Summer vacation is over and it’s time to hit the books! I love school books, don’t you?
Oh wait, did you think I meant the kind you study at school? Nope, I’m talking about books about schools and the kids who go to them.
In this post, I rounded up 15 “school books” that I think you’ll like. Some are about magical kids going to magical schools, some are about “special” kids going to “regular” schools, and some are even about mostly normal kids going to mostly normal schools. Every one of them has a story to tell.
Pop quiz! What was your favorite book that you read this summer? Stop by my Instagram account and tell me about it. I’m always looking to add more books to my TBR pile. If you can’t think of anything, keep reading: your new fave might be one of the books below.
I hope you enjoy going back to school with one or more of these great reads! For even more school books—the magical kind—check out my post from last summer: Magical Schools for Back to School.
1. The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles
Be careful what you wish for! A couple of cousins really want just little more summer, but when time literally stops it’s not the fun they were hoping for. This is one of the Legendary Alston Boys Adventures.
Amazon description: Otto and Sheed are the local sleuths in their zany Virginia town, masters of unraveling mischief using their unmatched powers of deduction. And as the summer winds down and the first day of school looms, the boys are craving just a little bit more time for fun, even as they bicker over what kind of fun they want to have. That is, until a mysterious man appears with a camera that literally freezes time. Now, with the help of some very strange people and even stranger creatures, Otto and Sheed will have to put aside their differences to save their town—and each other—before time stops for good.
2. Brainwashed by Paul Aertker
When an adventure starts on the roof of a school—and it’s a spy school—you know this is going to be good. This is the first book of three in the Crime Travelers Spy School Mystery & International Adventure Series.
Amazon description: While sleeping on the roof of his father’s hotel-spy school, thirteen-year-old Lucas Benes finds a baby alone and learns that the Good Company has restarted its profitable brainwashing business. The first book in the trilogy tracks the secret urban adventures of international teenage spies. Lucas, the reluctant hero, leads a group of friends through the hotspots of Paris-from the catacombs to the Eiffel tower-in an all-out effort to sabotage a brainwashing ceremony that could potentially turn them all into “Good” kids.
3. Shadow School #1: Archimancy by J. A. White
I usually expect to meet new people at school, but ghosts? That would be…unexpected. If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, this one is for you!
Amazon description: Cordelia Liu knew Shadow School was going to be different. Still, she didn’t expect the school grounds to be filled with ghosts. Cordelia soon realizes she’s not the only one who can see the ghosts; her new friend Benji can too. Together with super-smart Agnes, the trio are determined to find out why the ghosts are there, and whether there’s a way to set them free. But the school was created with more sinister intentions, and someone is willing to go to extreme lengths to ensure that the ghosts remain trapped forever.
4. Night Owl (Upside-Down Magic #8) by Emily Jenkins
I love these topsy-turvy books! It looks like a lot of other people do, too, since it’s a New York Times bestselling series. Want to start at the beginning? Check out Upside Down Magic #1.
Amazon description: It’s Big Night in Dunwiddle . . . and that means the whole school has a sleepover like no other. For one night every year, magic students run through the halls, hunting for the objects that will win them a super special prize. Nory is super excited for the scavenger hunt. Not only because she likes winning, but also because if her team wins, she thinks there’s a chance her best friend Elliott won’t move away to attend super snobby Sage Academy.
Sebastian is a little less excited once the hunt is on. Yes, he has magical powers that help his team—like being able to see invisible things or anything that makes a sound. The problem is that the really loud sounds are hurting him . . . and nobody seems to care. The kids in Upside-Down Magic know their five F’s (Flares, Flyers, Fuzzies, Flickers, and Fluxers)—but to win this night, a sixth F is the most important . . . Friendship.
5. The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty
Imagine getting zapped by lightning and poof! You’re a genius! Pretty awesome, right? Or…maybe not so much.
Amazon description. Lucy Callahan’s life was changed forever when she was struck by lightning. She doesn’t remember it, but the zap gave her genius-level math skills, and she’s been homeschooled ever since. Now, at 12 years old, she’s technically ready for college. She just has to pass 1 more test–middle school!
Lucy’s grandma insists: Go to middle school for 1 year. Make 1 friend. Join 1 activity. And read 1 book (that’s not a math textbook!). Lucy’s not sure what a girl who does calculus homework for fun can possibly learn in 7th grade. She has everything she needs at home, where nobody can make fun of her rigid routines or her superpowered brain. The equation of Lucy’s life has already been solved. Unless there’s been a miscalculation?
6. Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls by Beth McMullen
What’s better than a book about a girl’s school for spies? A series of books about girl spies, of course! This is the first book of three and they’re all fun stories with strong female characters. Love!
Amazon description: After a botched escape plan from her boarding school, Abigail is stunned to discover the school is actually a cover for an elite spy ring called The Center, along with being training grounds for future spies. Even more shocking? Abigail’s mother is a top agent for The Center and she has gone MIA, with valuable information that many people would like to have—at any cost. Along with a former nemesis and charming boy from her grade, Abigail goes through a crash course in Spy Training 101, often with hilarious—and sometimes painful—results. But Abigail realizes she might be a better spy-in-training than she thought—and the answers to her mother’s whereabouts are a lot closer than she thinks…
7. Middle School Bites by Steven Banks
Getting turned into a werewolf…or a zombie…or a vampire…would be bad enough, but Tom is all three. At the same time! Cute cartoons add to the charm of this hilarious book.
Amazon description: Thanks to a series of unfortunate bites, eleven-year-old Tom is a triple threat: he’s a Vam-Wolf-Zom. And just in time for the first day of middle school. So much for his Invisible Tom Plan. He never thought to make a What If I Turn Into A Vampire Werewolf Zombie Plan. Maybe it’s time for a Run Away and Live Somewhere Else Plan?
With the help of his irrepressible best friend, Zeke, Tom tries to accept his future. Zeke thinks being a Vam-Wolf-Zom sounds EXCELLENT! (Zeke thinks everything sounds EXCELLENT!) At least he’ll be able to stand up to the sixth-grade bully. The question is will the rest of Hamilton Middle School accept the Vam-Wolf-Zom, too?
8. Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life (Middle School series Book 1) by James Patterson
This one is so much fun, but there’s a good message in it, too. If you like the book, check out the movie—it’s on YouTube. (And if you liked the movie, check out the book!)
Amazon description: Rafe Khatchadorian has enough problems at home without throwing his first year of middle school into the mix. Luckily, he’s got an ace plan for the best year ever: to break every rule in his school’s oppressive Code of Conduct. Chewing gum in class: 5,000 points! Running in the hallway: 10,000 points! Pulling the fire alarm: 50,000 points! But when Rafe’s game starts to catch up with him, he’ll have to decide if winning is all that matters, or if he’s finally ready to face the rules, bullies, and truths he’s been avoiding.
9. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
Another book that’s (going to be) a movie, and I can’t wait until it comes out! Right now it looks like it will be released on Netflix sometime next year. Until then, we’ll all just have to read—or re-read—the book.
Amazon description: With her glass slippers and devotion to good deeds, Sophie knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and join the ranks of past students like Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White. Meanwhile, Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks and wicked black cat, seems a natural fit for the villains in the School for Evil.
The two girls soon find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School for Good, thrust among handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are?
10. Down with the Dance (Middle School Mayhem Book 1) by C.T. Walsh
Friends, bullies, that whole sibling situation and potential disasters—this book has it all. And it’s funny, too!
Amazon Description: Join Austin on his journey through the tumultuous waters of middle school as he navigates the swampy and undeodorized hallways and explores the depths of the cafeteria’s seafood surprise. Oh, and someone is plotting to take down the Halloween Dance, the one that Austin has his sights set on, so he can take Sophie Rodriguez, a girl way out of his league, but who doesn’t seem to know it.
Can he stay one step ahead of the new principal who has it out for him? Will Austin figure out who the perpetrators are? Will he save the dance in time? Will he wear a diaper on a stakeout?
11. Welcome to Superhero School by Gracie Dix
Even superheroes have to go to school. This is my idea of what that would be like, complete with dragons, flying, morphing, and kids working together. (If you like this one, check out the prequel, Journey to Superhero School.)
Amazon 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?
12. 7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner
Inspired by True Events! Even if it wasn’t, it would still be a great story. It’s kind of like National Treasure…but with 7th graders playing the lead instead of Nicholas Cage.
Amazon Description: 7th grade turns out to be anything but normal when teachers announce the students’ bloodless revolution succeeded and they are now in charge. After conducting a secret-ballot vote on policy, the 7th graders emerge to find the school evacuated and the FBI lurking outside with the task of unearthing a treasure of national importance. The students’ mission is clear—discover the treasure before the FBI locks down the building.
Dennis and Rhonda lead the revolt and must work together to follow century-old clues left by a crazy Revolutionary War buff. To stay one step ahead of the FBI, they must delve into history and amass an arsenal to defend their school … because this is WAR!
13. From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot
If you loved The Princess Diaries (and who didn’t?) then get ready to love the new princess in town.
Amazon Description: Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison is a completely average twelve-year-old. . . . The only things about her that aren’t average are her name (too long and princess themed), her ability to draw animals (useful for her future career as a wildlife illustrator), and the fact that she is a half-orphan who has never met her father and is forced to live with her aunt and uncle (who treat her almost like their own kids, so she doesn’t want to complain).
Then one completely average day, everything goes wrong: the most popular girl in school, Annabelle Jenkins, threatens to beat her up, the principal gives her a demerit, and she’s knocked down at the bus stop . . . Until a limo containing Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia pulls up to invite her to New York to finally meet her father, who promptly invites her to come live with him, Mia, Grandmère and her two fabulous poodles . . . .
Maybe Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison isn’t so average after all!
14. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Here’s another book that got turned into movie. I guess we have a trend. I love the message of this book: You can’t blend in if you were born to stand out.
Amazon description: I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.
August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. Beginning from Auggie’s point of view and expanding to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others, the perspectives converge to form a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope.
15. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
You can’t have a list that includes mysterious magical school books without Harry Potter! I think it’s a rule. Even if it’s not a rule, this whole series is, well, you know…magical. This is the first one, but once you start you’ll want to read them all. Hmmm, maybe it’s time to read these again. . .
Amazon description: 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!
What do you think about all these books? I hope they help you enjoy going back to school, even if it’s between the pages of a book. For even more school books—the magical kind—check out Magical Schools for Back to School.