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9 YA Series You Have to Read (or Reread)

As an avid reader, I spent most of my childhood with my nose buried in a book. I was, and still am, particularly fond of young adult (YA) novels. While some people may huff that the genre is shallow and childish, I beg to differ. YA novels are often incredible. I’ve listed here some of my favorite YA series. These books have stood the test of time, and I’ve read and reread most of them more times than I can count. I hope that some of the titles are familiar to you, and that you’ll be inspired to go back and reenter the captivating worlds created by their authors. Other series on this list may be unfamiliar to you, and I urge you to seek them out and discover what you’ve been missing. My hope is that you’ll rediscover your love of reading and remember that YA is a genre that can bring joy to the young and old alike!

The Mediator by Meg Cabot
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Cara Difabio / Her Campus

I’m sure you all know Meg Cabot as the author of her most famous series, The Princess Diaries. And believe me, The Princess Diaries is on my list, too. But Cabot’s The Mediator is one of my all-time favorite YA series, too, and people need to hop on board and read these incredible books. Suze Simon is a sixteen-year-old teenage mediator—someone who can talk to ghosts and whose duty it is to help them move on to the afterlife. The only person who knows her secret? Father Dominic, a priest in his sixties who also happens to be a mediator, and the principal of Suze’s new high school. Suze has just moved from New York City to Carmel, California on account of her mom getting remarried. But she has bigger things to worry about than her three new stepbrothers and starting over at a new high school. Her biggest problem? A ghost named Jesse De Silva, who died in the early nineteenth century, is haunting his final resting place: Suze’s bedroom. He has yet to move onto the afterlife—and out of the Simon’s historic home—much to Suze’s initial dismay. The ensuing turbulent romance that picks up between Suze and her undead love interest will keep you captivated for seven books, though. My favorite things about The Mediator series? Suze is snarky, sarcastic and not terribly eager to help the dead. She’s always at odds with her unlikely sidekick, Father Dom, and the two of them make a hilarious team. And, best of all, who doesn’t love a sexy ghost with all the charm and chivalry of a nineteenth century cowboy?

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

The Princess Diaries is an equally fantastic series by the incredibly talented Meg Cabot. It’s not very similar to the movie starring Anne Hathaway, but they’re both great. Mia Thermopolis is just your average New York girl. She sucks at math, lives with her single artist mom in an apartment in the city, and is just waiting for her flat chest to fill out. She’s a bit of a hot mess, tbh, but that’s what makes her relatable. That is, until she discovers that her dad is the prince of Genovia, and that she’s in line for the throne. She’s a princess—which is not a pleasant surprise for Mia, who just wants to keep her head down and get through high school. Her grandmother, the queen of Genovia, shows up out of the blue to train Mia in the ways of being a princess. And she’s nothing like the classy and kind Julie Andrews in the movie. She’s got tattooed-on eyebrows, smokes cigars and drinks sidecars on the reg, and is kind of manipulative. The Princess Diaries series follows Mia all the way from freshman year of high school to her adult life, with eleven main books, and many novelettes in between. Cabot’s honest depiction of high school will resonate with anyone who has ever been a teenage girl. From dating and sex to depression to fights with friends to trying to balance familial duty with her dream, Mia experiences it all; and every reader will find something relatable in her adventures. 

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices is set in her fantasy world of Shadowhunters, who are blessed with angelic powers that enable them to fight and protect the world from demons. This steampunk series, set in London in 1878, has the most delicious love triangle that I’ve yet to encounter. Tessa Gray’s brother has just gone missing, and her search for him leads her to the dark, supernatural underbelly of London. She meets Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs, two Shadowhunters with whom she is quickly taken. The trio embarks on a dark adventure in which they must slay demons and stop a clockwork army of magical creatures, encountering vampires, werewolves and wizards along the way. The love triangle that develops between Tess, Will and Jem is fraught with secrets and tension that will keep you guessing you for the entirety of the trilogy. 

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Girl On Rooftop Nyc
Anna Thetard / Her Campus

The Mortal Instruments is set in present-day New York City, and it follows Clary Fray. Clary thought she was just a normal girl until she witnesses a mysterious murder and meets Jace Herondale, a cocky Shadowhunter who introduces her to the supernatural side of reality. When her mother disappears, Clary is thrust into the Shadowhunter world and learns some life-changing revelations about her family and her supernatural heritage. She is quickly required to learn to protect herself from demons and to deal with the snarky and arrogant Jace, as she is introduced to the most famous characters of the Shadowhunter realm. This fantasy-mystery series has plenty of memorable characters and a turbulent romance that plays out over the six-book series that you’ll want to finish in a week.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

In the midst of the Twilight craze, Michelle Read concocted an even-better vampire YA series. Her fantasy world of vampires contains full-blooded royal vampires, Moroi and their sturdy half-human half-vampire dhampir counterparts who protect them from cold-blooded killer Strigoi vampires. Rose Hathaway is a rough-and-tumble, fierce teenage dhampir who is determined to protect her best friend Lissa Dragomir, a Moroi who is the last of her royal lineage and who has been receiving death threats. The two attend a vampire school, St. Vladmir’s, in remote Montana—far from human civilizations. Rose’s constant stand-offs against the school administrators and her tumultuous relationship with her physical trainer and teacher Dimitri Belikov make for some exciting and dynamic plotlines that will keep you hooked on this seven-book series. Rose and Dimitri’s romantic storyline is one of the spiciest that I’ve encountered in the YA genre, and you’ll definitely fall in love with this Russian vamp hunk, too. 

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Bloodlines is an equally well-done spinoff series from Mead’s Vampire Academy series. It follows Sydney Sage, an Alchemist, a special cult of humans who are tasked with keeping the existence of vampires a secret from humans. The Alchemists don’t do their jobs out of love for vampires, however. Just the opposite. They have fanatical religious ideas about the evilness of vampires that inform their opinions of them. So, when Sydney takes on a mission that requires her to go undercover and live side-by-side with vampires in the human world, she’s a little hesitant, to say the least. Adrian Ivashkov doesn’t help either. He’s an entitled, suave, handsome, drunken Moroi vampire who will hit on anything that moves, including Sydney. These two characters demonstrate some of the greatest growth that I’ve ever seen in a series, though, and you’ll be rooting for them for all six books.

Birthright by Gabrielle Zevin

Set in a dystopian future where chocolate and caffeine are illegal substances, Anya Balanchine is the daughter of one of the most infamous crime families of New York. When Anya’s ex is poisoned with illegal chocolate traced to her family’s manufacturing ring, the police point the finger at Anya, and she has to unravel the mystery of who did it to prove her innocence. Meanwhile, Anya is trying to keep her family together and care for her fatherless siblings and dying grandmother. On top of all these problems, she’s trying not to fall in love with the assistant D.A.’s son, Win. These star-crossed lovers must decide whether to live out their birthrights, or to fight back against their messed-up world. Despite the dystopian theme, the troubles that Anya must face are real, and her story is surprisingly heartbreaking. This trilogy is a definite must-read for those who haven’t heard of it before.  

Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter
Girls Hiking Adventure Rocks California Climbing Fun
Charlotte Reader / Her Campus

The Gallagher Girls books let any girl fulfill her secret childhood dream of becoming a spy. Cammie Morgan attends the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, which trains girls to become spies. When her mother, the Headmistress, disappears, Cammie and her friends must put their spy skills to the test and discover what happened to her. International intrigue, cute boys and unbreakable friendships make these books a super fun read. Also, the first book is titled I’d Tell You I’d Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You, if that sparks your interest. I know it did for me. 

Cassidy Jones Adventures by Elise Stokes

I’m sure that no one has heard of this last series on my list, but I highly recommend this fun and light-hearted series. I discovered the first book, Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula, on an Amazon free e-books list. I got it, thinking that it’d be trash like most free books on the internet, and began reading. Shockingly, it was fantastic. Cassidy Jones is just a normal girl until a minor accident in a world-famous geneticist’s lab turns her into a superhero. She must learn to cope with her newfound superpowers and maintain her appearance as a normal teenage girl so that villains who want to abuse her powers don’t find her out. The only people who know that she has powers? The geneticist and her super-cute genius teenage son, Emory, who live next door. Emory and Cassidy have an adorable and dorky friendship that hints at more, but Cassidy’s long-time crush Jared thwarts their romance and creates a frustrating love triangle that will hopefully be resolved once the last books of this series are released. 

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Lydia Schaecher

Notre Dame '20

Lydia Schaecher is currently a senior at Notre Dame studying Environmetal Sciences and Philosophy. When not studying or working, she can be found running in just about any weather, watching Ancient Aliens and reading up on conspiracy theories, getting ridiculous deals while thrift-store shopping, or playing Nancy Drew computer games.
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