Sometimes middle school (or any other stage of life, honestly) gets to be a little too much. Enter: fantasy novels. The perfect temporary escape from the dreary reality and anxieties of everyday life. These recent middle grade reads are here to help you get out of your own head and into a world of magic, adventure, and heroism. You can follow a map to another world, make a friend or foe of a mythological creature, and enact an age-old prophecy, all from the cozy comfort of your couch. Long live the fantasy genre.
But K2 has a secret gift: He draws maps of worlds that are beyond the wildest imaginations. Worlds with six hundred moons, burning rivers, and dark, twisty jungles alive with plants that hunt by the smell of fear. But what K2 doesn’t know is that the maps he draws are real.
When their baby sister, Annipeck, is kidnapped, the warring stepsiblings will have to use K2’s gift to find a crossing point into one of those worlds and embark on a daring rescue mission.
After discovering that she has the unique ability to affect the emotions of supernatural creatures, Omega is certain she’s strong enough to handle the feelings of others on Día de Muertos. But when darkness overwhelms her, it’s a sign that not only is she still vulnerable but that there may be a new malicious presence in Noche Buena.
When a child goes missing at the cemetery, panic ensues, prompting the new sheriff to open an investigation. But then another child is taken, and another. Soon, with the help of Carlitos, Omega discovers that El Cucuy—the boogeyman—is responsible for the disappearances. And it doesn’t take long for Omega to realize that, just like with La Lechuza, she might be the only one who can stop him—but at what cost?
Unfortunately, their quests prove more than a little difficult. Ellie is exposed as a witch and her magic is locked away by the powerful DeJoie family. In an effort to free herself from their control, Ellie winds up embroiled in a plan that could ruin the Knights of the Round Table: steal the source of the knights’ power, and a wicked sorcerer will restore her magic.
As fate would have it, one of Caedmon’s quests leads him to protect the source of the knights’ power. If Caedmon wants to graduate—not to mention save the realms from certain disaster—he’ll have to betray his best friend, forcing him to choose what truly matters most to him: knighthood or friendship.
As centuries of secrets collide and an ancient evil arises, Ellie and Caedmon must overcome this test of loyalty and friendship. If they don’t, they will lose more than their battle against evil forces keeping them apart.
They will lose each other.
Her hopes are quickly dashed when, all too soon, she realizes that life in Japan is just like being in California: her sisters are old enough to go into Tokyo, while she can’t even go to the corner store by herself. Plus, her grandparents want her to stay home with the neighbor kid, thirteen-year-old Jin Uehara, who’s made it clear he’s too cool to spend time with a weirdo like her.
When Tessa is finally allowed to go to Tokyo, it’s only to join her grandpa’s retiree aerobic class with none other than Jin. Their disastrous forced hang out comes crashing to a halt when Tessa and Jin break the Miyata family’s precious heirloom—accidentally releasing the malicious samurai god Taira Masakado and discovering a hidden part of the city where gods and mythological creatures walk among humans—including their new companion, a mythical nine-tailed fox who may be more trouble than he is help.
Despite doing everything to avoid spending another minute together, Tessa and Jin must now work together to stop Taira Masakado before he traps them—and the rest of Tokyo—under his command, forever.
A late-night prowl leads Poppy to a desperate water nymph, with whom she strikes a dangerous bargain. In exchange for the thing she loves most—her favorite book— Poppy now has the secret of a lifetime: her very own flying lion. Sampson is exactly what she needs to prove magic does exist and, more importantly, that she is not to be so easily dismissed.
But the cost of ancient magic is astronomic. With every night Sampson grows, another book disappears, and Poppy soon faces the harrowing reality that without their favorite stories, the lives of everyone around her begin to unravel.
Fixing the chaos will require Poppy to be clever and bold, and even at her smartest and loudest, she’s not sure it will be enough. But she has to try.