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5 Young Adult Book Series You Must Read

Updated on July 4, 2012

The Young Adult Genre is one of the most popular genres in books around, due to their relevant themes, great character development, and ease of reading. Many novels have been written in the Young Adult genre, but which teen novels are best? This article covers five Young Adult novel series, of which I hope you have not read all of, that are some of the best around, and must reads for any fans of this genre.

Tomorrow, When the War Began

Tomorrow, When the War Began is a series of novels by Australian author John Marsden. The series quickly became his most famous work, and was read by millions worldwide. In the series, a group of teenagers go wilderness camping in the Australian outback. During the course of their camping trip, Australia is invaded by an unnamed nation and overwhelmed. The series follows the exploits of the group as they fight a guerrilla war against the invading force. I liked this series a lot because of the writing style, but also because of the aspect of independence and the important lessons that are forced upon the group as they face death, love, conflict, and heartbreak. This book will incite strong emotions in most readers, and will show teens that conflict is not as glamorous as the media makes it out to be.

Harry Potter

Any list regarding young adult books would be incomplete without Harry Potter. While it is highly unlikely that you haven't read this series yet, I would urge you to do so if you still don't know what happens to Harry at Hogwarts. While the series starts off rather young, it ages with the characters, eventually becoming a dark and emotional masterpiece - I do not use that word lightly - that has charmed millions and millions of readers around the world. The entire series grew up with it's readers perfectly, and creates an atmosphere which has been imitated, but never perfected, in many other novels. Harry Potter is safely the one young adult book series that almost everyone you know has read, because the major themes are relevant to everyone, and the characters are instantly lovable. Trust me when I saw that when you finish this series, you are sure to be crushed that there is no more to read - you will simply not want it to end.

Hunger Games

The Hunger Games is the most modern series on this list, and is quite a read, though is, honestly, very depressing. The series takes place in Panam, a dystopian Hegemony that is divided into twelve districts, all of whom are controlled by the Capitol. In order to show their dominance over the districts, the Capitol demands two tributes every year, a boy and a girl, to take place in the Hunger Games, which is a long, drawn out fight to the death from which only one tribute can emerge victorious from. As you read through the books, you will find yourself wishing for more. Perhaps a more fleshed out web of relationships, or maybe more conflict, or maybe even a larger focus on ideology and the ideas of right and wrong. The entire series, especially the last book, are very sad, and are full of loss and despair. The ending fit the overall feel of the series quite well, and is something that I would encourage you to read, but would caution you; this series is much more than it appears to be at first.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

A Series of Unfortunate Events was very popular in the early 2000s, but didn't have as much of an impact as it should have. While the series is still hugely popular, it doesn't have quite as large a following as the Hunger Games or Harry Potter does, though it deserves one, albeit for different reasons. A Series of Unfortunate Events takes what everyone loves about young adult novels, and does the complete opposite. It is, quite literally, a chain of unfortunate events that begin with the death of the Baudelaire triplet's parents and the destruction of their home, and continues on a despairingly long path that never turns out right for the Triplets. It is quite worth the read, because it combines elements of mystery with a dark, almost steampunk-ish atmosphere, and will honestly surprise you as events conspire. However, it is not cheerful, and is even somewhat graphic, so it may be more suitable for slightly older teens.


The Inheritance Cycle is a fantasy series of novels by Christopher Paolini that are quite deep and quite long. It took Paolini ten years to write all four books. While the story is way too complicated to summarize in a short article like this, it basically involves a long dead group of warriors known as Dragon Riders, who were killed by Galbotorix, a Dragon Rider that overthrew the Riders and killed off most of the dragons, creating a dictatorship that is only denied by the elves and the dwarves, as well as the nation of Surda. Eragon, the namesake of the first book, is a farmer who discovers a dragon egg in the wilderness that had been transported out of danger by an elf who had been attacked by the Empire's men. The cycle follows Eragon as he hatches and raises his dragon, to become a dragon rider and lead a rebellion against the dictatorship of Galbotorix. While the plot sounds quite complicated, it is not hard to follow in the novels due to their length, and the entire series is a great introduction to the fantasy genre and perfect for young adults and even adults due to the lessons about corruption, power, and conflict.


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    • Jenna Kunc profile image

      Jenna Kunc 5 years ago from Colorado

      The only one I haven't read is Tomorrow, When the War Began. I may have to pick it up somewhere. Nicely written!