2016 Notable Series
When our series list was originally conceived a few years back, we limited ourselves to looking at fiction books that completed an overall story arc. In light of some of the stellar stuff we’ve seen in younger book series lately, however, we’ve decided more inclusiveness is probably necessary and so we’re expanding the definition of “series” this year to include books for a younger audience. The aim of the list is to bring attention to completed or ongoing series with the message to librarians that these sets of books, taken as a whole, are well worth the investment and offer a unique reading experience, going beyond the traditional formulas of series fiction and nonfiction.
Colfer, Eoin. The Reluctant Assassin. Hyperion, 2013. Gr. 5-7 (BCCB 6/13)
—–. WARP: The Hangman’s Revolution. Hyperion, 2014. (BCCB 5/09)
—–. WARP: The Forever Man. Hyperion, 2015. (BCCB 12/15)
Readers will enjoy one heckuva ride as they follow seventeen-year-old aspiring FBI agent, and Riley, a teen boy from Victorian London, through time and space as they alternately run from and track down the dastardly villain, Albert Garrick; the cast of over the top ruffians and quirky allies is almost as good as the action.
Grove, S.E. The Glass Sentence. Viking, 2014. Gr. 5-8 (BCCB 9/14)
—–. The Golden Specific. Viking, 2015. (BCCB 10/15)
—–. The Crimson Skew. Viking, 2016. (BCCB 6/16)
This sharply creative, engrossing trilogy, thirteen-year-old Sophia must navigate the world after the Great Disruption, which separated all the continents into different eras, as she searches for her family and past secrets; the world building is stellar, the plotting perfect, but it’s the nuanced, complex villain that will haunt readers.
Franklin School Friends
Mills, Claudia. Kelsey Green, Reading Queen. Ferguson/Farrar, 2013. Gr. 2-4 (BCCB 9/13)
—–. Annika Riz, Math Whiz. Ferguson/Farrar, 2014. (BCCB 5/14)
—–. Cody Harmon, King of Pets. Ferguson/Farrar, 2016. (BCCB 6/16)
This charming series of early readers exudes believability and readability. Each title focuses on a different Franklin School kids, who are distinct characters with their own little idiosyncrasies. Mills deftly scaffolds the reading experience with breezy sentences and plenty of dialogue, but she also gives emotional heft to the elementary school dynamics that will surely be familiar to her readers.
The Winner’s Trilogy
Rutkoski, Marie. The Winner’s Curse. Farrar, 2014. Gr. 7-10 (BCCB 3/14)
—–. The Winner’s Crime. Farrar, 2015. (BCCB 2/15)
—–. The Winner’s Kiss. Farrar, 2016. (BCCB 7/16)
What could have been a retread of Romeo and Juliet territory, this trilogy instead offers deft characterization, painting Kestrel and Arin, each from warring nations, as complex, nuanced people as opposed to just parties in a forbidden romance; lush, imagistic prose and a tragic history round out this complicated, lovely romance that will appeal to fans of Kristin Cashore and Robin Lefevers.
The Accelerati Trilogy
Shusterman, Neal and Eric Elfman. Tesla’s Attic. Disney Hyperion, 2014. Gr. 5-8 (BCCB 2/14)
—–. Edison’s Alley. Disney Hyperion, 2015. (BCCB 5/15)
—–. Hawking’s Hallway. Disney Hyperion, 2016. (BCCB 6/16)
Who knew some attic junk would lead to a quest to save the world? Middle schooler Nick Slate and his buddies come up against some devious characters in this wryly funny take on the mad scientist plot; the whirling, action filled plot is made all the better by some seriously snarky storytelling.
The Heavenly Nostrils Chronicles
Simpson, Dana. Phoebe and Her Unicorn; written and illus. by Dana Simpson. Andrews McMeel, 2014. Gr. 3-5 (BCCB 10/14)
—–. Unicorn on a Roll: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure; written and illus. by Dana Simpson. Andrews McMeel, 2015. (BCCB 6/15)
—–. Unicorn vs. Goblins: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure; written and illus. by Dana Simpson. Andrews McMeel, 2016. (BCCB 2/16)
This collection of comic strips à la Calvin and Hobbes follows dreamy kid Phoebe and her sardonic unicorn pal. Need we say more?
The Raven Cycle
Stiefvater, Maggie. The Raven Boys. Scholastic, 2012. Gr. 7-12. (BCCB 9/12)
—–. The Dream Thieves. Scholastic, 2013. (BCCB 10/13)
—–. Blue Lily, Lily Blue. Scholastic, 2014. (BCCB 12/14)
—–. The Raven King. Scholastic, 2016. (BCCB 4/16)
Seventeen-year-old Blue, supposed psychic, finds herself linked to a quartet of posh, preppy boys from the nearby boarding school as they hunt for ancient powers along ley lines in rural West Virginia. Amid well-paced, suspenseful plotting intriguingly overlaid with history, myth, and legend, Stiefvater creates a compelling human drama in her deft characterization of five friends searching for purpose in the real and the supernatural worlds.