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Where Are All the Middle Grade Science Fiction School Series?

Hogwarts. Camp Half-Blood. The Bureau of Magical Affairs. The School for Good and Evil. Wundrous Society. Mystwick School of Musicraft. Avalon Academy.

The universe of middle-grade books is rife with magic schools. Places where the protagonists learn amazing things and have incredible adventures, finding their people and overcoming odds that seem insurmountable.

These are the books and worlds I thought about when imagining the high-tech academy in my own novel, but it wasn’t until I started thinking about sending it out to agents that I realized there aren’t nearly as many middle-grade series that feature futuristic schools — science fiction schools.

But I knew they were out there, so I dug around to see what I could find. Full disclosure: I haven’t read most of these. I’m going off of descriptions and reviews, so it’s quite possible I may not be representing them with complete accuracy. If I’m wrong and you have read them, please let me know!

Okay. Here’s what I’ve come up with, but I’d love to hear about anything that I’ve missed.

(For this exercise, I’m not including things that are tied to huge properties, such as the Jedi Academy series, nor am I including graphic novels like the Cleopatra in Space series.)

Nikola Cross – Eliot Sappingfield

This 2-book series includes A Problematic Paradox and The Unspeakable Unknown. It’s about a girl who is sent to a school for geniuses — where kids commute by wormhole and have classes like Practical Quantum Mechanics — after her dad is kidnapped by aliens.

Adventures of the PSS 118 – Joshua S. Levy

I’m still debating whether or not this one counts.

It’s about a group of middle-school kids in school on a spaceship who end up taking their school on a trip across the galaxy and have to deal with aliens and how in the world to get home. The series includes Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy, Eighth Grade vs. the Machines, and Last Summer in Outer Space.

The reason I’m debating is that it’s unclear how much of a role the school and learning play in the series. Is it just these kids taking a spaceship that happens to be their school out for a joyride and having adventures, or is there more “schooling” to the proceedings. Descriptions don’t make that clear. They do, however, make it sound super fun, so I definitely want to read the books.

B.E.S.T. World – Corey McCarthy

Set in the near future of 2048, protagonist Ace becomes a cadet in the B.E.S.T. Program, where graduates receive a bionic enhancement. He faces off against unwelcoming roommates, a hard-nosed coach, and the fact that something sinister may be going on at the academy.

Currently, two books are available — Ace Takes Flight and Under Pressure — with the third one slated for release this October.

Is that it? It can’t be, right? But after those three series, I find myself butting up against my own rules.

You could make the argument that The Mysterious Benedict Society has a science fiction school, but only for the first book. Ditto the Ender series. City of Ember is science fiction, but the school is decidedly retro. Finn Caspian, as fun as it is, probably shouldn’t count because it’s a podcast — yes, there are books now, but it feels weird to include that and not Cleopatra.

What am I missing? I’d love to hear in the comments.

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