Everyone who is passionate about reading knows that feeling of anticipation when you open the first book in a new series. If you love the groundwork laid in the first story of a series, you’ll have a whole world to look forward to in the subsequent books. From mystery and fantasy to adventure and teen romance, there are many book series and book-plus-sequel pairs available to match the attention level and interests of your children. This list features our top picks for books to get kids hooked on a new series and hooked on reading all over again.
In this novel by first-time author Jessica Townsend, Morrigan Crow is a young girl who doesn’t have a normal life — in fact, she’s cursed. Morrigan was born on the most unlucky day of the year and is blamed for anything bad that happens in her town. That’s not even the worst of it: The curse she lives under means Morrigan will die at midnight on her 11th birthday. But a strange man shows up and whisks her away to an escape from the curse — Nevermoor, a magical city kept secret from the rest of the world.
Once she finds out she has been chosen to join a secret organization, Morrigan has to go through a series of dangerous tests against hundreds of other children with special powers. Will Morrigan find a way to pass the tests so she can stay in Nevermoor, or will she fail and have to go out into the world to meet her fate? The suspense will keep young readers eager to read the next title in the series, “Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow.” A third book in the series is expected in early 2020, and the author has already inked a deal for three more Nevermoor books.
Hale, a 12-year-old boy, comes from a long line of spies, and in this family, it’s not a profession you’re recruited for — you’re born into it. His parents are the best spy duo at SRS, but Hale is big-boned and not exactly stealth. With his little sister in tow, Hale has to step up sooner than expected when his parents go missing. Readers will love the book’s fast pace, Hale’s hilarious madcap adventures, and the cool gadgets Hale uses while trying to save his family. This book and its sequel are recommended for children ages 8 to 12.
“Cinder” is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series by New York Times bestselling author Marissa Meyer. Cinder is not only a gifted mechanic but also a cyborg. She is a second-class citizen with a strange, mysterious past. Plagues, humans and cyborgs crowd the streets. An intragalactic struggle begins that will test Cinder’s duty and loyalty to everything she knows. This is the perfect beginning to a great series for readers from ages 12 to 18 years who love science fiction and fairy tales.
“Hook’s Revenge” is the debut novel of Heidi Shulz and takes the story of Peter Pan and Captain Hook to a whole new level by introducing readers to Hook’s family. The main character, Hook’s 12-year-old daughter Jocelyn, dreams of taking to the high seas and being like her father, but her grandfather has other ideas. He enrolls her in a boarding school to teach her to be a lady. When her father is killed by the Neverland crocodile, Jocelyn heads out on a quest with a motley, untrained crew to avenge that wrong. What ensues is a comical madcap adventure that every child who is a pirate at heart is sure to enjoy. This book and its sequel are great for readers from ages 8 to 12.
“Uglies” deals with various young-adult issues in a futuristic setting. The main character, Tally, is about to reach the magical age of 16, which means she can finally have an operation to turn her from an Ugly into a Pretty. In her world, this operation will allow her to enter a high-tech paradise where the only job is to have fun. Prior to her operation, Tally meets a new friend, Shay, who doesn’t want to be a Pretty. Shay runs away, prompting Tally to go after her. What Tally finds on the other side of the Pretty world will shape her life forever.
“Engaging series will keep your young reader wanting to read more and more. Spy Kids is a favorite among my children, as is the Chronicles of Narnia. For younger readers, it is important to find a series that will push them to read longer books, but be careful with an author like J.R.R. Tolkien if they are not accustomed to reading long novels.”
Our Expert Consultant
Melissa holds a doctorate in pharmacy and is a home educator, co-teaching a high school chemistry class and a primary school class. Having taught two of her own children to read, write and traverse Singapore Math, Melissa has spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours researching and testing curriculum.