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10 of My Favorite Middle Grade & YA Books of 2022

Are you in search of your next great read? Do you need to find a book for the middle grade child in your life? Then peruse this list and see if one of my favorite reads of 2022 catches your fancy. I think there is something here for just about anyone, including those reluctant readers!

If you're looking for a reading challenge to make 2023 your best reading year yet, be sure to check out the Popsugar reading challenge adapted for middle grade readers at the end of this post. I would love for you to join me! I will be sharing my progress and reviews on Bookstagram @staceywritesandreads. I look forward to hearing all about your year in books!

By: Kate Albus

This sweet book is at the top of many of my lists; Top 10 of 2023, Favorite Books of All Time, Great Read Alouds, Books for Kids, etc. I gave this book to my nieces for Christmas & recommend it whenever I have the opportunity (like now for instance)!

Three loveable orphans are on a quest to find their forever home in war-torn England. And if you're partial to sweet librarians & references to great books in your stories, this should be your next read.

It pairs well with hot chocolate, cozy blankets, a warm fire, and a sweet child by your side.

By: Eric Dinerstein

Want to get swept away to a faraway land where elephants are ridden by kings? This book enraptured me from its first lines, "My mother is an elephant and my father is an old man with one arm. Strange, I know, but true."

This is not a fantasy. It is about an abandoned child, Nandu, who is so deeply connected to his elephant, he considers her to be his mother. Together they fight to save his family, his stable, and his community.

This book pairs well with animal lovers or adventurers with dreams in their hearts and grit in their souls.

By: Ann E. Burg

This book stayed with me long after I closed its beautiful cover. Serfina's infinite hope in the throes of poverty and devastation was awe-inspiring. Her story is set in Haiti, but it takes place in your heart.

Worlds are different, yet human souls are kindred. We are all full of dreams, familial love, life's hurts, and hope for better tomorrows.

This story pairs well with a thankful heart and a promise to live a life of gratitude.

By: Stacey Faubion

Shameless plug? Maybe! But I love Violet and her outlandish adventures. She has big dreams and she's fearless in chasing them.

Violet is on a mission to get her family of 8 to Florida so she can be reunited with her favorite Aunt- the infamous Aunt V. Sounds so simple- until you throw a bratty toddler, crazy relatives, tight funds, and a few road trip mishaps into the mix.

This book pairs well with kids courageous enough to chase their dreams and want a good laugh along the way- it wouldn't hurt to wear purple either. It also goes well with parents who want to fill their children's minds with wholesome reads that inspire them to never give up.

By: Kevin Hart

The narrator of this book is Marcus- but he sounds an awful lot like Kevin Hart- thus he's hilarious and at times delusional. Marcus is about to discover it takes a whole lot of work and compromise to make a movie, but it will all be worth it if it means bringing his creative masterpiece, Toothpick Fights the Doom, to life.

This book pairs well with reluctant readers who love to laugh. May I also suggest watching a clip of "The Secret Life of Pets" featuring Snowball? This will help kids channel Marcus' voice.

By: Katy Sloop Roberts

This is a cute origin story of how a strange looking house came to be. Luna and her enchanting black cat, Fortuna need help building a stone wall to protect their olive grove. Mario, a grumpy and lazy fellow, believes his bad luck curse has been lifted when he offers his services to build the wall.

Don't miss out on the fun pictures of the house and black cat that inspired this tale at the back of the book.

This book pairs well with a bowl of pasta and a cat on your lap.

By: Karina Yan Glaser

I'm obviously a sucker for big family books full of heart- because the Vanderbeekrs of 141st Street also made the list!

The Vanderbeekers are being forced to move by their curmudgeonly old landlord. The five loveable siblings decide they're going to do whatever it takes to stay in the community they love.

This book pairs well with a field trip to New York City (think virtual) and lunch from a food truck.

By: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

This book is definitely for older readers as there is underage drinking involved. (The behavior isn't condoned nor done by the MC.)

The story is a mix of The Hunger Games and The DaVinci Code and whole lotta fun! Avery has inherited a large sum of money; a life-changing sum of money. The problem is that in order to get it, she will have to outsmart and outlast the four boys who believe they're the rightful heirs.

This book pairs well with a puzzle or some sort of mystery game night. Your reader will love all the twists and turns in this page-turner.

By: Nicola Yoon

This is a story of forbidden love between Maddy, the bubble girl, and Olly, the boy on the outside.

It makes the reader think, what is the cost of just existing? What are you willing to risk, to give up, to live life on your terms- even for just a little while?

This book pairs well with introverts with secret crushes. It also might be fun to hide away for a weekend with nothing to do but read and do introverted things, for the sake of submerging yourself in the story, of course!

By: Jenny Han

This book wins 2 awards for me- best title & worst MC name. But no doubt about it, it's a great coming-of-age story.

Belly & her family have been spending every wonderful summer on the beach with Susannah and her boys. However, this summer is different. Conrad & Jeremiah are definitely not brother material anymore.

This book pairs well with a movie marathon watching the TV adaptation of this trilogy. It is for blossoming romance readers- but please read it before giving this book as a gift. Some readers may not be ready for the mature topics addressed in this book.

I read a lot in 2022, but not nearly as much as I wanted to. My TBR is filling up quickly for 2023 (many are leftovers from my 2022 TBR pile)! Thus, I'm participating in the Popsugar Reading Challenge, to keep my reading varied and on track. However, since I'm a middle school teacher and author, I have adapted the challenge with more age-appropriate prompts. If you would like to participate in the challenge this year, you can download my template located on the "Shenanigans" tab or click the pdf file below.

PopSugar Middle Grade Challenge
Download PDF • 1.52MB

So, what did you think? Did I leave any of your favorites of 2022 off the list? I'm sure I did! Let me know your favorites- I'm easily persuaded to read books that aren't in my TBR pile. Hence, my list is ever growing and never shrinking. It is the curse of the book addict!

Happy New Year & Happy Reading! May your 2023 be filled with good books!


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