Debut, Diverse, and Deadly Fun Middle Grade Books! | PRR’s Spooky 2021 MG Reading List


Halloween is just around the corner… And to celebrate the spookiest stories in middle grade, Pine Reads has compiled a list of 13 books that range from fun and campy to downright terrifying! Check out these books and let us know which stories sent chills down your spine. Happy Halloween, and wishing you all scary reading!

Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega

Lucely Luna and her best friend Syd accidentally summon malicious spirits just before Halloween. As these ghouls and ghosts start to invade the streets of St. Augustine, Lucely and Syd seek aid from Syd’s witch grandmother to combat the ghosts. But ending a haunting is harder than it seems, and these spirits might just ruin Lucely’s home forever. 

In an action-packed and scarily fun story, Claribel Ortega’s debut middle grade novel tells a Halloween tale inspired by Dominican folklore. Pick up this charming book today!

Small Spaces (Small Spaces Book 1) by Katherine Arden

Ollie loves books. Her most recent read was about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who were in love with her, and a sinister deal made with “the smiling man”. Not long after reading this story, Ollie finds herself on a school field trip to a local farm where she finds the graves of a girl named Beth and two brothers. After the school bus breaks down and leaves Ollie and her classmates stranded, the students get a chilling message: RUN. 

For lovers of hair-raising scares and genuinely creepy stories, go read Katherine Arden’s middle grade debut!

Root Magic by Eden Royce

Jezebel has always been intrigued with African folk magic. When her uncle starts to train her and her brother in rootwork, Jezebel realizes their family has powers far more powerful than she imagined. And something supernatural and evil is coming. Will Jez be able to use this newfound magic to save not only her family but her whole town, too?

If you’re a fan of supernatural fights, historical fiction, and Gullah-Geechee folklore, then Eden Royce’s middle grade debut is for you! 

The Okay Witch (The Okay Witch Book 1) by Emma Steinkellner

Moth Hush just found out some major news: her family is magical and has centuries-old witchy drama! With Halloween right around the corner, a talking cat, an enchanted diary, and a newly revealed witch world, Moth’s life just got very interesting. And things are about to get even more complicated when secrets from past generations start to threaten Moth’s whole life.

Emma Steinkellner’s graphic novel is filled with mystery and adventure, the ideal read for middle schoolers looking for a quirky and magical story!

Ghost Girl by Ally Malinenko

Zee can see ghosts. Or rather, she just saw a ghost. At first, none of Zee’s classmates believed her. But weird things start happening… people go missing and everyone’s darkest dreams start coming true. Now it’s up to Zee, her best friend Elijah, and mean girl Nellie to work together and save everyone from a terrifying ending.

Ally Malinenko’s middle grade debut highlights working together and persevering through even the scariest odds. Go read this thrilling mystery now!

The Jumbies (The Jumbies Book 1) by Tracey Baptiste

Corrine La Mer doesn’t believe in jumbies. But she just might start to believe in them when she starts seeing glowing yellow eyes in the trees, and when a beautiful woman, Severine, starts to bewitch the people of Corrine’s island. When Corrine finds out Severine plans to take over the island for the jumbies, Corrine must team up with her friends to use ancient magic to stop Severine’s evil.

Tracey Baptiste takes inspiration from the Haitian folktale “The Magic Orange Tree” to tell this spooky tale, perfect for fans of bold heroines and Caribbean culture!

Fearless by Mandy Gonzalez

Monica Garcia is a 12-year-old starring in a Broadway musical at the Ethel Merman Theater, a theater that happens to be cursed by a ghost. When Monica and her castmates get locked inside after an accident, they come face to face with the Ethel ghost herself. Can these kids break the ghost’s curse and save their show? Or will their dreams be crushed by this thespian terror?

Broadway star Mandy Gonzalez tells a frightening and fun story in her debut novel, which is perfect for young theatre lovers who enjoy a good ghost story! 

Witches of Brooklyn (Witches of Brooklyn Book 1) by Sophie Escabasse

This graphic novel combines magic and adventure, telling the story of Effie. After Effie loses her mom and her home, she moves in with two aunts whom she’s never met. They are a bit strange and kooky, and Effie soon learns that her family is a bit more magical than she knew. What’s the worst that could happen?

After reading the first book in the Witches of Brooklyn series, be sure to also check out the sequel, Witches of Brooklyn: What the Hex?!!

The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf

Suraya has inherited a gift from her witchy grandmother. This gift is a pelesit, a ghostly companion, whom Suraya names Pink. Not long after Pink’s arrival, Suraya learns that pelesits can bring evil with them… and Pink’s dark side poses a threat to them both. Suraya must find a way to save herself and Pink, to find light where there is overwhelming darkness.

Hanna Alkaf mixes creepy horror elements with Malaysian culture and folklore in a truly terrifying story. For a heartfelt and haunting read, check this book out!

The Stitchers (Fright Watch Book 1) by Lorien Lawrence 

Quinn Parker’s neighbors are not normal. They’ve lived on Goodie Lane for years now, longer than anyone can remember. The weird thing? They haven’t aged at all. Determined to solve this mystery, and reveal “the Oldies” for who they really are, Quinn teams up with her neighbor Mike to unravel the secrets that surround these neighbors. But things go awry when the Oldies find out about Quinn and Mike’s investigation…

Lorien Lawrence’s middle grade horror series blends action and mystery, making for a thrilling and scary story. Read these books now, before it’s too late!

Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh

Harper Raine’s family has just moved into a new house, a house that is rumored to be haunted. Harper soon realizes that her younger brother, Michael, is being possessed by a ghost in the house. Can Harper, and the strange memories that she’s been suppressing, save her brother before the ghost threatens to take him away forever?

Ellen Oh’s story is perfect for middle grade horror fans. If you want a book that approaches the classic haunted house from a Korean-American perspective, this story is for you!

Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch (Eva Evergreen Book 1) by Julie Abe

Eva Evergreen is only semi-magic; she’s not as strong as the other witches, and her spells often create chaos. When Eva attempts to prove her worth in a small town, she soon comes across a magical challenge that threatens everyone’s safety. To save the town, and prove her worth as a witch, Eva will have to use every bit of magic, courage, and wit to conjure away the threat.

Julie Abe’s fantastical middle grade debut is great for witchy readers looking for a fun story this Halloween season. Check it out now!

Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker, illustrated by Junyi Wu

In Antler Wood, there is a haunted season. The haunted season brings out the monsters; flesh-eating zombies, skin-stealing witches, and a ghost who haunts the living. The haunting season has come, and Mia and Uly are lost in the woods. 

Christian McKay Heidicker’s middle grade debut tells the journey of fox kits Mia and Uly through eight interconnected stories. For a story filled with horror and hope, read this unique book!

If you want to buy any of these books, check out our Spooky 2021 MG Reading list on Bookshop here!

PRR Writer, Erika Brittain