12 Middle Grade Books Filled With Mystery and Adventure | Middle Grade Series Update

These well-loved authors are back with familiar faces yet fresh adventures and mysteries. Readers will find out how favorite ­characters are faring and meet some new ones in these latest and greatest middle grade series additions.

Update, update, read all about it! These well-loved authors are back with familiar faces yet fresh adventures and mysteries. Readers will find out how favorite characters are faring and meet some new ones in these latest and greatest middle grade series additions.

Ahmed, Samira. The Quest for the Ring of Power. 400p. (Amira & Hamza: Bk. 2). Little, Brown. Sept. 2022. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780316318617.
Gr 3-6–The Chosen Ones, siblings Amira and Hamza, are back and ready for another adventure. After returning from Qaf and defeating Ifrit, the two become split up and must work separately in the same quest to defeat Ahriman, Ifrit’s father. Ahriman has captured Hamza and is forcing him to solve puzzles to gain access to the Ring of Power. There are pieces of an oculus that must be obtained to secure the ring, however, and they are not acquired easily. Each part of the oculus is in a different museum in a different country. Unique travel across countries has its benefits and drawbacks, such as motion sickness, but there are also tasty bakeries and beautiful sights. All of it is worth it in an attempt to save the world from the clutches of great evil. Based on oral storytelling passed down from Ahmed’s family, the adventures these siblings take won’t disappoint. VERDICT Humor abounds amid the trials Amira and Hamza face in their quest. Hand to fans of Aru Shah and Magnus Chase.

De la Cruz, Melissa. The Broken Mirror. 336p. (Never After: Bk. 3). Roaring Brook. Dec. 2022. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250827258.
Gr 3-6–Filomena, Jack, Alistair, Beatrice, Byron Bessley, and Gretel have a whole new set of trials before them. Heading for Snow Country to save Never After from the fate of the ogres and King Richard, the group of six knows it’s a race against time before the kingdom is lost to evil. Not only is Never After threatened, but so is ­Filomena’s adoptive mother’s health in Pasadena. After being sidetracked by the wily Robin Hood, the team arrives at Princess Jeanne’s castle where they learn her crown has been stolen and she can’t be crowned. To add to that, the evil Queen Olga is at it again, turning Prince Charming into a frog and even crossing into the mortal world. On the search for the League of Seven, who can save the kingdom, Filomena and her friends make an unlikely discovery. VERDICT An engaging third book to the “Never After” series; de la Cruz is sure to delight fans of this fractured fairy tale.

Foody, Amanda. The Ever Storms. 368p. (Wilderlore: Bk. 3). S. & S./McElderry. Jan. 2023. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781665910750.
Gr 3-7–Close friends Barclay Thorne, Viola Dumont, and Tadg Murdock are back in their third adventure. This time, they’ve arrived at the 861st Symposium where they’ll be learning as apprentices on their way to becoming Guild-licensed Lore Keepers at the University of Al Faradh. During their time there, mysterious sandstorms are blowing up and the friends decide to investigate the cause. Along the way, there are Tourney pranks that are taking place amongst the different houses at the university. A mysterious library along with riddles and clues that haunt him has Barclay unable to concentrate, much less sleep. Working together may prove to be the key to helping the companions solve the puzzle during their turbulent ride at the university. Information in the back details a Traveler’s Log of Dangerous Beasts. VERDICT An engaging, dragon lover’s fantasy. Hand to fans of the “Dragon Realm” and “Wings of Fire.”

Jagger, T.P. The Treasure Test. 336p. (Hide and Geek: Bk. 2). Random. Feb. 2023. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593377970.
Gr 3-6–The GEEKs (Gina, Elena, Edgar, and Kevin) are being put to the test once again. This time, the original treasure hunt they solved is being called into question. Citizens of Elmwood have been led to believe, by an anonymous person writing for the Fair Valley Tattler, that everything the GEEKs solved in the original treasure hunt was fake. Now the GEEKs have been challenged to prove to the town that they are the super sleuths they claim to be by solving another mystery. If they can’t, Bamboozleland Amusement Park developers may take their business elsewhere. With only 70 hours to solve five clues, the GEEKs are at it again. The mysterious clues take them all over the twin towns of Grove Park and Elmwood, climbing daring heights and even trespassing to solve the puzzles. VERDICT An adventurous mystery that is sure to delight those who enjoyed the first “Hide and Geek” novel.

Jiatong, Chen. White Fox in the Forest. 288p. (White Fox: Bk. 2). Scholastic/Chicken House. Dec. 2022. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338794038.
Gr 3-6–In the previous book, Dilah the fox, Ankel the weasel, and Little Bean the rabbit were left trapped in a cave fearing for their safety. Fortunately, a rescue allows them to continue their hunt for the treasure that would grant the ability to change from animal to human. Guided by a moonstone and a map of the Enchanted Forest, the three meet friend and foe along the way. Each character offers a piece of the puzzle in their quest. Ultimately, it will take a lot of courage and a series of tests to prove they’re truly worthy and ready to become humans. VERDICT Written from the perspective of Dilah the fox, this animal fantasy paces well and is perfect for fans of the “Foxcraft” series and Katherine ­Applegate’s Endling the Last.

Kagawa, Julie. Into the Heart of the Storm. 336p. (Shinji Takahashi: Bk. 2). Disney-Hyperion. Apr. 2023. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781368074148.
Gr 3-6–Now that Shinji has the mark of the Coatl on his arm, he is supposed to possess magic powers, but those powers appear to have ceased. Despite Oliver Ocean’s best training and simulation efforts, Shinji can’t harness his powers at will. Word of the Natia people’s existence has come to S.E.A.’s attention and they are anxious to find evidence in the form of a sunken ship in the South Pacific before the enemy Hightower does. Shinji requests that he joins Oliver on this expedition, as does Lucy and her trusty little rat Tinker. Aboard the ship Seas the Day, they set off on a whirlwind adventure of time warps, volcanoes, angry boars, and deadly hurricanes. Working together, the S.E.A. team must solve an ancient mystery, one that could have deadly consequences for everyone. Will Shinji be able to harness the powers within? VERDICT A perfect follow-up to Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl, this sequel offers equal parts wit and adventure.

Marks, Janae. On Air with Zoe Washington. 304p. (Zoe Washington: Bk. 2). HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. Feb. 2023. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063212312.
Gr 4-6–Now that Zoe has seen her biological father, Marcus, exonerated and released from prison, she is determined to get to know him better. Balancing her job as a cashier at a cupcake shop with the changing status of her two best friends, Maya and Trevor, isn’t easy. Once Zoe learns about Marcus’s dream to open his own restaurant, she is committed to helping him make it happen. Starting her own podcast to spread the word about people who’ve served in the prison system seems like a good way to inform people about how individuals can change and the challenges they face once released. She also hopes that her podcast will raise some much-needed funds to help Marcus realize his dream. It’s a delicate balance for Zoe and she struggles to find exactly her place in so many important people’s lives. VERDICT A delightful and inspiring read.

Murray, Struan. Shipwreck Island. 416p.(Orphans of the Tide: Bk. 2). HarperCollins. Dec. 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780063043169.
Gr 5 Up–Ellie and Seth have traveled to a mysterious island where they meet Kate, a girl who is really the Queen in disguise. Due to a predicted famine on the island, the Queen is expected to use her powers, passed on from royal generations before her, to solve the island’s major problem. Ellie befriends Kate, only to learn a tragic secret about the Queen and her powers. Kate has no idea about Ellie and Seth’s capabilities. Many enemies have come to wreak havoc on the island, causing Ellie to doubt herself and her safety. Nearly every page features danger and adventure. Will Ellie and Seth survive and come to see the truth for what it really is? VERDICT A definite page-turner that will leave readers eager for more action and an ending that promises just that.

O’Hearn, Kate. Return to Atlantis. 448p. (Atlantis: Bk. 2). Aladdin. Jan. 2023. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534456945.
Gr 4-8–Cousins Riley and Alfie have survived the perilous journey back from Atlantis aboard the Moon Dancer and are safely home with their mother. They’ve brought with them several Atlanteans, some of which have changed to animal form already. Despite the joy of seeing her mother again, Riley and the Atlanteans notice that they’re getting weak and sick. Will returning to Atlantis be the thing to save them? In a race against time and finding the transportation to get back there, they know it’s their only hope. They also know returning to Atlantis has its own pitfalls and dangers, and that not everyone there will be happy to see them. In this series sequel, O’Hearn delivers big on the imagination and sentiments. VERDICT Filled with suspense and excitement, this novel is sure to delight all fantasy lovers.

Perry, Jamar J. Cameron Battle and the Escape Trials. 320p. (Cameron Battle: Bk. 2). Bloomsbury. Feb. 2023. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781547607259.
Gr 4-7–Cameron Battle, now the chosen Descendant of Chidani, is back home with his grandma and at the beginning of his seventh-grade year. Best friends Zion and Aliyah are Cameron’s support system when he is ruthlessly bullied by a boy named Vince. Determined to save his mother and find his father, Cameron knows he must make his way back to Chidani with the help of the Book, which has become a part of him. Upon opening the Book, however, Chidani requires the trio to return much sooner than grandma was prepared to let them go. Adventures ensue right from the get-go with a kidnapping, open portals, a lost ring, and two trials that must be tackled in order for Cameron to have any hope of seeing his mother and father again. Can Cameron summon the power within him to see through these trials? Will he be able to save those closest to him and even figure out a way to forgive those who are unkind? VERDICT This installment in the thrilling series is a surefire delight that ­complements all fantasy shelves.

Randall, Julian. Pilar Ramirez and the Curse of San Zenon. 272p. (Pilar Ramirez: Bk. 2). Holt. Feb. 2023. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250774125.
Gr 4-7–Now that Pilar has returned from Zafa, she has decided to keep her adventures a secret, including the truth about her long-lost cousin Natasha. On a family trip to the Dominican Republic, Pilar is pulled back into danger by friends who need help. The Curse of San Zenon is being recreated by Raiza, which brings on storms and great danger. Now Natasha and Pilar are in for the fight of their lives. Both must utilize their powers to defeat the evil that threatens both worlds. Action-packed details on every page fully bring the conclusion of this duology to life. VERDICT A satisfying conclusion that is highly recommended. Hand to fans of Rena Barron’s Maya and the Rising Dark and B.B. Alston’s Amari and the Night Brothers.

White, Kiersten. Camp Creepy. 288p. (Sinister Summer: Bk. 3). Delacorte. Jan. 2023. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593379127.
Gr 3-6–The “Sinister Summer” is back with its third installment. Wil, Theo, and Alexander have been dropped off by strange Aunt Saffronia in her curiously disappearing car at Camp Creek. Summer camp is supposed to be fun, and everyone appears to be having exactly that. So much fun is being had by everyone that it appears unnatural—everything at Camp Creek is perfect, perfectly joyful, perfectly timed, and perfectly smiley. That’s too much perfect for Theo, who is the only one able to keep her wits about her and investigate the root cause of everyone’s endless joy. And where are their parents? VERDICT A strong, swirling mystery filled with humor and wit. Recommended for all readers who enjoyed the first two entries.

Tracy Cronce, Stevens Point Pub. Sch. District, WI

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