Video games are big for middle schoolers, so this list of middle grade books about video games was inevitable. You’ll find stories about kids trapped in video games, kids playing video games at home, and a few about pro kid gamers. Ready, let’s play!
Best Middle Grade Books About Video Games
Here are some of the best middle grade books about video games:
Last Gamer Standing
Published: September 21, 2021
In twelve-year-old Reyna Cheng’s world, gaming is everything. Professional esports teams are the mainstream celebrities. Kids begin training from a young age, aspiring for the big leagues.
Reyna is the up-and-coming junior amateur Dayhold gamer, competing in a VR battle royale against AI monsters and human players. But despite Reyna’s rising popularity and skills, no one knows who she is. Gaming is still a boys’ club and to protect herself against trolls and their harassment, she games the mysterious TheRuiNar.
When Reyna qualifies for the Dayhold Junior Tournament, she knows she’s got what it takes to win the championship title and the $10,000 prize. It’s a chance to make a step forward towards her professional esports dreams and to help her family with the costs of her mother’s hospital bills.
But when she’s blackmailed and threatened to be doxed by an anonymous troll, Reyna has to confront the toxic gaming community head-on.
With her dreams and the cash prize on the line, it’s game on!
Glitch: A Graphic Novel
Published: May 14, 2019
Izzy has an incredible secret — she can enter the world of her new video game! She meets Rae, a robot who says Izzy is destined to save Dungeon City from the Big Boss. How is this possible?! And how can she fight for this virtual world when she’s got a whole real life to keep up with: her family (though she could do without her mom’s annoying cat), and her best friend, Eric. Things get even weirder when Izzy loses a life while inside the game, and she starts to worry about what might happen if she gets a Game Over for good. Meanwhile, Eric has been super upset with Izzy since she’s been keeping secrets and bailing on their plans. Can Izzy survive Dungeon City and save their friendship?
Secret Coders #1
Published: September 29, 2015
Welcome to Stately Academy, a school which is just crawling with mysteries to be solved! The founder of the school left many clues and puzzles to challenge his enterprising students. Using their wits and their growing prowess with coding, Hopper and her friend Eni are going to solve the mystery of Stately Academy no matter what it takes!
Published: April 26, 2016
Cameron Boxer is very happy to spend his life avoiding homework, hanging out with his friends, and gaming for hours in his basement. It’s not too hard for him to get away with it . . . until he gets so caught up in one game that he almost lets his house burn down around him. Oops.It’s time for some serious damage control–so Cameron and his friends invent a fake school club that will make it seem like they’re doing good deeds instead of slacking off. The problem? Some kids think the club is real–and Cameron is stuck being president.Soon Cameron is part of a mission to save a beaver named Elvis from certain extinction. Along the way, he makes some new friends–and some powerful new enemies. The guy who never cared about anything is now at the center of everything . . . and it’s going to take all his slacker skills to win this round.
Sunny Rolls the Dice
Published: October 1, 2019
Too cool for school . . . or the least groovy girl in the grade?Sunny’s just made it to middle school . . . and it’s making her life very confusing. All her best friend Deb wants to talk about is fashion, boys, makeup, boys, and being cool. Sunny’s not against any of these things, but she also doesn’t understand why suddenly everything revolves around them. She’s much more comfortable when she’s in her basement, playing Dungeons & Dragons with a bunch of new friends. Because when you’re swordfighting and spider-slaying, it’s hard to worry about whether you look cool or not. Especially when it’s your turn to roll the 20-sided die. Trying hard to be cool can make you feel really uncool . . . and it’s much more fun to just have fun. Sunny’s going to find her groove and her own kind of groovy, with plenty of laughs along the way.
My Life as a Gamer
Published: April 7, 2015
Derek Fallon gets the chance of a lifetime―to participate in a gaming company focus group and to test out a new video game called “Arctic Ninja.” Together with his friends Carly, Matt, and Umberto, Derek thinks his gaming talents will be showcased. But he soon realizes that everyone has got him beat, including whiz kid El Cid. On top of that, school reading tests have begun and Derek feels doubly off his game. Isn’t there anything he’s good at?
Racing Ransom (The Gamer)
Published: January 1, 2022
Cynthia Cyber has trapped two programmers in the video game Space Racers, which she invented but did not get credit for, and sends a monster racer to destroy them if she does not get a ten million dollar ransom–and it is up to thirteen-year-old Tyler Morant in his secret identity as The Gamer to rescue them before they are destroyed.
Only You Can Save Mankind
Published: July 1, 2005
The alien spaceship is in his sights. His finger is on the Fire button. Johnny Maxwell is about to set the new high score on the computer game Only You Can Save Mankind.
We wish to talk.
The aliens aren’t supposed to surrender — they’re supposed to die! Now what is Johnny going to do with a fleet of alien prisoners who know their rights under the international rules of war and are demanding safe-conduct? It’s hard enough trying to save Mankind from the Galactic Hordes. It’s even harder trying to save the Galactic Hordes from Mankind.
But it’s just a game, isn’t it? Isn’t it?
Trapped in a Video Game Book 1
Published: July 10, 2018
Jesse Rigsby hates video games—and for good reason. You see, a video game character is trying to kill him. After getting sucked in the new game Full Blast with his friend Eric, Jesse starts to see the appeal of vaporizing man-size praying mantis while cruising around by jet pack. But pretty soon, a mysterious figure begins following Eric and Jesse, and they discover they can’t leave the game. If they don’t figure out what’s going on fast, they’ll be trapped for good!
Published: July 4, 2017
Jeremy and Justin are twins, but they couldn’t be any more different from each other. Jeremy is a risk taker who likes to get his hands dirty; Justin prefers to read, focus, and get all his facts straight before jumping in. But they do have one important thing in common: They both love video games. When Jeremy wins a cereal-box charm that brings his favorite video game to life, villains and all, he finds that he’s in way over his head. Justin knows everything there is to know about the rules of the game—he read the handbook, of course—and Jeremy isn’t afraid to try new things. Can these two mismatched brothers work together to beat the video game that has become their life?
Crypt Quest/ Space Battles
Published: February 13, 2018
Trapped in a 80’s era haunted video arcade, Midnight Arcade is a play-your-way adventure tale in which the reader determines the course of action, ultimately controlling whether they live . . . or die!
After climbing a fence near an abandoned mall, you discover a derelict video arcade managed by a ghostly attendant. Presented with a magical game token, you select one of two games you wish to play, the eerie Crypt Quest or the flashy Space Battles. Once you place the token in the slot, you have to make choices to advance through the games and your decisions control whether you beat the game, or die.
Both games feature unique villains and life-like game play that will delight readers, and the most important choice in either game for those now trapped inside them, is the one that will keep them alive.
Minecraft: The Crash
Published: July 12, 2018
Bianca has never been good at following the plan. She’s more of an act-now, deal-with-the-consequences-later kind of person. But consequences can’t be put off forever, as Bianca learns when she and her best friend, Lonnie, are in a terrible car crash.
Waking up in the hospital, almost paralyzed by her injuries, Bianca is faced with questions she’s not equipped to answer. She chooses instead to try a new virtual-reality version of Minecraft that responds to her every wish, giving her control over a world at the very moment she thought she’d lost it. As she explores this new realm, she encounters Esme and Anton, two kids who are also playing on the hospital server. The trio teams up to play through to the End, and hopefully to find Lonnie along the way.
But the road to recovery isn’t without its own dangers. The kids are swarmed by mobs seemingly generated by their fears and insecurities, and now Bianca must deal with the uncertainties that have been plaguing her: Is Lonnie really in the game? And can Bianca help him to return to reality with her?
The Double Life of Danny Day
Published: June 15, 2021
My name is Danny Day, and I live every day twice.
The first time, it’s a “discard day.” It’s kind of like a practice run. At the end of the day, I go to bed, wake up, and poof everything gets reset, everything except my memory, that is.
The second time, everything is normal, just like it is for everyone else. That’s when everything counts and my actions stick. As you could probably guess, “Sticky Day” Danny is very different from “Discard Day” Danny.
When Danny’s family moves across the country, he suddenly has to use his ability for more than just slacking off and playing video games. Now he’s making new friends, fending off jerks, exposing a ring of cheaters in the lunchtime video game tournament, and taking down bullies one day at a time … or is it two days at a time?
Josh Baxter Levels Up
Published: February 23, 2016
Video game lover Josh Baxter knows that seventh grade at a new school may be his hardest challenge yet, but he’s not afraid to level up and win!Josh Baxter is sick and tired of hitting the reset button. It’s not easy being the new kid for the third time in two years. One mistake and now the middle school football star is out to get him. And Josh’s sister keeps offering him lame advice about how to make friends, as if he needs her help finding allies!Josh knows that his best bet is to keep his head down and stay under the radar. If no one notices him, nothing can touch him, right? But when Josh’s mom sees his terrible grades and takes away his video games, it’s clear his strategy has failed. Josh needs a new plan, or he’ll never make it to the next level, let alone the next grade. He’s been playing not to lose. It’s time to play to win.
Published: March 13, 2018
An exciting new middle reader series from a debut author. All twelve-year-old Jaden wants to do is be the best at Cross Ups, the video game he and his friends can’t stop playing. He knows he could be―if only he didn’t have to hide his gaming from his mom, who’s convinced it will make him violent. After an epic match leads to an invitation to play in a top tournament, Jaden and his friends Devesh and Hugh hatch a plan to get him there. But Jaden’s strict parents and annoying siblings, not to mention a couple of bullies and his confusing feelings for his next-door neighbor Cali, keep getting in the way! Tournament Trouble marks the first book in a planned series by Sylv Chiang, a captivating new voice in middle reader fiction. With sharp dialogue and relatable characters, it chronicles the ups and downs of middle school with a relevant, contemporary twist. Accompanied by Connie Choi’s lively illustrations, Tournament Trouble invites readers into Jaden’s world, and will leave them eagerly awaiting his next adventure. Look for Book 2, coming in Fall 2018!
Mac Cracks the Code
Published: December 26, 2019
The Queen of England calls on Mac B. once again! This time, Mac must crack a secret code that has been recovered from a double agent. A series of clues leads Mac to France, and then to Japan, where he comes face-to-face with his arch-nemesis, the KGB man… and the world headquarters of Nintendo! Is the KGB Man secretly behind all of this? And are Mac’s video game skills good enough to facedown his enemy at the Video Game World Championships?With Mike Lowery’s signature illustrations on every page, historical facts woven throughout, and of course intrigue, history, hilarity and more, catch the latest in this totally smart, wholly original, side-splittingly funny series from the wildly talented author Mac Barnett.
Click Here to Start
Published: July 19, 2016
What if playing video games was prepping you to solve an incredible real-world puzzle and locate a priceless treasure?
Twelve-year-old Ted Gerson has spent most of his summer playing video games. So when his great-uncle dies and bequeaths him the all so-called treasure in his overstuffed junk shop of an apartment, Ted explores it like it’s another level to beat. And to his shock, he finds that eccentric Great-Uncle Ted actually hasset the place up like a real-life escape-the-room game!
Using his specially honed skills, Ted sets off to win the greatest game he’s ever played, with help from his friends Caleb and Isabel. Together they discover that Uncle Ted’s “treasure” might be exactly that—real gold and jewels found by a Japanese American unit that served in World War II. With each puzzle Ted and his friends solve, they get closer to unraveling the mystery—but someone dangerous is hot on their heels, and he’s not about to let them get away with the fortune.
Published: September 5, 2017
Allie Navarro can’t wait to show her best friends the app she built at CodeGirls summer camp. CLICK’D pairs users based on common interests and sends them on a fun (and occasionally rule-breaking) scavenger hunt to find each other.
And it’s a hit. By the second day of school, everyone is talking about CLICK’D. Watching her app go viral is amazing. Leaderboards are filling up! Everyone’s making new friends. And with all the data Allie is collecting, she has an even better shot at beating her archenemy, Nathan, at the upcoming youth coding competition.
But when Allie discovers a glitch that threatens to expose everyone’s secrets, she has to figure out how to make things right, even if that means sharing the computer lab with Nathan. Can Allie fix her app, stop it from doing any more damage, and win back the friends it hurt–all before she steps on stage to present CLICK’D to the judges?
Insert Coin to Continue
Published: September 20, 2016
Meet Bryan Biggins. Most of the time he’s a freckle-faced boy, small for his age, who attends a school known for its unwritten uniform of North Face jackets and Hollister jeans. The rest of the time he is Kieran Nightstalker, the level-fifty dark-elf hero of his favorite video game, Sovereign of Darkness.
Until one day Bryan wakes up to find out his life has become a video game. Sort of. Except instead of fighting dragons or blasting bad guys, he’s still doing geometry and getting picked last for dodgeball. It’s still middle school. Only now there’s much more at stake.
Stealing the Twinkie from underneath the noses of those dieting teachers isn’t enough to earn him another life. And battling the creature that escaped from the science lab doesn’t seem to cut it either. And who knew Romeo and Juliet would turn into a zombie bloodbath?!
All the while he’s losing hit points and gaining levels, and facing the truth that GAME OVER might flash before his eyes at any minute. It all seems to be building to something…something that has been haunting Bryan since way before his life turned into an X-Box nightmare, a challenge that only he can face. Will Bryan find a way to beat the game before it’s too late?
Game Over, Pete Watson
Published: March 11, 2014
When videogame obsessed Pete Watson discovers his dad is not only a super-spy but has been kidnapped and is now trapped inside a video game, he has to use his super gaming skills and enter the game to rescue him. Will he be able to save his friends and family and the entire world from giant mechanical cockroaches and a massive cyber attack set to take down the world’s network? And if he succeeds, who will save Pete from his massive crush on Callie Midwood?
Published: August 10, 2018
When evil giants attack your home in Ardeep Forest, your parents think you’re dead and they go hunting for your missing little brother. You wake up and set out after them, helped by a giant wizard who lives in a flying tower. You don’t know where they’ve gone, but you know that if you don’t find them, you’re all in big trouble. Wield your magic wisely against the giants, wizard.
Mr Lemoncello’s All-Star Breakout Game
Published: May 7, 2019
Greetings, boys and girls, gamers of all ages–are you ready to play Mr. Lemoncello’s BIGGEST, most dazzling game yet? After months of anticipation, Mr. Lemoncello is taking his games out of the library and going LIVE across the nation on the world-famous Kidzapalooza Television Network! Everyone’s invited to audition, but only a lucky few will be chosen to compete in front of millions of viewers in a brand-new, completely immersive live-action breakout game–with real kids as the playing pieces! Kyle Keeley is determined to be one of them.
Each of the winning teams must make it through five different rooms in Mr. Lemoncello’s fantastic new Fictionasium by solving a puzzle to unlock each room and, in the end, break out of the library! But nothing is ever as it seems with Mr. Lemoncello, and the surprises in store just might stump even the game master himself. Can Kyle break out of his own expectations–and win Mr. Lemoncello’s ultimate game show?
Enter the Mine
Published: June 4, 2019
After Pat and Jen saved Bomby, their cat Cloud, and one hundred friendly zombies from the clutches of Evil Jen and brought them home from the underworld, they thought their adventuring days were over.
But ever since their return, more mysterious new holes have started appearing—and more and more of their friends have started disappearing! After Jen stumbles into one and Pat rushes after her, they find themselves trapped in a dark, dank boomium mine.
Now Pat and Jen need to free their friends, figure out who’s behind this evil plot, and find a way to get back home—before it’s too late.
The 130-Story Treehouse
Published: April 6, 2021
Andy and Terry live in a 130-story treehouse. (It used to be a 117-story treehouse, but they added another 13 stories.) It has a soap bubble blaster, a time-wasting level, a 13-story igloo, the GRABINATOR (it can grab anything from anywhere at any time), a toilet paper factory, and an extraterrestrial observation centre for observing aliens.
As it turns out, though, it’s Andy, Terry and Jill who are being observed―and then abducted―by a giant flying eyeball from outer space! At first they’re excited to be going on an intergalactic space adventure, but when they arrive on Planet Eyeballia, they discover it’s not at all a friendly place. Will the gang be able to escape and get back to Earth and write their book before time runs out?
There they are: 23 of the best middle grade books about video games and video gaming. Which of these have you read? Which ones did I miss?