Captivating Series Books: Beyond Gossip Girl

Series books exist for all genres and reading tastes. This blog post features some recent series that will keep you enthralled from the first book to the last (although some are still in progress). Series are organized by author’s last name, and a recommendation as to what the series is about and where to find additional information on it is also provided. For more information on series books check out our series books bibliographies listed below, look up an author on Fantastic Fiction, a British web site that lists the order of series books for many authors, or check out our August 2007 blog post on fantasy series: “Now What? Reading After Harry Potter.”
Series Books Bibliographies

Girls Series Books: A Checklist of Titles Published 1840-1991. 1992.
Provides an alphabetical index of American fiction series for girls published from 1840 to 1991. Each entry lists individual titles in the series, authors, publisher(s), and occasionally, other notes on publications. Author, publisher, and chronological indexes are included.
[Education Juvenile Reference S. 011.6242 G443]

Popular Series Fiction for K-6 Readers: a Reading and Selection Guide. 2009.
This guide looks at 1,200 series. Annotations describe the series, and list genre, grade level, and the order of books with publication dates. There is a genre and subject index as well as appendixes on series books for girls, boys, reluctant readers and ESL students.
[Education Juvenile Reference S.011.62 T366p2009]

Popular Series Fiction for Middle School and Teen Readers: a Reading and Selection Guide. 2009.
This guide looks at 700 series. Annotations describe the series, and list genre, grade level, and the order of books with publication dates. There is a genre and subject index as well as appendixes on series books for girls, boys, and reluctant readers.
[Education Juvenile Reference S.016.823008 T36p2009]

Sisters, Schoolgirls, and Sleuths: Girls’ Series Books in America. 2009.
Curling up with a good book in which the heroine saves the day has been a ritual of girlhood since the 1840s. The author explains how this phenomenon came about, starting with the Cousin Lucy series published before the Civil war to Nancy Drew and the recently popular Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High series. Along with examining the genres, subgenres, themes and characters of about 100 series, the author explains how these books represented the roles of women and girls in society and, to some extent, commented upon and subverted contemporary standards. She also comments on how the books were written, published, distributed and reviewed, and includes appendices on the series and important books about girls’ series fiction.
[Education 813.09 C223s]


If you like stories about imaginative orphans and evil characters, try…
Byng, Georgia.
Molly Moon. 2002-
To read the full Molly Moon books online or take Molly Moon book quizzes check outWho is Molly Moon?

1. Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism. 2002.
Molly Moon has spent her entire life in a miserable orphanage run by the hairy, snaggletoothed Miss Adderson. But when she finds a mysterious book, Molly discovers an extraordinary talent — she can hypnotize anyone! Accompanied by Petula the pug, Molly hypnotizes her way to New York and Broadway stardom. But hot on her trail is the sinister professor, who is determined to use Molly to stage the crime of the century….
[Education Storage S.B995m]

2. Molly Moon Stops the World. 2003. [Education Storage S. B995mo]
3. Molly Moon’s Hypnotic Time Travel Adventure. 2005. [Education Storage S. B995mol]
4. Molly Moon, Micky Minus & the Mind Machine. 2007. [Education Storage S. B995moll]
5. Molly Moon & the Morphing Mystery. 2010. [Education S Collection S. B995mm]

If you like spy stories and clever female characters, try…
Carter, Ally.
Gallagher Girls. 2006-
Ally Carter has an official website that includes features such as the “Which Gallagher Girl are you?” quiz and articles she has written to help writers improve their writing.

1. I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You. 2006.
As a sophomore at a secret spy school and the daughter of a former CIA operative, Cammie is sheltered from “normal teenage life” until she meets a local boy while on a class surveillance mission.
[Education Storage S. C245i]

2. Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy. 2007. [Education S Collection S. C2452c]
3. Don’t Judge a Girl By Her Cover. 2009. [Education S Collection S. C2452d]
4. Only the Good Spy Young. 2010. [not available at UIUC]

If you like fantasy and fairy tales, try…
Durst, Sarah Beth.
Into the Wild. 2007-2008
Sarah Beth Durst’s official website has information on obscure fairy tales, as well as information for educators — including lesson plans and her availability for school visits.

1. Into the Wild. 2007.

Having escaped from the Wild and the preordained fairy tale plots it imposes, Rapunzel, along with her daughter Julie Marchen, tries to live a fairly normal life, but when the Wild breaks free and takes over their town, it is Julie who has to prevent everyone from being trapped in the events of a story.
[Education S Collection S. D939i]

2. Out of the Wild. 2008. [Center for Children’s Books S. D939o]

If you like funny stories about imperfect characters and middle school, try…
Kinney, Jeff.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid. 2007-
These books do not need to be read in order. This popular series has also been made into the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” movie. See more information about this series at the official Diary of a Wimpy Kid site.

1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley’s Journal. 2007.
Greg records his sixth grade experiences in a middle school where he and his best friend, Rowley, undersized weaklings amid boys who need to shave twice daily, hope just to survive, but when Rowley grows more popular, Greg must take drastic measures to save their friendship.
[Education S Collection S. K623di]

2. Rodrick Rules. 2008. [Education S Collection S. K623d]
3. The Last Straw. 2009. [Education S Collection; check catalog for call number]
4. Dog Days. 2009. [Education S Collection S. K623dd]
5. The Ugly Truth. 2010. Comes out November 9, 2010.

If you like survival stories and stories written in diary format, try…
Pfeffer, Susan Beth.
Life as We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone are companion novels, while This World We Live In is a sequel to both novels. See also a Harcourt Books Discussion Guide to Life as We Knew It and Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Blog Post with program ideas for her books.

Life as We Knew It. 2006.
Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family’s struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.
[Education S Collection S. P475l]

The Dead and the Gone. 2008.
After a meteor hits the moon and sets off a series of horrific climate changes, seventeen-year-old Alex Morales must take care of his sisters alone in the chaos of New York City.
[Uni High Fiction P475de, Center for Children’s Books S. P475de]

This World We Live In. 2010.
Main characters Miranda and Alex meet up as they continue to try and survive in their new lives.
[not available at UIUC]

If you like stories about clever kids saving the day, try…
Stewart, Trent Lee.
The Mysterious Benedict Society. 2007-
See the Hachette Book Group Mysterious Benedict Society website for more information about the series and fun games.

1. The Mysterious Benedict Society. 2007.
After passing a series of mind-bending tests, four children are selected for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.
[Uni High Fiction St49m, Center for Children’s Books S. St49m]

2. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey. 2008. [Education S Collection S. St499m]
3. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma. 2009. [Education S Collection S. St499my]

Now What? Reading After Harry Potter

You’ve turned the final page, perhaps wiped away a tear or two, and now find yourself facing the dreaded question, “what do I read now that Harry Potter has come to an end?” Fortunately, there are many other doors to the world of witches, wizards, dragons, spells, and monstrous, mysterious creatures. These series, available from the Education S-Collection, will get you on your way to your next magical adventure.

Alexander, Lloyd The Prydian Chronicles
Follow the adventures of Assistant Pig-Keeper Taran and his quest to save the kingdom of Prydain from the forces of evil.
The Book of Three [Center for Children’s Books: S.AL27B]
The Black Cauldron [Education Remote Storage: S.AL27BL]
The Castle of Llyr [Education S-Collection: S.AL27CA]
Taran Wanderer [Education Storage: S.AL27T]
The High King [Main Stacks: 813 Al273h]
The Foundling, and Other Tales of Prydian [Education Storage: S.AL27F]

Cooper, Susan The Dark Is Rising Sequence
Four children, one of whom has a powerful destiny, must seek magical artifacts to aid the forces of The Light in defeating the forces of The Dark.
Over Sea, Under Stone [Education S-Collection: S.C787O]
The Dark is Rising [Education S-Collection: S.C787DA]
Greenwitch [Education S-Collection: S.C787G]
The Grey King [Education Storage: S.C787GR]
Silver on the Tree [Education Storage: S.C787S]

Colfer, Eoin Artemis Fowl
Teenage genius and criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl infiltrates the modern, hidden world of fairies in his quest to restore his family fortunes.
Artemis Fowl [Education S-Collection: S.C68a]
The Arctic Incident [Education S-Collection: S.C68ai]
The Eternity Code [Education S-Collection: S.C68ar]
The Opal Deception [Education S-Collection: S.C68ao]
The Lost Colony [Education S-Collection: S.C68al]
Artemis Fowl Files [Education S-Collection: S.C68af]

Pullman, Philip His Dark Materials
In an alternate universe, young Lyra Belacqua is drawn into a struggle between the forces of the Authority and those who hope to end its power.
The Golden Compass [Education Storage: S.P967N1996]
The Subtle Knife [Education S-Collection: S.P967th]
The Amber Spyglass [Education S-Collection: S.P967a]

Riordan, Rick Percy Jackson & the Olympians
Perseus “Percy” Jackson learns that he is the son of the sea god Poseidon and is whisked away from his home in Manhattan to spend the summer at Camp Half-Blood along with other demigods.
The Lightning Thief [Education S-Collection: S.R479p]
The Sea of Monsters [Education S-Collection: S.R479s]
The Titan’s Curse [Education S-Collection: S.R479t]

Sage, Angie Septimus Heap
Aided by the Extraordinary Wizard and a young soldier known only as Boy 412, the “magykal” Heap family must find a way to protect their foundling daughter from an evil necromancer.
Magyk [Education S-Collection: S.Sa18s]
Flyte [available through I-Share]
Physik [available through I-Share]

Stroud, Jonathan Bartimaeus Trilogy
Set in modern London, this trilogy follows the adventures of Nathaniel, a magician’s apprentice and Bartimaeus, the djinn whom he summons to help him.
The Amulet of Samarkand [Education S-Collection: S.St892b]
The Golem’s Eye [Education S-Collection: S.St892g]
Ptolemy’s Gate [Education S-Collection: S.St892p2005]
Other Authors to check out:

Roald Dahl
Brian Jacques
C.S. Lewis
D.J. McHale
Robin McKinley
Tamora Pierce
Patricia Wrede
Jane Yolen
Still can’t get enough fantasy? The Education and Social Science Library has a number of guides to children’s fantasy literature available on our website.