The Best Middle Grade Books According to the Goodreads Community

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Finding the best middle grade books can be a little challenging only because there are SO many to choose from every genre! So, who determines what the best middle grade books are? With books, everything is fairly subjective. 


Who Determines What the Best Middle Grade Books are?

There is one website that reigns above all when it comes to find good book recommendations and books related to those you have read and loved. Although, that statement is rather subjective too… 


With a whopping 83.4 million visitors a month (!), there is no doubt that Goodreads is the number one place for book lovers to go to showcase the books they’ve read, write reviews, and connect with other book lovers. This free platform does more than just give a place for you to record your books. It’s a massive community of people from all over the world with one common purpose: to talk about books.

Goodreads’ mission statement is: “to help people find and share books they love.. [and] to improve the process of reading and learning throughout the world.”

The question is… is there a large population of kids ages 8-12 on Goodreads? There are so many middle grade books in this world with more and more being published each year. The majority of them, sans self-published works, are searchable on Goodreads. But who is actually talking about these books?

Do Kids Vote on the Best Middle Grade Books?

Do kids participate on Goodreads? This is a question I’ve always wondered and may be a little hard to determine.

According to Common Sense Media, Goodreads is a site that is primarily geared toward adults with no specified ‘kids section’. Goodreads contains every children’s and teens book imaginable, available for everyone to make reviews on, however, they do not have a space designed just for children and teens. 

Goodreads’ user interface is often considered old fashioned and outdated making it unappealing to today’s young people. If your child or teen does have an account on Goodreads, the chances are high that they are engaging with people of all ages.

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Who Rates Middle Grade Books on Goodreads?

This question led me to wondering about middle grade books and their place on Goodreads. Who exactly votes for middle grade books on Goodreads?

Perhaps, the parents of the middle grade audience are the ones who vote for the best middle grade books. There are a lot of comments and reviews that specify if they have a child who has read the book or the capacity in which they read the book with their child.

Perhaps, it’s teachers and other caretakers who vote on them. Teachers will often comment about how much their students loved or hated a story and base their rating on that.

Or perhaps it is just adults who love middle grade books like me! The point here is there is a high chance that the ratings and book lists dedicated to middle grade books have been generated by adult users. 

Goodreads Features Book Lists Called Listopia

Let’s talk about Listopia and a little bit about how Goodreads works.

Listopia contains millions (probably) of lists of books created by people. Users can create whatever list of books they want and everyone can vote on the books within the list. A lot of the times the list that is created is edited by the community, especially if the purpose of the list is to categorize books by publication dates and genre. Other times, lists are created for entertainment or informative purposes such as “Books That Make Me Laugh” for example.

People will then vote on the books that are on the list based on the name of the list itself.  More often than not, these votes turns all these lists into “most recommended” lists because books with the most votes appear at the top of the list.

I should also mention that books can be added to this list by any user as well. This makes the process of creating book lists democratic and fair for all users.

Does Middle Grade Show Up on Listopia?

With all of these varying book lists on Goodreads, I was sure to find lists that featured middle grade books. 

I searched for the middle grade bookish lists. VOILA!

I found  *Middle Grade Novels of 2021* and with a little more effort found a list for each year dating all the way back to 2013! YES! Upon closer review, the books that sit at the top of these lists seem most accurate to the trends of the years they were published.

Here is a screenshot I took from Goodreads. It shows how Listopia is formatted and shows off all of the current lists of best middle grade novels there are. Yes, I voted for Amari and the Night Brothers for the best middle grade book of 2021! I highly recommend it!

Goodreads Listopia search result for middle grade books

Book List of the Best Middle Grade Books on Goodreads

The list before you contains the ‘best’ middle grade book from each year starting with 2013, according to the Goodreads community. I include some of the other top middle grade books found on these lists that you may enjoy as well. 

If you are on Goodreads, go put in your vote on these lists! Goodreads could use a good old refresher from those of you who are indeed middle grade readers. Who knows! Maybe this list will change because of YOUR vote! 

Go Vote for The Best Middle Grade Books Now

Soman Chainani

The School for Good & Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one.

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains.

Also on Top Middle Grade Novels of 2013

Rump: The (Fairly True Tale of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Top Middle Grade book of 2014
Dianne Salerni

Can you imagine living on a day between Wednesday and Thursday?

When Jax wakes up to a world without any people in it, he assumes it’s the zombie apocalypse. But then he runs into his eighteen-year-old guardian, Riley Pendare and quickly learns that he’s actually in the eighth day—an extra day between Wednesday and Thursday.

This is an exhilarating middle grade book for kids. Could you imagine living an extra day each week? I vote that we add that day to the weekend. 

Also on Top Middle Grade Novels of 2014

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

The Night Gardner by Johnathan Auxier
Top Middle Grade book of 2015
Robert Beatty

“Never go into the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul.”

It is 1899 and 12-year-old Serafina lives with her Pa in the basement of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. Pa had come to Asheville years ago to help with construction and stayed on staff as the main handyman for their 250 year old estate. Serafina’s stay in this massive mansion must remain a total secret… also with her actual existence!

This middle grade book is for you if you are in the mood for something thrilling and mysterious. 

Also on Middle Grade Novels of 2015

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Top Middle Grade book of 2016
Lauren Magaziner

Fans of Spy SchoolEscape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and Roald Dahl will gobble up this hilarious story about a secret boarding school for thieves-in-training!

Troublemaking George has never heard of Pilfer Academy, a top-secret school for training young crooks, until he’s kidnapped as its newest student. Quickly, George becomes an expert bandit and finds a true friend named Tabitha. They are excellent partners-in-crime. But everything is ruined when George realizes that he actually has what they call a good heart and that this bad boy persona is not who he is.

An hilarious book with a good message. This one is sure to warm your heart.

Also on Middle Grade Novels of 2016

The Trials of Apollo (The Hidden Oracle #1) by Rick Riordan

Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin
Top Middle Grade book of 2017
Christina Farley

Twelve year old Keira is a Word Weaver…but she doesn’t know it. Word Weavers have the power to bring stories to life and when Keira uses her grandmother’s magical pen to write a story for a fairy-tale writing contest (something her mother strictly forbids her to do), her not so happily ever after fairy-tale starts to come to life around her. Keira, her BFF Bella, and Keira’s mom find themselves in a gorgeous French castle and in the middle of a dangerous fairy-tale adventure.

Also on Middle Grade Novels of 2017

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsey Currie

Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry
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Top Middle Grade book of 2018
Lauren Magaziner

Comedic, touching, and page-turny, Wizardmatch is perfect for fans of Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, The Gollywopper Games, and The Candymakers.

Wizardmatch is a fantasy about 12-year-old Lennie, whose family – along with those of her cousins – is summoned back by their grandfather, Mortimer de Pomporromp, to compete for the family’s magical title of Prime Wizard. But her grandfather institutes a new rule that may put magic-loving Lennie’s chances at becoming Prime Wizard in jeopardy.

Also on Middle Grade Novels of 2018

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes
Top Middle Grade book of 2019
Dan Gemeinhart

“Your heart needs this joyful miracle of a book.” ― Katherine Applegate

Do you think it would be fun to have your house be a school bus that was gutted and turned into a home? You could go just about anywhere in the US whenever you want. Fun, right? Well, Coyote Sunrise didn’t have a problem with it, at least not until everything changed. Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have been traveling the country for five years, ever since the day her mom and two sisters were killed in a car wreck.

This book was very popular on Booktok during 2020 stay at home mandates. This middle grade book is sure to make you cry and laugh with glee all at the same time. 

Note: *Middle Grade Novels of 2019* #1 and #2 books were a sequel in a series. This book is #3.

Also on Middle Grade Novels of 2019

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

The Unteachables by Gordon Korman
Top Middle Grade book of 2020
Ernesto Cisneros

“We need books to break open our hearts, so that we might feel more deeply, so that we might be more human in these unkind times. This is a book doing work of the spirit in a time of darkness.” —Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street

Efrén Divided SynopsisEfrén Nava’s Amá is his Superwoman—or Soperwoman, named after the delicious Mexican sopes his mother often prepares. Both Amá and Apá work hard all day to provide for the family, making sure Efrén and his younger siblings Max and Mía feel safe and loved.

But Efrén worries about his parents; although he’s American-born, his parents are undocumented. His worst nightmare comes true one day when Amá doesn’t return from work and is deported across the border to Tijuana, México.

Now more than ever, Efrén must channel his inner Soperboy to help take care of and try to reunite his family.

Also on Middle Grade Novels of 2020

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega
Top Middle Grade book of 2021
B.B. Alston

Amari and the Night Brothers Synopsis: Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alive. Not even when the police told her otherwise, or when she got in trouble for standing up to bullies who said he was gone for good.

So when she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet, containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton—if only she can wrap her head around the idea of magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures all being real.

Also on Middle Grade Novels of 2021

The Gilded Girl by Alyssa Colman

Clues to the Universe by Christina Li

Well, there you have it. The best middle grade books according to the Goodreads community What do you think of this list? What do you think the best middle grade book of 2022 will be? 

Be sure to visit the Goodreads lists and cast your vote on what novels you like the best