Middle Grade Book Recommendations

Whether you're looking for a family read-aloud, a parent-child book club choice, or the next great series to keep your elementary or middle school age reader turning the pages, Queen Anne Book Company has you covered with chapter book recommendations. Usually for 8-12 year olds.

Duel By Jessixa Bagley, Aaron Bagley (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Jessixa Bagley, Aaron Bagley (Illustrator)
$14.99
ISBN: 9781534496545
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - November 7th, 2023

Brilliantly imaginative, this graphic novel shows sisters with rich inner lives and a very complicated relationship. I love all the details about fencing, but most of all, I love the characters. We're super lucky that Jessixa and Aaron are local, so we'll try to keep autographed books in stock! 

**PREORDER THIS TITLE WITH QABC to get limited edition stickers from the creators!**


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Island of Spies By Sheila Turnage Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780735231276
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Dial Books - October 17th, 2023

I loved this historical fiction! Wonderful friendship/ community dynamics, interesting history about WWII, xenophobia, racism, sexism, grief, and ambition. I really cared for these kids! They're scrappy, they're caring, and they want to prove themselves as incredible investigators. 


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The Whispering Pines (EXIT 13, Book 1) By James Preller, Kevin Keele (Illustrator) Cover Image
By James Preller, Kevin Keele (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9781338810448
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Scholastic Inc. - February 7th, 2023

Wonderfully suspenseful and spooky! This is a real pageturner about a mysterious, creepy motel. Comic pages bring it all to life even more vividly. Gave me the shivers (in a good way)! --Tegan


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Chester Keene Cracks the Code By Kekla Magoon Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781524716028
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Yearling - July 11th, 2023

 I was invested from the first page-- I absolutely adore Chester (and Skye). He's awkward, nerdy, loving, thoughtful, clever, and REALLY good at laser tag. He tries to minimize his mom's stress by being a great kid, helping out at home, doing his schoolwork well, being on his best behavior at the bowling alley/ arcade where his mom's best friend watches him after school. But when a middle school bully makes his life hell, he needs to tell someone, so he reaches out to his absent dad via email. When an enigmatic clue shows up on Chester's door, he's sure it's from his dad (who he's sure is a spy)... The clue brings Skye into his life, and soon they're  not just running around the arcade and the mall but also considering stopping a heist! This has adrenaline, humor, and loads of heart. Chester's strength, isolation, anger, and hope all feel real and powerful. It was a roller coaster of emotions and an exhilarating, empowering ride. --Tegan


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The Rhythm of Time By Questlove, S. A. Cosby Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780593354063
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - April 18th, 2023

Imagine "Back to the Future" set in Philly with younger, Black characters. It has a pair of best friends you'll root for, a fun 1990s throwback time travel storyline, and thoughtful parent-kid relationships as well as very high stakes! Great characters and gizmos make me want to read more, for sure!


The Tryout: A Graphic Novel By Christina Soontornvat, Joanna Cacao (Illustrator) Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781338741261
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Graphix - September 6th, 2022

This is an absolutely fantastic middle school, slice-of-life graphic novel. It's autobiographical, with all the cringes and triumphs to make it feel so real. I loved Christina's determination, and the fact that it ends with hope but not at all tritely. Very expressive illustrations and dialogue that feels true to seventh grade and all its ups and downs. 


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High Score By Destiny Howell Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338746716
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Scholastic Press - June 28th, 2022

I love a clever book about schemers and con artists, and this is one of the best! DJ gave up his elaborate schemes when he started at a new school. But he gets back in the game and risks everything to help his best friend. Fast, fun, and smart! (Grown-ups: If you like the TV show "Leverage," this is the middle school version. So good!) --Tegan


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City Spies By James Ponti Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781534414921
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Aladdin - January 26th, 2021

Fast-paced fun! It's as if "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." had a group of brilliant orphans from around the world, all under the guidance of a benevolent British gent (codename: Mother). Capers galore, international intrigue, friendship, jealousy, climate change, science competitions-- what more could you want? With character profiles (complete with illustrations) at the end, it's a great cinematic, action-packed read. I can't wait for the next adventure! --Tegan


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Artie and the Wolf Moon By Olivia Stephens, Olivia Stephens (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Olivia Stephens, Olivia Stephens (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781728420202
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Lerner Publishing Group - September 7th, 2021

Exciting, tender, beautifully rendered in every way... This  graphic novel works well for middle schoolers and high schoolers, plus all the adults who enjoy family drama, origin stories, and the paranormal. Bonus: Olivia Stephens lives in Tacoma, so we might be able to give you a signed copy! (Limited signed stock available.) I think Olivia Stephens is an incredible new talent, and I can't wait for you to run in the moonlight with Artie!

--Tegan


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Frankie & Bug By Gayle Forman Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781534482548
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Aladdin - October 25th, 2022

As someone who was 11 years old in 1987 just like Bug, I was hit with waves of nostalgia as I read. A lazy summer spent watching soap operas, hoping for friendship, wondering why a beloved older sibling growing up meant growing apart, and learning difficult truths about homophobia, AIDS, and brutal truths of the world felt heart-tuggingly familiar, with evocative setting details that brought it all back so vividly. Bug and Frankie's friendship feels timeless, though: like Scout and Dill or Harriet and Sport, but on Venice Beach in the era of boom boxes. Over a season of boredom punctuated by mysteries and tragedies, Bug and Frankie forge an incredible bond and learn to support each other meaningfully. This is a book about different kinds of family and different kinds of courage, and I think it will resonate with many readers.  -Tegan


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Séance Tea Party: (A Graphic Novel) By Reimena Yee Cover Image
$13.99
ISBN: 9781984894151
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Random House Graphic - September 15th, 2020

When Lora dabbles with a ouja board, she discovers that her imaginary friend from childhood is a ghost: Alexa, a ghost who looks like she's a tween, too, but who died in 1977... But as spooky as that sounds, this is actually a very sweet bookabout friendship and growing up. I'd get this graphic novel for the art alone, but I absolutely loved Lora and the hope her story gave me. 


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Clean Getaway By Nic Stone Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781984893000
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Yearling - January 5th, 2021

Scoob's grandmother surprises him by buying an RV and whisking him away on a road trip. She shows him places from Civil Rights history and her life with his grandfather. Laughs, tears, and "aha!" moments abound.

--Tegan


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From the Desk of Zoe Washington By Janae Marks Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062875860
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - January 5th, 2021

I loved this sweet, entertaining novel that will get readers thinking about truth and justice. Zoe is a loveable character — determined to earn the right to audition for a baking show, fed up with her former best friend/still-next-door-neighbor. Her reaction to a letter from her incarcerated biological dad is curiosity, and it just might get her into a whole lot of trouble! I really identified with Zoe's preteen withdrawals but also her passion for baking. Fun to have a book set in Boston, and important to read a book that addresses the inequalities of our criminal justice system in such an approachable way. --Tegan


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Skunk and Badger (Skunk and Badger 1) By Amy Timberlake, Jon Klassen (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Amy Timberlake, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
$18.95
ISBN: 9781643750057
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - September 15th, 2020

This charming illustrated chapter book just begs to be read aloud. Listeners of all ages will find much delight in this story about two unlikely roommates. Witty dialogue, absurd situations, and a general sense of goodheartedness make this a book I would come back to again and again. Get it for fans of Frog and Toad and Mercy Watson who want something a little longer or readers who enjoyed listening to “A Wind in the Willows” and “The Royal Rabbits of London.” Ages 4 and up. --Tegan


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Twins: A Graphic Novel (Twins #1) By Varian Johnson, Shannon Wright (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Varian Johnson, Shannon Wright (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9781338236132
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Graphix - October 6th, 2020

Maureen and Francine are identical twin sisters who are competitive and loving, but they're both in middle school, when even the strongest bonds are tested. What will happen if they both run for the same position in school government? This captures so much of the heartbreak of middle school in a very authentic way-- and shows the path through what might feel like the darkest of days. (I love, love, love their parents, too.) --Tegan


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Into the Tall, Tall Grass By Loriel Ryon Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781534449688
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - April 6th, 2021

This is a rare coming-of-age, magical realism, coming-out, scientific quest, sister-struggle, animal-loving, letting-go, best-friend tension-filled, epic family drama that is perfect for tweens. It hits all the right notes in a story that is hard to put down and even harder to forget. Open yourself up to its magic. --Tegan


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Stand Up, Yumi Chung! By Jessica Kim Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780525554998
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Puffin Books - March 16th, 2021

This is a book that is uplifting, funny, charming, hopeful, and HELPFUL to tweens! The main character, Yumi, wants to do stand-up comedy. Her parents want her to go to SSAT tutoring to get into a private school and earn a scholarship. But when a bizarre opportunity that just requires some identity theft and a little dishonesty opens up, Yumi gets to follow her dream and attend comedy camp. Her new friends there are delightful, and I cheered to realize that Yumi had been feeling so isolated and stressed, but actually finds herself a group of wonderful people who care and like her for exactly who she is-- except they think she's a Japanese-American student named Kay, not a Korean-American student named Yumi. Will Yumi be able to come clean? Will she be able to help save her parents' restaurant? Will she be able to maintain her friendships and comedy that mean so much to her? She has a lot of people who want what they think is best for her, but will she be able to reconcile their advice and find a path that works for them all? This is SO GOOD: laugh-out-loud funny, so much to think about, and realistic suspense because you care so much for Yumi and her family.   --Tegan


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Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer By Gillian Goerz Cover Image
$13.99
ISBN: 9780525552864
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Dial Books - July 14th, 2020

This fun graphic novel has a little "Harriet the Spy" feeling and is perfect for the summer! Jamila is a little sister who loves basketball, but she's new to the neighborhood and her parents are pretty protective. She meets Shirley at a yard sale-- definitely a quirky kid! Their moms decide to give them some limited freedom together since they're both 10-- and moms want each to have a friend. They start off kind of using each other: Jamila just wants to play basketball while Shirley wants to be able to consult with her investigation clients. But when a boy comes to Shirley because he and his sister not only lost his pet gecko (which had been in his stolen backpack) and got kicked out of the community pool, curiosity and teamwork really kick in. 
The investigation winds up bringing together some misunderstood and lonely kids in lovely ways. 
Reading this is like running through a sprinkler and getting a popsicle-- invigorating and comforting summertime encapsulated. 

--Tegan


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My Life as a Potato By Arianne Costner Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780593118696
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Yearling - March 15th, 2022

Ben and his family moved to Idaho from California partway through his 7th grade school year. When a hot dog bouncing incident in the lunchroom benches Wyatt, the kid who serves as Steve the Spud, the school mascot, Ben is sentenced to the new few basketball games as the school's mascot. 

This book does a fantastic job conveying just how extreme things can feel in middle school (so HUMILIATING to be dressed as a potato, so AMAZING to be asked to a dance by a cheerleader, so CONFUSING that you might not really enjoy talking with that cheerleader...), and how important friendship, kindness, and responsibility are at any age. I found this wonderfully refreshing, enjoyable, and funny.  --Tegan


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Shuri: A Black Panther Novel #1 By Nic Stone Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781338742305
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Scholastic Inc. - December 7th, 2021

This was everything I'd hoped for in a novel starring the Black Panther's brilliant little sister! She's a reluctant princess. She's a creative inventor. She's a methodical yet innovative scientist. She's a future leader of Wakanda. She's kind of a crummy friend for a while (because what tween isn't sometimes) and she's a rebellious daughter. She's a determined, powerful, amazing character, and I loved every page! Action, emotion, world travel, and investigative science, all in one quick read. --Tegan


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Other Words for Home: A Newbery Honor Award Winner By Jasmine Warga Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062747815
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Balzer + Bray - April 6th, 2021

"In this relatable story, 12-year-old Jude learns how to reconcile her feelings of simultaneous happiness and sadness as a result of moving from her home town in Syria to her new home in the Cincinnati. It is a story of kindness, prejudice, and the triumph of believing in yourself. Lovely and inspiring."

--- Kimberly


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The Harlem Charade By Natasha Tarpley Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780545783880
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Scholastic Inc. - April 24th, 2018

Why did her classmate tape a transit pass to a jar of pickles in Jin's granparents' bodega? Why are there paintings buried in a community garden in Harlem? A group of kids band together to solve these mysteries and save their neighborhood from a gimmicky theme park. 

--Kim


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New Kid: A Newbery Award Winner By Jerry Craft, Jerry Craft (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Jerry Craft, Jerry Craft (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9780062691194
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Quill Tree Books - February 5th, 2019

This is entertaining and enlightening all at once-- a great parent/ kid read and discuss book, but also just a great read. Jordan is a fantastic character-- the new kid at a fancy school. You'll want him as your friend.

I feel like this is one of the best books I've read lately for any age, grown-ups or kids, for dealing with race, class, privilege, and ambition. Don't miss it!

--Tegan


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The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora By Pablo Cartaya Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781101997253
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Puffin Books - April 3rd, 2018

Funny and full of the community that small businesses and big families bring. It's a fun read with heart and humor. You'll want to keep reading to find out what happens with the family restaurant, to Arturo's crush, and to the evil developer who threatens all the good things. Zesty, funny, and uplifting, despite the title!

--Tegan


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Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer By Kelly Jones, Katie Kath (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Kelly Jones, Katie Kath (Illustrator)
$8.99
ISBN: 9780385755559
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Yearling - March 8th, 2016

Told in letters that are sometimes silly, sometimes a little sad, always sassy and SO Sophie, this is a perfect chapter book! When Sophie moves to a farm, she learns about chickens-- and learns to watch for magic! I loved Sophie, her incredible chickens, and her way of seeing the world. 

--Tegan


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Redwall: A Tale from Redwall By Brian Jacques, Gary Chalk (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Brian Jacques, Gary Chalk (Illustrator)
$10.99
ISBN: 9780142302378
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Firebird - September 30th, 2002

Warrior mice! Evil rats! Epic battles, legendary heroes, and a mystery from days long gone by. Read for adventure, coming of age, and for all the wonderful books that follow. Oh! and the BEST food writing!


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The Beast and the Bethany By Jack Meggitt-Phillips, Isabelle Follath (Illustrator) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781534478893
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Aladdin - December 8th, 2020

Neither Ebenezer Tweezer nor Bethany are the best sort, but together they might improve...if the Beast doesn't eat one (or both) of them first. I think it's moderately fair to call this book a younger sibling to "Dorian Gray." Cheeky, gross, and a bunch of fun!


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Temple Alley Summer By Sachiko Kashiwaba, Avery Fischer Udagawa (Translator), Miho Satake (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Sachiko Kashiwaba, Avery Fischer Udagawa (Translator), Miho Satake (Illustrator)
$18.00
ISBN: 9781632063038
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Yonder - July 6th, 2021

I LOVED this. Magical! Mysterious! Absolutely heartwarming! This story of genuine (if ghosty) friendship is the perfect book for summer. Like Kazu, once I started reading, I just couldn't stop.