Rick Riordan's Books to Hook Middle School Readers
Rick Riordan became a household name with his first young adult series Percy Jackson & the Olympians.
The first book in that now famous series, The Lightning Thief, has an average reader rating of 4.22 stars and more than 1.3 million reviews on Goodreads. It was also adapted into a movie in 2010, which made more than $200 million at the box office.
In addition to Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Riordan's written four other New York Times best-selling series: The Heroes of Olympus, The Trials of Apollo, based on Greek and Roman mythology; the Kane Chronicles, based on ancient Egyptian mythology; and Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, based on Norse mythology. It's little wonder that the author has dominated the Goodreads Choice Awards, winning in the Middle Grade & Children's category for the last six years straight.
So, we thought there's no one more qualified to recommend books to hook middle schoolers on reading.
"I'm always looking for great middle grade reads!" says Riordan. "Here are five of my favorites, guaranteed to hook young readers from page one!"
Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan
"Shadow Magic is about Thorn, the wayward son of an outlaw, and Lillith Shadow, the heir of one of six ancient magical kingdoms. There should be no reason for these two to ever cross paths, but they do, and the combination is explosive. It's got all the elements of a great fantasy, rendered in a fresh, alluring, well-crafted world, with sympathetic characters and tons of mystery!"
Shadows of Sherwood by Kekla Magoon
"12-year-old Robyn Loxley is an accomplished gymnast and an amateur tinkerer. One night, while she sneaks out to raid the local salvage yard, Governor Ignomus Crown stages a brutal coup, rounding up and 'disappearing' all members of Parliament and their families. Robyn alone escapes the purge. Hunted by the military police, unsure of her parents' fate, she is forced to flee to the nearby district of Sherwood. So begins her transformation into Robyn Hoodlum. A fantastic middle grade adventure that breathes new life into the myth of Robin Hood. If you're looking for a page-turner for young readers, check it out!"
Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
"Collins is best known for The Hunger Games, but do yourself a favor and check out her Underland Chronicles, starting with this book. One day, Gregor falls through a grate in his laundry room and discovers an underground world populated with entire societies of rats, spiders, and cockroaches who live side by side with humans. Gregor's arrival coincides with a prophecy, and may explain the long-ago disappearance of Gregor's father. One of my son's all-time favorite middle grade books, and one of my favorites too!"
The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
"In an alternate modern England, 'the Problem' has inexplicably caused ghosts to run rampant and disrupt the lives of mortals. Private agencies have arisen to combat the supernatural, and they rely on children as their operatives, since only their senses are keen enough to detect and combat ghosts. After a horrible accident in her home village, Lucy Carlyle flees to London where she joins a small struggling agency, Lockwood & Co. Soon they are embroiled in a mystery that may cost them their agency and even their lives. Ancient evil, unsolved murders, powerful ghosts, and nefarious mortals—this story will keep you reading late into the night, but you'll want to leave the lights on!"
The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang
"I love a good superhero story, and this is a hero I bet you've never heard of! Way back in the Golden Age of Comics, the Green Turtle was the first Asian American superhero. Now, Gene Luen Yang has resurrected his story in a funny, fast-paced graphic novel. Check it out for a fresh new action hero!"
Check out more of our back-to-school coverage:
How to Encourage Kids to Read (Plus Some Modern Children's Classics)
Great Children's Books for Young History Buffs
As Diverse Kids' Books Increase, A Chance for More Muslim Stories
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