I don’t know about you, but I definitely pretended to be a spy when I was a kid. Amazingly, though, the tweens in these best middle grade books about spies aren’t pretending! If you or your kids are looking for high-speed, high-wit spy adventures to take vicariously, then this is the list for you.
Best Middle Grade Books About Spies
Here are the best middle grade books about spies:
Jada Sly, Artist and Spy
Published: May 14, 2019
Ten-year-old Jada Sly is an artist and a spy-in-training. When she isn’t studying the art from her idols like Jackie Ormes, the first-known African American cartoonist, she’s chronicling her spy training and other observations in her art journal.
Back home in New York City, after living in France for five years, Jada is ready to embark on her first and greatest spy adventure yet. She plans to scour New York City in search of her missing mother, even though everyone thinks her mom died in a plane crash. Except Jada, who is certain her mom was a spy, too.
With the stakes high and danger lurking around every corner, Jada will use one spy technique after another to unlock the mystery of her mother’s disappearance — some with hilarious results. After all, she’s still learning.
Published: October 19, 2021
Ivette. Joanna. And now: Katrina
Whatever her name is, it won’t last long. Katrina doesn’t know any of the details about her past, but she does know that she and her parents are part of the Witness Protection Program. Whenever her parents say they have to move on and start over, she takes on a new identity. A new name, a new hair color, a new story.
Until their location leaks and her parents disappear. Forced to embark on a dangerous rescue mission, Katrina and her new friend Parker set out to save her parents―and find out the truth about her secret past and the people that want her family dead.
But every new discovery reveals that Katrina’s entire life has been built around secrets covered up with lies and that her parents were actually the ones keeping the biggest secret of all. Katrina must now decide if learning the whole truth is worth the price of losing everything she has ever believed about herself and her family.
Published: March 10, 2020
Sara Martinez is a hacker. She recently broke into the New York City foster care system to expose her foster parents as cheats and lawbreakers. However, instead of being hailed as a hero, Sara finds herself facing years in a juvenile detention facility and banned from using computers for the same stretch of time. Enter Mother, a British spy who not only gets Sara released from jail but also offers her a chance to make a home for herself within a secret MI6 agency.
Operating out of a base in Scotland, the City Spies are five kids from various parts of the world. When they’re not attending the local boarding school, they’re honing their unique skills, such as sleight of hand, breaking and entering, observation, and explosives. All of these allow them to go places in the world of espionage where adults can’t.
Before she knows what she’s doing, Sara is heading to Paris for an international youth summit, hacking into a rival school’s computer to prevent them from winning a million euros, dangling thirty feet off the side of a building, and trying to stop a villain…all while navigating the complex dynamics of her new team.
No one said saving the world was easy…
The Doublecross: (And Other Skills I Learned as a Superspy)
Published: July 14, 2015
Everyone in twelve-year-old Hale’s family is a spy, going way back. They’ve all worked for the Sub Rosa Society, an elite organization that’s so top secret that new agents aren’t recruited; they’re born. Despite the fact that Hale can defuse an explosive, don a disguise in seconds, and speak eleven languages, Hale isn’t like his spy-school classmates– he is, as his mother puts it, “big-boned,” and as everyone else puts it, “fat.”
But when Hale’s parents go missing while on a secret mission–likely captured by SRS’s number one enemy–it’s Hale’s time to step up and (with a little help from his acrobat cheerleader little sister) save the day. The trouble is, when you’re surrounded by spies, who can you trust?
Published: March 6, 2012
Like many kids, Ben Ripley imagines life as a secret agent would be pretty awesome — so when he learns he’s been recruited to the C.I.A.’s top secret Academy of Espionage, it sounds too good to be true. And it is. From the moment he arrives — and ends up in the middle of an enemy attack — Ben finds Spy School is going to be far more difficult, dastardly and dangerous than he expected. Even worse, he soon discovers that he hasn’t been recruited to become a top agent; instead, he’s been brought in as bait to catch a devious double agent. Now, Ben needs a crash course in espionage so that he can catch the mole, prove his worth — and get the girl. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be a very fun — and very funny — ride.
Stormbreaker (Alex Rider)
Published: May 21, 2001
They told him his uncle died in an accident. He wasn’t wearing his seatbelt, they said. But when fourteen-year-old Alex finds his uncle’s windshield riddled with bullet holes, he knows it was no accident. What he doesn’t know yet is that his uncle was killed while on a top-secret mission. But he is about to, and once he does, there is no turning back. Finding himself in the middle of terrorists, Alex must outsmart the people who want him dead. The government has given him the technology, but only he can provide the courage. Should he fail, every child in England will be murdered in cold blood.
Published: January 8, 2013
Dawn Buckle spends most of her days trying to get people to notice her. But whether at home or at school, it’s as if she’s completely invisible. And that’s exactly what makes her the ideal recruit for S.H,.H. (Strictly Hush Hush)-a secret intelligence agency. How the world’s most forgettable girl transforms herself into a world-class spy and tracks down a surprising secret agent will delight readers.
Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls
Published: July 4, 2017
After a botched escape plan from her boarding school, Abigail is stunned to discover the school is actually a cover for an elite spy ring called The Center, along with being training grounds for future spies. Even more shocking? Abigail’s mother is a top agent for The Center and she has gone MIA, with valuable information that many people would like to have—at any cost. Along with a former nemesis and charming boy from her grade, Abigail goes through a crash course in Spy Training 101, often with hilarious—and sometimes painful—results. But Abigail realizes she might be a better spy-in-training than she thought—and the answers to her mother’s whereabouts are a lot closer than she thinks…
The League of Unexceptional Children
Published: October 20, 2015
What is the League of Unexceptional Children? I’m glad you asked. You didn’t ask? Well, you would have eventually and I hate to waste time. The League of Unexceptional Children is a covert network that uses the nation’s most average, normal, and utterly unexceptional children as spies. Why the average kids? Why not the brainiacs? Or the beauty queens? Or the jocks? It’s simple: People remember them. But not the unexceptionals. They are the forgotten ones. Until now!
Independence Hall (I, Q Book 1)
Published: January 16, 2009
Thirteen-year-old Quest (Q) isn’t sure he’s ready for a new family. For a long time it’s just been him and his mom, Blaze. But everything changes when Blaze falls in love with Roger and they start a new rock band called Match. Now they’re married, have a hit record, and Match is going out on a year-long driving tour across the country. Q, along with new stepsister Angela, will take a year off from school and travel with the band. For now, home will be a luxury motor coach and homework will be a Web site diary of their travels. Perfect-Q can practice his magic tricks and Angela can read her spy novels. What can go wrong?
As Q and Angela settle into their new life and new relationship as siblings, they start to notice that certain coincidences don’t seem coincidental. For example, how does a band roadie named Boone find them in the middle of a desert where their coach just happens to break down? Why does a man from their parents’ wedding keep showing up in the same cities they stop at? When they reach Philadelphia, Q and Angela realize this tour is definitely not the trip their parents had planned and that the “City of Brotherly Love” is full of mysteries and secrets that could threaten their new life together.
The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable
Published: January 25, 2011
Coke McDonald and his twin sister, Pepsi, think their family’s cross-country RV vacation is nothing to get excited about…until they’re chased off a cliff, locked in a burning school, and receive mysterious messages in codes and ciphers. From California to Wisconsin, it’s a race against time to find out who’s after Coke and Pep, who’s leaving the notes…and just what being a part of The Genius Files entails!
With the real-kid humor that has earned Dan Gutman millions of fans around the world, and featuring weird-but-true American tourist destinations, The Genius Files is a one-of-a-kind mix of geography and fun.
As Coke and Pep dodge nefarious villains from the Pez museum in California all the way to the Infinity Room in Wisconsin, black-and-white photographs and maps put young readers right into the action.
Harriet the Spy
Published: February 25, 2014
Using her keen observation skills, 11-year-old Harriet M. Welsch writes down in her notebook what she considers the truth about everyone in and around her New York City neighborhood. When she loses track of her notebook, it ends up in the wrong hands, and before she can stop them, her friends read the sometimes awful things she’s observed and written about each of them. How can Harriet find a way to keep her integrity and also put her life and her friendships back together?
Liar and Spy
Published: August 7, 2012
An instant New York Times bestseller, Liar & Spy is a story about games and friendship. Seventh-grader Georges moves into a Brooklyn apartment building and meets Safer, a twelve-year-old self-appointed spy. Georges becomes Safer’s first spy recruit. His assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: How far is too far to go for your only friend?
The Young Bond
Published: April 27, 2005
This thrilling prequel to the James Bond dynasty shows young James at boarding school at Eton in the 1930’s, where he spent his formative years. Acclaimed British writer Charlie Higson, with the Ian Fleming Estate, writes an edge-of-your seat thriller that brilliantly plants the seeds to show how young James learns the skills that will eventually make him history’s most formidable and suave super spy.
Zeke Bartholomew, Superspy
Published: November 1, 2011
It all started on a day like any other.
(Now I gotta deal with this guy)
The sun rose. I had waffles for breakfast. I caught my dad SCRATCHING HIS BUTT. It
was a rerun of pretty much every day of my life. But late that night, EVERYTHING CHANGED…
One minute I’m digging through my neighbor’s garbage looking for clues (long story), and the next minute I’m KIDNAPPED BY GOONS and MISTAKEN FOR A SPY.
(Not to mention this guy)
You might think everything I’m about to tell you is a big lie. But I promise you that THIS IS ALL
TRUE. This is how the fate of the world fell into the hands of an UNIMPORTANT DORKY KID FROM NOWHERESVILLE.
There they are: 15 of the best middle grade spy books for tweens! Which of these books have you read? What did I miss? Want a printable of this list? You can get one by becoming a Patron.