Get ready for the best new adventure books and mystery books for kids because here are more than enough recommendations to keep your kids reading for months. (These are mostly all middle grade chapter books with three YA books that I snuck in at the end.) As always, happy reading!
Thrilling Adventure and Mystery Chapter Books
The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones by Will Mabbitt ADVENTURE ages 8 – 12
Caught picking her nose . . . and eating it . . . means Mabel Jones gets taken by animal pirates to another world of animals. This is a fun adventure filled with crazy characters, a dramatic narrator, and goofy illustrations. This is an easier chapter book, perfect for 8-year olds.
The Curious Cat Spy Club by Linda Joy Singleton MYSTERY ages 8 – 12
What a fantastic new book series — my daughter and I devoured this first book. (She’s currently enjoying the 2nd.) Three kids from seemingly different social circles band together to rescue kittens they found in a dumpster — and solve the mystery of who would try to kill the kittens.
The Perilous Princess Plot (Buckle and Squash) by Sarah Courtlauld HUMOR FANTASY ages 7 – 10
Very sarcastic and funny humor will keep you entertained throughout this book about a silly sister obsessed with princes and her more steady sister who rescues her from a kidnapping plot. Also, the great illustrations will help beginning readers enjoy this beginning chapter book.
The Magnificent Lizzie Brown and the Ghost Ship by Vicki Lockwood MYSTERY ages 8 – 12
I couldn’t put this down! Lizzie Brown lives with a circus, she’s their psychic and she’s for real. When the circus travels to the seaside home of a Maharaja, Lizzie’s visions help her figure out who stole from him and if the Ghost Ship is real.
Seven Dead Pirates by Linda Bailey ADVENTURE ages 8 – 12
Who would think that the pirate ghosts in his bedroom would help the quiet, shy Lewis find adventure and bravery? Well, maybe you the reader would. Seven Dead Pirates is an excellent pirate adventure about growing up and about getting the rowdy ghost pirates to behave, sneak to their ship in a museum so they can fight another ghost pirate crew for it and steal it.
Seaborne: The Lost Prince by Matt Myklusch ADVENTURE ages 8 – 12
In this well-written, fantastic action and adventure novel, Dean Seaborne grows up on a pirate ship as their best spy and con-artist. But when he messes up the latest mission, he must pass himself off as the long-lost prince of the mysterious island of Zenhala. Once there, he must find and steal the treasure for the pirates. But strangely, Dean really might be the long-lost prince and he’s not sure he wants to rob the island anymore.
The Mysterious Woods of Whistle Root by Christopher Pennell, illustrated by Rebecca Bond FANTASY
Unusual because she can only sleep during the day, orphan Carly befriends a musical rat and with her new friend from school, Green, discovers the reason the owls are stealing all the rats — a curse that brought the terrible griddlebeast. Suspenseful, well-written, and intriguing.
Six: A Devastating Call. An Impossible Journey. And No Turning Back. by M.M. Vaughan SCI-FI ages 8 – 12
This is a fantastic, fast-paced adventure! I loved every second of this story and know your kids will as well. When Parker’s scientist father is kidnapped, he sends Parker an interrupted message with only a name. Parker, his friend Aaron, his friend’s butler, and his sister, Emma, race to save their father, only to discover that his father is on another planet and the technology to get him back is the invention his dad was working on.
Voyagers: Project Alpha 1 by D.J. MacHale SCI-FI ages 8 – 12
I liked this book but I will say that the story line isn’t all that original. (I’m thinking in particular of Dom Testa’s fantastic Galahad series.) However, it’s a decent sci-fi adventure (gateway book?) with more books to come. Basically the world is in danger of running out of fossil fuels, and to save it, a group of the smartest and most skilled 12-year old kids must travel through space in order to get the materials that will save Earth. The story follows the kids competing for a place on the team, and their travel to the first planet for the first thing they need — a tooth from an enormous dinosaur. But, they’ve been followed by another ship and it’s hot on their trail.
Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar SCI-FI ages 8 – 12
They’re not supposed to be in the woods, but to avoid Chad the bully, Tamaya and Marshall go there anyway. Tamaya discovers the weird looking “fuzzy mud” and throws it at Chad’s face. When Chad goes missing, and Tamaya’s hand gets a bloody rash, it’s clear that the mud is not just mud. Fast-paced and adventurous, kids won’t be able to put this book down. I couldn’t.
The Rig by Joe Ducie SCI-FI ages 10+
Oh, this was a deliciously good action story. I loved how the author wove in the science-fiction elements with a realistic story of incarcerated kids who are mistrusting, and find that there are a few people in the world that they can trust. This detention center is on an oil rig in the ocean. But Drake is determined to escape — especially after he discovers what the Rig is really doing.
The Chess Queen Enigma A Stoker & Holmes Novel by Colleen Gelason HISTORICAL MYSTERY ages 12+
I thoroughly enjoyed this 2nd book in the Stoker and Holmes series. The two compelling main characters, Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes, become entrenched in the mystery of a missing chess queen that is thought to unlock treasures and power.
The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes ADVENTURE ages 13+
I enjoyed this fast-paced action book but if your child reads it, it requires some background knowledge of the U.S. political structure because the story takes place in D.C. with all the movers and shakers. So, learn what the Whip is. That kind of thing. But, I really liked the overarching themes of friendship, forgiveness, and redemption and found it to be a thrilling adventure story.