10 Middle Grade Adventures for Kids Interested in But Not Yet Ready for YA

by Melissa Taylor

Adventure-loving tweens want fast-paced, adrenaline-filled stories. Well, we’ve got you covered. These ten page-flipping, can’t-put-‘em-down middle grade adventures are perfect for kids drawn to, but not quite ready for, the thrilling action of YA series like The Hunger Games or The Maze Runner.

  • Edgeland

    by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski

    Wren lives in Edgeland, a place where the world sends their dead to be pushed into the Drain. When she and her friend Alec are accidentally sucked into the Drain, they discover that everything they’d been told was wrong. The dead have not moved on to an afterlife — they’re kept in a drug-like stupor. That includes Wren’s mom, if they can only find her. And the rulers here don’t welcome the living.

  • The Last Kids on Earth

    by Max Brallier, illustrated by Douglas Holgate

    After the monster apocalypse, only a few human survivors are left — and they are Jack and his friends, who live in Jack’s tricked-out tree house. Not only do the kids face monsters, they intentionally love to mess with them. That is, until the Blarg comes along. If you like zombies, action, humor, illustrations, and plot twists, you’ll love the Last Kids on Earth series.

  • Dead City

    by James Ponti

    Molly’s just a kid but she has an important job — to protect the city from zombies with the help of a specialized team of kids from her school. As she begins to develop her skills, she starts to empathize with some of the zombies and can hardly believe it when she sees someone she knows very well — as a zombie. Suspenseful, action-packed, and funny, this is an excellent adventure book you won’t want to put down.

  • Bodyguard: Recruit

    by Chris Bradford

    In the first book of this exciting new series, teenager Connor Reeves is recruited be a professional bodyguard. He’s just finishing his first training year when he gets an unexpected first assignment: the U.S. President’s daughter. Connor’s story is contrasted with the perspective of a terrorist whose actions will soon affect Connor and the President’s daughter in a very dangerous way.

  • Edge of Extinction: The Ark Plan

    by Laura Martin, illustrated by Eric Deschamps

    Now that cloned dinosaurs rule the world, humans like Sky live below ground in community compounds. But Sky and her friend, Shawn, leave the safety of the underground after finding a secret message from her missing father. They follow her dad’s map, fighting to survive the dinosaurs and soldiers that are after them. Another page-turner, this story is an irresistibly conceived dystopian adventure.

  • The Last Dogs: The Vanishing

    by Christopher Holt

    Suspense, action, and danger will engross readers from the first page. Max, a Labrador Retriever, is determined to figure out what happened to the missing humans, including his own human. He and two dog friends journey across the country, facing wolf packs, cat colonies, and other dangers, including capture by the so-called utopian Corporation of dogs from which they’ll need all their wits to escape.

  • Alex Rider: Stormbreaker

    by Anthony Horowitz

    It’s nonstop action after Alex realizes his uncle was murdered because he was a spy — because now Alex is on the bad guys’ hit list as well. Alex is pushed into the spy world of violence and intrigue. Think James Bond as a kid with lots of gadgets and kid-appropriate humor.

  • Chasing the Falconers (On the Run #1)

    by Gordon Korman

    What would you do if your parents were wrongfully arrested and you were sent to juvenile detention? Break out and prove your parents’ innocence, of course. So, Meg and Aidan make a daring escape from detention. The siblings race to find the truth while avoiding recapture, but they keep reaching dead ends and are hunted by more than the police. This series moves at a breathtaking pace, hooking adrenaline junkies from the first page.

  • The Golden Compass

    by Philip Pullman

    In a world of mysterious magical Dust, daemon familiars, and talking animals, Lyra takes her golden compass and flees her guardian, Mrs. Coulter, to travel north in search of her missing friend, Roger, and her uncle, Lord Asriel. She’s joined by an armored polar bear and parents of other missing children. This is an epic fantasy filled with danger, suspense, and compelling storytelling.

  • Katana at Super Hero High (DC Super Hero Girls)

    by Lisa Yee

    Katana attends Super Hero High where she trains to be a super hero with a Samurai philosophy and skill with a sword. When an unknown source asks Katana to guard 100 ancient Samurai swords, she and her friends are determined to uncover what’s going on. But she’s juggling schoolwork and worrying about stopping an old enemy’s army. Can she do it all without losing her mind?