There’s just something about middle grade books set in a motel or hotel or even a cozy B&B. Is it just me? I hope not! This list is all about books like those. In many of these stories, you’ll find kids helping out in motels, solving hotel-related mysteries, or living in B&Bs by choice for one reason or another. If you’re looking for stories where kids live in B&B’s due to housing insecurity, check out this list.
For now, let’s get started!
Middle Grade Books Set in Motels or Hotels
Here are some of the best middle grade books set in motels (hotels or B&Bs):
Published: May 29, 2018
Mia Tang has a lot of secrets. Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language? It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?
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A Dog-Friendly Town
Published: August 4, 2020
Twelve-year-old Epic McDade isn’t ready for middle school. He’d rather help out at his family’s dog-friendly bed n’ breakfast all summer, or return to his alternative elementary school in the fall, where learning feels safe. But change comes in all shapes and fur colors. When Carmelito, California is named America’s #1 Dog-Friendly Town, all the top dogs and their owners pour into Epic’s sleepy seaside neighborhood for a week of celebration.
The McDades are in dog heaven with all the new business until a famous dog’s jewel-encrusted collar goes missing. Every guest is a suspect, and Epic will have to embrace new friends and new ideas to sniff out the culprit before the week is through.
Ralph S. Mouse
Pubished: October 6, 2009
With his rowdy cousins constantly wearing out his motorcycle and the Mountain View Inn manager threatening to take care of the mouse infestation once and for all, Ralph decides it’s time to get away for a while. He convinces his human friend Ryan to take him along to school, where Ralph instantly becomes the center of attention.
But when Ryan’s class decides to see how smart Ralph is by making him run a maze, the usually confident mouse starts to fret. What if he’s not as clever as he thought?
Greetings from Nowhere
Published: March 18, 2008
Aggie isn’t expecting visitors at the Sleepy Time Motel in the Great Smoky Mountains. Since her husband died, she is all alone with her cat, Ugly, and keeping up with the bills and repairs has become next to impossible. The pool is empty, the garden is overgrown, and not a soul has come to stay in nearly three months. When she reluctantly places a For Sale ad in the newspaper, Aggie doesn’t know that Kirby and his mom will need a room when their car breaks down on the way to Kirby’s new reform school. Or that Loretta and her parents will arrive in her dad’s plumbing company van on a trip meant to honor the memory of Loretta’s birth mother. Or that Clyde Dover will answer the For Sale ad in such a hurry and move in with his daughter, Willow, looking for a brand-new life to replace the one that was fractured when Willow’s mom left. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that Aggie and her guests find just the friends they need at the shabby motel in the middle of nowhere.
Midnight at the Barclay Hotel
Published: August 25, 2020
When JJ Jacobson convinced his mom to accept a surprise invitation to an all-expenses-paid weekend getaway at the illustrious Barclay Hotel, he never imagined that he’d find himself in the midst of a murder mystery. He thought he was in for a run-of-the-mill weekend ghost hunting at the most haunted spot in town, but when he arrives at the Barclay Hotel and his mother is blamed for the hotel owner’s death, he realizes his weekend is going to be anything but ordinary.
Now, with the help of his new friends, Penny and Emma, JJ has to track down a killer, clear his mother’s name, and maybe even meet a ghost or two along the way.
Published: January 2, 2018
Orphan Elizabeth Somers’s malevolent aunt and uncle ship her off to the ominous Winterhouse Hotel, owned by the peculiar Norbridge Falls. Upon arrival, Elizabeth quickly discovers that Winterhouse has many charms―most notably its massive library. It’s not long before she locates a magical book of puzzles that will unlock a mystery involving Norbridge and his sinister family. But the deeper she delves into the hotel’s secrets, the more Elizabeth starts to realize that she is somehow connected to Winterhouse. As fate would have it, Elizabeth is the only person who can break the hotel’s curse and solve the mystery. But will it be at the cost of losing the people she has come to car for, and even Winterhouse itself?
Mystery, adventure, and beautiful writing combine in this exciting debut richly set in a hotel full of secrets.
Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel
Published: March 28, 2017
Stevie’s life seems safe and full of love until the day tragedy strikes. Stevie is sent to live with her estranged grandfather Winston at his rundown motel. Though the colorful tenants who inhabit the motel are quickly charmed by Stevie, she struggles to connect with her grandfather. What dark secret is he keeping from her? It will take another difficult departure before Winston realizes just how strongly Stevie has taken root at the motel–and in his heart.
Published: February 1, 2022
There are a few things you should know about Harriet Wermer:
- She just finished third grade.
- She has a perfect cat named Matzo Ball.
- She doesn’t always tell the truth.
- She is very happy to be spending summer vacation away from home and her mom and dad and all the wonderful things she had been planning all year.
Okay, maybe that last one isn’t entirely the truth.
Of course, there’s nothing Harriet doesn’t like about Marble Island, the small island off the coast of California where her nanu runs a cozy little bed and breakfast. And nobody doesn’t love Moneypenny, Nanu’s old basset hound. But Harriet doesn’t like the fact that Dad made this decision without even asking her.
When Harriet arrives on Marble Island, however, she discovers that it’s full of surprises, and even a mystery. One that seems to involve her Dad, back when he was a young boy living on Marble Island. One that Harriet is absolutely going to solve. And that’s the truth.
Published: August 26, 2014
It’s wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler’s inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers’ adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo’s home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook’s daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of deepening mysteries to discover the truth about Greenglass House—and themselves.
Home Sweet Motel (Welcome to Wonderland #1)
Published: October 4, 2016
Eleven-year-old P. T. Wilkie may be the greatest storyteller alive. But he knows one thing for a fact: the Wonderland Motel is the best place a kid could ever live! All-you-can-eat poolside ice cream! A snack machine in the living room! A frog slide! A giant rampaging alligator! (Okay, that last one may or may not be made up.) There’s only one thing the Wonderland doesn’t have, though—customers. And if the Wonderland doesn’t get them soon, P.T. and his friend Gloria may have to say goodbye to their beloved motel forever.
They need to think BIG. They need to think BOLD. They need an OUTRAGEOUS plan. Luckily for them, Gloria is a business GENIUS, and OUTRAGEOUS is practically P.T.’s middle name. With Gloria’s smarts and P.T.’s world-famous stories and schemes, there’s got to be a way to save the Wonderland!
Published: September 1, 2020
Buying and moving into the run-down Jewel Motor Inn in upstate New York wasn’t eleven-year-old Miriam Brockman’s dream, but at least it’s an adventure. Miriam befriends Kate, whose grandmother owns the diner next door, and finds comfort in the company of Maria, the motel’s housekeeper, and her Uncle Mordy, who comes to help out for the summer. She spends her free time helping Kate’s grandmother make her famous grape pies and begins to face her fears by taking swimming lessons in the motel’s pool.
But when it becomes clear that only a miracle is going to save the Jewel from bankruptcy, Jewish Miriam and Catholic Kate decide to create their own. Otherwise, the No Vacancy sign will come down for good, and Miriam will lose the life she’s worked so hard to build.
Pet Hotel #1: Calling All Pets!
Published: June 25, 2013
Twins Meg and Charlie are moving into their great-great-aunt’s hotel, and they’re in for some surprises! The run-down hotel is full of cool old rooms, a rooftop garden, even an elevator. There’s also one big problem — it doesn’t have any guests.
But when Meg and Charlie volunteer to look after a neighbor’s golden retriever puppy, the fuzzy little furball gives them a great idea. They’re going to transform their new home into an amazing hotel . . . for pets!
At Your Service
Published: August 26, 2014
Chloe loves working as a junior concierge at an exclusive NYC hotel—but when three royal kids come to stay, her hospitality is put to the ultimate test!
Chloe Turner has pretty much the BEST life. She gets to live in the super fancy Hotel St. Michele. New York City is her hometown. And her dad, Mitchell Turner, concierge extraordinaire, is teaching her all the secrets of the business so she can follow in his footsteps. After helping him out with a particularly difficult kid client, Chloe is appointed the official junior concierge, tending to the hotel’s smallest, though sometimes most demanding, guests.
Her new position comes with tons of perks like cupcake parties, backstage passes to concerts, and even private fittings with the hippest clothing designers. But Chloe hasn’t faced her toughest challenge yet. When three young royals (including a real-life PRINCE!) come to stay, Chloe’s determined to prove once and for all just how good she is at her job. Except the trip is a total disaster—especially when the youngest royal disappears. Now it’s up to Chloe to save the day. Can she find the missing princess before it becomes international news?
There they are: 13 of the best middle grade books set in motels or hotels! Have you read any of these books? Which would you recommend? And what did I miss?
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