Since I associate summer with having free time to read, it’s the perfect time to dig into a book series! Ideally I like to read them one after the next, so that I can pick up on as many parallels and callbacks as possible … and so that I don’t forget about the series until it appears on my Goodreads feed three years later.
Disclaimer: I’m pretty bad at finishing series, so I can’t personally vouch for every single book on this list since I haven’t read them all [yet]. But I’ve mostly stuck with completed series (i.e., all installments published) so that you have the option of reading them back-to-back-to-back, though there may be a couple of exceptions, and tried to avoid repeats from my other recommendation lists.
Wayfarers by Becky Chambers
- The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
- A Closed and Common Orbit
- Record of a Spaceborn Few
This is first on the list because I read it pretty recently — the first book has been on my TBR forever, and when it was announced as the June Books & Tea readalong I finally got around to it.
My reaction can pretty much be summed up as holy crap, I can’t believe I didn’t read this sooner. If you like slice-of-life and/or space and/or casually diverse reads, I don’t know what you’re waiting for. Go read these already.
Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente
- The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
- The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
- The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two
- The Boy Who Lost Fairyland
- The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home
“The Fairyland books with the really long titles,” as I tend to think of them, are kind of the prodigal older sister of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with some influence from The Phantom Tollbooth. In short, I adore the whimsy and the wordplay.
In each new installment Valente introduces enough new elements to keep things interesting, without totally changing the game: it’s consistent but not boring.
Sidekick Squad by C.B. Lee
- Not Your Sidekick
- Not Your Villain
- Not Your Backup
- Not Your Hero (2020)
The diverse superhero story every young person deserves. Need I say more?
(I will anyway, because wow I love this series.) I felt like it was a little on the younger end of YA, with a simpler writing style and plot than I usually read, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun time with the most wholesome, lovable band of protagonists.
Dublin Murder Squad by Tana French
- In the Woods
- The Likeness
- Faithful Place
- Broken Harbor
- The Secret Place
- The Trespasser
I vaguely remember picking up In the Woods on a whim; it may have been on display in my high school library? Either way, while I tend to be kind of picky about my mystery / thriller reads, I have yet to pick up a Tana French book that didn’t exceed my expectations. The characters are vivid and nuanced, the plot keeps you guessing, and they’re just perfect books to curl up with on a gloomy rainy day. Or a bright sunny day when you’re beating the heat by hiding inside. Either way.
(Also, it took wayyyyyy too long to find matching covers for this series, so if I ever decide to add it to my personal library, I’ll probably go for a box set or something.)
The Queen’s Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
- The Thief
- The Queen of Attolia
- The King of Attolia
- A Conspiracy of Kings
- Thick as Thieves
- Return of the Thief (2020)
Despite the relative popularity of this series, most people I know have yet to actually read it. (Consider this a friendly reminder.) Fair warning, the first book is a bit slow; however, the second and third in particular blew me away and I’ve reread them so many times already.
I’m pretty sure Return of the Thief was originally supposed to come out this year, but if it means a better series finale I can wait a few more months. I guess.
Do you prefer series or standalones? What series would you recommend? When you reread a series (if you ever do), do you usually start from the first book and read them all in sequence, or jump around to your favorite(s)?