Series have always been relatively strong in the middle-grade market. While the young adult market swung back and forth between trilogies and stand-alones, middle-graders avidly eat up Harry Potter, Series of Unfortunate Events and multi-author series like The 39 Clues and Scholastic’s latest, Spirit Animals. Epic adventures—whether set in this world or another—are always fun, and here are three more in three different genres to embark upon.
The Theodosia Throckmorton series by R. L. LaFevers, illustr. by Yoko Tanaka
As can be guessed from the series title, these books feature Theodosia, the daughter of two museum curators and archaeologists who has an uncanny ability to sense curses on long-lost artifacts. Set in the late 1800s – early 1900s, Theodosia has the most stellar, idiosyncratic voice I’ve yet to read in an MG historical; she truly makes the books, and as she ricochets through fantastical adventures rife with Egyptian mythology, her growth and her dynamics with other characters makes these books absolutely delightful to read.
The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Tristan Lee Stewart, illustr. by Carson Ellis
I’m late to this series, I know, but holy goodness, is it amazing. With a team of four gifted children at its core, these books combine darker themes similar to George Orwell’s 1984 with rollicking, high-risk quests and friendships that are genuine, hilarious and touching to unfold over the course of three books. This series is contemporary, yet manages to feel timeless.
The Gustav Gloom series by Adam-Troy Castro, illustr. by Kristen Margiotta
When sisters Fernie and Pearlie What meet Gustav Gloom, the unusual boy who lives in the shadowed house across from their new home, the quirky 3rd-person limited narration of this series is perhaps the most attention-grabbing aspect as you crack open the first book. Soon enough, you’ll be equally sucked in by hair-rising chases through Gustav’s wonderfully odd house, his stories that hint at a much more grandiose backstory to come in the next books, and the funny, poignant moments that highlight the dynamics between all the characters. Best of all, this is true MG paranormal—not vampires, werewolves or demons, but good old-fashioned ghosts and risers of the dead.
And the best part about all these series? They're all accompanied by fabulous illustrations.
What good middle-grade series have you read lately?