Middle Grade Fiction

Hey there! I’m J. Philip Horne, author of several fantasy novels for MG readers. I’ve also raised four prolific readers, and in every case I had trouble keeping up with their reading in the middle grade years… from roughly ages 9 to 14. Past the early chapter books, but not wanting to read angsty, romantic YA novels. I figured I can’t be the only parent with that struggle, so I put together this page to provide a list of books to check out and evaluate for your own children. The list tilts toward fantasy but is not exclusively so.

I plan to add to the list, so leave a comment if there’s a series or book that you believe needs to be added and I’ll take a look. And remember, prices are always subject to change, so please confirm the price before purchasing.


Benjamin Dragon - Awakening by CG Cooper / 3-book series / Price: FREE / A bully thrown without a touch... A girl saved from certain death... Who is this boy named Benjamin Dragon? What would you do if you found out you had special powers? Find out what Benjamin does when he's given the chance to snatch life out of the greedy jaws of death itself.
Joss the Seven by J. Philip Horne (that's me!) / 2-book series / Price: $2.99 / 14yo Joss Morgan loves a good prank, but the joke’s on him when he discovers he has superpowers. The Mockers are coming for Joss, and he doesn’t know why. When they show up at his house, Joss is out of time. He sets up a desperate, high-stakes prank to save his family. If he fails, he won’t end up in the principal’s office. He’ll be six feet under.
Kilenya Series Books One, Two, and Three by Andrea Pearson / 6-book series / Price: FREE / Jacob Clark is a typical 14-year-old. At least, until a pack of wolves chases him out of our world and into Eklaron. There, he discovers he has special powers—ones that can help the people in his new world. As long as the covetous Lorkon don’t catch up with him first. To save himself and his new people, Jacob must go on a potentially deadly quest. With no one to trust...

The Ruins of Gorlan by John A. Flanagan / 12-book series / Price: $8.99 / They have always scared him in the past—the Rangers, with their dark cloaksand shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger's apprentice. What he doesn't yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom...
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull / 5-book series / Price: $6.83 / For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were gathered to a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic in a cynical world. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite. . . Kendra and her brother Seth have no idea ...
Town Secrets by Scott Gelowitz / 3-book series / Price: FREE / Mythical, historical and scientific secrets are hidden in a small prairie town, and a group of boys may be the only ones able to protect the biggest secret of all. A centuries-old organization within the tiny town of Grayson protects many secrets - from unknown scientific discoveries to the truth about the mythical island of Atlantis...

Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull / 3-book series / Price: $6.99 / Cole Randolph was just trying to have a fun time with his friends on Halloween (and maybe get to know Jenna Hunt a little better). But when a spooky haunted house turns out to be a portal to something much creepier, Cole finds himself on an adventure on a whole different level. After Cole sees his friends whisked away to some mysterious place underneath...
The Mage and the Magpie by Austin J. Bailey / 3-book series / Price: FREE / An invisible girl. A missing mage. A world in need… Brinley has spent most of her life lost in her own imagination, teaching bullfrogs to do gymnastics and pretending to be invisible. Now, when a magic bell from another world summons her across time and space on a journey to find her mother, she will discover real friendship, face true evil, and overcome her greatest fears ...
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann / 7-book series / Price: $6.99 / When Alex finds out he is Unwanted, he expects to die. That is the way of the people of Quill. Each year, all the thirteen-year-olds are labeled as Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Wanteds get more schooling and train to join the Quillitary. Necessaries keep the farms running. Unwanteds are set for elimination. It’s hard for Alex to leave behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted...

The Mosque Hill Fortune by Vivienne Mathews / 2-book series / Price: FREE / A haunting mist sits on the harbor beneath Secora Tor. It hides a secret that only Captain Marshall, accomplished military figure and heir to the greatest explorer in the kingdom’s history, can unlock. When he receives a cryptic message from a shocking source, the stoic otter sets out on a dangerous journey to save his queen, never suspecting that McKinley the Marauder...
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis / 7-book series / Price: $6.99 / Four adventurers step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.
The Monster’s Ring by Bruce Coville / 5-book series / Price: $6.99 / Twist it once, you're horned and haired; Twist it twice and fangs are bared; Twist it thrice? No one has dared! Russell is sure that the ring he gets at Mr. Elives' shop is just a silly magic trick, but he follows the instructions and twists the ring twice anyway--and becomes a monster!

The Finding by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson / 4-book series / Price: FREE / When the dragon Jaax receives word that a human infant has been found in the province of Oescienne, he doesn’t dare believe it. Humans have been extinct for centuries, trapped by a terrible curse and left to live out their existence in the form of dragons. Despite his doubts, however, Jaax assumes responsibility for the baby girl only to discover that...
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan / 5-book series / Price: $6.99 / Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. Book #1 in the NYT best-selling series, with cover art from the feature film, The Lightning Thief.
Magyk by Angie Sage / 7-book series / Price: $3.99 / Septimus Heap, the seventh son of the seventh son, disappears the night he is born, pronounced dead by the midwife. That same night, the baby's father, Silas Heap, comes across an abandoned child in the snow—a newborn girl with violet eyes. Who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to the Heaps' beloved son Septimus?

Island of Fog by Keith Robinson / 9-book series / Price: FREE / A group of twelve-year-old children tucked away on a hidden island discover they're shapeshifters, able to transform into beasts of myth and legend. What could possibly go wrong? A lonely, foggy island is home to eight families. Hal and his classmates have always wondered what happened all those years ago on the mainland, that unseen place Out There beyond ...
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer / 8-book series / Price: $6.99 / Twelve-year-old Artemis is a millionaire, a genius-and above all, a criminal mastermind. But Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren't the fairies of the bedtime stories-they're dangerous!
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy / 3-book series / Price: $5.99 / Meet Skulduggery Pleasant: Ace Detective; Snappy Dresser; Razor–tongued Wit; Crackerjack Sorcerer: and Walking, Talking, Fire-throwing Skeleton—as well as ally, protector, and mentor of Stephanie Edgley, a very unusual and darkly talented twelve-year-old. These two alone must defeat an all-consuming ancient evil. The end of the world? Over his dead body.

Blast of the Dragon’s Fury by LRW Lee / 7-book series / Price: FREE / Andy Smithson just found out how much the zap of a wizard's curse can sting. But after an epically bad day, he finds wizards are the least of his problems. An otherworldly force draws him to a medieval world where fire-breathing dragons, deranged pixies, and vengeful spirits are the way of things. Trading his controller for a sword of legend, Andy embarks upon ...
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling / 7-book series / Price: $8.99 / Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry's eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!
The Viking's Apprentice by Kevin McLeod / 4-book series / Price: FREE / What would you do if you discovered nothing was as you thought, and the fate of your friends, perhaps even the world was in your hands? That’s the reality Peter must face in this award-winning middle Grade adventure, The Viking’s Apprentice. Campbell’s Cove is a small town surrounded in mystery and intrigue. The history of the Cove tells us of dragons, trolls, goblins ...

Eragon by Christopher Paolini / 4-book series / Price: $8.99 / Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire.
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls / Standalone / Price: $7.99 / Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he’s finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own—Old Dan and Little Ann—he’s ecstatic. It doesn’t matter that times are tough; together they’ll roam the hills of the Ozarks. Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements ...
Royal Deception by Denae Christine / 3-book series / Price: $2.99 / A Prince who can shift his arms into swords, a tutor who can shift his arms into wings, and a madman who wants to kill them both. Like all royals, thirteen-year-old Prince Symon is a living weapon. Literally. His best friend, Lana, is also a blade shifter, his tutor is a bird shifter, and then his only brother is killed by fish shifters. Should Symon embrace animal shifter persecution...

Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix / 8-book series / Price: $6.99 / Thirteen-year-old Jonah has always known that he was adopted, and he's never thought it was any big deal. Then he and a new friend, Chip, who's also adoped, begin receiving mysterious letters. The first one says, "You are one of the missing." The second one says, "Beware! They're coming back to get you." Jonah, Chip, and Jonah's sister, Katherine, are plunged into ...
The Mystery of Hollow Inn by Tara Ellis / 8-book series / Price: $2.99 / Twelve-year-old Samantha Wolf, and her best friend Ally, are excited to spend part of their summer break in the mountains of Montana. But unbeknownst to them, Hollow Inn is bathed in mystery and legend. After arriving, they soon discover that things are not going well for Sam's Aunt and Uncle, who own the Inn. There's vandalism, ghostly sightings, and rumors of lost...
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke / 3-book series / Price: $6.99 / One cruel night, Meggie's father reads aloud from a book called INKHEART-- and an evil ruler escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books. Meggie must learn to harness the magic that has conjured this nightmare. For only she can change the course of the...

Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon by HL Burke / Standalone / Price: FREE / Thaddeus F. Whiskers is a pampered palace pet, a kitten enchanted to never become a cat. Princess Clarice loves him, for in the entire kingdom, there is no other kitten as cute or as clever. He leads a life of cushions and cream until a wizard's "gift" results in his banishment. Determined to make it back to the princess he loves, he escapes into the wilderness where he ...
The Dragonet Prophecy by Tui T. Sutherland / 10-book series / Price: $3.99 / The seven dragon tribes have been at war for generations, locked in an endless battle over an ancient, lost treasure. A secret movement called the Talons of Peace is determined to bring an end to the fighting, with the help of a prophecy -- a foretelling that calls for great sacrifice.

One more for the road…
Please enjoy my youngest son’s very short book review of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. You can watch more of his reviews here. Join me on my Facebook page for more fun!

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