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Good Books Come in Threes

2011 August 20
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by Ariel Cummins
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If you’re anything like me, you find the idea of starting a new series a little…daunting.  I barely have time to squeeze one book onto my incredibly long to-read list, so fitting in the six, eight, twelve tomes that a new series requires just feels like too big of a commitment.  I do, though, love the more in-depth character development and plot twists that multi-book arcs foster.  So what’s a girl to do? Develop a healthy love of trilogies, of course!  YA lit is bursting with trilogies that offer less devotion than a series but more satisfaction than a stand-alone.  Here are some of my favorites:

Blockbuster Trilogies: These trilogies are not just super popular, they’re super good! As summer winds down, grab one of these titles for a look at the best of what a trilogy can do.

  • The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (all three named Teens’ Top Ten books)

If you haven’t read these, you need to go to your closest bookstore or library and pick them up right now. These action-packed page turners give a bleak look of a future where kids are forced to fight to the death in an arena frought with traps – while the entire country is forced to watch the live broadcast.

  • The Knife of Never Letting Go (reviewed here), The Ask and the Answer (2009 Best Books for Young Adults), and Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

Quite possibly the smartest science-fiction you’ll read all year, these books depict a world where women are only a memory, and men and animal’s thoughts can be heard by everyone. Add a sentient alien population into the mix, and you have a chilling examination of how fluid good and evil really are.

  •  Dairy Queen (2007 Best Books for Young Adults), Off Season (2008 Best Books for Young Adults), and Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch

Sports books for non-jocks!  The Dairy Queen trilogy offers up DJ Schwenk, one of YA’s most endearing heronies, as she deals with dairy farming (really!), life in a small town, and, you know, being the only girl on the football team.

Trilogies That Ended Up Slightly…More: These trilogies started out with three books, but ended up with four, five, or six-ish.  Check them out if you love getting really involved in a series.

  •  Uglies (2006 Best Books for Young Adults), Pretties, Specials, and Extras (2008 Teens’ Top Ten nominee) by Scott Westerfeld (also check out the excellent companion novel to the series, Bogus to Bubbly)

I’m pretty sure most people feel pretty ugly when they’re fifteen.  Imagine a world where everyone is required to undergo surgery when they turn sixteen – and imagine all the nefarious reasons a government could have for instituting such a policy.

  •  City of Bones (2008 Teens’ Top Ten), City of Ashes (2009 Teens’ Top Ten), City of Glass (2010 Teens’ Top Ten), City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Claire (that’s not to mention the prequel trilogy that begins with Clockwork Angels and takes place in the same world…)

Urban fantasy charged with just the right amount of angst.  Bet you didn’t realize there was an entire world of demons and demon hunters lurking inNew York City, did you?

  •  The Boyfriend List (2006 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers), The Boy Book, Treasure Map of Boys (2010 Best Books for Young Adults), and Real Live Boyfriends (2011 Best Books for Young Adults) by E. Lockhart

Ruby Oliver is an awesome heroine because she’s pretty much amazing – funny, smart, quirky – but she’s also got her share of realistic flaws. Her neurotic, hilarious, and heartbreaking journey through high school is pretty much the best YA lit has to offer.

Trilogies That Aren’t Quite Three…Yet!: The hardest part about loving a trilogy is waiting until the next books come out! These trilogies have me eagerly anticipating their conclusions:

  •  Leviathan (2010 Notable Children’s Books), Behemoth (2011 Teen’s Top Ten nominee), and Goliath (September 2011) by Scott Westerfeld

Rolicking steam-punk alternative history fun.  With some seriously amazing illustrations sprinkled throughout to boot!

  •  Maze Runner (2011 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers), The Scorch Trials (2011 Amazing Audiobook nominee), The Death Cure (October 2011) by James Dashner

Thomas wakes up one day to realize he’s trapped in a giant maze with a couple dozen other kids.  Heart-thumping action with some serious dystopian themes thrown in.

  •  Delirium, Pandemonium (March 2012), Requiem (February 2013) by Lauren Oliver

Love makes people do some seriously crazy things, which is why the government has declared it to be a sickness and developed a surgery to cure people of it.  What happens whenLena– still three months away from her surgery – does the most dangerous thing, and decides to fall in love?

 

–Ariel Cummins, presently reading Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi

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One Response
  1. Chris permalink
    August 20, 2011

    Don’t forget about Simone Elkeles’s Perfect Chemistry Trilogy: Perfect Chemistry, Rules of Attraction and Chain Reaction!

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