SERIES-OUSLY?

It’s hard to beat the rush of reading a book that you don’t want to end…especially when that book is part of a series. You know there’s more goodness right around the corner just waiting for you.

Once we discover an author he likes, Jack is a very loyal reader. Case in point? He plowed through a large portion of the Gordon Korman ouevre in one summer. With over 85 books under his belt, Mr. Korman is certainly one of the most prolific writers out there for young adults, and he knows a good thing (or character) when he sees it. Jack’s discovery of the Swindle series was his inaugural dip into the world of multi-book character and plot development, and he fell hook, line, and sinker.

Since the Summer of Swindle, we’ve found several other series we are excited to share with you.

Dystopian societies. Ah, they are all the rage these days. Perhaps the most perfect way to introduce this genre is through Ray Bradbury’s spectacular short story, “All Summer in a Day.” I remember this one knocking my socks off when I was in fifth grade, and I promise you, it’s still just as bone-chilling to me today. Find it. [Re-]Read it. Trust me.

Once your young reader has had a taste of the dystopian world, it’s likely to be Katy-Bar-The-Door because there’s lots more trouble in store. Lots more. After you’ve flown through The Hunger Games, come back to these equally as eerie stories:

The Ender QuartetOrson Scott Card. Mean big brothers, an Earth under attack, an orbiting Battle School, and the discovery of multiple sentient species on another planet? If your child is even slightly interested in science fiction, be prepared to lose him for a few weeks as he plows through Card’s fantastic books. Books include (1) Ender’s Game, (2) Speaker for the Dead, (3) Xenocide, and (4) Children of the Mind. Follow up the series with a family viewing of the film, starring Harrison Ford. Ender’s Game was originally published in January, 1985 so the series also doubles as a way to prove that good stories hail even from the dark ages.

The Maze Runner, James Dashner. A multi-leveled labyrinth of a world, 60 boys all with amnesia, and a prequel shedding light on how the end began. Jack also loved the first movie and is anxiously awaiting the release of the film version of The Scorch Trials. (1) The Maze Runner, (2) The Scorch Trials, (3) The Death Cure, (4) The Kill Order. Book 5, The Fever Code, is set to publish in 2016.

The Divergent Series, Veronica Roth. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of this series about a civilization sharply divided into five factions and all of the turmoil this brings. It’s all very Brave New World-ish–more dystopian society, more teen angst, more choices, and more reading from your tween, who won’t be able to put these books down. (1) Divergent, (2) Insurgent, (3) Allegiant, and (4) Four.

Matched, Ally Condie. Female protagonist. Creepy Big Brother-esque society. Questions of heart, strength, and trust, coupled with a government-generated plague-like epidemic. And did we mention the one heck of a strong lead female? (1) Matched, (2) Crossed, (3) Reached.

The Testing Trilogy, Joelle Charbonneau.  In order to escape small town life in the Five Lakes Colony, Cia not only has to be chosen but also has to pass the horrendously rigorous testing doled out by the United Commonwealth, which, of course, is chock full of nightmarish situations. Passing the test is just the first of Cia’s problems. Three long car rides were all it took for Jack to plow through this entire series. (1) The Testing, (2) Independent Study, (3) Graduation Day.

And finally, if you’ve had enough doom-and-gloom of the post-Apocalyptic crush, there’s the delightful–yet complicated–world of Winston Breen.

The Puzzling World of Winston Breen, Eric Berlin. Winston has a true gift for solving puzzles–riddles, optical illusions, anagrams, logic questions–you name it; Winston can solve it. Various contests and mysteries send Winston and his pals on a scavenger hunt through their school, through their town, and even through a creepy mansion. Readers have to solve the puzzles right along with Winston. Perfect for fans of The Westing Game (and let’s face it:  who isn’t a fan of The Westing Game?). (1) The Puzzling World of Winston Breen, (2) The Potato Chip Puzzles, (3) The Puzzler’s Mansion.

Following the growth of a character through several novels is a rewarding process though it does take patience. With these six different series, however, it’s an absolute joy to ride along with the protagonists through multiple books. Jack gives all 21 of these books two-thumbs up!

Happy reading!

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