Tween

11 Girl-Centered Sci-Fi Novels for Middle Grade Readers

by Melissa Taylor

Transport yourself into worlds of space travel, aliens, robots, and not-yet-imagined scientific inventions where girls are the heroines of the stories. These exciting adventures show girls who save the world, solve mysteries, and survive harrowing circumstances. We hope these books will be gateways into a new favorite genre.

  • Nicola Berry Series

    by Liane Moriarty

    Fast-paced and funny, Nicola Berry’s space adventures keep her out of school and on missions with her “Space Brigade” friends. In the first book, she is chosen as the Earthling Ambassador who must visit Earth’s evil princess and convince her to stop destroying Earth with galactic garbage.

  • When You Reach Me

    by Rebecca Stead

    Miranda, a sixth grader living in New York City in the late 1970s, receives a series of anonymous future-predicting notes that tell her someone is going to die. Whoever is leaving the notes seems to know everything about Miranda, including things that haven’t happened yet. Whose life is in danger? And why does Miranda need to write letters back?

  • A Problematic Paradox

    by Eliot Sappingfield

    When Nikola’s dad is kidnapped, she’s taken to The School, an intellectual boarding school for geniuses (including alien species) that is a better fit than her old one. The science is right up her alley and Nikola makes a friend. She learns she has a special, dangerous ability — to manipulate quantum agar — which may either help or hurt The School’s defense against the Old Ones attack. This is a funny story with nonstop action plus inventive gadgets and imaginative world-building. (Also check out The Unspeakable Unknown, the heartwarming and hilarious companion to A Problematic Paradox.)

  • Lucy and the Rocket Dog

    by Will Buckingham, illustrated by Monica Arnaldo

    Space-loving Lucy builds a rocket in her backyard. But her loyal dog, Laika, accidentally launches the rocket instead, leaving Lucy behind. Told from both the girl and the dog’s perspectives, this sweet, time-bending story of space and friendship centers on Lucy’s lifelong quest to be reunited with her beloved dog.

  • Project Terra Series

    by Landry Q. Walker, illustrated by Keith Zoo

    Elara’s thrilled to be at the prestigious school for terraforming, the art of building new worlds to support human life. There, she experiences many misadventures including a dangerous school field trip and a special project that blows up. Nevertheless, Elara builds new friendships that show her willingness to accept all species. Things really start to heat up in the second installment of the series, Bites Back, when Terra finds herself on a major school-saving mission.

  • Zita the Spacegirl Series

    by Ben Hatke

    After accidentally opening an interdimensional portal, Zita’s best friend Joseph is kidnapped by aliens. Zita must not only rescue Joseph from the kidnappers on a strange planet but, with the help of her new friends, save the planet before it’s destroyed. Memorable characters, stunning illustrations, and an incredible intergalactic adventure make a graphic novel series that kids won’t be able to put down.

  • The Fourteenth Goldfish

    by Jennifer L. Holm

    After his own scientific discovery reversed his age, Ellie’s grandfather Melvin is 13 ... again. Since he can’t get access into his laboratory (because he’s a kid), Melvin moves in with Ellie and her mom. Readers will laugh at this grumpy old man trapped in a 13-year-old’s body. Despite his cantankerous personality, he and Ellie share in their love of science. This quirky story deftly addresses family, ethics in science, and growing up.

  • Holly Farb and the Princess of the Galaxy

    by Gareth Wronski

    When she’s mistaken for an alien princess, Holly, her teacher, and a classmate named Chester are kidnapped by alien pirates. The three eventually escape so they can search for the real princess. But their crazy space adventure has only just begun. They’ll face evil insect librarians, bounty hunters, giant worms, and the sinister President of the Universe.

  • Neptune Project Series

    by Polly Holyoke

    When the government arrives, Nere’s mom completes Nere’s transformation from air-breathing to water-breathing. Her mom says goodbye, sending a shocked Nere into the ocean where she’s supposed to find an underwater safe haven called the Neptune colony. As she swims hundreds of miles, Nere joins other kids who are also swimming toward the colony. But they’re not safe. Not from each other, not from certain sea creatures, and not from the government.

  • Cleopatra in Space Series

    by Mike Maihack

    A mysterious tablet transports young Cleopatra (of Ancient Egypt) into outer space and the future where she’s been prophesied to save the galaxy from its evil ruler, Xaius Octavian. But not yet. First, she must go to school and train in combat with a wise, old cat teacher. Will she ever be ready to go on missions and save the universe or will she be stuck at school forever?

  • Edge of Extinction Series

    by Laura Martin

    After Sky discovers a secret message from her missing father, she leaves the safety of the underground Noah compound. Above ground, she must worry about the dangerous, oversized dinosaurs who’ve taken over the world as well as soldiers pursuing them from the Noah compound. The combination of great character development, non-stop action, and unexpected plot twists add up to an irresistible book series.

What are your favorite middle grade sci-fi reads starring female protagonists? Let us know in the comments below!