The 2024 Ultimate List of Middle Grade Fiction

Middle Grade Fiction

Looking for the best Middle Grade fiction? We’ve got you covered with this list of fiction book for tweens!

But don’t think these are only novels for tweens, as adults, we love reading these types of books. They are filled with heart, good messages, and hysterical scenes.

So dive into this list of middle grade fiction and tell us which books are your favorite!

*The middle grade fiction post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

Table of Contents

Coming of Age Middle Grade Fiction

ghost

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Ghost runs and has been running since he was a small child. He started running when his father chased him down to the street with a loaded gun and he has not stopped since.

Now, he has been chosen for an elite track team that could go to the junior Olympics if Ghost can get his act together. He has natural, raw talent that can send him all the way if he can stop his past from catching up to him. This National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature is the perfect novel for tweens.

A kind of paradise

A Kind of Paradise by Amy Rebecca Tan

This is a best children’s book of 2019 for a reason. I read this as a read-aloud with both of my children (boys 6-8) even though it’s technically a middle grade book.

The story revolves around Jaime, who is being punished with community service hours at the library for the summer after she did something wrong in school. Jaime is reluctant to volunteer at first but quickly grows to love the staff and regulars at the library. I adored this charming tale and so did my kids. This is one of the fiction books for tweens that adults will love too!

holes

Holes by Louis Sachar

A great middle grade fiction about camp (and yet another that was adapted into a movie!) Holes should be on every child’s list. And, if you are looking for bedtime stories for kids, this is a great read-aloud for a younger child that cannot read this themselves.

When a boy under a curse is sent to a detention camp he’s taught to behave by digging holes all day, every day.  It doesn’t take long for him to realize he’s digging for a reason – but what are the camp wardens looking to find?

Hello Universe

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

This novel for tweens was a Newberry Award winner for a reason. It gave the mom in me a bit of an anxiety attack when one of the characters fell down the well, but all’s well that ends well.

This tween book is a read that I’d recommend for all ages. In particular, I liked how it addressed bullying, being different, and overcoming shyness.

Pay Attention Carter Jones

Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt

⁣My son adored Pay Attention, Carter Jones. He loved the premise of the butler coming over to teach Carter to play cricket. He liked how Carter learned about how to be a gentleman from the butler who is strict, but exactly what the family needs during their troubling time.⁣

He’s recommended to a few of his friends already and my mom even read it and enjoyed it!⁣ It’s a heart-filled, thought-provoking read in all the best ways. It’s one of our favorite tween novels.

Spy Novels for Tweens

spy school and other mystery books for tweens

Spy School by Stuart Gibbs

The first book in Gibbs’s series is about Ben Ripley, a child CIA agent trying to defeat the evil organization Spyder. As he attends the secret junior CIA boarding school, he gets into loads of situations that put his espionage skills to good use.

Ben and his fellow agents tackle a new problem in each book of the series. They take place at various new locations as the series progresses. It’s already 10 books deep.

city spies and other mystery books for tweens

City Spies by James Ponti

MI6 has recruited a bunch of kids to be their newest spy group – the City Spies. They attend boarding school while learning various spy tactics.

Soon they get to go on a mission to Paris to put what they learned into action. Subsequent books take place in San Francisco and Beijing. At this point, this series of middle grade fiction is on our pre-order series list.

The Van Gogh Deception

The Van Gogh Deception by Deron R. Hicks

The first in a series of middle grade novels, this first story captured the attention of my D.C.-obsessed son. After all, it opens in the National Gallery when a boy wakes up with amnesia.

Described as Dan Brown meets Jason Bourne, it lives up to those clever titles. It’s a fast-paced art caper that will keep your tween fully engrossed. It’s the first in a must-read series of fiction books for tweens.

Mystery books for tweens

Greetings from Witness Protection! by Jake Burt

What a fun story about an orphan girl tasked by the U.S. Marshalls to keep a family alive. As she enters into witness protection with them, she puts her street smarts and pick-pocketing abilities to good use.

But can she keep her new family safe? Will she be able to hide from her own past?

book scavenger

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

The first of three books in the Book Scavengers series, this story is all about Emily and James. They are on the hunt to uncover the latest game by Garrison Griswold.

Griswold has recently entered a coma and it’s up to Emily and James to uncover who attacked him before they get attacked next. This pick in our list of mystery novels for tweens is filled with fun and adventure.

mysterious benedict society

The Best Mystery Books for Tweens: Middle-Grade Mysteries to Devour

Want some mystery novels for tweens? This is the list for you!

School Novels for Tweens

the boy at the back of the class

The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Raúf

This is the story of Ahmet, a Syrian refugee, who ends up in Mrs. Khan’s 4th-grade class. At first, the students are wary of the strange new boy.

Soon, they learn that Ahmet has been separated from his family when he was trying to escape the war. Soon the kids were banding together to help Ahmet reunite with his family.

My son cried while reading this tween novel. The story touched his heart and evoked such compassion in him.

Ban this book and more realistic middle grade fiction

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

This realistic middle grade fiction story is so relevant to society today. The heroine of this story is a girl whose favorite book was just banned from her school library. She starts her own locker library filled with more banned books from the school’s library.

As she stands up for her right to read, she challenges adults in her community and learns about books’ power to unite everyone.

wonder

Wonder by R.J Palacio

A must-read for kids in middle school, this is an amazing book about embracing differences, kindness, and being yourself.  However, this would also be a wonderful read-aloud book for a younger audience. CW: This is one of the books that will make you cry.

August Pullman is a boy with an extraordinary facial difference.  He has been homeschooled his entire life and is starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep.  This novel for tweens is amazing and has a lesson about love and acceptance that everyone needs to read.

restart

Restart by Gordon Korman

My kids all read this book one after another. In fact, they passed it to each other to read so they could all discuss it.

Chase wakes up in the hospital after falling off a roof and doesn’t remember anything- including his name. When he gets back to school, he sees how the kids react to him. Some kids worship him and other kids are terrified of him.

The questions become, who he was and who he wants to be. This is one of the best middle grade fiction novels.

the miscalculations of lightning girl

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

My 3rd-grade math lover inhaled this tween book in 2 days. It’s all about a 12-year-old girl who was struck by lightning and became a math wiz.

She’s been homeschooled her whole life, but now her grandmother wants her to try to go to school just for one year. She has to make one friend, join one activity, and read one book that isn’t math related. Can she do it?

Fun Middle Grade Fiction Books for Tweens

Mr. Lemoncello

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Mr. Lemoncello’s library is one of a kind. It’s full of holograms, logic puzzles, and hidden games. To officially open the new library, a few lucky kids get to spend the night inside as they try to win Mr. Lemoncello’s game and be the first team to escape.

Why We Love This Book: If you are looking for great bedtime stories for kids, this series will hit the mark. It will get your kids engaged with one-of-a-kid puzzles and delightful twists and turns.
Appropriate for ages 9-11
Find this book in
Audiobooks for Kids / Netflix Book Adaptations / Middle Grade Mysteries / Books for 11-year-olds / Read Aloud Books / Best Puzzle Books

THe Candymakers and more family audiobooks for road trips

The Candymakers by Wendy Maas

This story appears on our list of middle grade fiction books about candy! I decided to read this book with my boys prior to our visit to Candytopia.

It was a lovely take on life at a candy factory and felt almost like an updated version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 4 kids are competing to win a candy-making contest to have their creation mass-produced. This is the first in a series of middle grade novels. It’s one of the must-read books for 11-year-olds.

the remarkable journey of coyote sunrise

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

Coyote Sunrise lives with her Dad, Rodeo on an old school bus, riding around the country but never returning to where her mother and sisters died.

Until Coyote gets a call from her grandma that the park where she hid a memory box is scheduled to be torn down. Soon Coyote needs to figure out a plan to get her dad back to Washington before she loses that box.

Why We Love This Book: Filled with life lessons and charming strangers they meet and transport along the way, I adored Coyote and her unique life. My kids listened along to this coming-of-age novel with me too and they felt the same way.
Appropriate for ages 9-12
Find this book in
Realistic Fiction / Audiobooks for Kids / Audiobooks for a Road Trip

to Night Owl from Dogfish

To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

This tween novel came so highly recommended that I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to the hype. But, I loved it. Is it about two girls who could not be more different whose fathers fall in love and send them to camp together so they can meet before they all become a family.

It is told through emails sent back and forth between the girls, family, and friends as well. It is so well written and is ultimately a story about friendship and unconditional love. This middle grade book deals with really complicated issues like what makes a family in a completely approachable way. It is this reason that this book is found on our Book Lists for 13-Year-Olds.

The Wild Robot and other books for a 10-year-old

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Roz the robot is stranded on an island all by herself. With no idea of how she got there or what she was created for, she has one question. Can she survive?

Soon Roz is befriending the local animals and feels at home on the island. But what happens when her past arrives on the island? This one ends on a cliffhanger, but there is a second book!

Realistic Fiction Books for Tweens

The Crossover and other books for a 10-year-old

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander has won many awards for his incredible proses. This tween novel, the first in a series, is no exception having won both the Newberry and The Coretta-Scott King Award.

The Crossover is all about Josh Bell a basketball-loving middle-schooler who also loves to rap. He learns to grow up in this coming-of-ask story about Josh, his twin, and his family.

This is one of the many tween books for a 12-year-old being adapted. Look for the book adaptation starring LeBron James coming to Disney+ soon!

Kelly Yang 1

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

This recently banned book tells the story of Mia and her family who are immigrants from China. Mia’s struggles to be successful in America are met with the divide between classes in her school, the racism she faces, and her family’s quest to make ends meet.

Why We Love This Book: I loved learning from Mia and watching her problem-solve to help her family as they took over caring for the Calivista Motel. If you are looking for realistic fiction middle grade books that skew a little younger, check out this realistic fiction book.
Appropriate for ages 9-11
Find this book in
Coming-of-Age Books / Books for 10-year-olds / Audiobooks for Kids / Hotel Novels / Books about Poverty and It’s Impact

THe goldfish boy

Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

Another great middle grade fiction book!  This story is about a boy named Matthew who has severe OCD and has trouble leaving his house due to his anxiety.

Matthew is the last person to have seen the toddler next door before the four-year-old disappeared.   I love the fact that this book looks at the world from Matthew’s point of view.  It is a very readable, eye-opening book for 13-year-olds.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

This charming story is about a bi-racial family in Harlem with 5 kids who are about to lose their home because their reclusive landlord won’t renew their lease.⁣

My entire family enjoyed this delightful tale of the siblings trying to win their landlord over so they don’t have to leave home. Don’t worry. This is one of the best feel-good books on the list.

It was full of all the antics you would expect of a big family. ⁣You can find this tween novel on our list of The Best Family Audiobooks For Road Trips and Home Listening.

Far from the Tree and more books for 12-year-olds

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

This novel for tweens is the winner of the National Book Award for good reason.  I adored this middle grade fiction book.  I spent half of it crying and the other half smiling.  This is such a wonderful story about Grace who is adopted at birth. 

When she finds herself pregnant, she puts her daughter up for adoption.  This prompts her to look for her biological mother.  What she finds are two siblings that she never knew about. This is an amazing story told from multiple points of view. Even though we included it in books that make you cry, you will love every moment.

For more middle grade books, check out our list of books for 10-year-old, 11-year-old, 12-year-old, or 13-year-old readers.

Graphic Novels for Tweens

Swim Team and other books for a 10-year-old

Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas

Bree and her dad have just moved to Florida for her father’s new training program. She’s excited to join electives and make new friends until she realizes the only one she can join is swimming…and that makes her quite nervous.

Soon Bree begins counting on her neighbor Etta to give her swimming lessons, and ends up joining the swim team with the hopes of winning the big competition! This book for a 10 year old is an award winner!

Roller Girl  and other books for a 10-year-old

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

This graphic novel is a Newbery Medal Winner and was an easy pick for a list of the best graphic novels of all time. Astrid and Nicole have done everything together until now. Astrid wants to go to roller derby camp.

And thus begins a summer of friendship, finding yourself, perseverance, and girl power. Astrid may be strong enough to endure middle school. Snag this if you are looking for a book for 11-year-olds.

New Kid and other Back-to-School Books

New Kid by Jerry Craft

This graphic novel has won numerous awards and for good reason. This is a thought-provoking story of a 7th-grade boy who wants to pursue his dream of becoming an artist.

Instead, his parents send him to a prestigious private school where he is one of the few diverse students. He can’t seem to figure out where he fits in at home or at school. This is a good one for kids who aren’t yet ready for Angie Thomas’s books.

Chunk and other books for a 10-year-old

Chunky by Yehudi Mercado

Hudi is trying to figure out what sport he likes to play because he needs to lose weight. He’s trying to be healthy because of a serious illness he had as a younger kid. 

He invents an imaginary friend named Chunky to help cheer him on. As he goes through sport after sport, the laughs roll in. But It’s not all fun and games, his dad loses his job and we get flashbacks of the medical problem that started his journey.

My son read this graphic novel in one sitting, while I listened to him giggling on the couch. I think it’s one of the perfect middle grade books for a 10-year-old reluctant reader! 

Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin

The babysitters are back and updated for a new generation! I love that the stories in this series have been adapted into graphic novels.

The very first one, Kristy’s Great Idea, is about the formation of the Baby-Sitters Club and how the friends of the sitters developed. If you have middle schoolers, they should check out the Netflix book adaptation of this realistic fiction series.

Animal Fiction Books for Tweens

A Wolf Called Wander and other books for a 10-year-old

A Wolf Called Wander by Rosanne Parry

Rosanne does a marvelous job of telling the true story of a wolf trying to survive when separated from his family. Without the protection of his pack, Swift must learn how to thrive on his own.

Swift’s journey takes him across 1,000 miles of forests, highways, and rivers with danger facing him at every turn.

Why We Love This Book: My family was riveted by this story when we listened on a recent family road trip. Even though this is a middle-grade book, we love this for adults as well.
Appropriate for ages 8-11
Find this book in
Animal Novels / Middle-Grade Fiction / Audiobooks for Kids

song for a whale

Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

Wow. This was one of the audiobooks for tweens I listened to with my own kids and we all just adored it.

It’s a story about a deaf girl who is struggling to connect with her community and a whale named Blue 52 who can’t find his ocean community either. She sets out to connect with Blue 52 and along the way she finds her inner strength in a beautiful way.

This middle grade fiction for 10-year-olds is delightful for adults too!

one and only ivan

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Based on the true story of Ivan, a gorilla trapped in a shopping mall, this feel good story is one of the best family audiobooks for any road trip.

Stella, a young girl gets Ivan to start painting again and she realizes how lonely he is. Bob, a stray dog, works to help Ivan and Ruby, a baby elephant, garner the attention they need to be sent to a better home.

This middle grade fiction book for tweens will touch your heart. Even though it is partially a sad book, the ending will make it worthwhile.

pie

Pie by Sarah Weeks

This is another book that every one of my children has read and loved. When Alice’s Aunt Polly dies, she takes her world-famous, secret pie crust recipe with her. In her will, she leaves the pie receipt to her cat, Lardo.

Who does she leave the cat to? Alice. Now, Alice and her friend have to find the recipe for happiness together in this endearing and funny novel for tweens.

belly up and other mystery books for tweens

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

The first book in the FunJungle series shows Gibbs at his best – funny and clever!

After a hippo dies at FunJungle zoo, it’s up to Teddy and his friend Summer to prove that the Hippo was actually murdered.

But investigating Hippo homicide is a dangerous affair. This funny story kept this former zoo employee quite entertained. Make sure you add this fiction book for tweens to your summer reading list!

Middle grade fantasy header

45+ Best Fantasy Books for Tweens and Middle Grade Fantasy Readers

Like middle grade fiction? You might want to check out this list of fantasy novels for tweens too!

Classic Middle Grade Fiction

Bridge to Terabithia and more books for 12-year-olds

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

I’m pretty sure this coming-of-age tween book is required reading for everyone! Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie’s house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia.

One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief. This realistic fiction book set in the 70s is an award winner for a reason.

The Egypt Game and more family audiobooks for road trips

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Neatly Snyder

This middle grade fiction enchanted me as a young girl. The 6 “Egyptians” play in the back lot of an antique store, dressing up, performing rituals, and speaking with Oracles.

Then, a murder happens in the area and trouble comes to the lot. Don’t worry, there is a happy ending to this tween mystery book and also a sequel about gypsies!

The Penderwicks

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

An imperfect family, the Penderwick family (consisting of the father, 4 daughters, and their dog) go spend their three-week summer vacation at a cottage they rented. Mrs. Tifton, a grumpy, snooty woman, and her son Jeffry own the cottage that is part of the Arundel estate.

The first in a series of 5 middle grade fiction books about sisters, this wonderful book is perfect to read aloud at night or listen to on audio for a family roadtrip.

Peter Pan

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Peter Pan is one of Kirsten’s favorite childhood stories. The magical world of Neverland with it’s pirates, mermaids, and natives is so engrossing.

The story of Peter Pan and his adventures with the Darling children have inspired countless spin-off books, movies, and theatrical productions for a reason. It’s a must-read classic fiction book for tweens.

Anne of green Gables by LM Mongtogery and more great Canadian Novels by Canadian Authors

Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomeryir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=5c9b77d29546960eec62ffcf6e66c0aa& cb=1590237272404

My mother was the first person to read this middle grade fiction to me and I was immediately drawn to Anne.  She was smart, precocious, and has a way of making everyone love her while simultaneously finding new ways to get into trouble. 

I read the book again when I was a teenager and then again as an adult.  I will be reading this to my daughter next.  Every time I read it, I am able to capture more of the nuances that are hidden within the pages. This is a beautiful book about friendship and found family.

I am not sure if this book is more popular in Canada but, one day I hope to visit Prince Edward Island. This is one of my (Jackie) all-time favorite books.

Historical Fiction Novels for Tweens

Alan Gratz Refugee

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Three tales in one, the book is told in alternating chapters by three narrators.  The stories feature Josef, a Jewish refugee fleeing WWII Germany, Isabel a Cuban girl on her way to Miami in 1994, and Mahmoud a Syrian refugee seeking asylum in Germany in 2015. The chapters rotate between the three characters and their stories do connect at the end in a meaningful and moving way.

The characters are all about 13-years-old but shoulder burdens that would be hard for an adult to handle. Gratz accurately portrays each child’s struggle with both grace and clarity – not shying away from difficult emotions and even death. If you love this YA historical middle grade fiction book, we have a list of Powerful WWII Books for Kids.

stella by starlight

Stella and the Starlight by Sharon M Draper

This historical fiction novel for 11-year-olds takes place in the Depression era. Stella lives in Bumblebee, North Carolina- the segregated south where the Klan still exists.

The book touches upon so many important concepts like the depression, voting rights, racism, family, and finding your inner strength. This middle grade fiction has a realistic ending, not a happy one and that left my daughter begging to read more.

The Parker Inheritance

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

The Parker Inheritance was such a fun listen! It reminded me of The Westing Game, which it references frequently and was clearly a source of inspiration in the best way.

Two new friends, both overcoming personal struggles, end up on a hunt to find a hidden fortune in the town of Lambert, South Carolina. Along the way, they encounter the racist past of the city and learned how the deep-rooted racism impacted Lambert long-term.

I loved the modern twist and more thought-provoking spin on the classic book trope of The Westing Game. It’s a must-listen and one of my favorite fiction books for tweens!

echo

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

I listened to this feel-good book and it was unreal.  I want my son to read this so badly but, I also want him to listen to it as well. The full-cast audiobook plays music so it is a full sensory experience. 

The story is three tales woven together in one with a magical harmonica at the center. The story follows a harmonica as it lands in the hands of Freidrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California set during WWII.

Part fairy tale and part historical fiction, this is one of the novels about music that is amazing for middle grade and adults alike. We adore this novel for tweens.

The war that saved my life

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I read this realistic fiction book in a few hours and immediately ordered the sequel The War I Finally Won.  Ada is a 10-year-old girl who lives in a one-room world gazing at the world from one window.  She was born with a club foot and teaches herself to walk in secret.  When the children who lived in London were evacuated to go to the country at the start of WW2, Ada escapes her abusive mother and leaves London with her little brother.

There is so much depth to this book.  It is a Newbury Honor book and the Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award for middle grade. This middle grade historical fiction is a story of love and survival in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

Do not be fooled by this middle grade fiction. It is emotionally crafted and brilliantly written and is my favorite on the list of WWII books for kids.

Did you find any middle grade fiction for your to-read list?

Middle Grade Books for Tweens

Ultimate List of Middle Grade Books for Tweens

For more non-fiction, fantasy, and fiction books for tweens. Head to this post!

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