12 YA Book Series (To Introduce You To New Genres)

I remember the shift. I’d dabbled in dystopia and a bit of fantasy (well, mostly just Harry Potter), but never had I ventured into literary outer space. But all it took was one series to suck me in and have my husband saying things like, “Are you reading that cyborg fairy tale book?”—which was something I never thought I’d hear.

That series captivated me with a fun plot and characters I cared about and a span of books to feed my desire to spend more time with them. Somewhere along the way, I realized I actually liked this genre, and began picking up more books that were categorized as sci-fi/space operas (i.e. not hard science), especially if they were also YA (young adult).

The idea of adults reading books written for a teenage audience is a fairly mainstream idea by now. If you know me at all, you know that I’m a big proponent of reading what makes you happy, and YA literature is my sweet spot for a variety of reasons.

What I started realizing was that reading more YA across the board was also helping me broaden my reading genres, and I attribute that to the fact that the YA shelves are chock-full of series, no matter the genre you’re looking for. They’re also very accessible, easy to read, and easy to get into.

If you’re looking to expand your reading horizons, here are some of my favorite series that could be an entry point into a new genre that you might not have normally tried, let alone enjoyed. (And if you’re not sure if you’re ready to venture out, here’s a great set of reasons why you might want to try reading other genres).

These are listed by name of series, which is sometimes the name of the first book, and sometimes an overarching series name.

Sci-fi/Space Opera

  • The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (A uniquely formatted series that is flat-out fantastic. I haven’t listened yet, but the audio is award-winning, too.)
  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (This is the above-mentioned cyborg fairy tale series. Just trust me; it sounds weird but is so good.)

Dystopian

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (On the off-chance you haven’t read this, you should do it immediately if you have any interest in dystopian lit.)
  • Arc of a Scythe series by Neal Shusterman (If the synopsis scares you, just trust me on this; it’s SO good. But caveat: the 3rd book in the series is not yet published.)
  • Bonus rec: If you like The Bachelor, check out The Selection series by Kiera Cass.

Mystery

  • Charlotte Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro (Book 4 in the series comes out in March in this gender-swapped Sherlock Holmes retelling.)
  • Trouble series by Stephanie Tromly (This series has a great hodge-podge crew of friends and also a Sherlockian feel with a twist of Veronica Mars.)

Contemporary

  • To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (This one is very popular right now because of the adorable Netflix original movie following book 1; the sequel movie is in production now!)
  • Anna and the French Kiss series by Stephanie Perkins (Each book follows a different character’s story—with different settings—but all the characters overlap and have friend connections).

Fantasy

  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber (The 3rd book of this delightfully magic series that takes place in a carnival-game-like setting comes out this year sometime as well.)
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Full disclosure that as I am not—yet—a big fantasy reader, I haven’t read this one yet, but I would like to! It also is a bit mature for younger YA readers, from what I’ve heard.)
  • Bonus rec: for superhero fans, Marissa Meyer’s newest series Renegades is a fun one. (Book 3 also out this year.)

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means—I didn’t even touch on historical fiction or graphic novels!—but I hope it gets you started on at least one new genre. I’d love to hear in the comments if there was a book series (YA or not) that pulled you into loving a new genre, or if any of these are also favorites of yours

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