12 Books Similar to Percy Jackson

A look at Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson Book in a bookstore.

Magic, Myth, and Monsters: 12 Books Like Percy Jackson for Middle-Grade Readers

What would you do if you discovered that you were actually the descendant of a Greek god?

This is what happens to 12-year-old Percy Jackson in Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and he’s promptly whisked away from his regular middle school life into a world filled with magic, destiny, prophecy, and cool accessories like sneakers with wings and pens that can be transformed into swords.

It’s an addictive series, and since it’s sold more than 69 million copies worldwide, it’s a popular one as well. It even extends beyond the bookshelf: There are movies, musicals, graphic novels, video games, and more.

Eventually, however, there will come a day when you run out of Percy Jackson content. When that day arrives, here are just a few other books that will fill the void.

Table of Contents

1. Aru Shah and the End of Time

Aru Shah and the End of Time (A Pandava Novel, Book 1) (Pandava Series, 1)

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Author: Roshani Chokshi

Publication Date: 2018

Awards: New York Times Best Sellers List, Andre Norton Nebula Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction

Plot: After accidentally freeing a demonic spirit from the museum where her mother works, a young Hindu girl races to fix it before the demon can bring about the end of the world.

Aru Shah and the End of Time does for Hindu mythology what Percy Jackson does for Greek mythology. It centers around a 12-year-old girl named Aru who accidentally releases a demon from an Indian art and culture museum. As she goes on an epic quest to right her wrongs, she realizes that there’s more to her heritage and history than she ever could’ve imagined.

Aru has many similarities to Percy, right down to the spunky attitude and wisecracking humor that will make her instantly iconic to middle schoolers. She also learns or explains Hindu culture in fun-sized tidbits much as Percy did with Greek gods and goddesses.

The similarities aren’t accidental: Aru Shah and the End of Time was “presented” by Rick Riordan and come with a foreword by him. In other words, it has his full seal of approval.

2. The False Prince

The False Prince (The Ascendance Series, Book 1)

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Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Publication Date: 2012

Awards: New York Times Best Sellers List, New York Times Notable Children’s Books, Sequoyah Book Award

Plot: A young orphan is recruited to impersonate a prince, but even if he can survive his rags-to-riches training, danger lurks for those who sit on the throne.

The young hero of The False Prince is basically Percy Jackson’s long-lost brother. He’s funny, observant, quick-witted, and full of clever schemes and secrets that he only reveals to the audience when the time is right. He’s also a very typical boy; while he loves learning how to sword fight, he can take or leave lessons about table manners.

Will he survive his princely education? What happens if people discover the truth about his origins? What does it mean when he starts second-guessing the intentions of the people putting him on the throne?

The False Prince is only the first book in a series filled with adventure, intrigue, politics, and identity crises. You’ll have to read them all to have your questions answered.

3. Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

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Author: J.K. Rowling

Publication Date: 1997

Awards: Hugo Award, Carnegie Medal, British Book Award, Sheffield Children’s Book Award, Whitaker’s Platinum Book Award, FCBG Children’s Book Award

Plot: A young orphan learns that he’s actually a wizard destined to defeat an immortality-seeking dark lord.

This might be a no-brainer, but if you’re looking for another series with a black-haired, green-eyed boy heading off to a magical school to learn new powers, make new friends and defeat an evil overlord, Harry Potter is your best bet.

Much like Percy Jackson, Harry Potter is more than just a kid’s book. It’s an entire experience, and falling into its crazy magical world is like falling down the rabbit hole into an entirely new universe.

There’s a reason for its massive worldwide popularity. If you haven’t yet read Harry Potter, it’s time to do so.

4. Gone

Gone (Gone, 1)

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Author: Michael Grant

Publication Date: 2008

Awards: Delaware Diamonds Award, Truman Readers Award, Nevada Young Readers’ Award

Plot: After all of the adults suddenly and mysteriously disappear, the kids and teens of a small California town are left to fend for themselves, which gets even harder after they start to develop superpowers.

Gone is darker and grittier than Percy Jackson, so it’s more “young adult” as opposed to “middle grade,” but mature readers should be able to handle it. It follows a world where everyone over the age of 15 suddenly vanishes. The kids left behind are forced to survive however they can, which gets even trickier after they start developing the power to melt buildings and control the weather with their minds.

Gone is known for its rich and diverse cast of characters, including ones with disabilities, something that’s also touched on in Percy Jackson. Much like Percy struggles with dyslexia and ADHD, the kids in Gone have autism, eating disorders, and other internal conflicts.

If you like stories that feature real issues, consider Gone.

5. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 1: The Sword of Summer

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Author: Rick Riordan

Publication Date: 2015

Awards: New York Times Best Sellers List, Goodreads Choice Awards, Stonewall Book Awards

Plot: After struggling to survive on the streets, a 16-year-old boy is told that he has a more epic destiny awaiting him within the hierarchy of Norse mythology.

If nothing hits the spot quite like Rick Riordan’s books, why don’t you read some more Rick Riordan?

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard is the Norse version of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. It follows a similar format, including a kid hero who gets drawn into a world of magic and prophecy, and it travels that ground with familiar beats of humor, adventure, friendship, and questions of good versus evil.

It even has a personal link to Percy Jackson: The main character is Annabeth’s cousin!

If you aren’t ready to give up Percy Jackson just yet, continue the magic with Magnus Chase.

6. Akata Witch

Akata Witch (The Nsibidi Scripts)

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Author: Nnedi Okorafor

Publication Date: 2011

Awards: Nebula Award, Amelia Bloomer Book List, American Library Association’s Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults

Plot: A young Nigerian girl discovers innate magical powers tied to her albinism.

Another great book for diving into foreign cultures, Akata Witch follows a 12-year-old Nigerian girl with albinism who learns that her condition is tied to unexplored magical abilities. She’s a lot like Percy Jackson who realizes that his learning disabilities are actually symbols of his Greek heritage.

Instead of Europe, however, Akata Witch is all about Africa. The heroine discovers a variety of myths, magic, cosmology, folklore, and other cultural tokens of traditional African tribes. She also has a great sense of humor while doing it: When she rides a magical bus, for example, she calls it “the funky train.”

If you’re the type of person who likes to explore the world without ever leaving your reading nook, put Akata Witch on your e-reader.

7. Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl (new cover) (Artemis Fowl, 1)

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Author: Eoin Colfer

Publication Date: 2001

Awards: Young Reader’s Choice Award, Garden State Teen Book Award, Bisto Merit Award

Plot: A 12-year-old criminal mastermind hatches a plot to obtain fairy gold, unwittingly setting off a chain of events that leads to chaos.

Described by its author as “Die Hard with fairies,” Artemis Fowl is a rollicking good time with an incredibly fun protagonist. If you enjoyed Percy Jackson’s humor, Artemis is similarly witty, and he has a “cool” factor that makes him incredibly entertaining. He’s a millionaire; he’s a super genius; he’s a criminal mastermind. He even has his own butler!

Fans of Percy Jackson are sure to enjoy Artemis Fowl. It has the same kind of entertainment value, and with an entire eight-book series, it’ll keep you entertained for a good long while.

8. The 39 Clues

The Maze of Bones

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Author: Assorted

Publication Date: 2008

Awards: New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists

Plot: Two siblings enter a worldwide scavenger hunt that ties together history, mystery, and more.

The 39 Clues is an epic, globe-trotting series that follows two siblings as they race around the world in a “clue hunt.” Competing against other teams, including ones that are quite murderous, they solve puzzles, unlock cyphers, collect historical artifacts and discover the truth behind various mysteries.

Each book in the series is penned by a different author, but the very first, The Maze of Bones, is written by none other than Rick Riordan himself.

This will be a fun and interactive series for anyone who wants to collects books just like the protagonists collect clues.

9. The Storm Runner

The Storm Runner (A Storm Runner Novel, Book 1)

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Author: J. C. Cervantes

Publication Date: 2018

Awards: New Mexico Book Award, Zia Book Award

Plot: A young boy who likes volcanoes gets drawn into the world of Aztec and Mayan mythology when he learns that his favorite volcano is the resting place of an ancient god.

Another book presented and promoted by Rick Riordan, The Storm Runner follows a disabled middle schooler who doesn’t have a lot of friends and spends most of his time exploring the dormant volcano near his home. One day, a mysterious girl meets him at the volcano and explains that there’s an ancient Mayan god living inside of it. Oh, and he’s descended from Mayan gods as well!

As you can see, The Storm Runner follows the tried-and-true Percy Jackson formula of young kids realizing that they have epic destinies in unique cultural landscapes. Since the protagonist is also a disabled Hispanic boy, he also provides some much-needed representation in young adult books.

Give The Storm Runner a try if you’re looking for fun and diverse books that will fill the void after Percy Jackson.

10. A Series of Unfortunate Events

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)

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Author: Lemony Snicket

Publication Date: 1999

Awards: Book Sense Book of the Year, Children’s Choice Awards, Quill Book Award, Nevada Young Readers Award, Colorado Children’s Book Award

Plot: After losing their parents, three siblings must ward off their uncle’s villainous schemes to claim their inheritance.

Written with a very dry sense of humor, A Series of Unfortunate Events has a unique narrative “voice” not unlike Percy Jackson. It also revels in the same kinds of oddities and absurdities.

The story follows three orphaned siblings who have to continually outwit a scheming uncle who wants their inheritance. Each one of his plots is zanier than the last, so they have to get quite clever to fool and foil him. As the books continue, the siblings also start to unravel the mysteries of their late parents and the secrets that they carried.

There are 13 books in this series as well as a movie and a TV adaptation. If you or your kids find yourself obsessed with A Series of Unfortunate Events, you’ll be obsessed for quite some time!

11. Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong, 1)

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Author: Kwame Mbalia

Publication Date: 2019

Awards: New York Times Bestseller, Coretta Scott King Award, Children’s Africana Book Award

Plot: When he accidentally sends himself into a fantasy world populated by African gods and spirits, a black teen must embrace his heritage to find his way back home.

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky is just as entertaining as the title suggests. It follows a black teenager named Tristan who finds himself transported to a fantasy world filled with the magic and folklore of African and African-American legend. To get home, he’ll have to learn more about both himself and his ancestors, and he’ll need every bit of courage, strength, and plain old luck that he can scrounge up.

Another addition to the “Rick Riordan Presents” collection, Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky will be a great choice for readers who want more diversity on their bookshelves.

12. The Thief

The Thief (The Queen's Thief, Book 1)

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Author: Megan Whalen Turner

Publication Date: 1996

Awards: Newbery Medal, Newbery Honor Book

Plot: A young thief is pulled from the king’s dungeons and recruited into stealing an ancient treasure for the very same king. However, not everything is what it seems.

The Thief, also known as The Queen’s Thief, is another book that follows a quick and clever protagonist as he tries to outmaneuver everyone around him. If you enjoyed the moments when Percy Jackson pulled one over on his enemies, you’ll love the hero of this series as well.

The plot is simple: The king of a magical realm wants a long-lost treasure, so he recruits a thief out of his dungeons to steal it for him. What he didn’t expect is that he’d get a lot more than he bargained for with this particular boy.

Filled with twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very last page, The Thief will steal your attention just like its hero steals treasure.

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