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Late to the Party – Series to Catch Up With

2011 November 7
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There are many YA books out there and more coming out everyday and even more are parts of series. It can be hard to keep up on all the latest and greatest titles, so sometimes it’s helpful to look back and catch up on books that might have been missed the first time around. Here’s a list of series worth catching up with and some suggested pairings with recent reads.

The Thief (Newbery Honor 1997), The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia (2007 Best Book for Young Adults) and A Conspiracy of Kings (2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults) by Megan Whalen Turner

Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series defines epic fantasy. It’s the sweeping tale, told over four books, of one of YA’s most enigmatic, complex and frustrating heroes: Eugenides. The royal thief who can steal anything finds himself time and time again in impossible situations and even more impossible escapes. It’s hard to tell if he’s serving the gods or taunting them by defying their gift’s blessings. With each book the stakes are raised as politics, war and, improbably, love, threaten not only Gen’s life, but his entire world. Turner’s masterful world-building and careful story crafting will appeal to those eagerly awaiting Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue, the final book in her Seven Kingdoms fantasy series.

Airborn (a 2005 Printz Honor book), Skybreaker, and Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel

Steampunk before it become cool. Well, steampunk has always been cool, but Oppel lead the way with Airborn, an action-filled, adventure-packed, machine-heavy fantasy in the sky. It is all Matt Cruse has ever dreamed of: a life spent flying. Nowhere on earth feels more like home than serving as a cabin boy on the airship Aurora. When wealthy and eccentric Kate de Vries embarks, looking for proof of strange creatures that may inhabit the upper reaches of the atmosphere, Matt has no choice but to break from his structured life and try to keep up. Oppel manages to grow not only his two main characters from friends in adventures to maybe more than friends, he also builds a world so big that in the final book, we’re breaking through the atmosphere and flying into space. Perfect for those looking for their next read after finishing Scott Westerfeld’s Goliath.

Dairy Queen (a 2007 Best Book for Young Adults), The Off Season, (a 2008 Best Book for Young Adults), and Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

D.J., like most teen girls, is going through some heavy stuff: family stuff, friend stuff, growing up stuff, and now, on top of it, boy stuff. Unlike most teen girls, D.J. has to spend her summer working her family’s dairy farm and training a rival high school’s star quarterback. She didn’t spend that last ten years of her life running football drills with her older brothers without picking up some serious skills. Brian Nelson on the other hand, she has no idea how to handle. From this great beginning, Murdock takes D.J. through the high school sports, drama and more: break-ups, make-ups, football, basketball, injury, and healing, Murdock captures exactly what it means to be tested both on and off the field. To say D.J. is one of the toughest and most admirable YA female protagonists is kinda an understatement. If you’re looking for a YA character that can go toe to toe with Katniss, it’s her. And that cover is fantastic.

What are other older series that may have been missed but totally deserve a second look?

– Amanda Margis, currently reading Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield and listening to Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford, read by Nick Podehl.

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3 Responses
  1. November 7, 2011

    I am VERY late to the party because I haven’t read any of the books within these series! Thanks for the recommendations! :)

  2. Ariel Cummins permalink
    November 7, 2011

    It’s not totally YA (it’s more middle grade with older appeal), but the Alcatraz series, starting with Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, is hilarious and fun. Brandon Sanderson hit it out of the park with this lighthearted fantasy series. The fourth book came out in2010 — I’m not sure if there’s a fifth book in the works or not!

  3. Karen Perry permalink
    November 9, 2011

    I have found the Hungry Cities series by Philip Reeve to be fantastic but I came into it by reading Fever Crumb and the newest title A Web of Air. Fever and Web are prequels to the Hungry Cities series. I had not read any of the older series but found Philip Reeve to be an excellent writer throughout and felt as though I had discovered him.

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