Great books for middle school readers!

Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams           

Like her idol Sherlock Holmes, eighth grader Ingrid Levin-Hill uses her intellect to solve a murder case in her hometown of Echo Falls.  Sequel:  Behind the Curtain.

 Token of Darkness by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes   

After Cooper Blake wakes from a serious car accident to find himself in the company of an attractive, tormented ghost, he keeps his visions to himself until he discovers that two of his peers also hide supernatural abilities. 
 

Abarat by Clive Barker

Candy Quackenbush of Chickentown, Minnesota, one day finds herself on the edge of a foreign world that is populated by strange creatures, and her life is forever changed.  Sequels:  Days of Magic, Nights of War and Absolute Midnight.

Peeled by Joan Bauer

In an upstate New York farming community, high school reporter Hildy Biddle investigates  a series of strange occurrences at a house rumored to be haunted.

Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande

Following her conscience leads high school freshman Mena to clash with her parents and former friends from their conservative Christian church, but might result in better things when she stands up for a teacher who refuses to include "Intelligent Design" in lessons on evolution.

 The Chronicles of Vladimir Todd: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer

For thirteen years, Vlad, aided by his aunt and best friend, has kept secret that he is half-vampire, but when his missing teacher is replaced by a sinister substitute, he learns that there is more to being a vampire, than he could have guessed.  Sequels:  Ninth Grade Slays, Tenth Grade Bleeds,  Eleventh Grade Burns and Twelfth Grade Kills.

 StarCrossed by Elizabeth Bunce

In a kingdom dominated by religious intolerance, sixteen-year-old Digger, a street thief, has always avoided attention, but when she learns that her friends are plotting against the throne she must decide whether to join them or turn them in.  Sequel:  Liar’s Moon.

 Jump by Elisa Carbone

Two teenaged runaways meet at a climbing gym and together embark on a dangerous and revealing journey.

 Thirteen Days to Midnight  by Patrick Carman

In the aftermath of the accident that killed his foster father, Jacob Fielding discovers that he has acquired the power of indestructibility, and as he learns about it he comes to realize that it is a heavy burden, if not a curse.

 Heist Society by Ally Carter

A group of teenagers uses their combined talents to re-steal several priceless paintings and save fifteen-year-old Kat Bishop's father, himself an international art thief, from a vengeful collector.  Sequel:  Uncommon Criminals.

 The Warrior Heir  by Cinda Williams Chima

After learning about his magical ancestry and his own warrior powers, sixteen-year-old Jack embarks on a training program to fight enemy wizards.  Sequels:  The Wizard Heir and The Dragon Heir.

The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher

Billy, recently deceased, keeps an eye on his best friend, fourteen-year-old Eddie, who has added to his home and school problems by becoming mute, and helps him stand up to a conservative minister and English teacher who is orchestrating a censorship challenge.

 The Maze Runner  by James Dashner

Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape.  Sequels:  The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure.  Prequel:  The Kill Order.

The City of Ember   by Jeanne Duprau

Built as an underground refuge for the human race, the city of Ember begins to deteriorate as its lights start to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she's sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must decipher the message before the lights go out on Ember forever.  Sequels:  People of Sparks,  The Prophet of Yonwood and The Diamond of Darkover.

 The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens is a normal boy, except that he has been raised by ghosts and other denizens of the graveyard.  Newbery Award winner.

 Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George

Orphaned after a fever epidemic, Creel befriends a dragon and unknowingly inherits an object that can either save or destroy her kingdom.  Sequels:  Dragon Flight and Dragon Spear.

The Diamond of Drury Lane  by Julia Golding

Orphan Catherine "Cat" Royal, living at the Drury Lane Theater in 1790s London, tries to find the "diamond" supposedly hidden in the theater, which unmasks a treasonous political cartoonist, and involves her in the street gangs of Covent Garden and the world of nobility.  Sequels: Cat Among the Pigeons, Den of Thieves and Cat o’ Nine Tails.

The Brooklyn Nine  by Alan Gratz

Follows the fortunes of a German immigrant family through nine generations, beginning in 1845, as they experience American life and play baseball.

 Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix

In 1927, at the urging of twenty-one-year-old Harriet, Mrs. Livingston reluctantly recalls her experiences at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, including miserable working conditions that led to a strike, then the fire that took the lives of her two best friends, when Harriet, the boss's daughter, was only five years old.

 Princess Academy  by Shannon Hale

While attending a strict academy for potential princesses with the other girls from her mountain village, fourteen-year-old Miri discovers unexpected talents and connections to her homeland.  See also Book of a Thousand Days.

 Snatched  by Pete Hautman

Too curious for her own good, Roni, crime reporter for her high school newspaper, teams up with Brian, freshman science geek, to investigate the beating and kidnapping of a classmate.  Sequels:  Skullduggery and Doppelganger.

 Toby Wheeler: Eighth Grade Benchwarmer by Thatcher Heldring

When Toby finally decides to join the middle school basketball team, he does not anticipate the changes that will occur in his relationship with his best friend JJ, who is the team's star player, as well as in other areas of his life.

 Girl, Stolen by April Henry

When an impulsive carjacking turns into a kidnapping, Griffin, a high school dropout, finds himself more in sympathy with his wealthy, blind victim, sixteen-year-old Cheyenne, than with his greedy father.

The Complete History of Why I Hate Her by Jennifer Jacobson

Wanting a break from being known only for her sister's cancer, seventeen-year-old Nola leaves Boston for a waitressing job at a summer resort in Maine, but soon feels as if her new best friend is taking over her life.

The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

Fifteen-year-old vampire Nina has been stuck for fifty-one years in a boring support group for vampires, and nothing exciting has ever happened to them--until one of them is murdered and the others must try to solve the crime.  Sequel: The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group

 Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

After inheriting her uncle's homesteading claim in Montana, sixteen-year-old orphan Hattie Brooks travels from Iowa in 1917 to make a home for herself and encounters some unexpected problems related to the war being fought in Europe.  Newbery Honor book.  Sequel:  Hattie Ever After

 Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie   by David Lubar

While navigating his first year of high school and awaiting the birth of his new baby brother, Scott loses old friends and gains some unlikely new ones as he hones his skills as a writer.

 The Declaration by Gemma Malley

In 2140 England, where drugs enable people to live forever and children are illegal, teenaged Anna, an obedient "Surplus" training to become a house servant, discovers that her birth parents are trying to find her.  Sequels:  The Resistance and The Legacy.

A Boy At War  by Harry Mazer

While fishing with his friends off Honolulu on December 7, 1941, teenaged Adam is caught in the midst of the Japanese attack and through the chaos of the subsequent days tries to find his father, a naval officer who was serving on the U.S.S. Arizona when the bombs fell. Sequels:  A Boy No More and Heroes Don’t Run.

 Trash by Andy Mulligan

Fourteen-year-olds Raphael and Gardo team up with a younger boy, Rat, to figure out the mysteries surrounding a bag Raphael finds during their daily life of sorting through trash in a third-world country's dump.

 Princess Ben by Catherine Murdock

A girl is transformed, through instruction in life at court, determination, and magic, from sullen, pudgy, graceless Ben into Crown Princess Benevolence, a fit ruler of the kingdom of Montagne as it faces war with neighboring Drachensbett.  Companion book:  Wisdom’s Kiss.

The Cruisers by Walter Dean Myers

Friends Zander, Kambui, LaShonda, and Bobbi, caught in the middle of a mock Civil War at DaVinci Academy, learn the true cost of freedom of speech when they use their alternative newspaper, The Cruiser, to try to make peace.

Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel

In 1973, when a renowned Canadian behavioral psychologist pursues his latest research project-- an experiment to determine whether chimpanzees can acquire advanced language skills-- he brings home a baby chimp named Zan and asks his thirteen year-old son to treat Zan like a little brother.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

In Aagaesia, a fifteen-year-old boy of unknown lineage called Eragon finds a mysterious stone that hatches into a dragon and changes his life.  Sequels:  Eldest, Brisingr and Inheritance.

Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson

Finn Whitman, an Orlando teen, is hired to be hologramed as a Disney World park "guide" but soon finds himself being transported into the Magic Kingdom in the dead of night to help fight a group of Disney villains, led by Maleficent, who want to take over Disney World--and maybe more.  Sequel:  Disney at Dawn, Disney After Dark and Power Play.

First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover by Mitali  Perkins

During her father's presidential campaign, sixteen-year-old Sameera Righton, who was adopted from Pakistan at the age of three, struggles with campaign staffers who want to give her a more "all-American" image and create a fake weblog in hername.  Sequel:  First Daughter: White House Rules.

Life as We Knew It  by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family's struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.  OneBook NJ selection.  Sequels:  The Dead and the Gone and This World We Live In.

 Vampire High by Douglas Rees

When his family moves from California to New Sodom, Massachusetts and Cody enters Vlad Dracul Magnet School, many things seem strange, from the dark-haired, pale-skinned, supernaturally strong students to Charon, the wolf who guides him around campus on the first day.  Sequel:  Vampire High: Sophomore Year

 Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

In the distant future, when cities move about and consume smaller towns, a fifteen-year-old apprentice is pushed out of London by the man he most admires and must seek answers in the perilous Out-Country, aided by one girl and the memory of another.  Sequels:  Predator’s Gold, Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain.  Prequels:  Fever Crumb, A Web of Air and Scrivener’s Moon.

 The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

Armed only with a frying pan and her common sense,Tiffany Aching, a young witch-to-be, allies herself with the Chalk's local Nac Mac Feegle -- aka the Wee Free Men -- a clan of sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men who are as fierce as they are funny.  Sequels:  A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, and I Shall Wear Midnight.

 The Redheaded Princess by Ann Rinaldi

In 1542, nine-year-old Lady Elizabeth lives on an estate near London, striving to get back into the good graces of her father, King Henry VIII. As the years pass, she faces his death and those of other close relatives until she finds herself next in line to ascend the throne of England in 1558.  Check out Rinaldi’s many other historical novels.

Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry receives a bag of sand which is immediately stolen by the evil Librarians who are trying to take over the world, and Alcatraz is introduced to his grandfather and his own special talent, and told that he must use it to save civilization.  Sequels:  Alcatraz vs. the Scrivener’s Bones, Alcatraz vs. the Knights of Crystallia and Alcatraz vs. the Shattered Lens.

Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber

Seventeen-year-old Celeste Parker finds herself falling for Brandon, a boy from the wrong side of their small, midwestern town, even though she suspects that he is a werewolf.  Sequels:  Magic of the Moonlight and Full Moon Kisses.

  I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader by Kieran Scott              

As a brunette on the all-blonde cheerleading squad at her new Florida high school, sophomore Annisa Gobrowski tries to fit in with her popular teammates without losing the friendship of Bethany, the only other non-blonde at the school.  Sequels: Brunettes Strike Back and  A Non-Blonde Cheerleader in Love.

 Scrawl by Mark Shulman

When eighth-grade school bully Tod and his friends get caught committing a crime on school property, his penalty--staying after school and writing in a journal under the eye of the school guidance counsellor--reveals aspects of himself that he prefers to keep hidden.

Out From Boneville (graphic novel) by Jeff Smith

The Bone cousins have been exiled from Boneville and must make their way through treacherous deserts and towering forests, all the while contending with monsters and adopting allies into their crew.  Be sure to check out the other volumes in the Bone series.

 Peak  by Roland Smith

A fourteen-year-old boy attempts to be the youngest person to reach the top of Mount Everest.

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith

During World War II, a light-skinned African American girl "passes" for white in order to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots.

 Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

When his younger brother is diagnosed with leukemia, thirteen-year-old Steven tries to deal with his complicated emotions, his school life, and his desire to support his family.  Sequel:  After Ever After.

The New Policeman by Kate Thompson

Irish teenager JJ Liddy discovers that time is leaking from his world into Tir na nOg, the land of the fairies, and when he attempts to stop the leak he finds out a lot about his family history, the music that he loves, and a crime his great-grandfather may or may not have committed.  Also read The Last of the High Kings and The White Horse Trick.

 Toads and Diamonds  by Heather Tomlinson

A retelling of the Perrault fairy tale set in pre-colonial India, in which two stepsisters receive gifts from a goddess and each walks her own path to find her gift's purpose, discovering romance along the way.

 Lucky by Rachel Vail

As Phoebe and her clique of privileged girlfriends get ready to graduate from eighth grade, a financial scandal threatens her family's security--as well as Phoebe's social status--but ultimately it teaches her the real meaning of friendship.  Companion novels:  Gorgeous and Brilliant.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.  Sequels:  Behemoth and Goliath.

 Malice by Chris Wooding

Everyone's heard the rumors. Call on Tall Jake and he'll take you to Malice, a world that exists inside a horrifying comic book. A place most kids never leave. Seth and Kady think it's all a silly myth. But then their friend disappears.  Sequel:  Havoc.

 Foiled by Jane Yolen (graphic novel)

Aliera is a star at fencing, but at school no one notices her--until her new lab partner Avery begins flirting with her. Aliera's mother just bought her a foil from a garage sale, and it has a strange jewel attached to the hilt. Will Aliera's first date be ruined when magical creatures try to steal her foil?  Sequel:  Curses! Foiled Again.