Don’t talk to me until I found out who did it!
For young readers, mystery books can be the perfect “gateway genre” to ignite a love of reading. With thrilling action and gut-wrenching cliffhangers, these Club Phoenix reads will never bore your middle schooler. Solve the case of reluctant reading, and check out Literati’s best mystery books for sixth and seventh graders.
#1 Just South of Home – Dark Secrets of Down South
When cousin Janie arrives for the summer, Sarah is assigned as her companion. There goes her perfect, carefree summer plans! But Janie has a hidden talent for mischievousness.
Soon enough, Sarah and her friends follow Janie to the forbidden Creek Church, a haunted local area… only to find more than litter lying around. Will they be able to uncover this Southern town’s deepest secrets?
A Kirkus Review Best Middle Grade Book, Just South of Home is a relatable and touching tale. With its sharp family dynamics, it’s one of the best chapter books for readers who like their mystery with a dose of heart.
#2 Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles – A Mystery Worth a Pot of Gold
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Ronan Boyle’s a fourteen-year-old boy
whose Irish life is such a joy!
‘Till his parents are jailed,
now it’s time to get bail
and fight monsters, harpies, and sirens—Oy!
Welcome to the mystic world of Celtic Ireland. Magical creatures and tricksters fill the land, and the Garda police force are here to stop them.
When the Garda recruits young Ronan, he sets out on a personal mission—to save his jailed parents. To get them back, Ronan must prove how the magical “wee people” framed his family (and face a few harpies along the way).
Packed with jokes and adventure, Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles is one of the best books for young adults who need a little action with their mystery. And if your kid loves this tale, there’s more to enjoy—check out the entire Ronan Boyle series!
#3 Pashmina – A Drop of Magic in a Cultural Mystery
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You’ve heard a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, maybe an object is worth a thousand secrets—an object like an enchanted scarlet pashmina.
Whenever Priyanka Das asks about her Indian heritage, she’s met with a brick wall of silence from her single mom. With no answers, Priyanka is left dismayed—until she discovers a beautiful pashmina scarf, tucked away in a suitcase.
With one loop of cloth, Priyanka is transported to a land full of rich colors and people just like her. But is she actually seeing India? Or does the pashmina have a darker shade to its powers?
In Pashmina, Nidhi Chanani looms a beautiful tale of straddling two cultures. This multi-award winning novel provides just enough mystery and relatable self-discoveries to keep middle schoolers enthralled.
#4 Secret of the Staircase (Virginia Mysteries #4) – A Traditional Mystery to Read by Lantern Light
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Old hotels and creaky staircases just scream mystery. And in the spooky Jefferson Hotel, you can maybe hear a few real screams at night…
Brothers Sam and Derek are attending a family wedding at the old Jefferson Hotel in Richmond. To throw off boredom, they explore its luxurious decor and hidden corners with their friend, Caitlin. But soon, the hotel begins to reveal it’s shadowy past.
After mysterious noises and creepy figures appear, Sam is framed for stealing the wedding rings. Now, the trio must find the actual culprit—even if it leads to some man-eating alligators and ghostly figures.
Part of the Virginia Mystery series, Secret of the Staircase is perfect for fans of classic thrillers like Nancy Drew. A modern take on the ghost tale, it’s one of the best chapter books for those who love bumps in the night.
#5 From the Desk of Zoe Washington – A Girl’s Search for Justice
How strong do family ties run? Can you defend, or even love, someone you’ve never met? These are the questions Zoe Washington faces in this captivating, gut-wrenching criminal mystery.
A twelve-year-old with pastry chef dreams, Zoe is balancing schoolwork, a bakery internship, and a fight with her best friend, Trevor. Everything seems complicated enough, then Marcus writes her from jail—Marcus, the father she’s never met.
In their pen pal letters, Marcus claims he never committed any crime. But Zoe isn’t sure. How can she trust a parent she’s never known? In a quest for the truth, she resolves to figure out this case for herself, even if it means potential heartbreak.
With numerous book awards, From the Desk of Zoe Washington is a novel filled with lessons on courage and forgiveness. Janae Mark’s smart writing also raises important social justice themes between the detective action.
Sit on the Edge of Your Reading Chair with Mystery Books
What’s so fun about a predictable story? Reading shouldn’t just be educational—it should excite and thrill our minds! And a good mystery is sure to spark that exhilaration.
From criminal puzzles to spooky ghost tales, Literati’s Club Phoenix mystery books are meant for every type of thrill-seeker. Before you know it, you’ll find your kid sneaking a flashlight under the covers.