Young Hoosier Book Award 2024–2025: Middle Grade

The Young Hoosier Book Award Program encourages self-selected reading among elementary and middle school/junior high students. Teachers, librarians, and students from all across Indiana vote on their favorite recent books. This program is run by the Indiana Library Federation (ILF).

Check out the list of the 2024–2025 Middle Grade nominees! Recommended for ages 11–13.

Compiled by:
Jon S.

Monica Roe
(Juvenile Fiction - J Roe)

Emmie has dreams of being a wheelchair motocross star until an accident changes all. Rather than finding her new school-provided aide helpful, she feels held back. Can she still achieve her dreams?

The Clackity

Lora Senf
(Juvenile Fiction - J Senf)
Series: Blight Harbor

Evie finds herself as the only one who can rescue her aunt by playing a deadly game with ghosts, witches, and monsters in the 7th most haunted town in America.

The Golden Hour

Niki Smith
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J-GN Smith Golden Hour

Manuel struggles with anxiety after witnessing an episode of gun violence. He soon finds comfort in a new hobby: photography. When he's paired up with classmates for a project, he takes to the atmosphere of the farm where his new friend, Sebastian, lives.

Grounded for All Eternity

Darcy Marks
(Juvenile Fiction - J Marks)

When your average kids from Hell find themselves in Salem, Massachusetts on Halloween night, they discover they’ve accidentally brought an escaped soul with them. They must trap this evil soul before more havoc is caused on Earth—and before they're grounded!

In the Key of Us

Mariama Lockington
(Juvenile Fiction - J Locking)

As the only two Black girls at Harmony Music Camp, Zoe and Andi begin to connect and come to terms with their futures. However, the greatest discovery might just be their need for each other.


Christina Diaz Gonzalez
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J-GN Gonzale Invisible)

Can five so-called misfits come together as a team to help someone in need even when they seem to have nothing in common?

The Last Beekeeper

Pablo Cartaya
(Juvenile Fiction - J Cartaya)

In a future world plagued by climate crises, Yolanda “Yoly” Cisneros must find a way to save the last beehive to avoid even more disastrous environmental events.

Lines of Courage

Jennifer Nielsen
(Juvenile Fiction - J Nielsen)

Told through the eyes of five kids living during World War I, each of whom holds the key of survival for another. Can they find each other in time?

The Lost Year

Katherine Marsh
(Juvenile Fiction - J Marsh)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, 13-year-old Matthew discovers an old photo of his grandmother that leads to a hidden family secret—one that could change his understanding of his family history during the Holodor famine in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Maizy Chen's Last Chance

Lisa Yee
(Juvenile Fiction - J Yee)

California girl Maizy soon finds herself in Last Chance, Minnesota at the restaurant her family has owned for generations. Now, she must work to uncover family secrets and find a lost family treasure.

The Marvellers

Dhonielle Clayton
(Juvenile Fiction - J Clayton)
Series: Marvellerverse

Ella Durand, a new student at the Arcanum Training Institute, and the first ever conjuror, discovers not all of her fellow magicians to be welcoming. Facing nasty rumors and concern for a missing professor, Ella must defend her name and find the professor before all is lost.


Michelle Barry
(Juvenile Fiction - J Barry)
Series: Plotting the Stars

Myra suspects her magical gifts may lie in a harnessing the power of Earth’s now poisonous plants. Can she find a way to aid in the food shortages?

Queen of the Tiles

Hanna Alkaf
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Hannaal)

Najwa Bakri, still reeling from her best friend Trina’s death, suddenly finds herself having to solve the mystery of how Trina’s Instagram account has come back to life.

The Second Chance of Benjamin Waterfalls

James Bird
(Juvenile Fiction - J Bird)

After Benjamin is caught yet again selling stolen goods, a judge sends him to a “boot camp” located on his native Ojibwe tribal grounds. Now, he must deal with the mask-wearing tribal leader’s daughter and earn his way out of the camp.

Serwa Boateng's Guide to Vampire Hunting

Roseanne Brown
(Juvenile Fiction - J Brown)
Series: Serwa Boateng

Serwa has been slaying adze—vampires disguised as a fireflies—for as long as she can remember. When her parents go off on witch hunting mission, she is left with her hippie aunt and cryptic-obsessed cousin. She becomes acclimated to a “normal” lifestyle until an adze invades her new school.

Shot Clock

Caron Butler
(Juvenile Fiction - J Butler)

Tony tries to join the local AAU basketball team in memory of his best friend, Dante, who was a “hoops phenom.” Tony ends up being the team’s statistician and must find a way to heal while also bringing the team a championship.

Swim Team

Johnnie Christmas
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J-GN Christm Swim Team)

Bree finds a kindred spirit in an elderly neighbor, a former swim team captain who helps her face her water woes.


Celia Pérez
(Juvenile Fiction - J Pérez)

Addie Ramirez discovers she comes from a line of Luchadores, famous Mexican wrestlers. This discovery leads her to her biological grandparents, cousin, and father whom she had never previously met.

What About Will

Ellen Hopkins
(Juvenile Fiction - J Hopkins)

When Trace’s older brother Will suffers a brain injury in a football game, Will’s personality and habits totally change. This causes a lot of upheaval in Trace’s life, including his parents' divorce. But when he finds out even more shocking behavior from Will, does it mean Trace will have to betray his brother to get him help?

When the World Was Ours

Liz Kessler
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Kessler)

With World War II not far off from 1936 Vienna, best friends Leo, Elsa, and Max will soon find themselves torn from one another. When the war ends, will they find their way back, or will they even want to?