I would spend the entire summer sitting next to the pool with a good YA novel if I could (in the shade, of course). Considering that I’m a working mom of five, my pool-side reading dream probably won’t happen…but you can bet I’ll be sneaking in as many hours as I can with a book and a cold water bottle.
I love the fact that my kids and I can now share some of the best books – we read them together out loud, or we read them separately and talk about our favorite parts. Since we’re just about to jump into summer, I thought I’d put together a list of amazing book series for teens and tweens. It almost pained me to leave a few incredible series out of this list, but I tried to keep the age-range to 11 and up (although I realize a few, like Harry Potter, are often popular with a much younger crowd).
Some of these series were books that I read either when I was a teenager myself, or long before I was a mom of teens (I read Harry Potter for the first time while I was pregnant with my 3rd, who is now 14 years old!). And a few of the series below are books that my kids have discovered and loved and recommended to me.
Note: Book descriptions are from the books, the author’s website, Amazon, or similar. Amazon affiliate links to books.
What are some of your favorite series for teens and tweens? What should I add to my list? For even MORE great book for kids of all ages, check out my free printable summer reading book lists!
Awesome Book Series for Teens and Tweens
The Divergent Series: Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Divergent: One choice can transform you. Veronica Roth’s #1 New York Times bestselling debut is a gripping dystopian tale of electrifying choices, powerful consequences, unexpected romance, and a deeply flawed “perfect society.”
Insurgent: One choice can destroy you. Veronica Roth’s second #1 New York Times bestseller continues the dystopian thrill ride. As war surges in the factions all around her, Tris attempts to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Allegiant: The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth’s #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers.
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Twenty-four are forced to enter. Only the winner survives.
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death – televised for all of Panem to see.
Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner
If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.
Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.
Everything is going to change.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
Remember. Survive. Run.
The Heartlight Saga by T.A. Barron
Starring a heroic young woman named Kate Gordon, and featuring T. A. Barron’s trademark mastery of language and setting, The Heartlight Saga collects three of Barron’s beloved novels into a single volume. The stories follow Kate as she travels to a distant galaxy to save the life of her astronomer grandfather in Heartlight, goes back in time to a lost Native American tribe in The Ancient One, and ultimately down to the very bottom of the sea in The Merlin Effect. Weaving together mystery, mysticism, and magic, and exploring themes of mortality, interconnectedness, and the fragility of the environment, The Heartlight Saga is a testament to the power that each of us has within us to make a difference in our world.
Fablehaven Series by Brandon Mull
For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were gathered to a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic in a cynical world. Enchanting? Absolutely! Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite . . .
Kendra and her brother Seth have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws give relative order among greedy trolls, mischevious satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken, an arcane evil is unleashed, forcing Kendra and Seth to face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save her family, Fablehaven, and perhaps the world, Kendra must find the courage to do what she fears most.
The Wrinkle in Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle
The Time Quintet consists of A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time.
A Wrinkle in Time is one of the most significant novels of our time. This fabulous, ground-breaking science-fiction and fantasy story is the first of five in the Time Quintet series about the Murry family.
A Wind in the Door–When Charles Wallace falls ill, Meg, Calvin, and their teacher, Mr. Jenkins, must travel inside C.W. to make him well, and save the universe from the evil Echthros.
A Swiftly Tilting Planet–The Murry and O’Keefe families enlist the help of the unicorn, Gaudior, to save the world from imminent nuclear war.
Many Waters–Meg Murry, now in college, time travels with her twin brothers, Sandy and Dennys, to a desert oasis that is embroiled in war.
An Acceptable Time–While spending time with her grandparents, Alex and Kate Murry, Polly O’Keefe wanders into a time 3,000 years before her own.
The Belgariad Series by David Eddings
It all begins with the theft of the Orb that for so long protected the West from an evil god. As long as the Orb was at Riva, the prophecy went, its people would be safe from this corrupting power. Garion, a simple farm boy, is familiar with the legend of the Orb, but skeptical in matters of magic. Until, through a twist of fate, he learns not only that the story of the Orb is true, but that he must set out on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger to help recover it. For Garion is a child of destiny, and fate itself is leading him far from his home, sweeping him irrevocably toward a distant tower—and a cataclysmic confrontation with a master of the darkest magic.
The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
The Chronicles of Prydain is a series of five children’s fantasy novels by Lloyd Alexander. Henry Holt published one annually from 1964 to 1968; the second earned a 1966 Newbery Honor and the last won the 1969 Newbery Medal.
The five novels follow one protagonist Taran from youth to maturity, most overtly in the fourth book, Taran Wanderer. Taran has the title Assistant Pig-Keeper at Caer Dallben but initially dreams of being a grand hero. His most important companions in adventure are Princess Eilonwy, a girl his age; Fflewddur Fflam, a wandering bard and minor king; Gurgi, a wild hominid between animal and man; and Doli, a dwarf.
The Complete Harry Potter Collection by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by British author J. K. Rowling. The series chronicles the adventures of a young wizard, Harry Potter, the titular character, and his friends Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main story arc concerns Harry’s quest to overcome the Dark wizard Lord Voldemort, who aims to become immortal, conquer the wizarding world, subjugate non-magical people, and destroy all those who stand in his way, especially Harry Potter.
Bluford Series by Various Authors
The Bluford Series is a collection of high-interest novels that have captivated teens nationwide. Set in fictional Bluford High, a tough but nurturing inner city high school, the novels speak to the interests, struggles, and concerns of today’s young adults. Praised by faculty, parents, and students alike, the Bluford Series has transformed entire classrooms into reading zones. A frequent choice for school- and city-wide reading initiatives, the series has been widely reviewed in the Journal for Adolescent and Adult Literacy (JAAL) and repeatedly endorsed by the American Library Association (ALA) and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).
Six titles in this collection were selected as Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers by the American Library Association (ALA) / Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Several other titles were designated by the ALA as Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults.
Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:
1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.
As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her — so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.
Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace — no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.
Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu
The flooded coast of former Los Angeles. Two warring nations of North America–the Republic and the Colonies.
Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen–year–old June is a prodigy. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country, she is being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles.
Born into the slums of the Republic’s Lake Sector, fifteen–year–old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother is murdered. And Day becomes the prime suspect. Now, caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival while June tries desperately to avenge her brother’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together and the sinister lengths their country will go to in order to keep its secrets.
Ready to grab a book and start reading??
Be sure to check out my Summer Reading Program 2015 post with tips and free printables (booklists for all ages, reading charts, etc).
For more fun summer entertainment ideas, visit a few of my favorite bloggers:
- Patriotic Origami Books & DIY by In Our Spare Time
- 3 Must-Watch Summer Teen Movie Marathons by My Kids Guide
- Ultimate Summer Reading List for Middle Graders by Pretty Opinionated
- 10 Books to put on your Summer Reading List by Mom Does it All
- Great Books to Read by the Pool by Style on Main
- Road Trip Inspired Movies on Netflix by Mom on the Side
- A Boy and His Dog: Feel-Good Movies for Canine-Loving Kids by Dogvills
- Kitschy Movies to Watch this Summer by Greta’s Day
- Summer Beach Reads by Upstate Ramblings
- 10 Summer Movies for Teens to Watch in 2015 by Day by Day in Our World
- Free Summer Reading Programs 2015 by The Guavalicious Life
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