By Ashly Moore Sheldon • August 20, 2020
Everybody loves a good series, right? There's nothing like finishing a book you love and knowing there's new volume waiting in the wings to continue the tale. Welcome to our Best New Series series! Each installment will highlight some of the best series that have been published during the last twenty years in a variety of genres. This week, we present a set of terrific new series for Young Adult readers. Just a little disclaimer: Many of the series we found fell into multiple categories, so the sorting may seem somewhat arbitrary.
Romantic themes are pretty ubiquitous when it comes to YA literature. This is often the age when the idea of falling in love becomes an all-encompassing preoccupation. So, while these represent a couple of the standouts, there's a lot of romance to be found in other categories as well.
Summer by Jenny Han
From the bestselling author of To All the Boys I've Loved Before, comes the story of Belly, who believes that everything important happens between the months of June and August. And now, in a summer both wonderful and terrible, everything is changing. But maybe this is the way it was always supposed to be.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free under the Martial Empire where defiance is met with death. Yet somehow they form an alliance that will awaken old magic and change the history of the world. A HuffPost review says, "An Ember in the Ashes glows, burns, and smolders—as beautiful and radiant as it is searing."
Dystopian themes are also quite common in books for young adults. Perhaps this speaks to the ways in which teens look at the world they are inheriting. They may enjoy exploring the idea that they have a destiny to solve the problems they see.
The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Teen couple Kady and Ezra are on the verge of breaking up when, suddenly, they find themselves running for their lives and uncovering galaxy-changing secrets and discoveries. This heart-stopping trilogy centers on lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes
Legend by Marie Lu
In post-apocalyptic United States, June is a military prodigy determined to track down her brother's killer. Day is a criminal, and the prime suspect. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together.
Arc of the Scythe by Neal Shusterman
In a world that has conquered death, Scythes are responsible for deciding who must die in order to control the earth's population. Citra and Rowan are apprentices to a scythe—a role that neither wants. They must master the "art" of taking life, knowing that if they fail, it could mean losing their own.
Who doesn't fantasize about how having supernatural abilities and what they would do with them? Teens, in particular, are beginning to sense their own special strengths and imagining how they might use them.
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
The good news is that Ruby survived a childhood illness that killed most of America's kids. But she emerged with uncontrollable, frightening powers. Now sixteen and locked up in a government facility, she realizes she will need to escape and learn how to channel her strength if she's going to survive.
Shadowshaper Cypher by Daniel José Older
Brooklyn teen Sierra Santiago is expecting a relaxed summer of working on her art when a zombie crashes a party and forces her to notice some of the other strange things that are happening around her. That's when she discovers she's a Shadowshaper, able to use art and ancestral spirits to fight dark forces.
These series, set in the past, employ many of the same themes of the previous sections, i.e. romance, adventure, and supernatural elements. But at the same time, readers get to learn about a time period other than their own. Winning!
The Diviners by Libba Bray
It's 1926, and Evangeline O'Neill has been sent to live with her strange Uncle Will in New York City. Thrilled to be liberated from her boring hometown, Evie only worries her occult-obsessed uncle will discover her secret ability. But when a girl is murdered, Evie realizes her unusual gift could help catch a serial killer.
The Agency by Y. S. Lee
Steeped in Victorian atmosphere and intrigue, this diverting series introduces feisty orphan Mary Quinn. Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, she winds up at Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls, the cover for an all-female investigative unit. Now Mary must put her training to the test.
Jackaby by William Ritter
Abigail has a talent for noticing details others miss, and Jackaby is an investigator for the unexplainable. Together, they take on mysteries in 1890s New England that no one else can explain. This series is brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.
Hopefully there's something here to keep your Young Adult readers occupied for a while! Let us know if we've missed any of your favorites from recent years. Next week, we'll be bringing you the best new series for grownup readers.