30 Best Books For Middle School Boys & Girls (Ages 11, 12, & 13)

Finding books for middle school kids can be tough. Other influences fight for their attention. Plus, how do you know what books they’ll love?

This article will help! You’ll find the best books for 11, 12, and 13 year olds. These are popular page-turners even if your child doesn’t like reading.

Reading Specialist Recommendations!

best books for middle school students and kids, 11 year olds, 12 year olds, 13 year olds

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In a hurry? Our top 3 favorites: The Lightning Thief, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, The Hobbit

Most Popular Middle School Books

Let’s start with award-winning and bestseller books for ages 10-13. Your middle schooler won’t be able to put them down!

1. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

*Editor’s Inspirational Pick & New York Times BESTSELLER


Meet Auggie. He is an ordinary boy with an unusual face. His personality inspires an entire community to discuss what kindness, empathy, and compassion mean in practice.

See Wonder here >>

2. Refugee by Alan Gratz

*Teacher’s Pick

Refugee, good books for middle grades

This action-packed novel follows three different kids seeking refuge.

  • Josef is a Jewish boy boarding a ship out of 1930s Nazi Germany.
  • Isabel is a Cuban girl who gets on a raft to escape 1994 Cuba.
  • Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015 beginning a long trek.

What ties these three stories together? Find out in Refugee.

3. Ghost by Jason Reynolds

*A National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature

Ghost, best books for middle schoolers

Ghost (Castle Cranshaw) has been running all his life. From running for his life when he was a small boy to joining an elite middle school track team.

He has the talent to be the best sprinter in the city. But will he be able to stay on track? Read this book to find out.

4. Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg

*New York Times Bestseller

Counting by 7s

When 12-year-old genius Willow Chance suffers the tragic loss of her parents, she pushes through her grief and feelings to discover the true meaning of family.

See Counting by 7s here >>

5. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

*Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award-winning book


12-year old Josh Bell and his twin brother Jordan are a dynamic duo on the basketball court. But when trouble starts to brew in their family, they will have to grow up on and off the court.

Find The Crossover here.

6. Restart by Gordon Korman

*New York Times Best Seller

best books for 8-10 year olds, 11-13

After an accident, Chase wakes up with no memory of his previous life.

Faced with the reality of starting over, Chase has to figure out who he was and who he is going to be.

7. The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1

*#1 Best Seller: Action and Adventure Fantasy

Young adult teen books that are also movies

12-year-old Percy Jackson is always in trouble. Unfortunately, his biggest troubles are just starting!

Now, he has to bring peace to Mount Olympus and find Zeus’s lightning bolt. All while facing a host of enemies trying to stop him. Will he succeed?

Read The Lightning Thief to find out!

Pro Tip: Many of these middle school books have been made into movies. Read the book, then watch the movie!

Fantasy Books to Read for Middle School

My kids LOVE fantasy adventure books. And it has been hard to separate them from the books and book series on this list!

8. Eragon: Inheritance, Book 1 by Christopher Paolini

*New York Times bestselling series


What would happen if you discovered a stone that hatches a dragon?

In this book, 15-year old Eragon will soon find out. His life will go from being simple to dangerously magical.

See Eragon here >>

9. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman: Book 1 (Ages 12+)

*New York Times Bestseller

Seraphina, good middle school books for girls

Seraphina is half-dragon and lives in a world where humans and dragons coexist.

She works to protect the secret of her true identity. But one day, she is flung into a crime investigation that may cost her everything.

10. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

*Newbery Medal Winner

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

In this fantasy story, the forest witch Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight on the way to deliver her to a family.

The baby is filled with magic, and so the witch raises her as her own. But as Luna’s magic begins to emerge near her thirteenth birthday, danger approaches with it.

See The Girl Who Drank the Moon here >>

11. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoneix, Book 5 by J.K. Rowling

*Middle school students will love the 5th book of this beloved series!

Harry Potter, mystery and adventure book series for middle school students, family friendly

As Harry starts his 5th year at Hogwarts, tensions rise in the government of the magical world. Trust is hard to find.

Harry will lean on his friends to find the strength to face the threats upon them all.

Check it out here >>

12. Amari and the Night Brothers, Book 1 by B.B. Alston

*New York Times Bestseller

mystery books for 12 year olds, Amari

Amari is certain her missing brother is still alive. In fact, she’s uncovered a secret magical organization that could be the key to finding him.

Will Amari be able to compete in this threatening new world to find her brother?

Read Amari and the Night Brothers to find out!

13. The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Book Series

The Alchemyst, fantasy books for middle school

Nicholas Flamel died in 1418…unless he has the secret to eternal life? When this power gets into the wrong hands, it could destroy everything.

Magic, mystery, and the timeless struggle of good versus evil make this book series a must-read.

Start with book 1 here >>

14. Artemis Fowl, Book 1 by Eoin Colfer (Middle School Book Series)

*New York Times best-selling author

Artemis Fowl, popular fantasy books for boys in middle school

12-year-old Artemis Fowl is a criminal mastermind who has discovered a dangerous below-ground world.

When he gets tangled up with fairies, will he cause a larger problem than he can handle? Find out in the first book in the series.

15. Furthermore, Book 1 by Tahereh Mafi

*New York Times Bestseller


Journey with 12-year-old Alice as she fights to find her father. She will have to travel through the dangerous, mythical land of Futhermore on her quest to bring him home.

See Furthermore here >>

16. Alone by Megan E. Freeman

*New bestseller in middle school fiction

When twelve-year-old Maddie wakes up one day, she finds herself utterly alone in her small Colorado town. With no one to rely on, and no modern-day luxuries, she must learn to survive on her own.

Can Maddie’s will carry her through? Read Alone to find out.


Fiction and Mystery Books (for 11, 12, & 13 year olds)

Next, these middle school mystery novels keep kids coming back for more.

17. A Horse Named Sky by Roseanne Parry

A horse named sky, girl

A young wild horse named Sky is captured for the Pony Express. He must escape to reunite with his family.

See a Horse Named Sky on Amazon >>

18. The Lost Library by Rebecca Stead (Good Middle School Books to Read)

*New York Times bestselling author

The Lost Library, popular mystery books for middle school 11 and 12 year olds

A free library appears in a small town. And 11-year-old Evan’s life changes when he takes a book from its shelf. He is thrown into an old town mystery that no one wants to talk about.

Mystery readers will love this book!

19. Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson

*Made into a movie!

Middle School is the Worst

This hilarious and heartwarming tale starts with Rafe. He has enough problems at home without middle school. So, he hatches a plan to break all the school rules – from chewing gum to running in the halls. But one day, his bad behavior catches up with him. And he’s forced to see the truths he’s been avoiding.

“James Patterson’s debut middle-grade novel addresses some of middle schoolers’ biggest issues: bullies, first crushes, and finding out what makes each of us special.”


20. Worst Broommate Ever: Middle School and Other Disasters, Book 1 by Wanda Coven

*New York Times Bestseller

best books for girls in middle school

When you are a witch-in-training, mishaps are bound to happen. But when Heidi finds out that her new roommate is an old rival, a prank war ensues. Will it go too far?

See The Worst Broommate Ever here >>

21. The Swifts: A Dictionary of Scoundrels by Beth Lincoln

*New York Times Bestseller

The Swifts

Join Shenanigan Swift in her quest to catch her aunt’s killer. And prove to her family that she can achieve anything, despite her mischievous name.

Check it out >>

22. City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

*New York Times Best-selling author

City of Ghosts books for middle schoolers, tweens, teens to read

Ever since a drowning accident, Cass has been able to see the spirit world. But when she meets another girl like her, she realizes she has a lot to learn about the city of ghosts. And her journey will be dangerous.

Middle schoolers will love this spooky action-packed tale!

*Related: Great Spooky Books for Kids & Teens

23. Coraline by Neil Gaiman

*#1 Best Seller in Scary Stories for Children

Coraline, books for 13 year olds to read

Coraline unlocks a door and finds a hidden passage into another house. At first, everything seems better. But she soon discovers that other children are trapped there. And she is the only one who can rescue them.

See Coraline here >>

Graphic Novels For Middle School

Next, visual readers will adore these middle school graphic novels.

24. New Kid by Jerry Craft

*Newbery Medal Winner & Coretta Scott King Author Award

best graphic novels for middle schoolers to read

Navigating seventh grade in a new school is hard. Especially when faced with a different environment and unfamiliar faces. Jordan must find a balance between this new adventure and his old life.

Find New Kid here.

25. Awkward (Berrybrook Middle School, 1) by Svetlana Chmakova

Awkward, girls and boys on friendship

Peppi Torres just wants to survive middle school. But she has already broken the cardinal rules on her first day.

Will she make it through middle school without getting more awkward? Read this graphic novel to find out.

26. Invisible by Christina Diaz Gonazlez

Invisible, graphic novel books for middle school students on friendship

When five kids are forced to complete community service hours together, they meet someone who needs their help. Will they be vulnerable enough in the middle school world to do what is needed?

See Invisible here >>

Invisible contains text in both Spanish and English.


Classic Literature For Middle School

Finally, dig into these classics. They stand proud through the test of time, for good reason!

27. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

*Newbery Medal winner

A Wrinkle In Time : Best movies based on books for middle school

Meg’s father has disappeared in a wrinkle of time. Join Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe in an adventure through time and space to find him.

See A Wrinkle in Time here >>

28. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

The Hobbit, popular classic literature books for middle school

Journey with Bilbo Baggins on a dangerous and exciting adventure to the Lonely Mountain. There he will cross paths with a magic ring and a scary creature named Gollum.

29. The Giver by Lois Lowry

*Newbery Medal-winning classic

The Giver, fiction books for middle grades

Jonas has lived in an ideal world. That is what he believes.

But when he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory, he learns the secrets of his life and community.

Read this Newbery medal-winning classic and powerful novel.

30. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

*Newbery Honor winner


When 13-year-old Brian Robeson survives a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness, he must use the only items he has with him- his clothes and a hatchet- to learn how to survive.

A must-read page-turner about survival and adventure >>

Quick Tips for Using Middle School Books

Here are a few great suggestions to keep kids reading!

  • Books series are great for engagement: If the child loves the first book, he or she will want to keep going.
  • Play to their interests: Look for books that highlight what your child loves.
  • Be a reading role model: Do the kids see you reading too? If you show that reading is fun and important, they’ll think it is as well.

What’s Next?

Don’t miss the book lists for younger ages too!

Good Books for Middle Schoolers to Read

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