These are my top 6 mystery series for middle school students!
They all feature:
- Engaging characters
- Suspenseful plots
- Puzzling clues
Without all the creepy/murder/sci-fi stuff!
In Elementary School, I loved mysteries! But when I hit 6th grade, it felt like all the mysteries were suddenly murder, sci-fi, and creepy ghosts. That’s great if it’s what you’re into, but they weren’t for me. So today I’m sharing the best mystery books for middle school students that are suspenseful and captivating, but not too scary!
Red Rock Mysteries
I was SO excited when I found this series! The main characters are twins Bryce and Ashley Timberline, and their daring adventures and relatable experiences are perfect for middle school students.
Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry are amazing authors, and the stories pulled me in from the first page! The main plotline is always a mystery, but I love how they incorporated the friendships, interests, challenges, and funny everyday things that happen in Bryce and Ashley’s lives too! While their Christian faith isn’t a main focus, the characters rely on God throughout the series, and they have strong values, while still being relatable and in need of grace, just like all of us.
I recommend reading this series in order because there are a few spoilers in the later books, but each one is great as a stand-alone too! This is the perfect series for any middle school student who loves adventure and mystery!
Nancy Drew Mysteries
The Nancy Drew Mysteries are a classics, and for good reason! They’re suspenseful, unique, and feature strong female characters.
Nancy seems to run into mystery wherever she goes, which gives each book a new setting and mystery to solve. Middle schoolers will love the characters, plot twists, and glimpses into the everyday life of Nancy Drew. Because these books were first published in 1930, they have a vintage feel, which adds a unique and fun element. While the technology may be outdated, the stories and the characters are timeless.
They can be read in any order, but if you want to read the series from the beginning, this beautiful set of books 1-4 would be a great place to start!
The Hardy Boys
The Hardy Boys is another classic series, featuring brothers Frank and Joe Hardy. These teens constantly find themselves in the middle of mysterious situations, and they’re determined to crack the case.
From uncovering robbers to smugglers, the Hardy boys encounter danger, mystery, and adventure at every turn. They often help their father, who is a detective in their small hometown of Bayport, and are sometimes joined by friends. These books are full of suspense, action, and puzzling clues. They will keep middle schoolers reading until the last page!
The brothers sometimes reference previous mysteries in the series, but without giving anything away. There are over 60 Hardy Boys mysteries, and you can get the first 5 books in this starter set. Amazon also has options for sets of 10, so if your middle school student is a fast reader, you may want to check those out!
The Boxcar Children
The Boxcar Children is the perfect series if your middle school student is reluctant or struggles with reading! They’re fairly easy to read, but the characters are engaging and independent. I loved reading these all through my middle school years.
The books center around four orphaned siblings, who make their home in a boxcar before coming to live with their grandfather. The stories are great, and appeal to a wide range of ages because the siblings are 14, 12, 10, and 6. In each book, the four siblings have a new mystery to solve, and they keep you reading, but are rarely scary.
While they don’t have to be read in order, I highly recommend starting with the first book. It sets the stage for all the others, and while the main plot is not a mystery, it introduces the characters and includes some great adventures! All the rest of the books center around a mystery, and don’t need to be read in any specific order. This set includes the first twelve books, along with a boxcar bookcase, activities, bookmark, and poster, which make it super exciting!
The Trixie Belden mysteries are so fun! They’re suspenseful enough to keep you reading, without being too scary. I love how the stories incorporate all the Belden siblings, along with their neighbors. The characters aren’t perfect, which is actually one of my favorite parts of this series! They’re so authentic, and even though the books were written in the mid-1900s, the challenges of sibling and friendship dynamics are still so relatable.
The series begins when shy Honey Wheeler moves in next door to outgoing Trixie Belden. The 13 year old girls girls form a friendship that leads them to create a club: The Bob-Whites of the Glen. They are joined by Trixie’s three brothers and a variety of other friends as they encounter hidden fortune, runaways, thieves, and mysterious suspects.
These books should be read in order, or else you might run into some spoilers! They’re sold as both physical books and Audible Audiobooks of Amazon. This is series is not as well-known as some of the others, but it’s a hidden gem, and I would recommend these to any middle schooler who is looking for a good mystery! Here are links to the first three books: The Secret of the Mansion, The Red Trailer Mystery, and The Gatehouse Mystery.
The Mandie Series
The Mandie Collection is perfect for middle school students who love historical fiction and mysteries! The series begins in 1900, when Mandie’s father has just passed away, and her mother is sending her to work for another family. With the help of Uncle Ned, a Cherokee friend of her father, Mandie escapes and sets off to find Uncle John, her father’s brother, whom she has never met.
These books are full of authentic characters, puzzling mysteries, and daring adventures. They follow Mandie from age eleven to thirteen as she discovers family and friends, travels to new places, and attends boarding school. Throughout the series, Mandie also grows in her faith, and each book begins with a Bible verse. The first book was originally published in 1983, and some of the language around different races and cultures is no longer used. My mom and I read these books together and had some great discussions about why those terms are considered harmful, and what language to use instead.
I recommend reading this series in order, because there are new characters introduced in almost every book! Mandie and her friends refer to mysteries that they have solved, and all the books build on each other, which makes this a super fun series! You can buy the whole set on Amazon. There are also options for buying each book individually. I loved the Mandie collection, and as soon as I finished one book, I wanted to start the next one!