While hanging out with some soccer teammates yesterday, the conversation (inevitably) turned to YA book series. As the resident YA nerd, I had to tackle this awful question: “Are there even any good series out there?”
Ugh. I hate this question. It is so subjective. A few people mentioned how they’ve read Hunger Games and Divergent and, in the end, were disappointed with either plot decisions or writing styles. The question wasn’t posed by literary snobs who don’t read the market. It came from people who read YA and keep feeling jilted.
So how do you even go about answering the question? Something I really liked – such as Marie Lu’s Legend series – might not appeal to someone who adored Twilight. As a friend pointed out, Hunger Games and Divergent (and Legend, come to think of it) are all written in first person. As I hear of more people who didn’t like these series, I wonder if their brains simply aren’t trained to think in first person – whether it be present or past tense.
While it’s true that a good first person present tense book can be hard to find, I don’t think that should keep people from exploring great YA series. If you need some ideas, here are a few gateway books you can try (they aren't all first person. Just awesome):
Daughter of Smoke & Bone – Laini TaylorMonsters, angels, and a girl with blue hair. Karou helps her adoptive father gather teeth for a mysterious magical purpose. She grew up wondering who she is, but in reality she should have asked what.
Legend – Marie LuWhen June’s brother is murdered, supposedly by wanted criminal Day, she wants nothing but justice and vengence. But Day isn’t a murderer, and the two form an unlikely alliance to protect their loved ones from a sinister government.
Graceling – Kristin CashoreKatsa is graced with killing, and Po is graced with fighting, yet their special powers are often taken advantage of. As the thug and the prince become friends, they learn the truth of their graces.
The Raven Boys – Maggie StiefvaterBlue falls into friendship with three boys on a quest to find an ancient king. But she has to be careful, because friendship often leads to love, and Blue has always known that her fate would be to cause the death of her true love.
Etiquette & Espionage – Gail CarrigerSophronia never knew she wanted to learn to curtsy and kill a man in the same day, but then again, she never knew that finishing school was for spies and proper table manners, either.
Tithe – Holly BlackKaye’s life is normal until she finds herself mixed up in the fight between two faerie kingdoms.
Steelheart – Brandon SandersonSuperheroes have become dictators, and only the Reckoners have the guts to stand up to the tyranny and kill Steelheart, the Superman-esque tyrant of Chicago.
Bloody Jack – L.A. MeyerMary doesn’t think twice before changing her name and becoming a cabin boy on a ship of Her Majesty’s Royal Navy. Can she make it to fame and fortune without anyone learning her secret?
This week Michelle is reading John Green's Paper Towns, which is another great YA book, yet regrettably not a part of a series.