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7 Popular Book Series for Teens

Go beyond Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.

popular book series for teens

One of the greatest parts of reading is diving into a world of another person’s creation, and that goes extra when the world is expansive enough to encompass an entire series. Of course, that doesn’t always mean it has to be an entirely fictitious world; some of the very best settings in books make use of the world we already know well and fill them with compelling small towns or boarding schools rife with mystery. 

Whatever the genre, it’s those worlds and characters you never want to leave that have made these some of the most popular of modern YA, so take note!

Truly Devious

truly devious, a popular book series for teens

Truly Devious

By Maureen Johnson

Make way, Nancy Drew—Stevie Bell is our new favorite girl detective, and she and the gang at Ellingham Academy are here to take us on a ride of epic proportions. Founded by Albert Ellingham, the school is designed precisely for kids like Stevie—students who think out of the box—inspired by the unsolved disappearance of his wife and daughter. 

But Stevie takes the school mission one step further when she determines to solve the infamous Ellingham case, and finds it a far more dangerous—and ongoing—mission than she ever imagined. (The best part of falling for this series? Once the original trilogy ends, we get a bonus standalone fourth book, The Box in the Woods, which sets the mystery at summer camp.) Already read and loved Johnson’s quartet? Take a gander at YA’s other best contemporary detective series, Charlotte Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro.

Related: The Kids Aren't Alright: 9 Young Adult Mystery Books

Serpent & Dove

serpent & Dove, a popular book series for teens

Serpent & Dove

By Shelby Mahurin

Witches are having a massive moment in YA right now, most notably in this debut trilogy that follows refugee Louise le Blanc, who’s starting over in Cesarine living a life without magic. In hiding to save her own life, she certainly never plans to cross paths with a man of the church, let alone to marry one. But when she finds herself wed to holy witch hunter Reid Diggory, it forces both her heart and her life on the line. 

Related: 5 Empowering, Witchy Reads

Kingdom of the Wicked

kingdom of the wicked, a popular book series for teens

Kingdom of the Wicked

By Kerri Maniscalco

Combining both history and witches, Maniscalco follows up her wildly popular Stalking Jack the Ripper series with this new Venetian-inspired fantasy trilogy about a teenage strega on a hunt for her twin sister’s murderer. 

At a loss for answers, Emilia turns to exactly the person she shouldn’t: Wrath, who’s one of the princes of hell (i.e. the Wicked) that she’s always been warned about. But desperation makes people lose all sense, and if Emilia really is placing her faith in the wrong person, she risks losing far more. 

Legacy of Orïsha

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Children of Blood and Bone

By Tomi Adeyemi

Few series have debuted with the splash of Adeyemi and Children of Blood and Bone, which takes its origins in Yoruba mythology. It stars Zélie, who, as the daughter of a Reaper, grew up with magic. Then it’s all gone in a flash as a new, murderous king comes to power and changes all the rules. 

Now Zélie must restore magic—and hope—to her people, even if means fomenting a dangerous rebellion and outwitting the prince who would see magic destroyed for good. But when she gets too powerful and too wrapped up in the last boy she should, she threatens to become the greatest danger to herself and her world.

Related: The Best Young Adult Books for Adult Readers

The Inheritance Games

the inheritance games, a popular book series for teens

The Inheritance Games

By Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Barnes has long been a master of the YA thriller, but this is the first of her series to truly receive the recognition she deserves. (Pause to pour one out for The Fixer, possibly the best political YA thriller of our time, which absolutely deserved a third book to the series.) It stars a girl named Avery, who’s just inherited an absolutely obscene amount of money from a dead billionaire she’s never met, but it comes with some strings, including a requirement that she move into his mansion. 

Unfortunately, that mansion is also occupied by family members who just got shafted by the very will that put Avery in the house, including two Hawthorne brothers who are both managing to worm their way into her heart. This bestselling series is full of wild twists and turns you’ll never see coming, and it all comes to a close next year in The Final Gambit.

Folk of the Air

the cruel prince, a popular book series for teens

The Cruel Prince

By Holly Black

Kicking off with The Cruel Prince, this fae-centric trilogy follows Jude, a human who was orphaned and kidnapped at a young age along with her sisters and brought to the High Court of Faerie. Now she’s trying her hardest to belong, but it’s impossible to blend in when almost everyone, including Prince Cardan, hates humans. Or is it? Jude has plans to ingratiate herself and find her place, and she doesn’t care how big an enemy she makes of the prince, or what else she has to do to get ahead. This series has it all, from a highly shippable romance to glorious court intrigue.

The Nsibidi Scripts

akata witch, a popular book series for teens

Akata Witch

By Nnedi Okafor

Spread out over the course of a decade, this series began in 2011 with main character Sunny at twelve years old, a New York-born albino girl living in Nigeria and desperate to find her place. When she finally does, it’s among the Leopard People, where she and her new friends form an empowering coven younger than any other in the people’s history. 

As the series continues, Sunny develops her powers and faces her destiny, traveling through magical worlds to save humanity. And in January 2022, Sunny will return again, this time in Akata Woman, where she’s on a new quest with plenty of practice and experience behind her. But what awaits her, and how will she defeat the guardians who stand in her way? We’ll find out soon enough!