From Dragons to Zombies: 6 Exciting New Action and Adventure Novels that will Make Summer Reading Fun!

Summer is still in full swing, and reading is a terrific way for kids to pass the time. Here are seven great new middle grade books filled with action and thrills that will help fill those gorgeous, long summer evenings!

Escape from the Isle of the Lost, by Melissa de le Cruz
In this 4th book of the Descendants series, Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos have made it off the Isle of the Lost and made new lives for themselves at Auradon Prep. But what about the kids left behind? Mal hatches a plan to revisit the island to encourage them to join the school. But convincing kids brought up to be evil to join the good team is harder than Mal and her friends thought, especially since Uma, banished to the other side of the island’s barrier, is plotting her revenge against Mal and has found an alley in Hades. Fortunately, Celia, Dr. Facilier’s daughter, wants out, and she’s ready to use all her cunning to foil Uma and Hades. Fans of the series will be delighted by this installment, which not only continues the story of the four main characters in fine style, but gives generous page time to other kids, setting up the stage for new adventures!

Secret Soldiers, by Keely Hutton
WW I is raging, and Thomas is determined to get to the Western Front to find his missing brother. Thomas is five years too young for the army, but his mining experience earns him a place among a group of secret soldiers, whose job is to dig tunnels under the enemy lines. With three other boys, he lives a strange, mostly subterranean life of danger, with constant carnage above their heads. The tensions between the four very different boys is great, and it takes several brushes with death before they form a true bond. The horror of the war is grim indeed, and vividly described, and the lives of the boys are grim as well (both before and during the war). But the growth of true friendship between them makes it ultimately heartwarming (and they all make it home). A great pick for kids who enjoy realistic, nerve-wracking adventures.

A Small Zombie Problem, by K.G. Campbell
Aunt Hydrangea’s fear of butterflies has kept August shut inside her decrepit house all his life, until he’s invited to visit another aunt he never knew existed. Aunt Orchid offers to send him to school with her own children, and for the first time August can image having friends. But on his way home, a little zombie girl pulls herself out of her grave and follows him back. The secret to her reanimation is a valuable stone that Aunt Orchid wants to get her hands on…but the little zombie girl needs it even more, and now it is lost! Claudette the zombie is a tremendously sweet undead character, doing her best to be cooperative even if she can’t keep her eyeballs secured. August’s dreams of finding friends, and the challenges he faces with Claudette, make him a tremendously sympathetic character. Kids who like quirkily gothic stories with mild horror will enjoy this one lots!

Lair of the Beast, by Adam Jay Epstein
After a childhood spent as a trapmaster in a sorcerer’s dungeon, Wily Snare found a family and a place in the sunlight world (as told in Escape to the Above). But Wily has also taken his father’s place as King, and he’s not at all sure he can do a good job. When his old dungeon master menaces the kingdom with an army of stone golems, Wily’s only hope for saving his kingdom is to compel a deadly lair beast to fight against the golems. And to do that, he’ll need all the dungeon trickery he has, and lots of help from his friends! This exciting journey through monstrous mayhem is a page turner that will grip young readers who love action and adventure.

Queen of the Sea, by Dylan Meconis
Margaret was left at an isolated island convent when she was a baby. For years she was the only child there, well looked after, but lonely. Then William and his mother arrive, and at last she has a companion in exploration. Then there’s another arrival—a princess whose older sister has exiled her. Margaret discovers that her island home is actually a prison, and she must decide if she will help the young princess claim the throne. Margaret’s gradual discovery of the dark secrets of her home is gripping, and she herself is a lovely, spirited girl whom readers will cheer for. The gorgeous illustrations of this graphic novel bring it all vividly to life, and fans of history and intrigue will be delighted.

Silver Batal and the Water Dragon Races, by K.D. Halbrook
Though she lives in a desert, Silver dreams of water dragons, whose riders win glory in the races held in the queen’s city. Then one night fate leads her to a cavern in the desert, where a young water dragon, one of the last of its kind, has just hatched. Silver and the dragon, Hiyyan, form a bond, but Hiyyan’s mother has been captured by a ruthless dragon racer. Silver is determined to free the mother dragon, and so she sets out with Hiyyan and her cousin Brajon, to the city where she and Hiyyan will race for the prize of the queen’s favor. The ferocious cave creatures they must face are nothing compared to the human enemies that wait for them. Kids who dreams of dragons will be delighted by Silver and Hiyyan and their adventures, and will pounce on the sequel when it arrives next summer!

What action and adventure novels are your young readers devouring this summer?

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