10 Laugh-Out-Loud Adventure Tales for Tweens

by Keith Rice

What kid doesn’t love a good adventure? And if there’s a healthy dose of humor to go along with all the thrills, that’s all the better. With exhilarating quests, unexpected destinies, and even a few hair-raising scares, middle grade adventure books are a perfect way to keep your tween reader engaged and entertained. Here are a few of our favorite humorous tween adventures sure you keep kids on the edge of their seats — and laughing as they flip the pages.

  • The Legend of Greg

    by Chris Rylander

    This hilarious fantasy adventure follows Greg Belmont, an utterly ordinary and risk-averse prep school student. There’s just one problem: Greg is far from ordinary. He’s actually a full-on, straight-out-of-your-favorite-fantasy-novel dwarf. When his dad is kidnapped by a troll, Greg will need all of his newfound abilities to save his dad. This uproarious and fast-paced read is a great way to introduce your tween to the world of urban fantasy.

  • Artemis Fowl Series

    by Eoin Colfer

    Artemis Fowl is a genius. He’s also a criminal mastermind with an eye toward restoring his family’s empire. Unfortunately, he has no idea what he’s getting into when kidnaps a fairy and attempts to hold her ransom. These aren’t the playful and gentle sort of fairies, these are battle hardened soldiers and Artemis may have bitten off more than he can chew in this first book in Colfer’s beloved series. Filled with unexpected twists, a clever take on myths and fairytales, and a fair share of humor, Artemis Fowl is a modern classic for a reason.

  • Chomp

    by Carl Hiaasen

    There’s nothing quite like the outlandish and hilarious Floridian shenanigans cooked up by Newbery honoree Carl Hiaasen. Chomp is a laugh-out-loud page-turner centered on the son of an animal wrangler, an over-the-top reality show, biting bats, and an inept reality show host lost in the everglades. It’s a delightfully wild tale as only Carl Hiaasen could imagine and it’s one your tween is sure to love.

  • The Island of Dr. Libris

    by Chris Grabenstein

    Who hasn’t wondered what would happen if their favorite fictional characters came to life? That question sparked this wonderfully original and imaginative tale about a boy spending the summer at the lakeside cabin of Dr. Libris. There’s something strange going on, though. Every time Billy opens a new book from Dr. Libris’s bookshelves, he hears weird sounds coming an island in the middle of the lake. Featuring Chris Grabenstein’s trademark wit and narrative ingenuity, this is one your tween won’t be able to put down.

  • Matilda

    by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake

    Like nearly everything written by Roald Dahl, Matilda is a beloved classic. Dahl was in top form when he penned this tale of an incredibly precocious little girl at odds with her terrible parents and a particularly cruel and unforgettable headmistress. The breathless storytelling and Dahl’s well-hewn humor are sure to be hit with your young reader.

  • One Mixed-Up Night

    by Catherine Newman

    This hilarious page-turner is perfect for fans of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. In fact, From the Mixed-Up Files is precisely where the kids in this novel got their inspiration. Except rather than taking off for an art museum, Frankie and Walter decide to run away to spend a night in their favorite store: Ikea. It’ll be a night of pillow forts, couch jumping, and perhaps an unexpected surprise or two.

  • The Last Kids on Earth Series

    by Max Brallier, illustrated by Douglas Holgate

    Thrills, a bit of age appropriate horror, and LOL-worthy moments — what more could your preteen book lover ask for? Jack Sullivan was just an average 13-year-old until the monster apocalypse hit his town. Now, Jack’s living on a steady diet of Oreos and Mountain Dew and using his treehouse as a hideout from the horde of monsters prowling the streets. He’ll need his friends if he’s going to survive, though. The Last Kids on Earth is an entertaining series with themes of friendship, humor, and, of course, zombie killing.

  • Hyacinth Series

    by Jacob Sager Weinstein

    Hyacinth and the Secrets Beneath is the first novel in a fantasy series that promises to be packed with laughs, a talking pig, and zany adventures in the sewers of London. When Hyacinth Hayward’s mother is kidnapped by a band of monsters in post office uniforms, Hyacinth is thrust into a brand-new world of magic, mystery, and a secret history of the city she now calls home.

  • The Inquisitor’s Tale, Or Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

    by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly

    This Newbery Honor winner brings history to life as a laugh-out-loud medieval adventure for middle grade readers. Taking its cues from The Canterbury Tales, The Inquisitor’s Tale centers on a group of travelers telling the stories of three courageous children and their incredible quest to save a host of religious texts scattered across France. It’s a delightfully imaginative and entertaining read with historical details to transport any young reader to the 13th century.

  • Nightmares! Series

    by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller, illustrated by Karl Kwasny

    In Nightmares!, the first in a trilogy from Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller, readers meet 12-year-old Charlie Laird. Charlie’s widowed father has just remarried. That would be fine, except Charlie is pretty certain his new stepmom is a witch and they’re new house is the creepiest place imaginable. Little does Charlie know that his problems are about to get a whole lot worse when his nightmares suddenly find their way into the waking world. Filled with thrills and an age-appropriate brand of Jason Segel’s humor, Nightmares! is just the right balance of spooky and fun for your tween reader.

What middle grade adventure tales would you recommend for tween readers? Let us know in the comments below!