With all of the hype surrounding series like Twilight, The Hunger Games, and now Divergent, it is difficult to ignore the growing Young Adult Literature category. Having teenagers who like to read, I find it even more important to keep up on what is popular among them and their friends.
There is such a broad scope genres within the YA category. That can make it difficult for people to know where to start. As parents, we’re at a bigger disadvantage because our kids sometime resists telling us what’s “cool” in their circles. I have developed a few favorites, though. Some my kids have turned me on to, and some I have clued them in on.
So, here they are – in no particular order – my favorite Young Adult Literature series…
The Lorien Legacies –
Set in current times, this series chronicles the lives of nine alien teens sent to Earth as young children with a guardian called a Cêpan to save their race, the Loriens. The series is written in first person and begins with I Am Number Four. These teens are being hunted by the alien race that destroyed their planet. Due to a charm place on them by the Loric leaders, they can only be killed in order. The series begins with the death of Number Three, and Number Four and his cêpan moving quickly to relocate.
Currently there are four main books in the series, with a fifth slated to publish in August, 2014. There are also seven “Lost Files” which provide different back stories and points of view from the different characters. These lost files fill in the spaces between the books and provide backgrounds on the primary characters introduced later in the series. Written under the pen name Pittacus Lore, authors James Frey and Jobie Hughes do a great job of pairing sci-fi with modern day teen living.
The Inheritance Cycle –
Every time I talk about this series, I feel like I am wearing my inner-nerd on the outside. Based in the fictional land of Alagaësia, this series takes place in a time of Dragon Riders, elves, and dwarves. Author Christopher Paolini began writing this series at the age of 15. Although he experienced some criticism for the stories having similarities to Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings, I still found the stories to be engaging and the characters to be well-developed.
The story begins with a teen boy by the name of Eragon (the title of the first book in the series) finding a “rock” while hunting. The rock turns out to be a dragon egg that the evil king is trying to acquire and claim for his own. The series has four books that lead us through the rise of a new generation of Dragon Riders and a revolution against the oppressive king.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians –
I would be shocked if someone were to tell me they had not heard of Percy Jackson, the main character of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters. I would not be surprised, however, to hear you had never read the books. Written by Rick Riordan, this series was done a great injustice by the Hollywood interpretations.
Based in modern day America, the Olympians series chronicles the lives of young demigods who must work together to defeat Kronos and the Titans and restore order to Mount Olympus. Riordan takes what we already know about Greek mythology and weaves in into exciting stories that capture us and connects us to these extraordinary teens.
Heroes of Olympus –
Taking place immediately after the conclusion of the Olympians series, the Heroes of Olympus series takes us on yet another adventure featuring seven demigods. Unlike the Olympians, the Heroes demigods consist of teens born of Greek gods as well as their Roman counterparts.
In this set of adventures, the heroes have to find a way to end the conflict between their parents’ feuding Greek and Roman personalities and prevent Gaea from rising and destroying the Earth. Again, Riordan does an excellent job taking the well known Greek and Roman myths and creating stories and challenges relevant to today’s world.
The Spiderwick Chronicles –
I may be wrong in categorizing this as a YA series. It may be better suited in the children’s category. Regardless, I think this series is fantastic for any age group. The Spiderwick Chronicles is a series of five books written about the Grace children. After moving into an inherited, dilapidated estate, the three Grace children learn there is more to our world than they originally thought. Throughout the five book, the children experience a series of challenges that include brownies, goblins, faeries, and ogres.
Written by Toni DiTerlizzi and Holly Black (who also happened to write one of my favorite Caldecott Award books), Spiderwick is inventive and fun. In addition to the novels, the authors created a whole series of field guides and “reference books” about the creatures the Grace children encounter throughout the series.