Top Twelve Books for Twelve Year Olds!

A grid of book covers with the text "Top 12 books for 12 year olds"

It's hard to believe, but this October marks twelve years since we moved Brilliant Books from our little blue store in Suttons Bay to our beautiful downtown location right here in Traverse City.  To celebrate, we've been sharing some top twelve lists from those years.  You've seen our twelve bestselling staff favorites, twelve books we can always count on, and now, we're sharing this year's top twelve bestselling books for twelve-year-olds!

Middle grade readers are notoriously tricky to shop for, but the majority of these bestsellers were chosen by young readers themselves from our book fairs throughout the 2023 winter/spring season.  If you're looking for some recommendations for your own young reader, these have the bona fide young reader stamp of approval!





Book coverHeroes of Havensong: Dragonboy by Megan Reyes

This timeless fantasy debut follows four unlikely heroes—a boy-turned-dragon, his reluctant dragon rider, a runaway witch, and a young soldier—bound by the Fates to save their world, and magic itself, from being destroyed.

Blue, River, Wren, and Shenli grew up on different sides of a war they didn’t start. Their land has been torn apart over centuries of conflict, with humans taught to fear all things magical, dragons driven to near extinction, and magic under attack. But an ancient prophecy has put the four them on a collision course with destiny—and with each other—in a mission to heal the fractured realm once known as Haven. 

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Book coverMary Anne's Bad Luck Mystery: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-Sitters Club #13)  by Cynthia Yuan Cheng

A brand-new Baby-sitters Club graphic novel adapted by newcomer Cynthia Yuan Cheng!
Mary Anne should never have thrown away that chain letter she got in the mail. Ever since she did, bad things have been happening to everyone in The Baby-sitters Club. With Halloween coming up, Mary Anne's even more worried -- what kind of spooky thing will happen next?

Then Mary Anne finds a new note in her mailbox: Wear this bad-luck charm, it says. OR ELSE. Mary Anne has to follow the note's instructions. But who sent the charm? And why did they send it to Mary Anne?

The BSC might never see an end to their bad luck if they don’t solve this mystery soon!

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Book coverWho Would Win: Battle Royale by Jerry Pallotta

Which dangerous animals would win in a fight? Find out in this awesome bind-up of five books in the popular Who Would Win? series! The collection features a range of mammals, sea creatures, reptiles, and dinosaurs to satisfy all kinds of animal fans, including Wolverine vs. Tasmanian Devil, Rhino vs. Hippo, Alligator vs. Python, Killer Whale vs. Great White Shark, and Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. Velociraptor.  Kids will learn about each animal's anatomy, behavior, and more alongside photos, charts, illustrations, and amazing facts.

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Book coverAllergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd & Michelle Mee Nutter

A coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel featuring a girl with severe allergies who just wants to find the perfect pet!

At home, Maggie is the odd one out. Her parents are preoccupied with getting ready for a new baby, and her younger brothers are twins and always in their own world. Maggie loves animals and thinks a new puppy is the answer, but when she goes to select one on her birthday, she breaks out in hives and rashes. She's severely allergic to anything with fur!

Can Maggie outsmart her allergies and find the perfect pet?

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Book coverCat Kid Comic Club: Collaborations by Dav Pilkey

Excitement and imagination run wild as Naomi, Melvin, Poppy, Gilbert, Curly, and their siblings get back to making comics with originality and laughter. But wait -- have they cleaned their rooms yet?!

After their chores, the rambunctious group presents even more amazing mini-comics: a thrilling ride in "Chubbs McSpiderbutt," an action-packed romp in "Frogzilla," reflective haikus in "In the Autumn Pond," a candy-coated mystery in "Mallo Cop," and much, much more. By working together, the baby frogs discover that small things can have a huge impact.

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Book coverSquished by Megan Wagner Lloyd & Michelle Mee Nutter

Eleven-year-old Avery Lee loves living in Hickory Valley, Maryland. She loves her neighborhood, school, and the end-of-summer fair she always goes to with her two best friends. But she's tired of feeling squished by her six siblings! They're noisy and chaotic and the younger kids love her a little too much. All Avery wants is her own room -- her own space to be alone and make art. So she's furious when Theo, her grumpy older brother, gets his own room instead, and her wild baby brother, Max, moves into the room she already shares with her clinging sister Pearl! Avery hatches a plan to finally get her own room, all while trying to get Max to sleep at night, navigating changes in her friendships, and working on an art entry for the fair. And when Avery finds out that her family might move across the country, things get even more complicated.

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Book coverThe Moth Keeper by K. O'Neill

Being a Moth Keeper is a huge responsibility and a great honor, but what happens when the new Moth Keeper decides to take a break from the moon and see the sun for the first time? From the author of the beloved Tea Dragon Society comes a must-read for fans of the rich fantasies of Hayao Miyazaki and the magical adventures of Witch Hat Atelier.

Anya is finally a Moth Keeper, the protector of the lunar moths that allow the Night-Lily flower to bloom once a year. Her village needs the flower to continue thriving and Anya is excited to prove her worth and show her thanks to her friends with her actions, but what happens when being a Moth Keeper isn’t exactly what Anya thought it would be?

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Book coverSkandar and the Unicorn Thief by A. F. Steadman

Skandar Smith has always yearned to leave the Mainland and escape to the secretive Island, where wild unicorns roam free. He’s spent years studying for his Hatchery exam, the annual test that selects a handful of Mainlander thirteen-year-olds to train to become unicorn riders. But on the day of Skandar’s exam, things go horribly wrong, and his hopes are shattered…until a mysterious figure knocks on his door at midnight, bearing a message: the Island is in peril and Skandar must answer its call.

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Book coverThe Sun and the Star by Rick Riordan & Mark Oshiro

Percy Jackson fans, rejoice! Nico and Will have a book of their own!

As the son of Hades, Nico di Angelo has been through so much, from the premature deaths of his mother and sister, to being outed against his will, to losing his friend Jason during the trials of Apollo. But there is a ray of sunshine in his life—literally: his boyfriend, Will Solace, the son of Apollo. Together the two demigods can overcome any obstacle or foe. At least, that's been the case so far...

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Book coverMoon Rising: A Graphic Novel (Wings of Fire Graphic Novel #6) by Tui T. Sutherland & Mike Holmes 

Peace has come to Pyrrhia... for now.

The war between the tribes is finally over, and now the dragonets of the prophecy have a plan for lasting peace: Jade Mountain Academy, a school that will gather dragonets from all the tribes and teach them to live together, perhaps even as friends.

Moonwatcher isn't sure how she feels about school, however. Hidden in the rainforest for most of her life, the young NightWing has an awful secret. She can read minds, and even see the future. Living in a cave with dozens of other dragons is noisy, exhausting—and dangerous.

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Book coverPokemon: Super Extra Deluxe Essential Handbook 

If you want to catch 'em all, you gotta read about 'em all! This mega-bestselling book has all the stats and facts kids need to know. Essential information on over 875 characters is jam-packed into 560 illustrated, full-color pages.

The handbook includes:

     ♦ Stats and facts on Pokémon from Abomasnow to Zygarde
     ♦ Insider info about moves, types, Mega Evolution, Legendary and Mythical Pokémon, and Ultra Beasts
     ♦ The scoop on Galarian forms including Gigantamax

It's your comprehensive guide to the world of Pokémon!

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Book coverDog Man: Twenty Thousand Fleas Under the Sea by Dav Pilkey

DOG MAN IS BACK! The highly anticipated new graphic novel in the #1 worldwide bestselling series starring everyone's favorite canine superhero by award-winning author and illustrator Dav Pilkey!
Piggy has returned, and his newest plot is his most diabolical yet. WHAT other new villains are on the horizon? WHERE are they all coming from? And WHO will step forward to save the city when scoundrels sabotage our Supa Buddies?

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