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Thrillers, Spy and Espionage Books
for Middle Grade (4th-6th) and Young Adult Readers 
Check out the Mystery/Suspense category as well. Many books are hard to classify in one or the other.

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.



Adventure books for kids



Ages 9 and up

The Secret of Rover by Rachel Wildavsky, 343 pages

“Life is sweet for twins Katie and Davie until a strange new nanny arrives to care for them while their parents are abroad. When their parents mysteriously disappear, it turns out the nanny is in on the kidnapping plot. The kidnappers want to get their hands on Rover, a top-secret spy device invented by Katie and David’s parents with their Uncle Alex. The whole family is in grave danger.


Katie and David have only one hope: their uncle whom they have never met. But he is a recluse in Vermont. Reaching him means escaping the nanny and racing north from their home in Washington, DC, With time running out and the kidnappers hot on their trail Will Katie and David find him and save their parents?”
Jacket cover excerpt, Amulet Books, 2010

Ages 12 and up

Department 19 by Will Hill, 540 pages 

“In an underground supernatural battle that’s been raging for over a century, the stakes have just been raised. When Jamie Carpenter’s mother is kidnapped, he finds himself dragged into Department 19, the government’s most secret agency. Fortunately for Jamie, Department 19 can provide the tools he needs to find his mother, and to kill the vampires who want him dead. But unfortunately for everyone, something much older is stirring, something even Department 19 can’t stand up against…” Jacket cover excerpt, Razor Bill, Penguin 2011


Books for reluctant readers


Ages 12 and up

Remote Control by Jack Heath, 326 pages

"He’s not a double agent. Everybody just thinks he is. Agent Six of Hearts, a sixteen-year-old superhuman, is in serious trouble. The Deck – the team of special agents who employ him- thinks he’s gone rogue. Kyntak, his twin brother, has been captured by an unknown enemy. And a very strange and lethal girl is shadowing Six’s every move.


Who can Six trust? The Queen of Spades is after him. The King of Hearts seems unable to help. And the rest of the Deck is being turned against him. There’s only one answer: Six must go solo. He must treat everyone as a threat – and he must grab every opportunity he has to track down Kyntak, even when they come from some potentially deadly sources." Jacket cover excerpt, Scholastic Press, first published in the U.S. 2010

Ages 10 and up

I, Q by Roland Smith, (book 1 of a series), 302 pages

“Step-siblings Q (Quest) and Angela are thrust into the work of the U.S. Secret Service and the Israeli Mossad when Angela realizes she’s being followed, and Q learns the secret about Angela’s real mother-a former Secret Service agent who was supposedly killed by a terrorist group. But who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?”

Back cover excerpt, Sleeping Bear Press, 2008


Ages 9 and up

Sure Fire by Jack Higgins with Justin Richards, 235 pages

“Fifteen-year-old-twins Rich and Jade have their lives turned upside down when their mother dies in a tragic car accident and their long-lost father, John Chance, comes to collect them at the funeral. A lifelong bachelor, it’s clear that Chance doesn’t want the twins around any more than Rich and Jade want to be with him. But when Chance suddenly disappears, Rich and Jade learn the truth: Their father is a spy. Now they are caught in the middle of a dangerous game where they must learn who to trust-before whoever kidnapped their father catches them too.”

Jacket cover excerpt, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2007, text copyright 2006


Ages 9 and up

Silverfin by Charlie Higson, Book 1 of The Young Bond Series (series of 3 so far)

What does it take to become the greatest secret agent the world has ever known? In this prequel to the adventures of James Bond 007, readers meet a young boy whose inquisitive mind and determination set him on a path that will someday take him across the globe in pursuit of the most dangerous criminals of all time. When we first meet young James, he’s just started boarding school at Eton in the 1930s, and from there the action moves to the Highlands of Scotland, where Alfie Kelly, a local boy, has gone missing. James teams up with the boy’s cousin, Red, to investigate the mystery, and the soon discover that Alfie’s disappearance is linked to a madman and his sinister plot for global power.

Jacket Cover Excerpt. Miramax Books, text copyright 2005


Ages 9 and up

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz, (Alex Rider Series, Book 1 of 7), 192 pages

They told him his uncle Ian died in a car accident. But fourteen-year-old Alex Rider knows that’s a lie., and the bullet holes in his uncle’s windshield confirm his suspicions. But nothing prepares him for the news that the uncle he always thought he knew was really a spy for MI6-Britain’s top-secret intelligence agency. Recruited to find his uncle’s killers and complete Ian’s final mission, Alex suddenly finds himself caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse, with no way out.

Back cover, Scholastic, Inc. by arrangement with Philomel Books, a division of Penguin Putnam, 2002, text copyright 2000



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