99 Nights in Logar
Jamil Jan Kochai
Set against the backdrop of life in contemporary rural Afghanistan, 99 Nights in Logar centers around twelve-year-old Marwand who is visiting his extended family in the village of Logar. After an unexpected mishap, Marwand loses the family guard dog Bubadesh and sets off on surprising and often-gripping adventure story to track down the beloved dog.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
You can see the narrative DNA of these two American classics throughout The Goonies. From the high adventure to the wit and humor, Mikey and the rest of the Goonies are not far removed from Mark Twain’s iconic pair of young troublemakers.
No writer captured the allure, magic, and bittersweet adventure of childhood nostalgia quite like Ray Bradbury. Dandelion Wine is Bradbury’s hazy, timeless accounting of one endless summer in the life of Douglas Spaulding in fictional Green Town, Illinois. While best known for his science fiction, for me, Dandelion Wine is Bradbury—and adolescence—distilled.
In 1977, four teenaged sleuths solved an alarming, seemingly-supernatural mystery in the small resort town of Blyton Hills. Over a decade later, the group—or at least the surviving members—are still trying to come to terms with whatever it was they faced that night.
The Chalk Man
C. J. Tudor
In the summer of 1986, a series of chalk men drawings—something the local kids once used as a secret code—lead Eddie and his friends to a grisly discovery. In 2016, Eddie receives a chalk man drawing in the mail and one his childhood friends turns up dead. In order to save himself and his friends, Eddie must unravel the devastating mystery from all those years ago. The answers, however, may be more than he bargained for.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a decades-spanning, globe-trotting adventure set against the backdrop of WWII-era New York and the Golden Age of comic books. Joe Kavalier is a budding escape artist and illustrator. His cousin Sammy Klayman wants to be writer. Together, they break into the world of comics and find love, tragedy, and adventure.
The Alchemyst is the first volume in Michael Scott’s bestselling YA/Urban Fantasy series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. It introduces readers to the iconic alchemist and sees 15-year-old twins Josh and Sophie Newman caught up in an ancient struggle to save humanity from assured destruction.
The wicked humor and delightfully convoluted hijinks that make Carl Hiaasen a bestseller are on full display in his latest novel. While geared toward a younger audience, Squirm is nonetheless the sort of zany, over-the-top mystery that Hiaasen fans of all ages love. The novel centers on Billy, a boy who takes off cross-country in search of his father.
Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds
The first official Stranger Things novel serves as a prequel to the events of the smash Netflix series. Beginning in the summer of 1969, Suspicious Minds delves into the story—and secrets—behind Eleven’s real mother, Dr. Martin Brenner, and the conspiracy at the heart of Hawkins National Laboratory.
The Devils You Know
Boulder House is the epicenter of local urban legends in Whispering Bluffs, Wisconsin—from its cursed construction to the murder of crows that immediately die upon its completion. However, none of that stops River Red High from offering a field trip to the house. When five of the students become separated from the larger group, they discover something far more horrifying than anything in the local legends lurking within Boulder House.
Ready Player One (Movie Tie-In)
In the year 2045, most of the world has retreated into a virtual utopia known as the OASIS—the brainchild of eccentric tech genius named James Halliday. When Halliday dies, he leaves a series of clues within the OASIS as part of a puzzle with the ultimate prize being Halliday’s fortune and control of the OASIS itself. The novel centers on Wade Watts, a high school student desperate to piece together the clues and unlock Halliday’s secrets.
The Magicians (TV Tie-In Edition)
The first volume in this bestselling trilogy introduces readers to Quentin Coldwater–a brilliant high school math student harboring a secret obsession with a series of children’s fantasy novels set in a magical world called Fillory. When he begins his studies at the mysterious Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, he discovers Fillory exists and is far darker and more dangerous than he could have ever imagined.
When Margo Roth Spiegelman arrives in Quentin Jacobsen’s bedroom dressed like a ninja with a plan for a night of ingenious pranks, Quentin has no clue what is being set into motion. When the night ends and Margot has mysteriously vanished, Quentin sets out on an unexpected road trip to track her down and perhaps find himself in the process.
Few movies bring back the rush of childhood like The Goonies in all of its Amblin Entertainment glory. Following E.T., The Goonies was in the vanguard of a generation of rollicking adolescent adventure fantasies. If, like me, you’re a child of the late 80s and early 90s and still crave that sort of wish-fulfillment adventure—with perhaps a more grown-up vibe—there are, thankfully, plenty of great novels to scratch that particular nostalgic itch. Here are a few favorites.
Featured image: Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, and Jonathan Ke Quan in The Goonies (1985) © Warner Bros