As an avid reader who primarily reads YA fiction, it drives me crazy to know of so many amazing serieses that aren’t getting the attention they deserve--and to know how much everyone would love them if they gave them a read. So, to calm myself, here’s a list of my personal top 23 underrated YA series, guaranteed to make your life better.
1-The Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman
Set in a futuristic, post-war world in which, at parents’ discretion, at the age of thirteen children can legally be “unwound”, all of their body parts distributed as donated and them becoming not truly dead nor alive, this is one of my all time favorite series. It makes you think about humanity, question yourself, what people are capable of, and watches an amazing array of characters grow up and try to fight the people trying to end their lives.
2-The Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu
Another one of my best-loved series, this dystopian trilogy revolves around June, a record holding genius, darling of the government, and Day, a renegade and criminal No. 1 who almost no one knows anything about. Forced to work together by circumstance, the books explore dangerous fight against the corrupt government is action packed, bouncing back and forth between two distinct points of view that bring very different outlooks to the table.
3-Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Set in a masterful version of our world in which fairies exist, a darkened child genius initially sets out to trick a fortune out of the underground species, and ends up entangled in their world. This series is entertaining beyond belief, and watches the main protagonist completely morph as a person in a profound way. (if you haven’t read Artemis Fowl yet stop reading this, go read, come back when you’ve finished the last one and are crying your eyes out)
4-The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
Delving into the past of our favorite City of Bones characters’ ancestry, the ties between family, and the lengths to go to to keep loved ones safe, Cassandra Clare truly outdid herself in the Clockwork trilogy. With a subplot reminiscent of Dickens, this series is heart wrenching, mind bending, and possess what one (me) might argue is the greatest love triangle of all time.
5/6-A Court of Thorns and Roses and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Penned by the phenomenal Sarah J. Maas, both of these series involve fae in a context in which they are fierce, magical, immortal, and can sometimes pose a threat to humans. While ACOTAR initially follows the story of Beauty and the Beast before contorting into an unbelievable new plot and the Throne of Glass series is somewhat reminiscent of a hunger Games-Lunar Chronicles mash up, both are some of the most intriguing series I’ve ever read.
7-Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
A captivating series involving an imperfect protagonist forced to make decisions without a clue what she’s doing, Red Queen tells the story of a red, a member of the peasant, ungifted class of society, who displays powers that only silvers, the gifted ruling class whose blood runs silver, possess. Thrust into the world of a silver by a queen who doesn’t want this discovery to overturn the hierarchy, the books in this series are fantastic and written with a genius hand, displaying real, flawed characters forced to pick up the pieces when they mess up.
8-The Missing Series by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Perhaps more of a children’s series, but there’s no way I can’t put this fantastic eight book collection on this list. Haddix introduces the idea that in the wake of time travel’s invention in the future, two criminals have snuck through time and kidnapped famous children to de-age and put up for adoption for immense price on the black market in their own time period before crash landing in our time, where they have grown up; these children are the missing of history, the ones we don’t know what happened to: Virginia Dare, King Edward V, Anastasia Romanov, and more. While exploring an intriguing plot involving attempts to rectify a damaged timeline while protecting the missing and their current lives, this series teaches a lot of history in a very memorable way.
9-Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan
While Percy Jackson has caught the interest of millions of readers (and you can never have too much PJO appreciation), this second series is also another enrapturing conglomeration of books by the talented Rick Riordan. In a familiar format involving gods, quests, and teenage heroes forced to save the day, we delve into an entirely new world of mythology alongside Camp Half-Blood--and yes, Percy and Annabeth are included! After watching some of these characters grow up throughout the original series, Heroes of Olympus is an unprecedented opportunity to see our faves in a new setting as they approach adulthood and see a new side of the gods.
10-The Revenants Series by Amy Plum
Though the titles first struck me as somewhat unnerving, this trilogy about revenants, undead immortals who come back to life after dying, brings into play a stunning new form of the supernatural with myriad unique twists and turns alongside romance and family throughout the storyline is a very original series, the likes of which are rarely paralleled.
11-Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
A chilling trilogy depicting the battle of good and evil, of fate and choice, this series regarding a family’s legacy in which each generation brings forth a pair of twins, one dark and one light, who have the powers to save or end the world. Largely unknown, this trilogy is one that definitely sticks with you for ages after you’ve read it.
12-Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
A four part saga involving Casters and villains who used to be dear to the protagonists, the Beautiful Creatures series is a must read that acknowledges loss, friendship, and sacrifice throughout the path that Casters and their dark counterparts fight along.
13-Witch and Wizard by James Patterson
Relatable, comical, heartbreaking, and empowering, in this series Patterson weaves a setting in which magic wielders are demonized and executed alongside many other innocents by a horrendous ruler, just as a brother and sister discover their own magical powers and find out they’re the only ones able to stop “The One Who Is The One”. As books, music, and all forms of free expression are gradually outlawed, Whit and Wisty run for their lives as they hope to work with other AWOL witches and wizards to defeat him once and for all.
14-The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Each book incorporating a futuristic retelling of our favorite classic fairytales, this series juxtaposes magic and machines as a part-cyborg Cinderella attempts to save the prince from a vicious lunar queen. Eventually leading into battle and long lost secrets being revealed, this series is upbeat and a skilled new interpretation of classic stories.
15-Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Three connected but non-sequential novels set in the same world, this hidden treasure of a series involves strange powers that vary from person to person, featuring strong protagonists and an interesting new world in which no power is unforseen and anyone might be judged for the gift they wield.
16/17-I,Q. and Cryptid Hunters by Roland Smith
Both written by the skilled Roland Smith, these two series are both ingenious on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. I,Q is told by a teenage magician, as he and his new stepsister are thrust into the world of spies, secret service, terrorists, and assassins on their parents’ cross country music tour. Cryptid Hunters, on the other hand, delves into the world of cryptids unproven to exist--living dinosaurs, the loch ness monster, giant squid. Exploring family throughout dynamic stories full of action, energy, and information, these series are thrilling to behold.
18-The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
A phenomenal series in another world where dragons roam, initially unbeknownst to mankind, the set of books beginning with Eragon is certainly one of the most formative books in my reading experience. Written by Christopher Paolini at an incredibly young age, this series offers incredible detail as an intricately woven plot trods along the battle of a young and inexperienced dragon rider against the mad and evil king who destroyed the rest of the dragons and their riders.
19-Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Perhaps the most amazing thing about this series is how profoundly it stresses the power of books and the power of words. In a world in which Meggie’s father can read characters into reality, they are drawn into a terrifying situation where they are against the most fearsome villain of a book that has been nearly eradicated from the world who will stop at nothing to have the power he wishes.
20-Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
Proposing a very unique plot involving tarot cards, unbelievable powers, a dangerous game many will die throughout, and exasperating romance, this series has everything. A more recent read of mine, it’s amazing to find a series with such an original plot, and the writing is near flawless.
21-Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
In a dystopian world we meet Juliette, a teenage girl whose touch is literally deadly. Despite her good heartedness and efforts to do no harm, in an attempt to help someone she forgets herself and kills him, and is put into an asylum/prison thereafter, later brought under the control of the Reestablishment, the corrupt order that has taken over. Again considering the implications of good and evil, anger and joy, this series is a page turner filled with romance and action.
22-Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
In a world in which vampires are born Moroi, gifted almost royals who can control one of the elements or dhampirs, their stronger, battle-trained security, Rose Hathaway is a dhampir whose Moroi has powers unrelated to the standard, expected gifts, and a target on her back. Throughout a series of battles, internal struggles, and frustrating love triangles and a war with vampires turned dark murderers, these series made reading about vampires interesting during a time when they plagued every media surface.
23-The Trylle Trilogy by Amanda Hocking
A vastly under acknowledged series about a changeling who discovers she is truly Trylle, a kind of troll very different from her initial expectation of pink haired people under a bridge, this trilogy really digs into what it means to find yourself, make your own choices, and make sacrifices, during frustrating romance and war with an immensely threatening enemy.