When you're browsing the shelves at your local bookstore, picking up the first YA novel in a series can feel a little daunting.
How long will you have to wait for book two? And once that comes out, what about book three? How will the series end? Will you have invested a ton of time (and serious feels) into a series, only to be given an ending that leaves you disappointed?
Well, you're in luck, dear readers. Here are eight YA trilogies that wrapped up this year, that are absolutely worth picking up. From epic steampunk fantasy to universe expanding sci-fi thrillers, angsty "don't call us mermaids" merfolk to souls fighting to simply exist, there's a little bit of something for everyone in here.
The three books in her series just get better with each one, jumping from Philadelphia to... well let me not spoil things. There's a lot of travel in the other books in the series, and the landscape is just as lush and developed as the first. And there's even an eBook prequel, for those of you who need a little more when the books are finished.
Her next series, The Witchland Series, will launch with Tor in the Fall of 2015 with the first book, Truthwitch.
But let's talk about that unique story.
Dystopian books... we've all read plenty of them. But Zhang's has an awesome, fresh take, where children are born with two souls, and one eventually fades away, the other becoming dominant above the other. So you are LITERARLLY LOSING A PIECE OF YOURSELF. Ugh, my feelings. The story focuses on a protagonist that is the recessive, supposed-to-fade-away soul. And in this society, if your soul doesn't fade away, you're a "hybrid" and therefore, run the risk of being taken away.
The way the two souls talk to one another... ah, this series. You'll cry. Just accept that going in.
Bonus Reads: Much like Dennard, you can catch Zhang sharing writing advice over on Publishing Crawl, a group blog full of other YA writers, like E.C. Myers (The Silence of Six), Adam Silvera (More Happy Than Not), and many more.
The series follows an enormous spaceship and its trek across the universe (ahhh) to colonize a new planet. Inside the ship, colonists are frozen while a micro society of people running the ship spend their entirely lives running the operation. The story jumps between point of view, from the young Ava, a colonist who is awoken, to Elder, the young, soon-to-be-leader of the Godspeed ship.
The series wrapped up this year with Shades of the Earth, and like Dennard's series, there are some eNovellas to read here and there as you work your way through the books.
Bonus Reads: Beth released a book on her own called The Body Electric this year. Learn more about it here.
In The Vicious Deep series, we're introduced to a half man, half merfolk (don't call him a mermaid!) that discovers a.) he's half man / half merfolk and b.) is one of the possible heirs to the sea throne. Thrust into an unknown world with old and new friends, it's one really fun, wildly imaginative adventure that's hard to put down. The final book in the trilogy, The Vast and Brutal Sea, came out back in July.
Bonus Reads: Cordova has started writing New Adult. Her first book with Diversion Books, Luck On The Line, hit bookstores and eReaders everywhere back in November.
Banks' mermaid series, much like Cordova's, is chock full of humor and wit. The characters are awkward and clumsy, the story is fun and thrilling... it's a great trilogy that's as funny as it is moving. And don't even get me started on how gorgeous these hardcovers look completed on a bookshelf.
And if three books don't feel like enough (and they won't, because these are so good), Banks has a number of eNovellas set in the world of the trilogy. Three of them, actually. All worth reading.
Bonus Reads: Banks has her first standalone Young Adult book coming out in June. Keep an eye out for this one.
And, like a very of the books I mentioned earlier, the Shatter Me series has a couple eNovella tie-ins that have since gone to print.
Bonus Reads: Tahereh's first middle grade book, Furthermore, is due out with Penguin soon. Definitely keep an eye out for that.
It's Dwellers (inside folks) vs. Outsiders (well, outside people), with a ruined landscape and a shifting sky that blasts the earth with Aether storms. From the wild futuristic technology of the Dwellers to the powers and gifts of the Outsiders, the descriptions and the setting are just as exciting and absorbing as the actual plot. You'll get lost in this world.
Bonus Reads: She recently released her first New Adult book, Boomerang, with Lorin Oberweger under the name Noelle August.
Now that I've listed a few of my favorites, what are some of yours? Sound off in the comments! I've already been yelled at by friends for not starting the His Fair Assassin series. Give me (and our readers) some more to add to the list.
Thank you @KaitlinS16, @ChristasBooks, @KCWB_C, @writerquirk, @bethjune327, @morganameridius, @fleurang, @ashwey562 and @JoshACorman for the brainstorming help on Twitter!
Also on The Huffington Post: