These are not book series that start out great and lose quality by the 2nd or 3rd book — these series STAY great the entire series. Trust me. That’s my pet peeve. 🙂
That being said, I realize that there are a lot more fantasy and sci-fi books than other genres so I will continue to add to this list as I find more exceptional books in other genres. I think part of the issues is coming of age, realistic books generally are one and done. Not book series.
What do you think?
Go HERE to find all of my book recommendations for 12-year-olds.
Go HERE to see book series ideas for 6th graders.
Best Book Series for 7th Graders
Cinder (Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer
This is a great series for teens who are transitioning from middle-grade to YA books. When Prince Kai asks Cinder, a human with cyborg parts, to fix something for him, she becomes entangled in a plot that puts her life at risk and the entire country’s fate is hanging in the balance. And, it turns out she’s not who she thinks she is. This is an AMAZING can’t-put-it-down series based on fairy tales like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Red Riding Hood! And, every book is just as good as the previous book. BOX SET
The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Michael Vey #1) by Richard Paul Evans
If you like fast-paced adventure and science fiction, you’ll love this fantastic series about a boy with electrical powers and an evil group who wants to control him and others like him. It’s an addictive series for kids who enjoy action, suspense, and adventure. BOX SET
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
LIFE-CHANGING! Seriously. This incredible story grips the coward in us all as we relate to Leo who shares how he loves and fails to stand up for Stargirl, the most unique, ukulele-playing girl that Mica High has ever seen. Her strangeness at first is delightful to other students including Leo, but when she cheers for both basketball teams, even the opposition!!, her classmates shun her. Even Leo. Leo regrets his behavior when Stargirl disappears. This is one of my favorite stories for this the middle school age group because it deals with kindness, peer pressure, acceptance, and individuality.
The Maze Runner by James Dasher
What a wild ride! Middle school students especially 7th and 8th graders can’t put these books down. In this dystopian world, kids are either killed or must kill to survive. There are tons of plot twists which will keep your kids surprised and entertained. Boxed Set HERE.
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
In this Wizard of Oz remix, Dorothy is evil and Amy Gunn, the other girl from Kansas, is recruited to help the freedom fighters to fix and free all of Oz. Great writing plus an unexpected plot make this hard to put down book series for 7th graders!
Unwanteds by Lissa McMann
FANTASY / DYSTOPIAN
The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks with Jordie Bellaire
In an Asian-influenced series about an occupied city, we meet two kids from different clans and backgrounds who become unlikely friends. Kaidu is a Dao and new to the Nameless City where he’s studying to be a soldier. Rat is a street girl who teaches Kaidu how to survive in the city. Together they save the city’s leader from an assassination plot. The action and characters are compelling and complex, appropriate for middle schoolers in 7th grade. Next in this series is The Stone Heart.
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Ghost accidentally gets on a track team and it’s life-changing. His coach becomes a mentor and father figure who pushes Ghost to take responsibility for his mistakes (stealing sneakers) and to start dealing with the ghosts of his past. Well-written and hopeful about growing up and growing into yourself. Next in the series is Patina which is an incredible story, too.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Epic fantasy stories weave together a world of magical creatures where evil is threatening the land. The writing is complex, detailed, and intense but for kids who are motivated, it is doable if your kids are motivated. BOX SET
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Because this is written in verse, this is a fast read but packs a big punch. Basketball player and twin Josh narrates his life in quarters, just like the game he plays. He writes about missing his twin when his twin, Jordan, gets a girlfriend; about getting in trouble when he hits Jordan in the face with a basketball; and about watching his father as his heart fails. This is a coming-of-age, gripping story about a boy who is just trying to figure out life like most boys at age 12.
Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Magic and color are closely linked in her world. Only Alice has no color in her skin or hair. And her father has been missing for years making her even sadder. Alice and a boy named Oliver search for her father in a different magical land in order to hopefully rescue him. But the rules are wildly different and the inhabitants eat people for their magic. Even though Oliver and Alice start their quest at odds, the many challenges join them in a solid friendship. Furthermore is a uniquely creative plot that is so well written, you won’t want it to end.
The Ruins of Gorlan: Ranger’s Apprentice by John A. Flanagan
Will is apprenticed to become a Ranger, a job he’s unsure about. But as he develops a relationship with his master and learns what being a Ranger is all about (spying for the kingdom,) and comes to embrace his new life. When an old enemy of the kingdom sends out dangerous beasts to attack Will’s master, Will is instrumental in getting help and killing the creatures. Action, fantasy, adventure, friendship, excellent writing — this book has it all! Ranger’s Apprentice is a must-read, mesmerizing epic fantasy series for middle school readers. BOXED SET
The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts by Avi
Action-packed from the first page, this is one historical fiction novel you don’t want to miss. Oliver wakes to find his house flooded and his father missing. After being thrown in the poorhouse for orphans, he manages to escape with stolen money only to be accosted by a highwayman. It’s one misfortune after another but Oliver is determined to find his father and sister in London. Somehow.
The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
This middle-grade novel is a puzzling mystery that only the boy named Ted who seems to be on the spectrum can solve. How did his cousin disappear from a closed pod on the London Eye? The enjoyable action and intrigue will keep your attention throughout — and you’ll wonder why you didn’t guess the ending before Ted figured it out.
Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle by N.D. Wilson
By the same author as 100 Cupboards, this is a creative, thrilling, action-packed time-traveling adventure. Our hero, Sam Miracle, is a foster kid with two bad arms, who sees things that no one else can — things in a parallel world. Of course, he’s got enemies who wish to stop him. In fact, those enemies have killed him many times in past versions of the world. But with the help of a wise Native American healer, a Native American priest, the two personality-filled snakes that have become his arms (!), and his friend, Glory, maybe, just maybe, Sam can live and save the world.
Bloom by Kenneth Oppel
Edge of Extinction The Ark Plan by Laura Martin
DYSTOPIAN / ADVENTURE
Cloned dinosaurs have taken over the world so Sky and her fellow humans live below ground in safety with Noah as their supreme ruler. Sky discovers that her missing (maybe traitor?) father left her a secret note with cryptic instructions on how to be found. She decides to leave the underground city in order to find her dad. Barely outside a day, she and her friend Shawn are rescued from hungry dinosaurs by a boy who lives in a treetop enclave. When his enclave is attacked by Noah’s soldiers looking for her, Sky realizes that everything she believed about Noah is wrong and is even more determined to find her father. LOVED it!
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
HISTORICAL / FANTASY
Part historical (ancient Rome) and part fantasy, Elias and Laia live in a world that enslaves them both in different ways — Elias with fighting and Laia with serving and spying. This is an epic page-turning series with lots of mystery, action, and a hint of romance. It’s SO good that it’s one of the most popular YA books right now.
Dark Life by Kat Falls
When the oceans swallowed much of the earth, humans either moved into stacked cities or the ocean floor. Ty lives in the ocean but his way of life is threatened by murderous outlaws who steal and kill. He befriends a Topside girl named Gemma who is looking for her brother undersea. They learn that her brother is the leader of the outlaws, was a former medical experiment, and has Dark gifts just like Ty. This is action and intrigue from the get-go and your 7th graders will love every minute of it. (Next in the series is Rip Tide.)
Chains (Seeds of America) by Laurie Halse Anderson
Experience the Revolutionary War through the eyes of an African-American girl named Isabel and her friend, Cuzon. Whether enslaved, escaped, or enlisted, these two are determined survivors. The writing is amazing and the story is captivating. I love and highly recommend this historical fiction book series for students in middle school. Boxed Set Here.
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
I love this YA book series’ unique world and so will your 7th graders. Epics are super-powerful, evil god-like creatures who control the world’s cities. Because David’s father was killed by Chicago’s Epic named Steelheart, David wants revenge. He joins the rebel group, the Reckoners, to learn how to assassinate Steelheart– a next to impossible feat for a regular human like him. This is a page-turning, mesmerizing series. BOX SET
Above World by Jenn Reese
Modified humans live in tech-dependent, animal-morphed groups (mer people, snake people, centaur, bird people) in different climates and the groups have mostly remained separate from each other. The main character, Aluna, a Kampii (mer), leaves her clan in order to discover why her clan is dying. In Mirage, she and her unique group of friends try to convince the Equian colonies that the evil Karl Strand is trying to take over all of Above World. Ultimately, these books pack in both action and adventure with creative storytelling.
The Sisters Club by Megan McDonald
Meet the Sisters Club: twelve-year-old Alex, an aspiring actress and born drama queen; eight-year-old Joey, homework lover, and pioneer wannabe; and smack in the middle, ten-year-old Stevie, the glue that holds them together — through dinner disasters, disputes over stolen lucky sweaters, and Alex’s going gaga over her leading man. Great for 12-year-old girls.
House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
This Newbery winner grabs your 7th graders’ attention immediately with an unbelievable (but kind-of believable) story of a boy named Matt who is a clone of the leader of Opium, El Patrón. He realizes that he’s not the first El Patrón clone and learns of a sinister reason why he’s the only Patron clone still alive. Next in the series is: The Lord of Opium.
Jack Templar Monster Hunter: The Templar Chronicles: Book One by Jeff Guns
After Jack is attacked by monsters more than once, he learns he’s a Monster Hunter and fair game to be hunted. It’s not as scary as it sounds; it is more of an adventure with monsters which happens to include zombies.
The Ghost Network: Activate by I.I. Davidson
Jack and his friend are hackers who get taken to a top-secret tech school where dangerous secrets are hidden behind the STEM school facade. Not only are the kids in danger but there also seems to be a computer implanted inside their brains telling them what to do! The story intrigued me from the get-go and the pacing and suspense just keeps growing. Great for 7th graders who love STEM.
This series kept my daughter reading all summer one year. The story begins when a group of middle school girls start a mother-daughter book club. Each book in the series focuses on one book (such as Little Women, Daddy Long Legs, and Pride and Prejudice) and the often dramatic relationships between the girls among themselves and their relationships with their mothers as well as the business of growing up. BOX SET
Wereworld by Curtis Jobling
Drew is raised on a farm and knows little about the world around. He’s ill-prepared to live on the run, which he must do when he unexpectedly develops were/shifter powers. Fortunately, he meets the other WereLords including a WereBear Lord who fought with Drew’s father and is willing to help him. Kidnappings, revenge, murder, and a prophecy — this book series has all the elements 7th graders want in a fantasy adventure.
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