Check out these best novels on Epic!
Our platform is filled with popular picture books and Read-To-Me books for younger kids (well, we think kids of all ages can enjoy a good picture book and/or read-aloud!). But we also have a ton of great novels for older kids ready for more challenging reads. From audiobooks and graphic novels to traditional chapter books, here are just a few of the best novels on Epic for kids 8-12 right now.
Take a look at these high-quality books!
Best Novels on Epic
1. The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Audiobook)
By: Brian Selznick
Filled with old-world charm, this tender, spellbinding mystery audiobook is perfect for kids who love adventure and intrigue.
An orphaned and mechanically-interested Hugo fights to survive. In fact, he secretly lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station all on his own. Life has always been tough, but when his fate meets that of a quirky, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs the station toy booth, Hugo’s secret life and all of his secrets are put in jeopardy.
2. The 39 Clues: The Cahill Files, Book #1: Operation Trinity (Audiobook)
By: Clifford Riley
For 500 years, the Cahills have been the most powerful family in the world, carefully and secretively guarding their source of their power. And that source is the 39 Clues (ingredients to a serum that can create the most powerful person on Earth). But the Cahills have finally opened their vault to reveal the story of the most coveted work of art in the world, and the many attempts through the centuries to steal it.
This first book in the extraordinary children’s book series chronicles the very first attempt in the 1600s. Then it moves forward to young Grace Cahill’s efforts to save the precious artwork from the Nazis during WWII.
Written by: Louis Sachar
Illustrated by: Adam McCauley
From the Newbery Medal-winning author of “Holes” comes “Sideways Stories from Wayside School.” This is the first book in a hilarious chapter book series about a wacky 30-story school that was accidentally (oops) built sideways. Filled with laughs for young readers, it’s not just one of the best novels on Epic, it’s one of the top titles in kids’ lit.
Wayside School (especially in Mrs. Jewls’ class on the 30th floor) has some of the wackiest classes in town. Not to mention some of the oddest students!
These zany characters include “quickest draw in class” Bebe who could draw a cat in under 40 seconds, John, who only reads upside down and Myron, the best class president ever. Kids will love these silly but relatable quick-read stories.
If your kid likes these, they can listen to the audio version of other books in the series for free on Amazon via Audible, including “Wayside School Is Falling Down” and “Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger.” There’s also a new book as of 2020: “Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom: Book 4.”
Adapted by: Mariah Marsden
Illustrated by: Brenna Thummler
For those unfamiliar with this beloved piece of historical fiction, meet spunky orphan Anne Shirley. The story begins when Anne is mistakenly sent to live with a pair of middle-aged siblings. Once orphans themselves, they had asked for a boy to help manage their farm, Green Gables. In what turns into a blessing in disguise, though, they keep her on the farm. The story follows her adjustment to her new life as she touches everyone she meets with her spirited nature, inquisitive mind and unbridled authenticity. This graphic novel version is a great way to introduce kids to the original novel by L.M. Montgomery.
5. Wings of Fire #1: The Dragonet Prophecy (Audiobook)
Written by: Tui T. Sutherland
Illustrated by: Shannon McManus
This first book in the thrilling “Wings of Fire” series is a great pick for kids who are into other fantasy series like Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy or J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books.
Seven dragon tribes have been warring for generations over an ancient, lost treasure. With the help of a prophecy a secret group of revolutionaries, the Talons of Peace, work to stop the endless fighting. Five dragonets are captured and raised in a hidden cave to help end the war. But the dragonets escape in search of their homes, and what’s unleashed may be far bigger than what the revolutionaries had planned.
If your kid enjoys listening to this book, check out the rest of the “Wings of Fire” collection on Epic.
6. El Deafo
By: Cece Bell
If you could have any superpower, what would it be? For Cece, her new magic ability is bionic hearing! As a deaf student, Cece is nervous to start going to a new class where she’ll be different. She’s afraid that the other kids will all stare at her and her hearing aid, AKA “Phonic Ear.” But her anxiety melts away as something miraculous begins to happen. Cece can not only hear her teacher in class, but in the hallway, from the restroom and in the teacher’s lounge!
Your kid will love this semi-autobiographical #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel about Cece, and her wacky adventures about middle school, best friends and being different.
By: Margi Preus
A shipwreck leaves an 1840s Japanese fishing boat deserted on a small island, and the passengers are rescued by an American ship. The saved castaways must then learn a new culture and language. A Japanese teen from the crew decides to move to the United States before eventually making his way back to Japan. Once he arrives, he encounters imprisonment, a meeting with the Emperor and a chance at becoming a Samurai.
By: Erin Entrada Kelly
Virgil, Valencia, Kaori and Chet couldn’t be more different, and they definitely are NOT friends. That is until a prank-turned-disaster links these four together in an unlikely place and in an unlikely way.
This Newbery Award winner highlights the importance of individuality, friendship and kindness. All wrapped up in the beautiful message that anyone can build real relationships and find common ground, regardless of their differences. Filled with humor and authenticity, “Hello, Universe” is the perfect read for tweens.
By: David Bowles
“Güero,” in Spanish, refers to a Latino or an Anglo male with pale skin. So peers dub this Mexicano main character, with his red hair and freckles, Güero. Hanging out with a squad of fellow misfits, “Los Bobbys,” Güero is a reader, a gamer and a musician. But when his English teacher succeeds in making poetry cool, he also becomes a poet.
Part novel, part collection of poems, this award-winning coming-of-age tale gives kids a moving glimpse into the life of a 12-year-old Mexican American “border kid” as he faces the challenges of 7th grade, fitting in and coping with a tough life at the border.
That’s our shortlist of the best novels on Epic! To find books, including even more bestselling and popular novels to keep your kid excited about reading, visit getepic.com. For more top picks for best novels on Epic for kids (and more) in this age group, check out our post: “Best Books for 6th Graders on Epic.”