Action & Adventure

Grade Level Interest
M
: Middle School (defined as grades 6-8).
S: Senior High (defined as grades 9-12).
A/YA: Adult-marketed book recommended for teens.

 

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Charlotte Doyle leaves England a spoiled thirteen-year-old striving to become a lady, and arrives in America as captain of her own ship and a convicted murderer. (M)

 

 

Nick of Time by Ted Bell

The setting is England, 1939, on the eve of war. Nick and his sister, Kate, begin gathering vital information for Winston Churchill as he tries to warn England of the imminent Nazi invasion. But the Nazis become the least of Nick’s problems after he discovers a time machine hidden in a cove. Unfortunately, the evil pirate Captain Billy Blood, who travels through time capturing little children and holding them for ransom, will stop at nothing to possess the priceless machine. (M)

 

The Shadow Project by Herbie Brennan

Danny Lipman is a thief…until one night he robs the wrong house. He inadvertently breaks into the headquarters of the Shadow Project, a secret government organization where teenage spies are trained to leave their bodies, using astral projection to travel around the world on deadly missions. Danny is captured, but the Project leaders quickly realize he has a special gift. And when a key operative—the director’s daughter, Opal—goes missing, he is offered a choice: join the Shadow Project or go to jail. (M, S)

 

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a secret spy academy. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her? (M, S)

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Katniss lives in the poorest district of Panem, what used to be the United States. Every year, each district sends one boy and one girl to appear in a televised event called the Hunger Games—a competition in which only one participant can survive. When Kat’s little sister is chosen by lottery for the games, Kat steps up to go in her place. (M, S)

 

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. But he’s not alone. When the lift doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the doors to the maze that surrounds them open. Every night they close tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind. (M, S)

 

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Robinson Crusoe could have had a comfortable life in his native England. But the call of the sea and his hunger for adventure were too strong. As the sole survivor of a tragic shipwreck, he ends up a lonely castaway on a deserted island. After years of praying for human company, his prayers are answered–by the arrival of a group of cannibals. Crusoe’s story is the classic tale of a man coming to terms with nature and his own rebellious spirit. (A/YA)

 

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

To her small Eskimo village, she is known as Miyax; to her friend in San Francisco, she is Julie. When her life in the village becomes dangerous, Miyax runs away, only to find herself lost in the Alaskan wilderness. Without food and time running out, Miyax tries to survive by copying the ways of a pack of wolves. Accepted by their leader and befriended by a feisty pup named Kapu, she soon grows to love her new wolf family. Life in the wilderness is a struggle, but when she finds her way back to civilization, Miyax is torn between her old and new lives. Is she Miyax of the Eskimos – or Julie of the wolves? (M)

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Blank Confession by Pete Hautman

Shayne Blank is the new kid in town – but that doesn’t stop him from getting into a lot of trouble very quickly. The other kids don’t understand him. He’s not afraid of anything. He seems too smart. And his background doesn’t add up. But when he walks into the police department to confess to a murder, it quickly becomes apparent that nothing is as it seems. There’s more to Shayne – and his story – than meets the eye. As the details begin to fill in, the only thing that becomes clear is that nothing about Shayne’s story is clear at all.(S)

 

Silverfin by Charlie Higson

Thirteen year-old James Bond cannot wait to get away from Eton, his stuffy boarding school, and visit his aunt and uncle in the Highlands of Scotland. Upon arriving, he learns that a local boy, Alfie Kelly, has gone missing. James teams up with the boy’s cousin, Red, to investigate the disappearance. The clues lead them to the castle of Lord Hellebore, a madman with a thirst for power. Despite unknown dangers, James is determined to find the lost boy. But what he discovers in the dark basement of Hellebore’s estate will forever change his life. (M)

 

Downriver by Will Hobbs

No adults, no permit, no river map. Just some “borrowed” gear from Discovery Unlimited, the outdoor education program Jessie and her new companions have just ditched. Jessie and the others are having the time of their lives floating beneath sheer red walls, exploring unknown caves and dangerous waterfalls, and plunging through the Grand Canyon’s roaring rapids. No one, including Troy, who emerges as the group’s magnetic and ultimately frightening leader, can forsee the challenges and conflicts. (M, S)

 

Far North by Will Hobbs

When the engine of their float plane fails during a water landing near the head of Canada’s monumental Virginia Falls, what began as a sightseeing detour turns into a survival mission for two high school students and their elderly companion. (M)

 

 

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz

When his guardian dies in suspicious circumstances, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider finds his world turned upside down. Forcibly recruited into MI6, Alex has to take part in gruelling SAS training exercises. Then, armed with his own special set of secret gadgets, he’s off on his first mission to Cornwall, where multi-billionaire Herod Sayle is producing his state-of-the-art Stormbreaker computers. Sayle has offered to give one free to every school in the country – but there’s more to the gift than meets the eye. (M)

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The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan

Charlie West just woke up in a nightmare. He’s strapped to a chair. He’s covered in blood and bruises. He hurts all over. And a strange voice outside the door just ordered his death. The last thing he can remember, he was a normal high school kid doing normal things – working on his homework, practicing karate, daydreaming of becoming an air force pilot, writing a pretty girl’s number on his hand. How long ago was that? Where is he now? Who is he really? And more to the point…how is he going to get out of this room alive? (M, S)

 

Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman

Vince is just like any other high school guy—except his father happens to be the head of a powerful crime organization. When Vince meets the love of his life, her family turns out to be a huge problem. Because her father is an FBI agent who wants to put his father away for good. (M, S)

 

The Wreckers by Iain Lawrence

On the coast of Cornwall lived a community who lured ships to crash upon the sharp rocks of their shore. Most never questioned their murderous way of life. Then, John Spencer’s ship wrecks upon that shore. Can he escape the wreckers? (M)

 

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

When Ellie and her friends go camping, they have no idea they’re leaving their old lives behind forever. But when they return home a week later, they find their houses empty and their pets starving. Something has gone horribly wrong. Before long, they realize the country has been invaded, and the entire town has been captured – including their families and all their friends. Ellie and the other survivors face an impossible decision: They can flee for the mountains or surrender. Or they can fight. (S)

 

Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer

Life as a ship’s boy is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of fighting for survival on the streets of London. There’s only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she must use every bit of her wit and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret. (M)

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Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelson

After his anger erupts into violence, Cole, in order to avoid going to prison, agrees to participate in a sentencing alternative based on the Native American Circle Justice. He is sent to a remote Alaskan Island where an encounter with a huge Spirit Bear changes his life. (M, S)

 

Trapped by Michael Northrop

The day the blizzard started, no one knew that it was going to keep snowing for a week. That for those in its path, it would become not just a matter of keeping warm, but of staying alive…

Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn’t seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision. (S)

 

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

This is the story of Karana, an Indian girl abandoned on a Pacific island. Year after year, she watches the seas, waiting for a ship to take her away. But while she waits, she keeps herself alive by building shelter, making weapons, finding food, and fighting her enemies, the wild dogs. (M)

 

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist’s granddaughter that he realizes that the man’s ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious. (M, S)

 

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

Maximum Ride is the 14-year-old leader of a band of winged kids who have escaped the lab where they were bred and tortured. Now Max and her cohorts are forced to rescue one of their own from a pack of mutant wolf-human hybrids called Erasers. (M, S)

 

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Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single-engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a tattered Windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present – and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart since his parent’s divorce. But now Brian has no time for anger, self pity, or despair – it will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive. (M)

 

Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver

Six thousand years ago, evil stalks the land. According to legend, only Torak and his wolf-cub companion can defeat it. Their journey together takes them through deep forests, across giant glaciers, and into dangers they never imagined. (M)

 

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove. In her journal, Miranda records the events of each desperate day, while she and her family struggle to hold on to their most priceless resource – hope. (M, S)

 

Nation by Terry Pratchett

Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. Somewhere in the jungle Daphne is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave. Together, the two confront the aftermath of catastrophe. (M, S)

 

The Interrogation of Gabriel James by Charlie Price

Eyewitness to two killings, fourteen-year-old Gabriel James relates the shocking story behind the murders in a police interrogation interspersed with flashbacks. Step by step, this Montana teenager traces his discovery of a link between a troubled classmate’s disturbing home life and an outbreak of local crime. In the process, however, Gabriel becomes increasingly confused about his own culpability for the explosive events that have unfolded.(S)

 

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Pirates! by Celia Rees

After arriving with her brother at the family’s Jamaican plantation where she is to be married off, Nancy Kington escapes with her slave friend, Minerva Sharpe, and together they become pirates traveling the world in search of treasure. (M, S)

 

Virals by Kathy Reichs

Tory Brennan is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage “sci-philes” who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever. As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot–if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer’s scent. (M, S)

 

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

When Percy Jackson’s mother sends him to a summer camp for demigods, he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea, and that it is up to him to prevent a catastrophic war between the gods. (M)

 

 

Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby

A science-class field trip to the Everglades is supposed to be fun, but Sarah’s new at Glades Academy, and her fellow freshmen aren’t exactly making her feel welcome. When an opportunity for an unauthorized side trip on an airboat presents itself, it seems like a perfect escape–an afternoon without feeling like a sore thumb. But one simple oversight turns a joyride into a race for survival across the river of grass. Sarah will have to count on her instincts—and a guy she barely knows—if they have any hope of making it back alive. (M, S)

 

Peak by Roland Smith

After Peak Marcello is arrested for scaling a New York City skyscraper, he’s left with two choices: wither away in Juvenile Detention or go live with his long-lost father, who runs a climbing company in Thailand. (S)

 

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Vampirates by Justin Somper

Twins Conner and Grace are shipwrecked and separated, with Connor taken aboard a pirate ship, and Grace facing great danger aboard a ship of vampire pirates. What will it take for them to find each other? (M)

 

Rowan Hood by Nancy Springer

In her quest to connect with Robin Hood, the father she has never met, thirteen-year-old Rosemary disguises herself as a boy, befriends a half-wolf, half-dog, a runaway princess, and an overgrown boy whose singing is hypnotic, and makes peace with her elfin heritage. (M)

 

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

The epic tale of a young man’s quest to capture a hidden treasure on the open seas—one of the best-loved adventure stories of all time. (M, S)

 

 

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp by Rick Yancey

Alfred Kropp is the last person you’d think could save the world. But when he gets roped into a suspicious get-rich-quick scheme, his life takes a turn for the extraordinary. Little does Alfred know he has been tricked into stealing Excalibur – the legendary sword of King Arthur – and the most powerful weapon ever wielded by man. With an ancient order of knights in hot cars, thugs on motorcycles, and a mysterious international organization following his every step, Alfred undertakes a quest to unravel a thousand-year-old mystery and return the sword to its rightful place. (M)

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