragons' kingdom.

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Last modified on Wednesday, July 09, 2014