I don't know what your next favorite YA series may be, but it stands to reason that it could be written by a woman. I'm not saying that it will be, but the "Big 3" of YA are all written by women (and are featured in this post). We definitely can't be ruled out or sidelined anymore in this area. That being said, there are some great series out there, here are some contenders:
That I've read:
- The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins - I mean, it is one of the Big 3 mentioned above and really doesn't need an introduction or explanation anymore. If you haven't read it or seen the movies yet and are reading this post, you've probably already been told to do so.
- Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles - Marissa Meyer - This is a one of my new favorites! I love a good fairy tale reimagining, it's my kryptonite. The whole series was fun and left me with an awful book hangover. I've been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to get ahold of the next book set in this world, Stars Above and the first of Meyer's new series, Heartless.
- Shatter Me Complete Collection - Tahereh Mafi - Okay, I had it bad after the Lunar Chronicles, but this one was the actual worst book hangover of my life. I reread some of it way too many times. It played with my emotions, it was written with a whole new style that was mesmerizing, it broke my heart too many times. I'm a sucker for broken characters and this series let me wallow in them until my fingers were all pruney.
- Etiquette and Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger - my first steampunk! I didn't quite know what to expect, but I was intrigued by the concept. This turned out to be a great introduction because it does have some of my favorite elements of fiction. I can't always get behind historical fiction but this combined it with science fiction and paranormal creatures and seriously, what's not to love when you do all that! I'm waiting on the last book to finish off the series and so looking forward to it!
- Beautiful Creatures - Margaret Stohl,Kami Garcia - I had read the first book well before I heard of the movie but hadn't finished the series yet. I was pleased with the movie, though. It brought all the visual parts in and didn't really lose much. I had a great time reading this series. The magical world that it takes place in was new and a lot of fun. Sometimes books in the same subgenre feel like they blur together, but this definitely stands out among the books about magical beings and worlds.
- Atlantis Rising - Gloria Craw - I read this one last year before I knew that more would be coming out. It felt like there could be more but the first one ended on such a note that I wasn't sure if it was just wishful thinking. I can't wait to get my hands on the next one!
Heard good things about:
- Divergent - Veronica Roth - I only saw the movie. I'm not a fan of the way people say that if you love "this" then you'll love "that" so this one struck me wrong. Everyone says that if you loved The Hunger Games, you'll love this series. To me, it sounded like they were far too similar to make it worth reading. But I did watch the movies and they are dissimilar enough that I understood what people were talking about. All the same, I never made my way to that series. I do plan on reading it, but I'm not in rush. Everyone that I know who's read it, loved it! And I remember once reading a blog post from someone who applauded the way Tris is specifically not pretty, that it's mentioned in a way that reminds you that it shouldn't be important for a revolutionary to be pretty.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling - I know, it's a problem. It's a Big 3 YA and I haven't read it, but I did crack it open once or twice.... I was just a little too old when these books came out to be interested in them, and then too busy and now I might as well wait to read them with my son. He's very close to the right age to start the first one. I have seen all the movies and completely understand how wonderful the books are, I just haven't read them yet.
Problematic - this is a blog about feminism in books, so while these are huge, they do present some problems in this department that need addressing
Twilight - Stephanie Meyer - it's been said, at length, that this series presents problems in the abusive relationship department. The main love interest is controlling and that is definitely a problem. What makes the problem worse is the HUGE following that came after this series that made everyone sound like they want to be in an abusive relationship such as this. No hitting takes places, but there is a lot of controlling behaviors that no one should tolerate. I get that Edward wasn't a bad guy, but he was a bad boyfriend. Bella wasn't exactly a role model either. At the same time she wasn't much worse than Matt Donovan in the next series I'm going to talk about. It's hard to be the only human among supernaturals, I'm sure, but she never once got to make a decision that he didn't have to approve and she was always usurped when he didn't approve.
The Vampire Diaries - LJ Smith - just skip the books and binge watch the CW series on Netflix. The show is one of my favorites and cleans up a lot of the problems in the books. Elena is very similar to Bella in her passionate love for her love interest. It made me gag a lot. Her friends are easily duped into doing whatever vapid thing she is interested in. Okay, so that sounds harsh and I'm not trying to shame the characters. The problem is that they were hollow characters. What should have been intersections in their problems never seemed to bother them, so we mostly gloss over the fact that Elena is an orphan in the books. The show makes up for this by allowing her to be melancholy and react to this life-changing event as if her life has changed. I've said before that maybe it's my own problem for having watched the show first. The characters in the show have depth and complexity. No one is a perpetual damsel in distress or rescuer. Even the villains are layered. These books features lots of characters and it would be great if they didn't fit so well into those old, worn stereotypes. Also, the show may still be on television, but the books are from the 1990's. I don't remember if these stereotypes had quite hit trope level, but it's just a pass. Don't even bother, not in this day and age. You'll just be disappointed.