Top 18 Middle Grade Chapter Books (2022) With Action and Adventure
Don’t you love the fast pace and excitement of a good action and adventure book? These books are thrilling and get your blood pumping and adrenaline rushing, which keeps you glued to the pages until the finish. Not only adults can enjoy action and adventure. Authors also write excellent adventure books for kids, and kids love them.
If you have a child between 8-12 who loves a page-turner, my list of middle grade action and adventure books is sure to give the thrill dose.
The books in this list include curious, peculiar, and magical plots. I have made sure to include books that stimulate imagination and practical ones to educate your child on different life lessons.
What Is The Difference Between Middle Grade (MG) and a Young Adult (YA) Book?
MG books are geared towards readers aged 8-12 (Grade 3-7), while YA books are meant for readers aged 13-18. The main difference between the two is the level of complexity. MG books are typically consists of shorter chapters and have simpler plots, while YA books are usually longer and deal with more complex issues.
Both MG and YA books can be enjoyable for readers of all ages, but for example a Grade 4 reader I would personally target with the below adventure books to increase a young child's interest in reading.
What Makes a Middle Grade Adventure Book Outstanding?
When it comes to middle grade adventure books, there are a few key elements that make them truly outstanding. First, the story must be thrilling and full of excitement. There should be a sense of danger and suspense throughout, leaving readers on the edge of their seats. Secondly, the characters must be likable and relatable, so that readers can root for them on their journey. Lastly, the world in which the story takes place should be richly detailed and well-developed, making readers feel as if they are right there alongside the characters.
When all of these elements come together, the result is an unforgettable middle grade adventure book that will keep readers hooked from beginning to end. So if you're looking for your next great read, be sure to keep an eye out for these key ingredients.
What Is My Selection of New MG Adventure Books?
Jack Mathias and the Boonetown Bandits, by G.M Savage (2022)
For 4th Graders
This is the story of Jack Mathias, the class clown and the child with a lot of nerve. Some also believe that he is overconfident for his good. Jack’s impulsiveness and audacious practical jokes keep landing him in trouble, and growing up seems far away. However, a prompt adventure thrusts Jack towards maturity with improbable companions- Edgar and Gene.
The three are looking for a long-hidden treasure, which will also lead them into immense danger. The adventure will test their physical and mental endurance and challenge their collective wits. Can Jack, naturally fearless, find the ancient jewels and, most importantly, another version of himself? Or, will he evade personal responsibility all his life?
This is a good book that will challenge young ones to be open-minded to unanticipated situations and circumstances and value teamwork. I love how Savage brought out Jack’s character and relationships with others since it is something many middle graders can relate to.
Nadya Skylung and the Cloudship Rescue, by Jeff Seymour (2022)
For 6th Graders
This is a MG adventure book that brings readers a fantasy adventure. This story explores bravery, and I love that it is imaginative, emotional, thrilling, and original. Girls will particularly love Nadya, the book’s sassy and smart heroine.
Only a special crew can run the cloudship Orion. But no one knows how to do that better than Nadya Skylung.
When the unimaginable happens, and a pirate attack occurs, Nadya and all the other children aboard narrowly escape. However, other crew members are captured. Nadya and her allies away from help are the only ones who can take back Orion to rescue the rest. She will risk everything on the quest to save the one family she has ever known.
But this attack is not an accident. What could these pirates be looking for? Could it be her? Readers will enjoy the characters in this middle grade book since they all have different personalities and talents that make them shine in this adventure.
Brackenbeast, by Kate Alice Marshall (2022)
For 7th Graders
Brackenbeast is a twisty sequel to Thirteens with Stranger Things and Coraline vibes. This mystery story keeps getting more complex and tightly entangled with new details. Kate has done an excellent job giving brilliant beauty commentary and a feminine theme that adds more depth to the story.
During the previous Halloween, Pip, Eleanor, and Otto nearly got off January Society’s hook and its leader. This does not mean that the now peaceful Eden Eld is safe. The three made a bargain with Mr. January, and now his treacherous sister is to hunt them.
When neighbors and friends of the three start disappearing following an abduction by mud-drenched and strange monsters, they must work fast to unravel their enemy’s secret. Eleanor and her friends’ families will fall into the enemy’s trap if they do not succeed.
They will have to search for an escape route using their book of brains, twisted fairytales, and friendship. But these stories they have all turned to have a strong hold on their current lives and future in a way they never knew. Regardless of their survival, this journey will not end with the three as their original selves.
The Midnighters, by Hana Tooke (2022)
For 7th Graders
The Midnighters is an adventure book that teaches kids that becoming extraordinary requires courage. It is a ghostly tale with a murder mystery and an intriguing world.
The book tells the story of extraordinary Ema Vaskova. She comes from a family of scientists, and superstitions or omens are not entertained. However, for some reason, they always seem to follow her everywhere. Her prediction for events also does not seem to help, and she also has a peculiar shadow fear.
Ema is sent to live with her offbeat uncle. There, she meets Silvie, the only one who sees her extraordinary nature. In no time, the two begin meeting up for secret night adventures while trying to overcome Ema’s fears.
Disaster will strike, and Silvie will disappear. It will be Ema’s responsibility to look for her. She will have to gather the courage to hunt the city and unravel the secrets to the clue Silvie left about where she may be (the mysterious Midnight Guild).
Fire on Headless Mountain, by Iain Lawrence (2022)
For 6th Graders
Fire on Headless Mountain is a richly imaginative adventure about survival and courage that teaches children fascinating science skills. The scientific layers in this middle grade adventure book excellently develop the protagonist’s plot to create an elucidating and hopeful picture. I love the book’s illustration of nature’s terrifying power and the gift of memory amid trials.
Virgil forces his older siblings to go on a trip. They have precious cargo and their mother’s ashes as they trek the mountain lake. A forest fire starts immediately when their van breaks down, turning their journey into a disaster.
While Josh is looking for help, Virgil and Kaitlyn see fleeing animals and flames. The sky starts to darken, and soon the two are separated. Virgil is left alone in the wilderness, unsure he can survive. But with his mother’s memory and science teacher’s lessons guiding him, he learns that survival begins with letting go, and there are no perfect explanations for everything.
Escape to Witch City, by E. Latimer (2022)
For 6th Graders
Escape to Witch City is a pulse-pounding adventure that will keep any middle grader engaged with its age-appropriate and relatable experiences. The betrayal, intrigue, and threats heighten the drama. I love how Latimer has shown that embracing one’s power can awaken the most incredible possibilities.
Emmaline Black can hear heartbeat rhythms, a secret she keeps. She has, however, learned to control rhythms, meaning she is a witch. She lives in a world where a witchcraft sentence has dire consequences. Any child who has reached thirteen must be tested to ascertain they have no witch blood. Emma will have to try to stamp out her power before it is time for her test. However, the more research she does, the more she suspects her mother and radically anti-witch aunt are hiding something.
The test day comes, and Emma’s results pair her with unusual friends, forcing her to challenge all she knows about magic and disclosing family secrets. Emma is about to go on a new worldly adventure.
Daybreak on Raven Island, by Fleur Bradley (2022)
For 6th Graders
Tori, Marvin, and Noah would prefer to be anywhere else, just not on the Raven Island Prison seventh grade class field trip. Tori would like to be on a soccer field, but her grades have her benched. Marvin would prefer to be with his best friend Kevin at the film festival, and Noah doesn’t want to make small talk.
But this will not go on for long. The three stumble upon a dead body and miss the last ferry home. They will have to stay on Raven Island for the night, realizing they need each other more than ever. They soon get on the same page to begin uncovering the killer. They must join forces to outrun a ghost-hunting crew and disclose the island’s age-old secrets before daybreak.
This middle grade adventure book has horror devices, but Fleur’s skillful pacing and social commentary make it an enjoyable paranormal mystery. I would recommend it for children above ten.
Race for the Escape, by Christopher Edge (2022)
For 6th Graders
Race for the Escape is a read that will highly appeal to gamers. This adventure tale has an intense thrill that will have readers racing to the finish with themes of the importance of teamwork.
Ami Oswald arrives at the supposedly unbeatable Escape. She only wants to have a fun and adventurous evening for her birthday. When the game starts, she and her teammates discover they have gotten themselves into what they didn’t bargain for.
To get out, they must solve a riddle. They are tasked with finding an answer to save the world, but this answer can be anywhere. A single mistake can also be deadly. Ami has discovered that the rooms here have real danger.
To see what happens next, join the Five Minds as they try to beat Mayan warriors, prehistoric beasts, and a sinister library in their quest to save the world.
Miss Maya And The Bridge To Everywhere, by Norman Baron (2019)
For 5th Graders
The story follows Maya and Bits, two kids and their teddy bear – Randolph. The group grows bigger, as the little trio runs into famous magician Merlin, who is now known as Marlin – just trying to disguise himself. Marlin hangs around an old donkey known as Tamad. Everything looks good, but things take an unusual turn when Maya ends up kidnapped.
An unexpected confrontation with a Condor gets Maya taken to a cave, where she meets bad witch Nivaine. One adventure comes after another. There are more characters popping up from various fields – such as ghosts and American Civil War casualties. The book has a fairly pleasant ending, with all characters gathered together before going their separate ways.
The Trials Of Morrigan Crow (Book 1), by Jessica Townsend (2018)
For 5th Graders
This is a breathtaking adventure that can hook in both adults and children. It represents the initial story in a long upcoming series. The story follows a cursed girl who manages to survive and end up in a fantasy world. However, this fantasy world is not as fascinating as it might seem – in fact, she has to face a series of challenges in order to stay alive in this unusual world.
But as things seem to go worse and worse, a mysterious man known as Jupiter North pops up. She has been chosen to join a prestigious organization, but there are a few trials to get in there. The main character has to compete against hundreds of super talented children – the only problem is that she has no talent whatsoever. Is she going to make it?
Pax, by Sara Pennypacker (2016)
For 6th Graders
Pax tells a moving story that no one could resist. If this MG adventure book would make it to a movie, it would beat lots of records. The story follows the unusual friendship between a boy and his fox. The fox is known as Pax and lost his parents when young, but Peter kicked in to rescue the lost animal. Things have changed and the country has gone at war, meaning Peter has to move in with his grandfather and leave the fox behind.
The moving story follows the adventure the two friends have to go through in order to reunite. Peter sneaks out of the house in the middle of the night to find his friend. The two try their best to get together and they have various challenges as they travel through a country ravaged by war. Will they make it back together? Will fate keep their friendship alive?
Terror At Bottle Creek, by Watt Key (2016)
For 7th Graders
This adventure may seem a bit too dark for kids — at least the cover for sure –, but it can teach your little one some valuable lessons about life. Furthermore, it has a mysterious sense and it can hook anyone in. The story follows Cort, who is 13 years old and lives by the coast. His entire life is about to change when an aggressive hurricane targets the coast and the entire settlement is ravaged.
Cort is quite experienced with outdoor and survival adventures. His father is a local hunting expert who has taught him lots of tricks. But when this storm comes over, the young boy has to apply everything he knows in order to survive. One disaster leads to another and the young teenager teams up with two neighbor girls to face the storm and help the ones in need.
The Wolf Wilder, by Katherine Rundell (2015)
For 5th Graders
Katherine Rundell has managed to bring together fantasy, adventure and history in a successful book that will most likely draw your kid's attention. The novel is about resilience and love at the same time and follows Feo's story. Her mother trains domesticated wolves to survive in the Russian wilderness and she seems to follow the same path in life. She loves being close to wolves and getting them ready for freedom.
Three of these wolves simply refuse to leave the house – these are Feo's favorites. They have been wilded already, but their love is hard to describe in words. However, not everyone seems to be happy with the family's career. As a direct consequence, her mother is kidnapped. It is now up to Feo and her friends to travel through the harsh cold to save her mother.
Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library, by Chris Grabenstein (2013)
For 3rd Graders
Kyle is a big fan of Luigi Lemoncello. After all, he is a famous game designer and every kid wants to be around him. He designs a new library in town, but not everyone is allowed in. In fact, the opening night will host some sort of competition. Kyle decides to get there and this is when the adventure begins. Kyle and other kids in this competition must solve a series of puzzles in order to open the doors and win the game.
The book can definitely hook your little one in. Furthermore, the adventure is not over with the last page. There are more books in the series and they are just as attractive. Besides, the last part of the book brings in some puzzles for kids, as well as some Q&A sessions with the author. All in all, the plot is excellent for both reading fans and gaming enthusiasts.
Magic Marks The Spot (Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates Book 1), by Caroline Carlson (2013)
For 4th Graders
This is one of the best adventurous books for middle grade readers – no doubts about it. It follows Hilary Westfield's story. She has always wanted to become a pirate. She tried to sign up for a league of pirates, but she is rejected for being a girl. Instead, her father sends her to a fishing school for delicate ladies – definitely not what she wanted. This is when the adventure begins.
The new school is just like Hilary expected – fancy dresses, delicate activities and so on. One week into the course and she decides to escape. She applies for a job and teams up with a freelance private. However, she gets a task that seems quite complicated – she must find a lost treasure. The quest is no longer as exciting as Hilary expected, as things get a bit dangerous. Will she manage to become a pirate?
The Secret Keepers, by Trenton Lee Stewart (2016)
For 5th Graders
Reuben is a regular kid who finds interest in anything that looks new. He is always curious and wants to discover new things. One day, he finds an old pocket watch. It looks like it was made decades ago, but Reuben also discovers that this watch has some incredible powers if used correctly. Practically, this watch can turn the wearer invisible for about 15 minutes. This is when Reuber's imagination goes wild.
The kid simply cannot resist the temptation, especially as he lives in a world suppressed by New Umbra. But when the New Umbra's new ruler – The Smoke – finds out about this watch, Reuben's life is in danger. As he tries to survive, he finds out that this watch holds even greater powers and he does not hesitate to take advantage of them.
Based on my personal opinion The Secret Keepers is one middle grade illustrated chapter book that has unique mystery plot that will engage adventure lovers for a long time since this adventure book is 512 pages long.
The Strangers (Greystone Secrets Book 1), by Margaret Peterson Haddix (2019)
For 4th Graders
The Strangers is a thrilling adventurous book that will bring in plenty of plot twists to hook your little one in. Chess protects his younger siblings – Finn and Emma. The family is happy – a mom and three children. However, a story makes it to the news – three kids are kidnapped and there are lots of similarities between these kids and the main trio. First and middle names, birthdays and ages are identical too.
The three kids have no idea what is going on. They are left with Ms. Morales and her daughter, as their mother has to take a business trip. Puzzles are quite confusing and there is one plot twist after another. No one is who they seem to be. The confused trio will end up in a completely different world where nothing really makes sense.
Lionboy The Chase (Book 2), by Zizou Corder (2005)
For 5th Graders
Charlie Ashanti has a special talent – he can get along with cats like no one else. It almost feels like he can speak a secret language that only cats can understand. Everything seems alright until one day, when his parents simply disappear.
At this point, Charlie has no one around him but the cats. He embarks upon a challenging journey to find his missing parents. He ends up on a circus ship, where he befriends six lions who could also do with some help. The group ends up on an incredible adventure that will bring in lots of amazing plot twists.
Final Thoughts on Middle Grade (MG) Adventure Books
Middle graders crave a sense of adventure, and books are an excellent way to grant them that. Our books above will allow them to explore new worlds and familiarize themselves with different themes. Get any of the titles for your child to try.
If you are looking for YA books, check out my selection of the best YA series.
My profession is online marketing and development (10+ years experience), check my latest mobile app called Upcoming or my Chrome extensions for ChatGPT. But my real passion is reading books both fiction and non-fiction. I have several favorite authors like James Redfield or Daniel Keyes. If I read a book I always want to find the best part of it, every book has it's unique value.