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 Fantasy Books
for Middle Grade (4th-6th), Tween, and Young Adult Readers

Many books listed for 9 and up are also good for young adult readers. These days there is quite a bit of crossover between the two levels of fiction. The Harry Potter books are good example of books enjoyed both by a 10-yr-old and a 15-yr-old.



Ages 12 and up

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan, 384 pages
"Kami Glass is in love with someone she's never met—a boy she's talked to in her head since she was born. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she has learned ways to turn that to her advantage. Her life seems to be in order, until disturbing events begin to occur. There has been screaming in the woods and the manor overlooking the town has lit up for the first time in 10 years. . . . The Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago and who all left without warning, have returned. Now Kami can see that the town she has known and loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets—and a murderer. The key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy she thought was imaginary is real, and definitely and deliciously dangerous."
Random House Books, 2012

Ages 9 and up

Deadwood by Kell Andrews, 250 pages
"There’s something evil in Deadwood Park.Twelve-year-old Army brat Martin Cruz hates his rotten new town. Then he gets a message from a tree telling him it’s cursed — and so is he. It’s not just any tree. It’s the Spirit Tree, the ancient beech the high school football team carves to commemorate the home opener. And every year they lose.But the curse is no game, and it gets worse. Businesses fail. Trees topple like dominos. Sinkholes open up in the streets, swallowing cars and buildings. Even people begin to fade, drained of life. Martin teams up with know-it-all soccer star Hannah Vaughan. Together they must heal the tree, or be stuck in Deadwood Park at the mercy of the psycho who cursed it."
Pugalicious Press, 2012

Ages 9 and up

The False Prince Jennifer Nielsen, 352 pages
"Choose to lie...or choose to die.

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well. As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together."
Scholastic, 2012



Ages 9 and up

The Inquisitor’s Apprentice Chris Moriarty, 343 pages
The day Sacha found out he could see witches was the worst day of his life…
Being an Inquisitor is no job for a nice Jewish boy. But when Sacha Kessler learns he can see witches, he’s yanked out of everyday life on Hester Street and apprenticed to the New York Police Department’s star Inquisitor, Maximillian Wolf. The Inquisitors’ mission is to stop magical crime. And New York at the beginning of the twentieth century is a magical melting pot where each ethnic group has its own brand of homegrown witchcraft and magical gangs rule the streets from Hell’s Kitchen to Chinatown.

Soon Sacha has teamed up with fellow apprentice Lily Astral, daughter of one of the city’s richest Wall Street Wizards-and a spoiled snob, if you ask Sacha. Their first job is to find out who’s trying to kill Thomas Edison.
 Edison has invented a mechanical witch detector that could unleash the worst witch hunt in American history. Every magician in town has a motive to kill him. But as the investigation unfolds, all the clues lead back to the Lower East Side. And Sacha soon realizes that his own family could be accused of murder!
Jacket cover excerpt, Harcourt Children’s Books, 2011

Ages 9 and up

The Unwanteds (book 1 of series) by Lisa McMann, 390 pages
“Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-ols are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanted are sent to their graves. On the day of the Purge, identical twins Alex and Aaron Stowe await ther fate. While Aaron is hopeful of becoming a Wanted, Alex knows his chances are slim. He’s been caught drawing with a stick in the dirt—an in the stark gray land of Quill, being creative is a death sentence.

But when Alex and the other Unwanteds face the Eliminators, they discover an eccentric magician named Mr. Today and his hidden world that exists to save the condemned children Artime is a colorful place of talking statues, uncommon creatures, and artistic magic, where creativity is considers a gift…and a weapon.”
Jacket cover excerpt, Aladdin 2011

Ages 9 and up

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephans, 417 pages
"A snowy winter’s night. Three small children are chased from their home by the forces of a merciless darkness. Ten years later, Kate, Michael, and Emma are no closer to the truth about what separated their family. The answer lies with an enchanted atlas. The power of the atlas unleashed, the children are transported to a land ruled by a golden-haired Countess and her army of soulless Screechers.

Kate and her siblings soon find themselves on an incredible adventure-one that involves captive children; unexpected allies; bloodthirsty wolves; underground battles; a glittering ghostly ball; sword-wielding giants; and a quest for three books of unspeakable power." Jacket cover excerpt, Alfred A. Knopf, 2011

Ages 9 and up

Beyonders by Brandon Mull, 454 pages

"Jason Walker has often wished his life could be a bit less predictable-until a routine day at the zoo ends with Jason transporting from the hippo tanke into a strange, imperiled world. Lyrian is full of dangers and challenges unlike any place Jason has ever known. The people live in fear of their malicious wizard emperor, Maldor. The brave resistors who once opposed Maldor have been bought off or broken, leaving a realm where fear and suspicion prevail.

In his search for a way home, Jason meets Rachel, who was also mysteriously drawn to Lyrian from our world. Jason and Rachel become entangled in a quest to piece together the word of power than can destroy the emperor, and learn that their best hope to find a way home will be to save this world without heroes." Jacket cover excerpt, Aladdin, 2011



Ages 12 and up

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore, 225 pages
“Nimira is a music-hall girl used to singing for pennies. So when wealthy young sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to perform with a piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it will be the start of a better life. But when she arrives at Parry’s estate, it is not the glittering world she expects. Instead, unsettling rumors begin to swirl about a madwoman roaming the halls at night, and Nimira suspects that Parry is keeping secrets, even while he proclaims to be falling in love with her.
 And then ther is the automaton itself, a mechanical man so realistically crafted it hardly seems possible that he isn’t alive…or is he?”
Jacket cover excerpt, Bloomsbury, 2010

Ages 9 and up

Ivy’s Ever After by Dawn Lairamore, 311 pages
“Once upon a time in the kingdom of Ardendale there lived a spirited princess name Ivy and an undersized dragon Treaty. The treaty decrees on her fourteenth birthday Ivy is to be imprisoned in a tower, guarded by a dragon to await rescue by a handsome prince. But feisty Princess Ivy doesn’t care to be rescued; and Elridge, a peace-loving dragon who’s better off solving puzzles than breathing fire, certainly doesn’t care to be slain. Princess and dragon join forces, setting off on a perilous journey across the Craggie Mountains. Can they overcome the hungry trolls, swamp spirits, and fairyland magic in a quest to find Ivy’s missing godmother? Can she help Ivy and Elridge escape their dire fate?” Jacket cover excerpt, Holiday House, 2010

Ages 9 and up

The Book of Elsewhere (series) by Jacqueline West, 241 pages

"When eleven-year-old Olive moves into the crumbling old mansion on Linden Street, she’s right to think there’s something weird about the place, especially the walls covered in creepy antique paintings. But when she finds a pair of old-fashioned glasses in a dusty drawer, she discover the most peculiar thing yet.


She can travel inside these paintings to Elsewhere, a world that’s strangely quiet and eerily sinister. Olive soon finds that Elsewhere has secrets to hide-and the most annoying of them is Morton, a small boy with a big temper .As he and Olive form an uneasy alliance, olive finds herself caught in a plan darker and more dangerous than she could have imagined, confronting a power that wants to be rid of her by any means necessary. It’s up to her to save the house from the shadows, before the lights go out for good." Jacket cover excerpt, Dial, Penguin, 2010

Ages 9 and up

Kid vs. Squid by Greg van Eekhout, 208 pages

"Thatcher Hill is bored stiff. Fake mermaids and strange mummies don't  seem as exciting when you have to dust them every day-but that’s just what Thatcher is stuck doing for his summer’s job at his uncle’s seaside museum of curiosities.


Then a mysterious girl steals an artifact from the museum, and suddenly Thatcher’s on an adventure that takes him from the top of the Ferris wheel to the bottom of the sea. He soon learns that she is a princess of the lost city of Atlantis. Her people have been cursed by and evil witch to drift at sea all winter and wash up on shore each summer for an even more terrible fate-working the midway games and food stands on the boardwalk. Can Thatcher help save them before he, too, succumbs to the witch’s curse?" Jacket cover excerpt, Bloomsbury, 2010

Ages 9 and up

Flight of the Phoenix (Nathaniel Fludd Beastologist series) by R.L. LaFevers, 134 pages
"Nathanial Fludd’s life has taken a turn for the worst. With his parents declared lost at sea, ten-year-old Nate lands on the doorstep of a distant family cousin-the world’s last remaining beastologist. Before he can unpack his suitcase, he is whisked off on his first expedition, to the sands of Arabia, where the world’s only phoenix prepares to lay its new egg. When disaster strikes, Nate quickly finds himself all alone. 

Will he be able to see the phoenix safely hatched, keep his accidental pet gremlin out of trouble, and rescue his guardian from the Bedouin? If he fails, nothing will stand between the world’s mythical creatures and extinction. Too bad Nat’s not the sort of boy who enjoys adventure…yet."Jacket cover excerpt, Houghton Mifflin, 2009

Ages 12 and up

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon (book 1 of 2-part series)
"No one wanted Ai Ling. And deep down she is relieved-despite the dishonor she has brought upon her family-to be unbetrothed and free, not some stranger’s subservient bride banished to the inner quarters. But now, something is after her. Something terrifying-a force she cannot comprehend. And as pieces of the puzzle start to fit together,  Ai Ling begins to understand that her journey to the Palace of Fragrant Dreams isn’t only a quest to find her beloved father but a venture with stakes larger than she could have imagined. Bravery, intelligence, the will to fight and fight hard…she will need all of these things. Just as she will need the new and mysterious power growing within here. She will also need help.

It is Chen Yong who finds her partly submerged and barely breathing at the edge of a deep lake. There is something of unspeakable evil trying to drag her under. On a quest of his own, Chen Yong offers that help…and perhaps more." Jacket Cover excerpt, Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins, 2009

Ages 12 and up

The Shifter (series) by Janice Hardy, 370 pages
“Nya is an orphan struggling for survival in a city crippled by war. She is also a Taker-with her touch, she can heal injuries, pulling pain from another person into her own body. But unlike her sister, Tali, and the other Takers who become Healers’ League apprentices, Nya’s skill is flawed: She can’t push that pain into pynvium, the enchanted metal used to store it. All she can do is shift into another person, a dangerous skill that she must keep hidden from forces occupying her city. If discovered, she’d be used as a human weapon against her own people.

Rumors of another war make Nya’s life harder, forcing her to take desperate risks just to find work and food. She pushes her luck too far and exposes her secret to a  pain merchant cater to use her shifting ability for his won sinister purposes. At first Nya refuses, but when Tali and other League Healers mysteriously disappear, she’s faced with some difficult choices. As her father used to say, principles are a bargain at any price; but how many will Nya have to sell to get Tali back alive?” Jacket cover excerpt, Balzer & Bray, HarperCollins, 2009



Ages 9 and up

The Stowaway by R.A. & Geno Salvatore (Book 1 of the Stone of Tymora series), 287 pages

“Twelve years old and already guarding a secret that could jeopardize his young life, Maimun is marked for death. With a demon called Asbeel tracking his every move through Baldur’s Gate, the orphaned boy flees out to sea, stowing away on the pirate hunting ship, Sea Sprite, where he comes across a most unlikely alley: the dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden. As the ship careens through the Sea of Swords, fighting pirates and agents of the Asbeel, Maimun must come to terms with the secret he carries and find out what family really means.” Jacket cover excerpt, Mirror Stone Books, 2008


Ages 9 and up

Alex and the Ironic Gentleman by Adrienne Kress, 308 pages

“Often mistake for a boy because of her haircut and name, Alex Morningside is an inquisitive ten-and-a-half year old who attends the prestigious Wigpowder-Steele Academy. Unfortunately, though she loves to learn, Alex just can’t bring herself to enjoy her classes. Her teachers are all old and smelly and don’t seem to know about anything that has happened in the world in the last thirty years, and her peers….well they are quite simply ridiculous.

Luckily for Alex, the new school year brings an exciting new teacher. Mr. Underwood makes lessons fun and teachers her how to fence. But he also has a mysterious family secret-the swashbuckling and buried treasure kind-and not everyone is glad he has come to Wigpowder-Steele. When the infamous pirates of a ship called the Ironic Gentleman kidnap Mr. Underwood, Alex sets off on a journey to rescue him, along the way encountering a cast of strange and magical characters…” Back cover excerpt, Weinstein Books, 2008


Ages 12 and up

Pirate Curse by Kai Meyer, (Book 1 of The Wave Walkers Series), 320 pages
“The pirates of the Caribbean have a name for kids who can walk on water-they call them polliwogs. As far as 14-year-old Jolly knows, she’s the last polliwog still alive-and this special talent makes her invaluable to the pirate captain who raised her.  When someone sets a trap for Jolly’s ship, she alone escapes. Washed up on a tiny island, she meets Munk, who has been raised almost in hiding. Munk longs to go to sea, but his parents say they are afraid of pirates. They have forbidden Munk to reveal his true identity-he, too, is a polliwog.

But pirates are not the only threat in the Caribbean. Evil forces are stirring, and a demon from the sea attacks and murders Munk’s parents. Was the demon really after Munk? And Jolly, too? Why are the polliwogs so valuable, and who wants them enough to kill for them?” Jacket cover excerpt, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2006, text copyright 2003


Ages 9 and up

Masterpiece by Elise Broach, 304 pages

"Marvin lives with his family under the kitchen sink with his family in the Pompaday’s apartment.  He is very much a beetle. James lives with his mother, stepfather and baby brother in New York City. He is very much an eleven-year-old boy… and before these unlikely friends know it, they’re caught up in an art heist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This fast-paced mystery about stolen art, forgery, and friendship will have readers at the edge of their seats as they root for boy and beetle.”

Jacket cover excerpt, Henry Holt and Co., 2008


Ages 9 and up

The 7 Professors of the Far North by John Fardell, 217 pages

"When Sam visits Zara and Ben and their great-uncle, the quirky inventor Professor Ampersand, he never expects to embark on a fantastical adventure. But when Professor Ampersand and his group of professor friends are kidnapped by the evil Professor Murdo, it’s up to Sam, Zara, and Ben to save them. They have only three days in which to journey to an icy, desolate land-traveling through secret tunnels, decoding hidden messages, and infiltrating a heavily guarded island-to uncover Murdo’s sinister plot. Only then can they save the professors-and change the fate of the whole world." Back cover excerpt, Puffin Books, 2006, text copyright 2004


Ages 9 and up

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, (1 of 6-complete), 304 pages

“Who is Artemis Fowl? A genius. A criminal mastermind. A millionaire. And he is only twelve years old…. Artemis combines the astuteness of Sherlock Holmes with the sangfroid of James Bond and the attitude of Attila the Hun. But even Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Sort of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren’t the fairies of bedtime stories. These fairies are armed and they’re dangerous. Artemis thinks he’s got them just where he wants them, but then they stop playing by the rules.” Jacket cover excerpt, Talk Mirimax Books, 2001, text copyright 2001



Ages 9 and up

The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer, Book 1 of a trilogy, 455 pages
"Jack was eleven when the berserkers loomed out of the fog and nabbed him…The year is A.D. 793. In the next months, Jack and his little sister, Lucy, are enslaved by Olaf one-Brow and his fierce young shipmate, Thorgil. With a crow named Bold Heart for mysterious company, they are swept up into an adventure-quest in the spirit of The Lord of the Rings.
"Back cover excerpt, Simon & Shuster, 2004


Ages 9 and up

Starcross by Philip Reeve, 370 pages
“There is an old saying: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.Take the holiday that Art Mumby, his mostly irritating younger sister, Myrtle, and their mother take to Starcross, a hotel which advertises itself as the finest sea-bathing resort in the entire Asteroid Belt. The fact that there are no seas anywhere in the Asteroid Belt should be the first sign that the place is not what is seems. Sure enough, Art and family quickly find themselves grappling with French spies, Yankee rebels and man-eating starfish, not to mention an awful lot of sinister top hats. With stops to the future and back to prehistoric Mars, it’s all Art can do to keep his head about him. Which is all the more important, considering everyone else is losing theirs.” Jacket cover excerpt, Bloomsbury U.S.A, 2007


Ages 9 and up

Magyk by Angie Sage, (Book 1-Septimus Heap Series), 564 pages
“The seventh son of the seventh son, aptly named Septimus Heap, is stolen the night he is born by a midwife who pronounces him dead. That same night, the baby’s father, Silas Heap, some across a bundle in the snow, containing a newborn girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take this helpless newborn into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son Septimus?” Jacket cover excerpt, Harper Collins, 2005 


Ages 9 and up

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson and the Olympians series), 375 pages
“Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school…again. Ant that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus.” Back cover excerpt, Hyperion, 2005


Ages 9 and up

The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan (The Ranger’s Apprentice series), 249 pages
“They have always scared him in the past-the Rangers with their dark cloaks and mysterious ways. Folks in the village claim that Rangers have the power to become invisible at will. A skill Will would now dearly love to have. Will’s heart had been set on Battleschool, on becoming a hero to the kingdom. But Will is small for his fifteen years, too small to be a warrior. He possesses other skills, though-A Ranger’s skills. He can move silent as a shadow. He can climb and he is brave. He will need all these skills and more. For Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces. A battle for the kingdom is destined to begin. A battle the likes of which Will cannot even imagine.” Jacket cover excerpt, Philomel Books,2005


Ages 9 and up

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins, (Book 1 of the Underland Chronicles)
"When eleven-year-old Gregor follows his little sister through a grate in the laundry room of their New York apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland beneath the city. There, humans live uneasily beside giant spiders, bats, cockroaches, and rats-but the fragile peace is about to fall apart. Gregor wants no part of a conflict between these creepy creatures. He just wants to find his way home. But when he discovers that a strange prophecy foretells a role for him in the Underland’s uncertain future, he realizes it might be the only way to solve the biggest mystery of his life. Little does he know his quest will change him and the Underland forever." Back cover excerpt, Scholastic,  2003


Ages 9 and up

Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda, (series), 151 pages

"The wise woman’s warning rings in Rowan’s head as he and six companions set out to climb the forbidden Mountain that towers over their village, Rin. The stream Rin depends on has stopped flowing, and these seven are seeking the source of the problem. But no one who has tried to climb the Mountain has ever retuned. Legend has it that there is a dragon a the top: every morning and evening the people hear its roar. Rowan is terrified. In a village where people pride themselves on being hardy and brave, Rowan has always been timid and shy. This dangerous journey is Rowan’s chance to step out of his father’s shadow and earn the respect the village. But, frightened by the perils that lie ahead, Rowan isn’t even thinking about this possibility. He’s just wondering if he can survive." Jacket cover excerpt, Greenwillow Books, Harper Collins, 2001, text copyright 1993



This site is maintained by author Dee Garretson, who writes her own adventure books. She does not get paid by the authors or the publishers to list these books. They are all her recommendations based on reading many, many books each year.


Teachers, Homeschoolers and Librarians:

Dee does complimentary 20 minute Skype visits with groups interested in talking about adventure books or writing. Contact her at deegarretson at gmail.com


Escape from Camp David:


  When disaster strikes and the security systems at Camp David go into lockdown, Luke Brockett, the President's son, and his friends must escape before it's too late.
Published by Harper, a divison of HarperCollins



  Sometimes filming a movie can go very wrong ... and turn all too real. Stefan Andris never expected his dream adventure to turn into a real-life survival story. Published by Harper, a division of HarperCollins


Art student Clary Ashton thought studying painting in Paris was a dream come true, until a murder and a royal assassination plot throw her between two dangerous men, a vicious revolutionary who will stop at nothing to carry out his plans and the young intrepid British secret agent determined to stop him.

Adventure books for kids