The best middle school books

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1,875 authors created a book list with books for middle schoolers, and here are their favorite books.

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What type of book for middle schoolers?


Boy and Going Solo

By Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (illustrator),

Book cover of Boy and Going Solo: Tales of Childhood

Auriel Roe Author Of A Young Lady's Miscellany

From the list on memoirs that read like novels.

Who am I?

I became interested in the genre of memoir during the lockdown when I found myself reflecting on my past during the extended solitary periods. Looking through a shoebox of old letters put me in touch with the person I had once been. I then discovered that the act of writing down memories opened up areas that I had forgotten about or that had faded almost to nothing, and suddenly they became quite vivid. I decided to create for writing at a more literary level and only publish highly polished pieces. Memoirist now has many followers and some posts have nearly a thousand views. 

Auriel's book list on memoirs that read like novels

Discover why each book is one of Auriel's favorite books.

Why did Auriel love this book?

Like so many people of my generation, I have the writing of Roald Dahl in my blood. I learned to read with his children’s classics then, as an older child, watched his disturbing yet rivetingly spooky Tales of the Unexpected on television. The stories from his life in these two volumes are often more incredible than his fiction, and certainly equally outlandish. The people he encountered can certainly be traced to the characters he created in his career as an author. This is one of the few books I can re-read. 

By Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Boy and Going Solo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Boy and Going Solo is the whole of Roald Dahl's extraordinary autobiography in one volume.
Reissued in the exciting new Roald Dahl branding.

Roald Dahl wasn't always a writer. Once he was just a schoolboy. Have you ever wondered what he was like growing up?
In BOY you'll find out why he and his friends took revenge on the beastly Mrs Pratchett who ran the sweet shop. He remembers what it was like taste-testing chocolate for Cadbury's and he even reveals how his nose was nearly sliced off.
Then in GOING SOLO you'll read stories of whizzing through the air…

The Wave

By Todd Strasser,

Book cover of The Wave

Esther K. Bowen Author Of Mind Games

From the list on government oppression and courageous resistance.

Who am I?

As a child, I read stories of courageous women and men who risked their lives for their faith, for their freedom, or for the freedom of others. Many of these stories were dark and brutal. History taught me that governments are capable of atrocities that defy understanding. Fiction stories led me to envision dark futures. But I do not enjoy stories that discourage or depress. Instead, I believe stories should display hope, faithfulness, and sacrifice. I admire the heroes of our history and I seek fiction that speaks these same truths. We need stories that inspire us to stand up, to speak out against injustice, no matter the consequences.

Esther's book list on government oppression and courageous resistance

Discover why each book is one of Esther's favorite books.

Why did Esther love this book?

What leads people to join a movement? What causes a group to sacrifice freedom for power, victory, and equality? How does oppression begin?

When Ben is unable to answer a student’s question, “Why did the German people not stop the Nazis?” he devises an experiment. Would American students surrender their individuality and follow his leadership blindly? What follows quickly spirals out of control. The students and their teacher are forced to confront how a movement transforms those who become caught in its current. And some students are forced to learn the cost of daring to speak against the majority.

By Todd Strasser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Ben shows his pupils a film about the Nazis' persecution of the Jews, they can't believe it could happen. So he introduces a new disciplinary system in an attempt to shown them how powerful group pressure can be. But things get out of hand.

Hanukkah Bear

By Eric A. Kimmel, Mike Wohnoutka (illustrator),

Book cover of Hanukkah Bear

Gloria Koster Author Of Dance the Hora, Isadora

From the list on lighthearted picture books with Jewish characters.

Who am I?

I am a school and public librarian as well as a writer. I also serve as a member of the Children’s Book Committee of the Bank Street College of Education. We review hundreds of books each year for consideration of a place on our list –The Best Children’s Books of the YearI've chosen to recommend some lighthearted picture books with Jewish characters or themes because a number of my own books fit into this category. Mitzi’s Mitzvah, Little Red Ruthie, and Dance the Hora, Isadora! are three of my Jewish themed books. Each of these titles has been selected by PJ Library, an organization that sends a book each month to children.

Gloria's book list on lighthearted picture books with Jewish characters

Discover why each book is one of Gloria's favorite books.

Why did Gloria love this book?

I always recommend this genius book as a wonderful companion to my own Hanukkah book. The young audience is always one step ahead of the old woman in Kimmel’s story, and this engages them from the start all the way through to the comforting end. There’s an old-fashioned folktale-like quality to this story which makes it a sure winner!

By Eric A. Kimmel, Mike Wohnoutka (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hanukkah Bear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bubba Brayna’s legendary latkes lure an unexpected visitor into her home in this playful Hanukkah tale from a master storyteller.

Bubba Brayna makes the best latkes in the village, and on the first night of Hanukkah, the scent of her cooking wakes a hungry, adorable bear from his hibernation.  He lumbers into town to investigate, and Bubba Brayna—who does not see or hear very well—mistakes him for her rabbi. She welcomes the bear inside to play the dreidel game, light the menorah, and enjoy a scrumptious meal.

However, after her well-fed guest leaves, there's a knock at the door—it's the…

The Midwife's Apprentice

By Karen Cushman,

Book cover of The Midwife's Apprentice

Nancy McConnell Author Of Into the Lion's Mouth

From the list on kids who love a medieval quest.

Who am I?

Before I could start writing Into the Lion’s Mouth, I spent a lot of time researching the medieval and renaissance Venice. I was astounded to see how relevant that history is to today. Not only are there many parallels that can be drawn between the past and today there is so much to learn about the consistency of human nature. I find myself currently gravitating towards books that mix history and fiction and these are some of my favorites.

Nancy's book list on kids who love a medieval quest

Discover why each book is one of Nancy's favorite books.

Why did Nancy love this book?

This book was a Newberry Award winner and it’s easy to see why. It is hard not to love Alyce and root for her as she grapples with the difficulty of learning midwifery under the not to tender tutelage of Jane the Midwife. The story is at times funny, poignant and fascinating. I was moved by the courage and persistence Alyce shows. This book transported me to another era and left me wanting more. 

By Karen Cushman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Midwife's Apprentice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A poor girl in medieval England gains a name, a purpose, and a future in this “delightful”* and beloved Newbery Medal-winning book. Now with a new cover!

* “A truly delightful introduction to a world seldom seen in children’s literature.” —School Library Journal*, starred review

* “A fascinating view of a far distant time.” —Horn Book, starred review

* “Gripping.” —Kirkus, starred review

A girl known only as Brat has no family, no home, and no future until she meets Jane the Midwife and becomes her apprentice. As she helps the short-tempered Jane deliver babies, Brat—who renames herself Alyce—gains knowledge,…

In the Night Kitchen

By Maurice Sendak,

Book cover of In the Night Kitchen

James Christopher Carroll Author Of A Song

From the list on adults, children, and other dreamers.

Who am I?

My books may never be a child’s favorite nighty-night story, but I think they offer fresh minds opportunities to visit some unusual places. There are goblins in the forest; so let’s go there together, in delight, holding hands. My poems and illustrations have been featured in numerous books and magazines and honored by the National  Council of Teachers of English and the Society of Illustrators. I live with my youngest son in upstate New York, in a house filled with bikes and balls, color, and music.

James' book list on adults, children, and other dreamers

Discover why each book is one of James' favorite books.

Why did James love this book?

The best book ever of all time, for instructing humans how to be more human is Where the Wild Things Are. I think you probably already know that those pages are complete perfection. So I will now turn your attention to Mr. Sendak’s other completely perfect pages of In the Night Kitchen. Maybe the second-best book ever of all time.

By Maurice Sendak,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Night Kitchen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the acclaimed author-artist Maurice Sendak comes a Caldecott Honor-winning tale of a fantastical dream world. This comic fantasy will delight readers of all ages with playful illustrations and an imaginative world only Sendak could create.

In the Night Kitchen is the classic story of Mickey's adventures in the bakers’ kitchen as they prepare our morning cake. "Milk in the batter! Milk in the batter! We bake cake and nothing’s the matter!" the bakers sing.

The bakers in the night kitchen need more milk for their batter, but then Mickey falls into the cake! They decide to put him in…


By Maud Hart Lovelace, Lois Lenski (illustrator),

Book cover of Betsy-Tacy

Dana Fredsti Author Of Plague Town

From the list on series that I’ve re-read at least a half dozen times.

Who am I?

There are books and series I’ve loved that I’ve only read once, with no need to re-open those particular pages. There are other books that I can re-read every year or so without exactly remembering the details of the plot and enjoy them just as much the second (sometimes tenth) time around. They all inspired me to write, plus they all provided me with awesome entertainment.  So, in no particular order…. Five books/series that I’ve re-read at least a half dozen times!

Dana's book list on series that I’ve re-read at least a half dozen times

Discover why each book is one of Dana's favorite books.

Why did Dana love this book?

They’re the fictionalized account of the author’s childhood growing up in Deep Valley, Minnesota, and my mom introduced me to these books when I was about nine or so. She’d read them growing up and I reread them constantly into my teens and then every few years as an adult whenever I needed the literary equivalent of hot chocolate and fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. I realize these books are not in the genres I write, but inspiration doesn’t always come from obvious places. 

By Maud Hart Lovelace, Lois Lenski (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Betsy-Tacy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Best Friends Forever

There are lots of children on Hill Street, but no little girls Betsy's age. So when a new family moves into the house across the street, Betsy hopes they will have a little girl she can play with. Sure enough, they do—a little girl named Tacy. And from the moment they meet at Betsy's fifth birthday party, Betsy and Tacy becoms such good friends that everyone starts to think of them as one person—Betsy-Tacy.

Betsy and Tacy have lots of fun together. They make a playhouse from a piano box, have a sand store, and dress up…

Adventures with My Daddies

By Gareth Peter, Garry Parsons (illustrator),

Book cover of Adventures with My Daddies

Meryl G. Gordon Author Of The Flower Girl Wore Celery

From the list on children with LGBTQ family members.

Who am I?

When my son and son-in-law were getting married back in 2010, my cousin’s four-year-old daughter Emma was excited to be their flower girl. I wanted to buy Emma a book about a flower girl to prepare her for the wedding, but I couldn’t find anything that worked for our situation, since we were having two grooms and no bride—at an otherwise traditional Jewish wedding. Then one day, my cousin called, laughing, and said “Emma said she’s afraid to come to the wedding because of the Ring BEAR!” So I needed to write this for Emmaa story where everything isn’t what the child imagines, but it’s all joyful. 

Meryl's book list on children with LGBTQ family members

Discover why each book is one of Meryl's favorite books.

Why did Meryl love this book?

A new two-daddies book! The two dads, one Black and one white, embark on exciting and brightly illustrated adventures with their daughter through the magic of reading books. And what is their favorite story of all? The story of their daughter’s adoption! The sweet rhyming text is ideal for very young listeners.

By Gareth Peter, Garry Parsons (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Adventures with My Daddies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set off on a series of incredible adventures with a family that has two dads!

As they read bedtime stories with their little one, the pages burst into colorful life. Together, this LGBTQ+ family battles dragons, dodges deadly dinosaurs, zooms to the moon, and explores the world in a hot air balloon, before winding down to sleep in a wonderfully cozy ending.

This rhyming read aloud celebrates the power of imagination and champions the love that brings all kinds of families together.

Author and illustrator team Gareth Peter and Garry Parsons deliver an imaginative, heartwarming tale filled with bright and…

Forbidden City

By James Ponti,

Book cover of Forbidden City

Alysa Wishingrad Author Of The Verdigris Pawn

From the list on for chess lovers.

Who am I?

I love games; board games, card games, head games*; any kind of situation in which employing strategy is the only way forward. And yet, I’m not a big game player—aside from word games. I’m also endlessly fascinated by the mechanisms of power and how societies arrange themselves. The marriage between writing and understanding politics (in the traditional, not the partisan sense) is my true north. Writing a book in which a chess-like game provides the foundation felt inevitable for me, for what game better explores the dynamics of power and strategy? *I don’t play head games, but I do find manipulation fascinating fodder for writing.

Alysa's book list on for chess lovers

Discover why each book is one of Alysa's favorite books.

Why did Alysa love this book?

Let me begin by saying that if you haven’t yet read the first two books in the City Spies series, please get on it. Packed with adventure, fantastic characters, and brilliant plots twists, the entire series is a complete treat. As with the two previous installments, the book follows a diverse group of international kids who’ve been brought together to keep the world safe from the nefarious Umbra, a secret organization bent on world domination. The plot of this adventure revolves around team member, Paris, when he’s sent undercover to an international chess tournament to keep tabs on the son of a North Korean nuclear physicist. Like a well-played game of chess, the story relies on clever tactics, keen insights into your opponent, and good old-fashioned strategy.

By James Ponti,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Forbidden City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this third “thrilling” (Kirkus Reviews) installment in the New York Times bestselling series from Edgar Award winner James Ponti, the young group of spies help a fellow agent in another international adventure perfect for fans of Spy School and Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls.

After taking down a mole within their organization, the City Spies are ready for their next mission—once again using their unique skills and ability to infiltrate places adults can’t. The sinister Umbra has their sights set on recruiting a North Korean nuclear physicist by any means necessary, and the City Spies plan to keep…

Ten Thousand Tries

By Amy Makechnie,

Book cover of Ten Thousand Tries

Marcia Strykowski Author Of Roller Boy

From the list on featuring boys who crave success.

Who am I?

I’ve always been a fan of stories where the underdog makes good due to their own strength and determination. Although my book picks are all connected to sports I don’t happen to participate in, I feel the power of choosing the life you want by working hard encompasses all fields whether it be learning to sing or dance or becoming an expert in science, chess, juggling, or whatever one’s passion might be. For me, I guess it would be writing and not giving up even when it sometimes feels like playing the lottery each time one of my manuscripts is sent into cyberspace.

Marcia's book list on featuring boys who crave success

Discover why each book is one of Marcia's favorite books.

Why did Marcia love this book?

Golden Maroni is a well-drawn main character who dreams of success on the soccer field. At the same time, he tries to take care of those he loves in the best way he knows how. If he works hard and becomes a great soccer player, then maybe his dad can recover from ALS, and maybe his best friend won’t move away. There are several heavy topics in this book, but they are done with skill and sensitivity. I love the ten thousand hours theme of working towards your goals, but also the poignant truth that not all goals can be achieved by this method.

By Amy Makechnie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ten Thousand Tries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A middle school soccer whiz’s determination to keep things from changing is tested when his father’s ALS symptoms worsen in this “heart-tugging and uplifting” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) story about growing up and facing loss, perfect for fans of Shouting at the Rain.

Twelve-year-old Golden Maroni is determined to channel his hero, soccer superstar Lionel Messi, and become captain of his soccer team and master of his eighth grade universe…especially since his home universe is spiraling out of orbit. Off the field, Golden’s dad, once a pro soccer player himself, is now battling ALS, a disease that attacks his muscles,…

The Lying Game

By Sara Shepard,

Book cover of The Lying Game

Marie Hoy-Kenny Author Of The Girls from Hush Cabin

From the list on YA thrillers you’ll stay up way too late reading.

Who am I?

I’m a teacher who has mainly taught the eighth grade. When I read short stories and books aloud to my students, I pay attention to when I feel their interest waning and when they’re completely enthralled. Books are so much more action-driven than they used to be and there is often not a lot of description of setting and appearances. I can tell that my students lose interest in scenes that describe a room, for example, in careful detail. They want to hear about what the characters are saying and doing. They also like to feel like they’re being let in on secrets. 

Marie's book list on YA thrillers you’ll stay up way too late reading

Discover why each book is one of Marie's favorite books.

Why did Marie love this book?

I love thrillers featuring twins. Ever since watching Freaky Friday as a child, I’ve been very interested in books and shows about people switching places. The 2022 series, Echoes, and the 2021 series, I Know What you Did Last Summer, both captivated me with twins trading lives.

In this novel, Emma, who lives in a foster home, sees a video of a girl who looks exactly like her being strangled, starts wondering if this girl is a twin sister she never knew about, and decides to investigate. This book had me up way too late, devouring every word. 

By Sara Shepard,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Lying Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of the New York Times bestselling PRETTY LITTLE LIARS comes a killer new series, THE LYING GAME.

Sutton Mercer had a life anyone would kill for - and someone did. But thanks to a view from the afterlife and Emma Paxton, her long-lost twin sister, Sutton has a chance to solve her own murder. Emma slips into Sutton's old life to piece together her disappearance. But can Emma keep up the charade long enough to discover what really happened to Sutton...or will she become the next victim?

Let the lying games begin.

The Case of the Glow-in-the-Dark Ghost

By James Preller, Jamie Smith (illustrator),

Book cover of The Case of the Glow-in-the-Dark Ghost

David A. Kelly Author Of The Fenway Foul-Up

From the list on kids with a touch of mystery and adventure.

Who am I?

As the father of two boys, I know how hard it can be to get kids engaged in reading. My boys were excited about mysteries and sports, which is why I created The Ballpark Mysteries series, in which cousins Kate and Mike solve mysteries at different MLB stadiums. By including facts and history in the books I can also engage readers who like real-life stories. For me, the best mystery and adventure chapter books for kids will meet readers where they are and take them on an exciting (and perhaps even scary or thrilling) journey while keeping them safe in their chairs and coming back for more. 

David's book list on kids with a touch of mystery and adventure

Discover why each book is one of David's favorite books.

Why did David love this book?

Jigsaw Jones books by James Preller are classic mysteries for developing readers. Totally grounded in real-life, Jigsaw and his friend Mila spend their time solving cases around their neighborhood. These books have great, natural illustrations that bring readers into the stories. I also love the humor sprinkled throughout and the way that Preller encourages his readers to step up and solve the mystery alongside Jigsaw. 

By James Preller, Jamie Smith (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Case of the Glow-in-the-Dark Ghost as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

James Preller's wry, witty, Jigsaw Jones chapter book mysteries are once again available to inspire the next generation of young readers, featuring both new titles and classroom classics!

The Case of the Glow-in-the-Dark Ghost

Glow-in-the-dark footprints, eyewitness accounts of a ghost haunting school grounds—something doesn't add up! Ghosts don't have feet, do they?

Either way, Jigsaw Jones and his partner Mila Yeh are on the case, and they'll do whatever it takes to solve this spooky new mystery . . . even if it means they have to be at school extra late!

Her Name Was Mary Katharine

By Ella Schwartz, Dow Phumiruk (illustrator),

Book cover of Her Name Was Mary Katharine: The Only Woman Whose Name Is on the Declaration of Independence

Beth Anderson Author Of Cloaked in Courage: Uncovering Deborah Sampson, Patriot Soldier

From the list on children’s stories on the American Revolution.

Who am I?

As an educator, I’ve experienced the power of true stories to engage readers, widen their world, spur thinking, and support content areas. I’ve learned plenty from these books, too! As an author, I’m fascinated with many aspects of the American Revolution that I never learned about as a student. Researching this time period has revealed much more than men at war. The revolution affected every aspect of life—a “world turned upside-down.” Today, we’re fortunate to have a range of stories that help kids understand that history is about people much like them facing the challenges of their time and place. 

Beth's book list on children’s stories on the American Revolution

Discover why each book is one of Beth's favorite books.

Why did Beth love this book?

We all know about the Declaration of Independence and recognize at least a few of the dozens of signatures of the men who signed it. But who knew about the single female name that appears on the document?

Here’s the story of Mary Katharine Goddard, a businesswoman and newspaper publisher, who dared to break the norms of society. When the call went out for a printer to publish the treasonous Declaration, she rose to the task and went so far as to put her name on it! This story offers a fascinating peek into the life of a revolutionary woman.

By Ella Schwartz, Dow Phumiruk (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Her Name Was Mary Katharine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A rousing picture book biography of the only woman whose name is printed on the Declaration of Independence.

Born in 1738, Mary Katharine Goddard came of age in colonial Connecticut as the burgeoning nation prepared for the American Revolution. As a businesswoman and a newspaper publisher, Goddard paved the way for influential Revolutionary media. Her remarkable accomplishments as a woman defied societal norms and set the stage for a free and open press. When the Continental Congress decreed that the Declaration of Independence be widely distributed, one person rose to the occasion and printed the document-boldly inserting her name at…

My Brother Sam Is Dead

By James Lincoln Collier, Christopher Collier,

Book cover of My Brother Sam Is Dead

Jeffery McKenna Author Of Saving Dr. Warren... "A True Patriot"

From the list on for young adults on the American Revolution.

Who am I?

I have loved American history all my life. I thought I knew the events and key figures in the American Revolution. Then, in 2001, I learned about Dr. Joseph Warren. The more I learned, the more I wanted to tell his story. I travelled to Boston. I walked the Freedom Trail. I followed the red bricks that wind through historic Boston until they end at Bunker Hill. I saw the marble statue of Dr. Warren at Bunker Hill honoring his death. His influence and footprints are on every location along the Freedom Trail. My passion is to tell his story; my hope is that all Americans can remember his sacrifice.

Jeffery's book list on for young adults on the American Revolution

Discover why each book is one of Jeffery's favorite books.

Why did Jeffery love this book?

I’ve included the Colliers’ classic because it was one of the first historical fiction novels that I ever read.  Over forty years later, I can still remember the magic. Upon reading the first page, I was transported instantly from my desert home in Las Vegas to a Tory tavern in Redding, Connecticut. The enchantment in the pages worked a magic over me that I never forgot  In some ways, this led me to write my own historical fiction novel. The title is simple – My Brother Sam is Dead. The meaning, the message, and the Meeker Family’s pain profound. You will not soon forget the Meeker family’s terrible misfortunes and the unimaginable unfairness of war. In the end, you will question all wars... even our very war for independence.  

By James Lincoln Collier, Christopher Collier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Brother Sam Is Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Sam Meeker leaves his home in Redding, Connecticut, a town loyal to the king, to fight with the rebel army, he places his family in a very difficult position.

Book cover of Skating Over Thin Ice

Lorna Schultz Nicholson Author Of When You Least Expect It

From the list on determination and perseverance.

Who am I?

As a child I loved to read and write but I also loved sports. I played every sport I could, and races and games fueled me. My mother called me the “joiner.” Teams create bonds and friendships and I’m still in touch with former teammates. This gives me inspiration to write human interactions. Determination and perseverance are part of being an athlete and I write about strong characters who want to succeed but often meet obstacles along the way. I honestly believe that my sports background has helped me survive publishing, because both are full of highs and lows. Please, enjoy my recommended list because they’re books with heart.

Lorna's book list on determination and perseverance

Discover why each book is one of Lorna's favorite books.

Why did Lorna love this book?

This is such a beautifully written book that combines art and sport, two of my passions. Imogene is a piano prodigy and there wasn’t one moment in the book where I didn’t root for her. The teen love story between her and the suspended hockey player is so believable and not like typical teen romance novels. I liked that Mills didn’t sugarcoat the work that goes into being successful at something. The book was real and honest which made the ending completely realistic. 

By Jean Mills,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Skating Over Thin Ice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Imogen St. Pierre is a musical prodigy, a classical pianist touring Canada and abroad in a trio with her father and grandfather. Though clearly accomplished she is also painfully awkward socially, getting lost in the music even after it's over.

Imogen's in the final year in a private boarding school where she meets a boy of the same age, Nathan McCormick, who turns out to be the Next great hockey player. Nathan however has recently been penalized for a vicious fight in an international tournament. Imogen and Nathan don't exactly become an item, but there's an elusive special quality to…

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

By Wendelin Van Draanen,

Book cover of Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

Linda Joy Singleton Author Of The Curious Cat Spy Club

From the list on for young readers on puzzling and magical mysteries.

Who am I?

My love for magical and mysterious books was inspired by Harriet the Spy, Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, and Harry Potter. Since I was 8 years old, I longed to write my own mystery series—SO I DID! My latest mystery series, The Curious Cat Spy Club, is based on my own childhood club. My friends and I played cryptic games, spied on suspicious neighbors, and helped abandoned kittens. I love writing about mysteries + animals. And I’m excited to share my favorite mysterious and magical books with you!!

Linda's book list on for young readers on puzzling and magical mysteries

Discover why each book is one of Linda's favorite books.

Why did Linda love this book?

When Sammy Keyes witnesses a burglary, she must solve the crime before the thief catches her! Sammy is clever, sneaky, sassy, and brave. Her actress mother is too busy for her, she doesn’t have a father, and she’s living illegally with her grandma in a seniors-only hotel. Exciting, mysterious, and funny! Not many series go past three books, but super sleuth Sammy stars in 18 books! I collected the whole series.

By Wendelin Van Draanen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sammy Keyes must be a magnet for trouble...
I mean it's bad enough that she has to live illegally in a seniors-only building with her grandmother while her mother tries to make it as a move star. And worse that she witnessed a burglary in progress--and that the theif saw her. And worse still that nosy neighbor Mrs. Graybill is onto her, and that the thief is after her. But on top of all that, she also manages to make an enemy of the queen of mean at her new school and get suspended on the first day.

Welcome to…

The Hiding Place

By Corrie Ten Boom, Elizabeth Sherrill, John Sherrill, Tim Foley (illustrator)

Book cover of The Hiding Place

Susan M Soesbe Author Of Bringing Mom Home: How Two Sisters Moved Their Mother Out of Assisted Living to Care For Her Under One Amazingly Large Roof

From the list on portraying death and loss honestly and hopefully.

Who am I?

I lost my marriage. I lost my dad to cancer, and my mom to Alzheimer’s Disease (and wrote a memoir about it). Along the way, I lost my sense of superiority and entitlement. I gained the ability to laugh at myself and trust God for everything. I found that I was not as important as I had tacitly assumed. I’ve learned Jesus’s words are true: “Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” When I see this depicted well in a book, I think, “Thank God for writers who will tell me the truth.” Today, I’m a fiction book coach with a goal of helping writers tell the whole awful, glorious truth.

Susan's book list on portraying death and loss honestly and hopefully

Discover why each book is one of Susan's favorite books.

Why did Susan love this book?

This is the true story of Corrie ten Boom, a fiftyish Dutch lady who would have been happy repairing watches and serving people until she died at home. But the Nazis took over. She began working with the Resistance and ended up in Ravensbrück.

The Hiding Place portrays the horrors of the concentration camp frankly, but ten Boom and her co-authors take care to show the hand of God in Corrie’s life. I was deeply impressed by Corrie’s sister Betsie, who felt compassion for the Nazis because of their deep depravity. Corrie strove unsuccessfully to have the same attitude. Much later, she was able to forgive the very guard who had beaten her gentle sister.

Corrie suffered cruelly and lost most of her family, but came away with a message of hope and forgiveness.

By Corrie Ten Boom, Elizabeth Sherrill, John Sherrill, Tim Foley (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Hiding Place as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The True Story of a Real-Life Hero

It's World War II. Darkness has fallen over Europe as the Nazis spread hatred, fear and war across the globe. But on a quiet city corner in the Netherlands, one woman fights against the darkness.

In her quiet watchmaking shop, she and her family risk their lives to hide Jews, and others hunted by the Nazis, in a secret room, a "hiding place" that they built in the old building.

One day, however, Corrie and her family are betrayed. They're captured and sent to the notorious Nazi concentration camps to die. Yet even…

My Life Next Door

By Huntley Fitzpatrick,

Book cover of My Life Next Door

Lexi Kingston Author Of Forever June

From the list on vacation romance to get you into a summer state of mind.

Who am I?

I’m a contemporary romance author who writes in paranormal romance on the side, but everything I write always comes down to one thing, and that’s the romance between characters. I love books that make me connect to and root for the main protagonists, no matter their flaws or situation. I specifically love romance novels that take place during the summer or in places that are warm year-round because no matter what season it is when you read them, you’re immediately transported to a warm, sunny, swoon-worthy world.

Lexi's book list on vacation romance to get you into a summer state of mind

Discover why each book is one of Lexi's favorite books.

Why did Lexi love this book?

This was one of the first romance novels I’d ever read—ironically while I was on vacation—and for that reason alone, it will always hold a special place in my heart.

It’s a compelling summer romance about young love with undertones of social issues, and it highlights the challenges of making difficult decisions at a young age. The main character can either choose to support her family or fight to be with the boy-next-door despite her mother’s disapproval and pressures to uphold the family image.

I personally love books where the characters fight against the status quo, and this book absolutely delivered.

By Huntley Fitzpatrick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Life Next Door as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them...until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself? A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after…

Beautiful Creatures

By Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl,

Book cover of Beautiful Creatures

Valerie Biel Author Of Beltany

From the list on witchcraft novels that launch bingeworthy series.

Who am I?

Traveling through Ireland, everyone notices the low stone walls separating fields, but occasionally much larger stones rising from the green like giant cogs on a wheel—mystical standing stone circles. One in particular—Beltany in Co. Donegal—became the inspiration for my Circle of Nine series, which is a mix of Celtic mythology, pagan ritual, and magic set within alternating historical and modern storylines. It’s no wonder that the books I most like to read are also the same kind I write. There’s nothing better than picking up a new book and immersing myself in these worlds with their rich magical systems, historical details, suspenseful plots, and often a good dose of romance.

Valerie's book list on witchcraft novels that launch bingeworthy series

Discover why each book is one of Valerie's favorite books.

Why did Valerie love this book?

A contemporary storyline mixed with historical details give book one in this four-book, gothic fantasy series a rich backdrop for family conflict on an unexpectedly dark scale as the main character, Lena, faces a cursed countdown to her 16th birthday. The movie version of this book is good, but as often is the case, the book is better. Stellar writing, plotting and a believable, swoon-worthy, and fated romance combined with an intriguing cast of characters make this book one of my favorites for coming-of-age magical stories. 

By Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beautiful Creatures as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book in the instant New York Times bestselling gothic fantasy series; a modern paranormal romance set against the gothic backdrop of an isolated southern town.
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful…

Where You'll Find Me

By Natasha Friend,

Book cover of Where You'll Find Me

Risa Nyman Author Of Swallowed by a Secret

From the list on kids caught in a family crisis.

Who am I?

Since I started reading, I gravitated to books with believable characters in real situations, because I could see myself in these stories. How would I cope in a family dealing with illness or death, breakups in relationships, money woes, and other crises that I read about? Realistic stories about family problems are relatable to everyone, and reading about them through the eyes of the children involved is so meaningful. That’s why when I started creative writing after I retired, I found my voice in the genre I loved to read as a kid. I write authentic stories about families presented with difficult issues for middle-grade readers (and adults).

Risa's book list on kids caught in a family crisis

Discover why each book is one of Risa's favorite books.

Why did Risa love this book?

This next book is gritty in its authenticity. It isn’t for the faint of heart to read about the heartbreaking struggles of thirteen-year-old Anna Collette whose mother tries to take her life and is hospitalized. Anna has to live with her distant father, his new wife, and their baby where she doesn’t feel like part of the family. But the author gives us a warm and loving character in her stepmother who shows Della what family can be. I’m enthralled by true and complex characters in this book who represent the highs and lows of real life.

By Natasha Friend,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Where You'll Find Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The beginning of the eighth grade is not what Anna thought it would be. Her lifelong best friend has ditched her for the cool kids, and her mum is in the hospital after swallowing a bottle of pills. Anna is also trying to reconnect with her dad who remarried and has a baby now. Ultimately, Anna finds friendship and camaraderie from some unlikely sources and learns that sometimes life leaves you feeling gobsmacked, but if you have the right people in your life to support you, you'll be just fine.

Kristy's Great Idea

By Ann M. Martin,

Book cover of Kristy's Great Idea

Kit Rosewater Author Of The Derby Daredevils

From the list on middle grade with radical and epic friend groups.

Who am I?

As a kid, I had a lot of experience having a close group of friends… and a lot of experience looking into other groups from the outside. I waded from circle to circle, trying on friendships like some people try on hats. The books I’m recommending represent the best of fictional friend groups—the groups that topped any clique I saw in real life. Reading these books made me feel like an in-kid in the best possible way. Many of the characters remain the absolute coolest people I know, and serve as inspiration for the friend group dynamics I get to explore in my own stories. 

Kit's book list on middle grade with radical and epic friend groups

Discover why each book is one of Kit's favorite books.

Why did Kit love this book?

While I absolutely love the recent graphic novel series, I have to give some major props to the OG Baby-sitter’s Club. These books are the perfect length to devour on a lazy Sunday afternoon. With so many adventures to choose from as each member of the group gets to play narrator, it’s impossible to not feel like a fellow babysitter handing out club flyers or herding little kids into softball teams. You may even find yourself making your very own kid kit at home and filling up a box with puzzles and games to play with the neighbor’s cat. No? Just me, then?

By Ann M. Martin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kristy's Great Idea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Kristy Thomas has a great idea to form a BABYSITTERS CLUB
- a chance to earn money and spend time with her friends - she has
no idea how much the club will change everything.

Crank calls, uncontrollable toddlers, wild pets, untruthful clients
. . . running a business is hard work! Kristy and her co-founders,
Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey, are sure they can handle
anything. But only if they stick together . . .