King and the Dragonflies by Kacen CallenderWhat it’s about: Twelve-year-old King knows too many secrets. King knows that his older brother Khalid didn’t really die, he just turned into a dragonfly. King knows where his runaway friend Sandy is hiding. And King knows that Sandy is gay -- just like him.
Read it for: strong emotions, memorable characters, and a Louisiana setting so vivid you can almost feel the humidity.
Twist by Sarah CannonStarring: horror writer Eli, fantasy artist Neha, troublemaker Court, three friends who accidentally unleash a horde of imaginary monsters made real. If they can make it through a group project with their most annoying classmate, they can fend off shadow beasts and fanged slugs, right?
Why you might like it: Eli, Neha, and Court put their creativity and courage to the test as they defend their town in this funny, suspenseful, and just-scary-enough fantasy set in 1983.
When You Trap a Tiger by Tae KellerWhat it’s about: Having grown up with her halmoni’s Korean folkales, Lily knows better than to make a deal with a magical talking tiger. But when the tiger offers to heal Halmoni’s illness in return for Lily releasing the stories Halmoni stole years ago, Lily can’t say no.
Why you might like it: Combining Lily’s extraordinary quest with her everyday family life, When You Trap a Tiger is a good choice for fantasy fans who enjoy getting to know authentic characters.
Snapdragon by Kat LeyhWhat it’s about: Despite the sinister rumors about the one-eyed town witch, middle school misfit Snapdragon isn’t scared -- especially not after she learns that the witch is actually Jacks, a crabby, Crocs-wearing old lady who might be just the friend Snap needs.
Featuring: an adorable three-legged dog, a magical motorcycle, an articulated rabbit skeleton, and several long-held secrets.
For fans of: Lumberjanes comics (co-written by author Kat Leyh), Molly Ostertag’s The Witch Boy, and other imaginative graphic novel fantasies.
Mañanaland by Pam Muñoz RyanThe setting: the fictional country of Santa Maria, where Max Córdoba listens to his Buelo spin incredible stories, wonders about his long-absent mother, and hopes to make the local fútbol team.
What happens: Max learns that Buelo’s stories are true -- their family really does serve as guardians who guide refugees to safety in Mañanaland, and now it’s Max’s turn to undertake a hazardous journey.
Read it for: a poetic and powerful fantasy story with roots in the real world.
Pippa Park Raises Her Game by Erin YunWhat it’s about: Everyone expects something from Pippa Park: her family expects her to help at their laundromat, her fancy school expects her to excel in class and on the basketball court, and her rich friends expect her to live up to the lies she tells to fit in. Can she make it through the year without letting anyone down?
Why you might like it: Even as she makes mistake after mistake, you’ll find yourself cheering for bold, funny Pippa.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 10-13!