The most exciting middle-grade adventure novels you’ll ever read

Mark Cheverton Author Of Gameknight999 in Adopt Me meets Jailbreak
By Mark Cheverton

The Books I Picked & Why

The Ruins of Gorlan: Book 1

By John Flanagan

Book cover of The Ruins of Gorlan: Book 1

Why this book?

You can’t go wrong with any of the Ranger’s Apprentice books or the following series, The Path of the Ranger. They are fantastic, imaginative, and exciting times a hundred. Flanagan writes them in such a way that you could really start on any book in the series and understand what is going on, of course reading them in order is a better choice. I found that I couldn’t put these books down, I just loved them. I loved the world Flanagan created, but more importantly, I related to the main character, Will. I was bullied as a child, as is Will, and his struggles seemed far too familiar to me. If you like high-suspense, action/adventure fantasy, then this book is for you.

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The Graveyard Book

By Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean

Book cover of The Graveyard Book

Why this book?

I love the creativity of this book. Gaiman weaves an incredible story around gravestones and the land of the dead. This concept drew me to this novel. The Graveyard Book follows Bod as he grows up in a graveyard with the spirits of the dead raising him as one of their own. None of this happened on purpose. As a child, Bod narrowly escapes when a killer named Jack murdered his family. The spirits of the dead took him in and introduced Bod to the many secrets of the graveyard like the city of the ghouls, and the many different gravestone entrances to other lands. But there is danger in the land of the dead as well as the land of the living, for Jack still hunts the boy who got away. A great read that will keep you turning the pages.

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The Girl Who Drank the Moon

By Kelly Barnhill

Book cover of The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Why this book?

As a Newberry Medal winner, you know Kelly Barnhill’s book will be fantastic, and it is. I originally bought this book because of the Newberry award, wondering what it takes to win this prestigious award. I was stunned by the level of creativity, world-building, and characters that you’ll feel you’ve known for years. Barnhill creates an incredibly imaginative world for her story. The story follows Luna who was given to the evil witch of the forest, Xan, (she isn’t so evil). Instead of giving Luna to a family, she raises the young girl in the forest. Through a series of fascinating circumstances exciting revelations, the real story emerges with Luna at the center of the intrigue.

This is an exciting, incredibly creative, and heartwarming story that you’ll want to read again and again. I actually read the ending of this book multiple times, just to experience what happens to Luna and the other characters in the story.

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The Golden Compass

By Philip Pullman

Book cover of The Golden Compass

Why this book?

If you like middle-grade adventure, then you’ve probably heard of The Golden Compass. This is an epic story which follows precocious Lyra as she uncovers the mystery of missing children, some of which are her friends. But the story is much bigger than just this. You’ll find that you’ll love rooting for Lyra, as I did, as well as love to hate the villain (I won’t say who). I loved how Pullman had the main story of missing children, but Lyra’s adventure quickly revealed a conspiracy and a much larger story that pulled me into the next books in the series. This first book is nothing short of breathtaking, and anyone looking for an adventure to keep you on the edge of your seat will not be disappointed.

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By Jake Halpern, Peter Kujawinski

Book cover of Edgeland

Why this book?

I found Edgeland after hearing an interview with the authors. Their book sounded so incredibly creative that I had to pick up a copy. The story is about an orphan, Wren, banished from the House of Aron and left to live on the streets. Wren struggles to find safety and security while her friend, Alec, both age 12, has risen from apprentice to a high-ranking position within House Aron. The comparison of their lives are in stark contrast from Alec living with safety and security, to Wren seeking to find her place with the banished and forgotten. But the really interesting thing about Edgeland is the Drain.

It is a large, circular waterfall where the dead are sent in hopes of an afterlife. The story starts to accelerate at a fever pitch when Wren and Alec end up going over the edge of the Drain. They will uncover secrets about the world they inhabit, some of which change everything they have come to understand. With the incredible world-building, fantastic characters, and spine-tingling excitement, Edgeland will keep you turning the page into the wee- hours of the night.

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