Do you have a reader who loves the Keepers of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger series and needs a read-alike book to read next? Discover books like Keeper of the Lost Cities; other middle-grade read alikes that your kids will also love as much as Messenger’s magical book series!
One of the best fantasy series for middle grade readers, Keeper of the Lost Cities is a 9-book series full of magical beings, such as elves and goblins who have magical powers. It’s set in both the human world and in a fantasy world and appeals to readers with themes of friendship, family, secret societies, magical schools, a bit of romance, and villains. Kids (and adults) love this addictive, adventurous fantasy series! (I know I did!)
Keeper of the Lost Cities is about a girl named Sophie who never fit in. Then, she learns the reason why –she’s a telepath and an elf. From another world! And that’s just the beginning…Soon, she’ll learn more about her lost memories, her family history, and start learning to control her abilities.
But if your children are looking for their next favorite book after finishing Keeper of the Lost Cities, here are more adventurous fantasy books with magical creatures, fantastical worlds, and appealing themes. (Some even have a magic school!)
Note: All books listed books are in a series. Then, you still have more books to read after the first book!
Books Like Keepers of the Lost Cities
The Endling: The Last by Katherine Applegate
The conquering human ruler, Murdano, hunts and kills all the large, dog-like Dairne. All except Byx. In hopes to find a safe place and maybe the Dairne’s mythical homeland, Byx sets off on what becomes a dangerous, exciting adventure filled with new friends like Tobble who is a wobbyk. I love this uniquely imagined fantasy world about friendship, differences, betrayal, and family.
Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston
Fantastic fantasy world-building, excellent writing, a strong female heroine of color, and a surprise plot twist ending are just a few of the reasons you’ll love this book. On top of that, you’ll find an exciting action-packed, suspenseful story about Amari whose brother vanishes mysteriously. He sends her a message that she’s a magician and should attend a special school. There, she discovers she’s a magician with outlawed dark magic but she’s determined to stay in the school and find her brother.
The Adventurers Guild by Zach Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos
Zed and Brock don’t want to be chosen for the Adventurers Guild because the adventurers must leave the walled city to fight the monsters who live outside it. Unfortunately, Zed and Brock are picked as Adventurers. And before they can finish training, Zed, Brock, and others are sent outside the city on a fact-finding mission that uncovers treachery, fiendish beasts, and Zed’s untapped magic. Imaginative world-building, intriguing plot twists, and complex characters kept me enthralled from page one!
The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer
Fairy tales come alive when Alex and Conner (brother and sister) find themselves in the fairy tale book given to them by their grandmother (who happens to be THE fairy godmother). Their only way home is for them to find the fairy tale ingredients for a Wishing Spell that will hopefully help them return to their regular home. Finding these artifacts will be dangerous, mysterious, and life-changing. Each book in this series mesmerizes readers with adventure, plot twists, and mystery.
The Iron Trial (Magisterium) by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Even though Callum tries to fail the entrance trials, he is admitted to the school his dad says is evil. But the Magisterium school is not as bad as he expects. Call learns about his elemental powers, he forges bonds of friendship with his teammates and rescues a wolf puppy who is infused with the evil magic of Chaos. I couldn’t put this book down — especially after the surprise twist about who Callum really is!!
The Ruins of Gorlan: Ranger’s Apprentice by John A. Flanagan
We follow a boy named Will as he’s 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), Will 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 everything!
Kelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts by Erika Lewis
Fast-paced, this exciting middle-grade book with Celtic mythology is about a foster child attending a magical school while searching for answers about her mysterious heritage. Kelcie leaves the human world for the magical world’s Academy. She discovers that she’s a Saiga, a mistrusted elemental but she makes friends who help her learn about her unique powers and together they fight the monsters who continue to attack the school.
Hither and Nigh by Ellen Potter
Masterful storytelling and wildly inventive world-building, Hither and Nigh draws you into a magical, multi-layered story. Nell is forced to join the Last Chance Club or be expelled from school. The teacher surprise the students with lessons in magic! This begins Nell’s search for her missing brother in the magical world of Hither. She hopes to track the poachers who kidnap non-magical children with big imaginations like her brother. It’s one of my favorite books of 2022 — and ever.
A Tale of Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
A bloody and macabre Hansel and Gretel story woven into eight other Grimm fairy tales. Hansel and Gretel abandon their terrible parents in order to find better ones –ones that won’t try to kill them. Once the siblings are in the wild forest, Hansel transforms into a ravenous, hunter-beast while Gretel continues on her own. This book will make you want to reread your Complete Brother’s Grimm.
Cucumber Quest 1: The Doughnut Kingdom by Gigi D.G. (graphic novel)
When the kingdoms of Dreamside need a hero, his parents send Cucumber, a not-adventurous or brave magician. Fortunately, his heroically inclined little sister, Almond, arrives just in the nick of time to save Cucumber from the first of many dangers. Together, they set off to find the Dream Sword and stop the evil queen and her Nightmare Knight.
Five Kingdoms: Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull
If you’re looking for a book like Keepers of the Lost Cities, try Five Kingdoms next. It’s an inventive, totally unique world with interesting characters! Cole, a regular kid, is trick-or-treating with his friends when they all get kidnapped. He manages to hide and follows the kidnappers — to another world, a world of five kingdoms, slavery, and magic. Cole is found and sold to slavers on the Outskirts. There he’ll battle mysterious beings living on cloud castles, discover an exiled princess, escape from slavery, and have unimaginable adventures.
The Royal Guide to Monster Slaying by Kelley Armstrong
Rowan wants to be a Monster Hunter instead of the future queen. When tragedy strikes her brother, she gets her chance to switch roles and become the Royal Monster Slayer with her aunt with her brother as king. Unfortunately, she must face and kill a gryphon soon or her scheming uncle will get the throne instead. This read alike story is an exciting adventure filled with surprises, mythical creatures, and new friendships.
Saving Fable by Scott Reintgen
Book lovers — don’t miss this wildly imaginative book series about a girl named Indira who wants to go to the Protagonist Preparatory, a school for side characters and protagonists. As we become acquainted with this creative world where (book)Marks and DogEars roam the streets, the story grows into an exciting adventure and puzzling mystery — because someone is using dangerous magic that will damage the world of stories forever. Enchanting and unique, I think fans of Keeper of the Lost Cities will love it.
The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody
A fantastic, magical journey of self-acceptance, a bewitching plotline, and irresistible characters. \Barclay accidentally becomes his worst fear — a Lore Keeper who is bonded with a mythical beast. Even though he doesn’t want to be a Lore Keeper, he is forced out of his village. He meets and travels with another Lore Keeper named Violet to a town where he hopes to get rid of his mark. Despite his reluctance, he feels guilty about the joy of the wild Beast bond. He’ll soon have to make a choice — cut out the Beast or embrace his new life.
The Menagerie by Tui Sutherland
Stuck in a small town in Wyoming just after his mother disappeared, Logan’s life gets even stranger when he finds a griffin under his bed. Which he learns is connected to Zoe Kahn, a very strange girl in his class at school. She tells him about her family’s menagerie to protect magical creatures. Soon the duo realizes that the griffins didn’t escape, they were let out. Now they must find the culprit fast before the menagerie is shut down. A quick, fun read and great fantasy book series for kids!
Unwanteds by Lissa McMann
In this society, you are sorted as Wanted, Necessary, and Unwanted. Alex is an Unwanted and sent to die. But instead of death, he is rescued by a magician with a secret, magical haven for the Unwanteds where they live and train to use their magic skills. But, Alex’s twin brother is a Wanted and Alex risks the safety of his new home to see his twin. His actions reveal the secret world and a war breaks out.
Podkin One-Ear The Legend Begins by Kieran Larwood
Well-written and enthralling, you’ll love every moment of this story about a young rabbit who reluctantly grows into his destiny. Alternating between the bard’s present and the story of Podkin, we learn that young Podkin was a lazy, spoiled prince. When the cruel Gorm, metal dark magic rabbits, arrives at his family’s burrow to kill everyone inside, Podkin escapes with his much braver sister and little brother. No longer able to be spoiled and lazy, Podkin tries his best to be brave and pull his weight, often failing miserably but occasionally succeeding, too.