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Why watch TV when you can read books? Just kidding! I love to watch TV. 

But you know I love to read too! Summer is a great time to attack the huge pile of books on my nightstand and to add lots of new ones too.

Here is a GREAT list of middle-grade books for you to read this summer! There’s fantasy fiction, of course, and lots more. From books about a baking detective to a middle school potato (yes, really!), you are sure to find at least one book on this list that you will love reading this summer!

Have another favorite? Let me know! I’d love to add it to a future list – and to my TBR pile!

Want more book recommendations? 

Check out this guide: The 30 Best Middle-Grade Book Series!

Follow me on Instagram at @gracie.dix.author. With the help of my adorable puppies, Sandy and Snowball, I recommend a variety of middle grade reads every week.

13 Can't Miss Summer Reading Books - Gracie Dix

1. The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris

The Magic Misfits - Summer Reading Books

The magical first book in a series with plenty of tricks up its sleeve – including ciphers, codes, and how to perform magic tricks.

Amazon Book Description:

When street magician Carter runs away, he never expects to find friends and magic in a sleepy New England town. But like any good trick, things change instantly as greedy B.B. Bosso and his crew of crooked carnies arrive to steal anything and everything they can get their sticky fingers on.

After a fateful encounter with the local purveyor of illusion, Dante Vernon, Carter teams up with five other like-minded illusionists. Together, using both teamwork and magic, they’ll set out to save the town of Mineral Wells from Bosso’s villainous clutches. These six Magic Misfits will soon discover adventure, friendship, and their own self-worth in this delightful new series.

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2. From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

From debut author Janae Marks comes a captivating mystery full of heart, as one courageous girl questions assumptions, searches for the truth, and does what she believes is right—even in the face of great opposition. A perfect book for fans of Front Desk and All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook!

Amazon Book Description:

Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime?

A crime he says he never committed.

Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family. Everyone else thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge.

But with bakery confections on one part of her mind, and Marcus’s conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn’t know how to balance. The only thing she knows to be true: Everyone lies.

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3. Aru Shah and The End of Time by Roshani Chokski

This is on my TBR pile, and I am super excited that it is the first book in a series! Do you love book series? I do because I get to keep visiting my favorite characters and their world’s again and again. 

Amazon Book Description:

Best-selling author Rick Riordan introduces this adventure by Roshani Chokshi about twelve-year-old Aru Shah, who has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

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4. Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

This middle-grade fantasy features African American folk heroes and West African gods. 

Amazon Book Description:

Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he’s going to spend on his grandparents’ farm in Alabama, where he’s being sent to heal from the tragedy. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie’s notebook. Tristan chases after it–is that a doll?–and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree.

In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature’s hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world. Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left black American folk heroes John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky. But bartering with the trickster Anansi always comes at a price. Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves?

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5. Farah Rocks Fifth Grade by Susan Muaddi Darraj, illustrated by Ruaida Mannaa

If you love this one, you will be happy to know the sequel, Farah Rocks Summer, debuts August 1. 

Amazon Book Description: 

Farah and her best friend, Allie Liu, are getting excited to turn in their applications to the Magnet Academy, where they both hope to attend sixth grade. But when new girl Dana Denver shows up, Farah’s world is turned upside down. As Dana starts bullying Farah’s little brother, Samir, Farah begins to second-guess her choice to leave him behind at Harbortown Elementary/Middle School. Determined to handle it on her own, Farah comes up with a plan–a plan that involves lying to those closest to her. Will her lies catch up with her, or can Farah find a way to defeat the bully and rock fifth grade?

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6. Welcome to Superhero School by Gracie Dix

This is my debut novel! If you like fast-paced action and adventure, give it a try! I think it is so fun to read! Best of all, Welcome to Superhero School highlights the importance of friendship, working together, embracing your differences and never giving up! 

Amazon Book Description:
Welcome to Superhero School! Join Oliver, Jess, and all their friends on a mission to destroy the power-hungry, evil villains of Vork. From subterranean sewers to lush jungle, from dinosaurs to dragons, our heroes will be pushed to their limits in ways they’d never imagined.

Will their collective Powers—Flight, Morphing, Invisibility, Mind Reading, and more—be enough for them to overcome the malevolence of Vork? Or will they stumble over their own doubts and painful histories?

This action-packed journey of friendship, hardship, and humor will take our heroes to thrilling new heights and a deeper understanding of their own place in the world. But will that be enough—or will Vork always be one step ahead?

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7. Journey to Superhero School by Gracie Dix

Summer Reading Books - Welcome to Superhero School

Read it before Welcome to Superhero School, or after! This quick and fun prequel answers all your reader questions about Oliver and Jessica Fletcher – including how they got their powers, why the twins are in different grades, and most importantly, how did they end up at Superhero School???

Amazon Book Description:

When twins Jessica and Oliver Fletcher discover their Super Powers at age 4, the family realizes their lives will never be the same again. Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher work hard to raise this dynamic pair, helping them try to fit in while learning to use their Powers to better themselves and the world around them. School is especially tricky for these students who must not reveal their Powers—until their mother receives a mysterious phone call in the middle of the night. While Jessica and Oliver face a variety of challenges—from battling living-room décor, to daring rescues, to bungling doctors—they get through it all with family support, love for each other, and their own unique brand of sibling sarcasm. This is only the beginning of their adventures, so join the Fletcher twins on their Journey to Superhero School.

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8. The Queen Bee and Me by Gillian McDunn

From the highly acclaimed author of Caterpillar Summer comes a heartfelt story about the sweetness and stings of middle-school friendship.

Amazon Book Description:

Meg has always found comfort in her best friend Beatrix’s shadow. Self-assured Beatrix is the one who makes decisions, and the girls have been a pair since kindergarten. But middle school has brought some changes in Beatrix, especially when Meg tries to step outside her role as sidekick.

A special science elective is Meg’s first step away, but when she’s paired with quirky new girl Hazel, Beatrix steps in to stake her claim on Meg. Meg is taken aback at how mean Beatrix can be–and how difficult it is to stand up to her friend. But as Meg gets to know Hazel while working on their backyard beehive project, she starts to wonder: Is being Beatrix’s friend worth turning down the possibility of finding her own voice? 

This pitch-perfect exploration of middle-school friendship dynamics brims with heart and hope and will resonate with readers of all ages.

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9. My Life As a Potato by Arianne Costner

For anyone who has ever felt like a potato in middle school, this hilarious story about a boy forced to become the dorkiest school mascot ever will have readers cheering!

Amazon Book Description: 

Ben Hardy believes he’s cursed by potatoes. And now he’s moved to Idaho, where the school’s mascot is Steve the Spud! Yeah, this cannot be good.

After accidentally causing the mascot to sprain an ankle, Ben is sentenced to Spud duty for the final basketball games of the year. But if the other kids know he’s the Spud, his plans for popularity are likely to be a big dud! Ben doesn’t want to let the team down, so he lies to his friends to keep it a secret. No one will know it’s him under the potato suit . . . right?

Life as a potato is all about not getting mashed! With laugh-out-loud illustrations throughout, hand to fans of James Patterson, Gordan Korman, Jeff Kinney, and Chris Grabenstein!

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10. The Witches of Willow Cove by Josh Roberts

If you’re looking for something spooky, thrilling and fun – this is the book for you!

Amazon Book Description:

It’s not easy being a teenage witch. Seventh grader Abby Shepherd is just getting the hang of it when weird stuff starts happening all around her hometown of Willow Cove. Green slime bubbling to life in science class. Giant snakes slithering around the middle school gym. Her best friend suddenly keeping secrets and telling lies.

Things only begin to make sense when a stranger named Miss Winters reveals that Abby isn’t the only young witch in town—and that Willow Cove is home to a secret past that connects them all. Miss Winters, herself a witch, even offers to teach Abby and the others everything she knows about witchcraft.

But as Abby learns more about Miss Winters’ past, she begins to suspect her new mentor is keeping secrets of her own. Can Abby trust her, or does Miss Winters have something wicked planned for the young witches of Willow Cove?

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11. Nevermoor – The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

This is a great fantasy book, and is the first in a series!

Amazon Book Description:

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks–and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It’s then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each with an extraordinary talent that sets them apart–an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests–or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

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12. Rating Your Bunkmates & Other Camp Crimes by Jennifer Orr

With a bit of mystery and a lot of fun, this one is perfect for all those campers out there!

Amazon Book Description:

Twelve-year-old Abigail Hensley is a socially awkward aspiring anthropologist who has always had trouble connecting with her peers. Abigail is hopeful that a week at sleepaway camp is the answer to finally making a friend. After all, her extensive research shows that summer camp is the best place to make lifelong connections. Using her tried-and-true research methods, Abigail begins to study her cabinmates for friendship potential. But just when it seems that she is off to a good start, her bunkmate’s phone gets stolen, and Abigail is the main suspect. Can she clear her name, find the real culprit, and make a friend before the week is done?

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13. The Iron Trial – Book 1 in The Magisterium Series by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

I just finished reading this series and I absolutely loved it! It is filled with magic, peril, and awesome adventures, along with characters you will love. Best of all, there are five books, all available now. 

Amazon Book Description:

Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial. Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.
All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst — and fails at failing. Now the Magisterium awaits him. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future. The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .

From the remarkable imaginations of bestselling authors, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare come a heart-stopping, mind-blowing, pulse-pounding plunge into the magical unknown.

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