The Compulsive Reader: Can't Read Just One: YA Contemporary Novels That I Wish Had Sequels

Monday, December 22, 2014

Can't Read Just One: YA Contemporary Novels That I Wish Had Sequels

Have you ever noticed how YA books with sequels or series tend to be speculative fiction? Not always, certainly, but it is my un-scientific opinion that if one were to undertake a massive survey of YA lit in recent years (hahaha), one would find that most series and sequels are not realistic contemporary fiction, but supernatural, dystopian, science fiction, fantasy, etc. I know part of that has to do with trends and sales and a whole bunch of uninteresting (to me) factors, but sometimes I really long for realistic contemporary series, like what I read as a teen--The Princess Diaries or The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, or the Georgia Nicolson books. (Oh my God, did I just date myself? I'm super young, I swear.)

There are some really good contemporary books with companions and sequels--Jenny Han's Summer trilogy, for instance, and Maureen Johnson's Suite Scarlett series (although only two books were ever released). And writers like Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti and Stephanie Perkins and A.S. King write contemporary books where the characters are (loosely) connected and you can find cameos from book to book. 

But there is something about a contemporary series of books that is intriguing to me right now. Maybe it's because I read a lot of series when I was a kid, maybe it's because I'm feeling nostalgic, maybe it's because I'm at a place now, as a writer, where I'm really interested in understanding how a writer can pull off a series of contemporary books... I want to read a really well-written series that sticks with one character (or set of closely related characters) through a series of events. I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and I've compiled a list of contemporary books that I would love to see sequels to. Not necessarily just because I love the characters and want more of them, but because the world building and the character arcs are so well-depicted and vast that they just left room for more stories.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath came a LONG way in Fangirl, and I was thrilled to read every single moment of her journey. I also feel like a second year of college would be brimming with more stories, more mishaps, more adventures, more words, more LEVI. Please, Rainbow. More Fangirl

Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan

Josie is so smart and sassy and fun. I love her banter, and I loved reading about her pursuit in the understanding of love. McCahan has so many interesting characters, particularly Stu, and after the super quick, memorable ending, I'd love to see where Josie goes next and how she navigates the ups and downs of her first (serious) romantic relationship.

45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson

Ann is a girl whose story, I think, will only get more and more interesting the older she gets. She's a smart, funny, lovable girl who has a lot going for her by the end of the book, and I loved seeing her get to a happy place, but I also feel like her rich family life could give us more stories!

Blaze, Or Love in the Time of Supervillains by Laurie Boyle Crompton

Let this novel PLEASE just be Blaze's origin story, the beginning of an epic saga about an epically hilarious and smart and fantastic heroine whom I ADORE. Plus, I will always want more of the comic book store guy. And clearly there was not enough of him in this book. A sequel, PLEASE.

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

I will always maintain that this book is a piece of art--damn near perfect. The ending, I feel, leaves the reader and Astrid in just the right place. However. However, I think seeing how Astrid goes forward in her life, what she makes of things, especially leaving her small town, would make for such a fascinating second novel.

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

Spoiler alert--the ending of this book is a sort of fast-forward for our protagonist to a place where she is beginning to feel more comfortable opening up about herself and making new friends. While I was thrilled that Farizan ended on that note, I'd love to read more--I can only imagine what's in store for her next as she goes to college and pursues her identity and finds love.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m. danforth

Okay, maybe this is cheating since I actually read an interview with danforth where she said she's actually written more of Cameron's story and knows what happens to her after the close of this novel, but...I WANT MORE. I want to read it! I want more of Cameron and more of danforth's beautiful, evocative writing. 

What are some of your favorite contemporary YA novels (or series)? Any that you wish had sequels?


Nise' said...

I read and loved FanGirl and Ask The Passengers and agree, they need sequels.

Alex (A Girl, Books, OtherThings) said...

I love your picks, though I have only read a few of them!!! :D I need to catch up