9 Great Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books for Tweens to Dive Into

by Dena McMurdie

Background image credit: Katrina Leigh/Shutterstock

I’m always on the lookout for new and exciting fantasy and science fiction books for my kids. They’re voracious readers, and devour sci-fi and fantasy faster than any other genre. Whether it’s a graphic novel or a high-fantasy series, my kids love books that transport them to another world.

Here are nine new (and newly in paperback) science fiction and fantasy books for your tween to obsess over this summer. From enchanting fantasy lands to intergalactic adventures, you’ll find all sorts of extraordinary tales on this list.

  • Otto Tattercoat and the Forest of Lost Things

    by Matilda Woods

    The Tattercoats may be thieves, but they live by a strict code: only take what you need, never leave a trace of yourself, and always help a Tattercoat in peril. When a new boy, Otto, comes to town and is caught up in a former Tattercoat’s devious plan, it’s up to Nim and her rat, Nibbles, to help. Ever since the legendary sundragons went extinct in the city of Hodorf, the days have grown colder, darker, and shorter... and as things continue to grow worse, Nim sets out into the woods outside the city to find Otto in this story of magic and adventure.

  • Finn and the Intergalactic Lunchbox

    by Michael Buckley

    Available from:

    The first installment in the new The Finnerverse series introduces us to, like the title suggests, Finn Foley and his lunchbox, which contains a seven-foot tall robot and a strange blinking device that inconveniently attaches itself to Finn. As Finn and his friends are sucked through the lunchbox, which also acts as a wormhole to the furthest corners of the galaxy, they’re greeted by the Plague — a race of giant bugs who want their device back. This action-packed adventure story is sure to hook middle grade readers. Be sure to check out the second book in the series, coming in March 2021.

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  • The Last Kids on Earth: June’s Wild Flight

    by Max Brailler, illustrated by Douglas Holgate

    Available from:

    Set between the events of The Midnight Blade and the upcoming sixth book in The Last Kids on Earth series, The Skeleton Road, this time the story is told from June Del Toro’s perspective! When June gets separated from her friends, and dragged to a town full of monstrous vines and new creatures, she’ll have to use all of her survival and action skills to find her way back home. This adventurous tale is ideal reading before The Skeleton Road hits shelves in September.

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  • The Rise of Greg

    by Chris Ryalnder

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    The Rise of Greg is the third and final installment in the An Epic Series of Failures trilogy. Thirteen-year-old Greg Belmont and his friends must figure out how to save the modern world, all while also preventing Edwin, Greg’s former best friend and current archenemy, from stealing the world’s magic for Elves. Their travels around the world culminate in one final battle in Chicago. Here’s hoping another failure doesn’t strike when they need a victory most!

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  • Folktales for Fearless Girls

    by Myriam Sayalero, illustrated by Dani Torrent

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    Damsels in distress? Not in these empowering fables and folktales, where girls take the lead and are their own heroines. With stories from all parts of the globe — from Egypt to Russia and beyond — these feminist fables include tales of women fighting in war, leading their families to riches, winning the favor of the king, and much more. Stunning artwork accompanies these folktales, which will inspire tween girls everywhere.

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  • Gargantis

    by Thomas Taylor, illustrated by Tom Booth

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    Part of The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea, Herbert and Violet team up once more to solve the mystery of Gargantis — an ancient strom-creating monster. It seems like Gargantis has awakened and is looking for her stolen treasure. That stolen treasure may just be hiding in Herbie’s Lost-and-Foundery at the Grand Nautilus Hotel. Together with Violet, Herbie will uncover what Gargantis wants and who stole the treasure in this eerie fantasy novel.

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  • Between Worlds: Folktales of Britain and Ireland

    illustrated by Frances Castle, edited by Kevin Crossley-Holland

    These tales from Britain and Ireland will ignite tweens' imaginations as they read both magical and eerie stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. These 48 tales, which are retold by Kevin Crossley-Holland and accompanied by illustrations from Frances Castle, open a door into a new world that kids are sure to be captivated by.

  • Return of the Temujai

    by John Flanagan

    Available from:

    In the eighth installment of The Brotherband Chronicles, the Herons’ home of Skandia is at risk of being invaded by the Temujai. In order to stop them, Hal and his crew will have to brave icy waters and other perilous elements. Catch up on the rest of the non-stop action with the entire Brotherband Chronicles series.

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  • A Small Zombie Problem

    by K.G. Campbell

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    August DuPont, who has spent his whole solitary life living with his Aunt Hydrangea, is ecstatic when an invitation to meet an aunt and cousins he didn’t know existed arrives in the mail. But when he’s confronted with a small problem on his way home one day, he realizes that maybe his luck hasn’t turned after all. The story - featuring a zombie and a wild family secret - continues in The Zombie Stone, which is set to publish in January 2021.

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2019 and updated in 2020.