Top Ten Young Adult Series I’ve Been Meaning to Start

Hello and happy Top Ten Tuesday, you guys! This week’s theme is series I’ve been meaning to start but haven’t, which I think is relevant for all of us readers because who doesn’t have that list, hey? Mine is never-ending as it is… it’s even ever-growing. 😅

Anyway, I’ve taken the liberty to kind of twist the theme a little and use this chance to consider whether or not these series will stay on my TBR. I mean, a reader’s gotta prioritise, right? Here we go. 😉

1) The Young Elites – Marie Lu

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

THOUGHTS: This sounds so dark. Dark and delicious. 👀

VERDICT: Keep. Marie Lu spoke to one of my favourite podcasters about writing Adelina and it was so interesting, I had to.

2) Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

— Break into the notorious Ice Court (a military stronghold that has never been breached)
— Retrieve a hostage (who could unleash magical havoc on the world)
— Survive long enough to collect his reward (and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

THOUGHTS: The hype for this one has been real, y’all. And it doesn’t hurt that the books are super pretty. 😍

VERDICT: Keep because it’s a duology, but I have a feeling I’ll never get around to it. One can hope, though.

3) The Illuminae Files  – Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

THOUGHTS: Over the past two years everyone’s gone crazy over this series and I’m just here twiddling my thumbs because I don’t get it. Someone, enlighten me, please.

VERDICT: Remove? Keep? I’M UNDECIDED. 🙈

4) The Lunar Chronicles – Marissa Meyer

Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interference has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security,” but Cinder suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on.

Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an “honor” that no one has survived.

But it doesn’t take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.

THOUGHTS: For the longest time I’ve switched between picking up this series and not. The diversity seems to get really, really bad rep, but truth be told I found it (personally) funnier rather than hurtful — besides, I feel like the reviews get better each book so perhaps there’s something there? 🤔

VERDICT: Keep. I just want to give it a chance since I quite enjoyed Meyer’s Heartless.

5) Magonia – Maria Dahvana Headley

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

THOUGHTS: Magical realism is not my best friend and I often have the hardest time getting into books in that genre. THAT COVER, THOUGH. And have you guys seen the spread inside? I mean, you should. 💖

VERDICT: Remove. It’s just never going to happen, I don’t think.

6) The Sin Eater’s Daughter – Melinda Salisbury

Sixteen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, no one speaks to her. No one even looks at her. Because Twylla isn’t a member of the court. She’s the executioner.As the goddess-embodied, Twylla kills with a single touch. So each week, she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love her. Who could care for a girl with murder in her veins? Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to her touch, avoids her.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose playful smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the goddess. Yet a treasonous romance is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies — a plan that requires an unthinkable sacrifice.

THOUGHTS: This series seems “been there, done that” to me but sometimes that’s exactly what I need. Like, some days I just want to read a comfort fantasy, you know?

VERDICT: Keep, if only because this sounds like a super brainless series to get through. 😂

7) Air Awakens – Elise Kova

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

THOUGHTS: The covers for this series remind me of Ragnarok Online, one of my favourite games ever, so they’re kind of on my TBR for that reason alone. I’m still not sure whether or not I want to read them — feels like there are more books than I can keep up with.

VERDICT: Remove. Realistically I’m probably never going to read this series. 🤷‍♀️

8) Red Rising – Pierce Brown

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

THOUGHTS: OK, it’s actually semi-cheating to put Red Rising on this list because I actually have started the series, but it’s been, er, months and I still haven’t picked up the second book yet.

VERDICT: Remove. I kind of lost interest. 😅

9) The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

THOUGHTS: I just checked the series page on Goodreads and oh my god there are books planned for 2020 already?! I don’t think I can keep up.

VERDICT: Keep. I own the first book, so one day I’ll probably read it… probably. 🤔

10) Lumatere Chronicles – Melina Marchetta

Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.

Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.

But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin’s faith in her . . . but in himself.

THOUGHTS: This has been recommended to me over and over again by a really close friend of mine, and truth be told, it does sound pretty damn good. 💕

VERDICT: Keep. Marchetta writes such good contemporaries and I love, love, love how she gets into her characters’ heads.

What’s on your TTT this week? Leave me a link or let me know in the comments! 🤗

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69 thoughts on “Top Ten Young Adult Series I’ve Been Meaning to Start

    • I’m so sorry! Red Rising tbh took me a while to get into but I adored the concept and loved that it was kind of technological, haha. Hope you like The Bone Season and Lumatere if/when you get to them. 😉

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  1. I haven’t read any of these except for Cinder and Illuminae (and Gemina!) – I’m literally so behind. XD I adored Illuminae and Gemina and I definitely think you should give them a go! It took me like 200 pages to get fully immersed into Illuminae but once I got into it I was completely hooked – it’s incredible.

    I have the entire Lunar Chronicles series on my bookshelf that I’ve been meaning to marathon – MUST GET TO IT.

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    • I’m behind as well, considering I’ve barely read any of these books! I think the thing with Illuminae is that I’m in the mood for ebooks, and it just seems like a book you gotta experience in print. Would you say that’s the case for you?

      I feel you re: The Lunar Chronicles! I hope you like it. 😘

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  2. Please keep Six of Crows and give it a whirl. I finally got round to it and it’s so good. I really need to pick up the second book in the series soon but I loved the first and it felt like it was a new concept, something I hadn’t experienced before because of the group of convicts etc!
    🙂

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  3. I have heard from various sources that Magonia is super boring. I actually do love a bit of magical realism (although I have noticed that a lot of YA described as such doesn’t actually fit the label as I understand it, but whatever), but I don’t have the energy (or the funds) to pick up something that’ll make me fall asleep on the bus.

    I have similar feelings about Illuminae. Everyone made such a big deal that I feel like I should read and yet… no enthusiasm whatsoever.

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    • That’s new to me! What is magical realism to you and how is it typically used in YA? I’ve always assumed it’s books set in the ‘real world’ but with elements of… er, surrealism, perhaps? Something like Haruki Murakami.

      I know right. It’s also SO THICK. I know it’s mostly graphics and all but I just feel so lazy. 😂

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  4. I’ve read Six of Crows Duology and The Lunar Chronicles series and both were amazing!! I’m glad you’re keeping them and hope you’ll love them as much! 🙂

    Some of the titles here sound interesting so I’ll make sure to check them out! 🙂

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  5. I’ve finished the entire Young Elites series and it is good! It gets darker and better with each book. I’ve also read Six of Crows because of all the hype surrounding it, but unfortunately it didn’t hook me in as much and I preferred Leigh Bardugo’s original Grisha trilogy. But that’s an unpopular opinion and hopefully you’ll enjoy it better!

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