Best Books List, middle grade
The Best Middle Grade (MG) Fiction With Male Protagonists

The Best Middle Grade (MG) Fiction With Male Protagonists

Check out this list of awesome MG fiction featuring boy protagonists! From young detectives to fantastic dragon tamers, there’s sure to be something to satisfy your craving!

Holes by Louis Sachar

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten- pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys “build character” by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption

 

 

 

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods. 

 

 

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Twelve-year-old Artemis is a millionaire, a genius-and above all, a criminal mastermind. But Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren’t the fairies of the bedtime stories-they’re dangerous!

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, the quiet and thoughtful son of the Chief of the Hairy Hooligans, tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan by catching and training a dragon. Can Hiccup do it without being torn limb from limb? Join the adventures and misadventures as he finds a new way to train dragons…and becomes a hero.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verdigris Deep by Frances Hardinge

When Ryan and his friends are caught stranded and penniless late one night, they steal some coins from a well for their bus fare home. Soon after, strange things begin to happen. Peculiar marks tingle on Ryan’s knuckles, light bulbs mysteriously explode and a terrified Chelle starts speaking words that aren’t her own. Then the well witch appears, with her fountains for eyes and gargled demands. From now on, the friends must serve her . . . and the wishes that lie rotting at the bottom of her well.

 

 

 

 

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

 

Pax by Sarah Pennypacker

Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.

At his grandfather’s house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.

Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own. . . .

 

 

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci Vol. 1 by Diana Wynne Jones

In this multiple parallel universes of the Twelve Related Worlds, only an enchanter with nine lives is powerful enough to control the rampant misuse of magic–and to hold the title Chrestomanci… The Chants are a family strong in magic, but neither Christopher Chant nor Cat Chant can work even the simplest of spells. Who could have dreamed that both Christopher and Cat were born with nine lives–or that they could lose them so quickly?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

For years, Old Gregory has been the Spook for the county, ridding the local villages of evil. Now his time is coming to an end. But who will take over for him? Twenty-nine apprentices have tried—some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive.

Only Thomas Ward is left. He’s the last hope, the last apprentice.

 

 

 

 

 

The Lost Years of Merlin by T.A. Barron

Washed up on the shores of ancient Wales, the boy had no home, no memory and no name… he was determined to find all three. 

This best-selling series follows the adventures and training of young Merlin on the mist-shrouded isle of Fincayra, an enchanted land between earth and sky that is being destroyed by blight. With this land’s inhabitants to guide him, the boy will learn that Fincayra’s fate and his own quest are strangely interwined. 

He is destined to become the greatest wizard of all time–known to all as Merlin. 

 

 

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

Nathaniel is a magician’s apprentice, taking his first lessons in the arts of magic. But when a devious hot-shot wizard named Simon Lovelace ruthlessly humiliates Nathaniel in front of his elders, Nathaniel decides to kick up his education a few notches and show Lovelace who’s boss. With revenge on his mind, he summons the powerful djinni, Bartimaeus. But summoning Bartimaeus and controlling him are two different things entirely, and when Nathaniel sends the djinni out to steal Lovelace’s greatest treasure, the Amulet of Samarkand, he finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of magical espionage, murder, and rebellion.

 

 

 

 

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

When Bastian happens upon an old book called The Neverending Story, he’s swept into the magical world of Fantastica–so much that he finds he has actually become a character in the story! And when he realizes that this mysteriously enchanted world is in great danger, he also discovers that he is the one chosen to save it. Can Bastian overcome the barrier between reality and his imagination in order to save Fantastica?

 

 

 

 

 

Ryan Quinn and the Rebel’s Escape by Ron McGee

Ryan Quinn hopes his traveling days are over. The son of a United Nations worker, he’s grown up in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa—everywhere but home. He’s finally settled at a great school in New York and is making friends when, suddenly, his world is turned upside down.

Ryan is blindsided when his father disappears and his mother is abducted. Left with nothing but questions, he soon discovers his parents have been leading a double life. They actually work with the Emergency Rescue Committee, an underground organization that has performed dangerous rescue missions since World War II, and they’ve been secretly training Ryan to follow in their footsteps.

With his parents’ lives in the balance and more at stake than he knows, Ryan dives into a mission of international intrigue that sends him around the globe. To survive, he must trust his training and perform his own daring rescue mission in a thrilling race for freedom.

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz

They said his uncle Ian died in a car accident. But Alex Rider knows that’s a lie, and the bullet holes in the windshield prove it. Yet he never suspected the truth: his uncle was really a spy for Britain’s top secret intelligence agency. And now Alex has been recruited to find his uncle’s killers . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Redwall by Brian Jacques

What can the peace-loving mice of Redwall Abbey do to defend themselves against Cluny the Scourge and his battle-seasoned army of rats? If only they had the sword of Martin the Warrior, they might have a chance. But the legendary weapon has long been forgotten-except, that is, by the bumbling young apprentice Matthias, who becomes the unlikeliest of heroes.

 

 

 

 

 

Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman

Strange things are happening in Skeleton Creek . . . and Ryan and Sarah are trying to get to the heart of it. But after an eerie accident leaves Ryan housebound and forbidden to see Sarah, their investigation takes two tracks: Ryan records everything in his journal, while Sarah uses her videocam to search things out. . .and then email the clips for Ryan to see. In a new, groundbreaking format, the story is broken into two parts — Ryan’s text in the book, and Sarah’s videos on a special website, with links and passwords given throughout the book.

 

 

 

 

A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull

Jason Walker has often wished his life could be a bit less predictable—until a routine day at the zoo ends with Jason suddenly transporting from the hippo tank to a place unlike anything he’s ever seen. In the past, the people of Lyrian welcomed visitors from the Beyond, but attitudes have changed since the wizard emperor Maldor rose to power. The brave resistors who opposed the emperor have been bought off or broken, leaving a realm where fear and suspicion prevail.

In his search for a way home, Jason meets Rachel, who was also mysteriously drawn to Lyrian from our world. With the help of a few scattered rebels, Jason and Rachel become entangled in a quest to piece together the word of power that can destroy the emperor and learn that their best hope to find a way home will be to save this world without heroes.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire.

 

 

 

 

 

Storm Boy by Colin Thiele

A boy living on a desolate beach in Australia rescues a baby pelican that becomes his constant companion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dragon Run by Patrick Matthews

Testing Day is supposed to be a day of celebration for Al Pilgrommor. Born into a wealthy family, he expects to follow in his successful father’s footsteps. Of course, that all depends on the rank number Al receives at the testing. The higher the rank he has tattooed onto his neck, the better his life will be.

To his surprise and horror, Al is revealed to be rank zero, the lowest of the low. He’s now not only an outcast – he’s also a danger to his entire family. So Al goes on the run, fleeing the brutal Cullers, men who hunt down zeroes . . . and put them to death.

Cast out of his home, cut off from his friends, and armed with only a sword and his wits, Al is reduced to just surviving. As he meets other outcasts, however, he begins to suspect that he is a pawn in a larger game – and that he might have the power to tip the scales in a high-stakes struggle between man and dragon.

Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong

While thirteen-year-old Matt Thorsen has always known he’s a modern-day descendent of Thor, he’s been living a normal kid’s life. In fact, most people in the small town of Blackwell, South Dakota, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt’s classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke. No big deal.
 
But now Ragnarok is coming, and it’s up to the champions to fight in the place of the long-dead gods. Matt, Laurie, and Fen’s lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team, find Thor’s hammer and shield, and prevent the end of the world.
 
 
 
 

The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis

The Colossus Rises is the first installment of the bestselling five-book series chronicling the story of Jack McKinley, an ordinary kid with an extraordinary problem. In a few months, he’s going to die—unless he finds seven magic Loculi that have been hidden in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

 

 

 

 

 

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Aleksandar Ferdinand, a Clanker, and Deryn Sharp, a Darwinist, are on opposite sides of the war. But their paths cross in the most unexpected way, taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure….One that will change both their lives forever.

 

 

 

 

 

The Ability by M.M. Vaughan

No one has any confidence in twelve-year-old Christopher Lane. His teachers discount him as a liar and a thief, and his mom doesn’t have the energy to deal with him. But a mysterious visit from the Ministry of Education indicates that Chris might have some potential after all: He is invited to attend the prestigious Myers Holt Academy.

When Christopher begins at his new school, he is astounded at what he can do. It seems that age twelve is a special time for the human brain, which is capable of remarkable feats—as also evidenced by Chris’s peers Ernest and Mortimer Genver, who, at the direction of their vengeful and manipulative mother, are testing the boundaries of the human mind.

But all this experimentation has consequences, and Chris soon finds himself forced to face them—or his new life will be over before it can begin.

What are your favorite MG books with male protagonists? Let us know in the comments!

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