Lately, I've found myself with more time for puzzles - jigsaw puzzles, sudoku puzzles, crossword puzzles, and of course all those digital escape rooms that keep popping up. But I have always loved books that let me solve their puzzles along with the characters. Good old-fashioned Sherlock Holmes-type stories that let me feel like I could really be in on the action!
Turns out there's a whole bunch of books like that for middle grade readers! Here's just a few to get you started. The best part? They're all available on Hoopla or Overdrive so that you can access them from wherever you are!
Mystery on Museum Mile by Marcia Wells
Sixth grader Edmund Xavier Lonnrot, codename "Eddie Red," has a photographic memory and talent for drawing anything he sees. When the NYPD is stumped by a mastermind art thief, Eddie becomes their secret weapon to solve the case, drawing Eddie deeper into New York's famous Museum Mile and closer to a dangerous criminal group known as The Picasso Gang.
The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby
It was 1798 when the Morningstarr twins arrived in New York with a vision for a magnificent city: towering skyscrapers, dazzling machines, and winding train lines, all running on technology no one had ever seen before. They disappeared 57 years later, leaving the people of New York the Old York Cipher - a puzzle laid into the shining city they constructed, at the end of which was promised a treasure beyond all imagining.
By the present day, however, the puzzle hasn't been solved, and many people don't even think it's real. But when a real-estate developer buys the last five Morningstar buildings with plans to tear them down, it may be the end of a long-held dream. But Tess, Theo, and Jamie live in those buildings, and are determined to prove the Old York Cipher is real - both to keep the dream alive and to save their home.
The Greenglass House by Kate Milford
It's wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler's inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers' adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo's home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook's daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of deepening mysteries to discover the truth about Greenglass House—and themselves.
Nooks & Crannies by Jessica Lawson
Sweet, shy Tabitha Crum, the neglected only child of two parents straight out of a Roald Dahl book, doesn't have a friend in the world - except for her pet mouse, Pemberley, whom she loves dearly. But on the day she receives one of six invitations to the country estate of wealthy Countess Camilla DeMoss, her life changes forever. Upon the children's arrival at the sprawling, possibly haunted mansion, it turns out the countess has a very big secret - one that will change their lives forever. Then the children begin disappearing, one by one. So Tabitha takes a cue from her favorite detective novels and, with Pemberley by her side, attempts to solve the case and rescue the other children...who just might be her first real friends.
The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
When Candice finds the letter, she isn't sure she should read it. It's addressed to her grandmother, after all, who left Lambert in a cloud of shame. But the letter describes a young woman named Siobhan Washington. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding the letter-writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle. Grandma tried and failed. But now Candice has another chance.
So with the help of Brandon Jones, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues in the letter. The challenge will lead them deep into Lambert's history, full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love; and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets. Can they find the fortune and fulfill the letter's promise before the summer ends?
Winterhouse by Ben Guterson
Orphan Elizabeth Somers's malevolent aunt and uncle ship her off to the ominous Winterhouse Hotel, owned by the peculiar Norbridge Falls. Upon arrival, Elizabeth quickly discovers that Winterhouse has many charms-most notably its massive library. It's not long before she locates a magical book of puzzles that will unlock a mystery involving Norbridge and his sinister family. But the deeper she delves into the hotel's secrets, the more Elizabeth starts to realize that she is somehow connected to Winterhouse. As fate would have it, Elizabeth is the only person who can break the hotel's curse and solve the mystery. But will it be at the cost of losing the people she has come to care for, and even Winterhouse itself?
When Kyle learns that the world's most famous game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, has designed the town's new library and is having an invitation-only lock-in on opening night, he's determined to be there! But the tricky part isn't getting into the library—it's getting out. Because when morning comes, the doors stay locked. Kyle and the other kids must solve every clue and figure out every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route!
Pieces and Players by Blue Balliett
Thirteen extremely valuable pieces of art have been stolen from one of the most secretive museums in the world. A Vermeer has vanished. A Manet is missing. And nobody has any idea where they and the other eleven artworks might be . . . or who might have stolen them.
Calder, Petra, and Tommy are no strangers to heists and puzzles. Now they've been matched with two new sleuths -- Zoomy, a very small boy with very thick glasses, and Early, a girl who treasures words . . . and has a word or two to say about the missing treasure.The kids have been drawn in by the very mysterious Mrs. Sharpe, who may be playing her own kind of game with the clues. And it's not just Mrs. Sharpe who's acting suspiciously -- there's a ghost who mingles with the guards in the museum, a cat who acts like a spy, and bystanders in black jackets who keep popping up.