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The 40 Best Book Series to Have on Your Bookshelf in 2023

When one book just isn't enough, you need a whole series. Don't cry because it's over—smile because there's a sequel!

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Best book series

Nothing hits quite like a book that enraptures you right up to the last page. But the best books also bring a pang when they’re over: There’s an unwillingness to let go of characters you’ve grown to love, stories that leave you wanting more. The best way to satisfy that hunger is with one of the best book series that prolong the goodbye and keep you bingeing long past lights out.

There’s something comforting about starting a series, knowing you have three, four or even 13 more installments to keep you going. Our list of the best book series features some of the most acclaimed and popular fiction books, from new releases to century-old classics and time-tested romance novels. It includes everything from teen books, award winners and mega bestsellers to lesser-known stunners that’ll become your next literary addiction. Many of the series on our list have been adapted into hit TV shows, feature films and even a Broadway musical. You’ll find plenty of fantasy books and sci-fi books, as well as the best children’s books for the YA reader in your life. Hope you’re ready for your next book obsession!

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1. The Broken Earth by N.K. Jemisin

Books: The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, The Stone Sky

This bestselling, multiple Hugo award-winning trilogy came out in 2016 and creates a stunning world where the special powers of “orogenes” include the ability to cause earthquakes and eruptions. Fans love to immerse themselves in N.K. Jemisin’s elaborate fantasy world, where the environment is in apocalyptic chaos and the stakes are survival. This is one of the best book series for fans of science fiction and fantasy, especially if you like books for women with strong female protagonists.

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2. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

Books: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass

Enter an enchanted world of intensity and magic in this bestselling saga that’s spawned both a film franchise and TV series since the first book was published in 1995. Although this YA trilogy centers on children, it’s one of the best book series to capture adult readers as well. It’s similar to The Witcher series—which is releasing a new season of its Netflix show—as its trilogy is based upon a world of fantasy from the Witcher book series. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, you’ll enjoy the elaborate world-building and intricate plotting as two children search for kidnappers across a multiverse that starts in an alternate reality of old Oxford.

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3. The Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy by Kevin Kwan

Books: Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend, Rich People Problems

This mega bestselling trio of witty novels is a great romance book series to try if you love laugh-out-loud funny books. The stories follow Chinese American professor Rachel, who finds out her boyfriend is wealthier than she could ever have imagined when she accompanies him home to Singapore for a family wedding. Crazy Rich Asians was adapted into a popular rom-com feature film in 2018.

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4. The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Books: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

The late Stieg Larsson finished his crime thriller trilogy shortly before he passed away in 2004. The first novel was published posthumously in 2005 and quickly surged as an international hit. Along with its sequels, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo became one of the bestselling novels of the 2000s. In these intriguing page-turners, you’ll follow punk computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, who investigates murders alongside the beleaguered journalist Mikael Blomkvist.

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5. Ender Quintet by Orson Scott Card

Books: Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind, Ender in Exile

The first book in this popular sci-fi saga introduces Ender Wiggin, one of several kid geniuses being trained to fight the alien “buggers” in an epic intergalactic war zone. But not everything is as it seems in this assumption-challenging series. Since being published in 1985, the Ender Quintet has spawned a franchise that includes a 2013 feature film and multiple additional series set in the same universe. If you’re dazzled by thriller books and militaristic space adventure, give this popular series a try.

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6. The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

Books: Mistborn: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, The Hero of Ages

If you’re into rich, spellbinding science fiction, fall into the ashy world of Scadrial. In this epic adventure, Kelsier, a prison escapee, becomes determined to overthrow a powerful, god-like overlord in a world of magic and oppression. Throughout The Mistborn Trilogy, Kelsier finds his powers awakened alongside his determination to assemble a team and take down the tyrant. After you finish devouring the series, check out these other sci-fi classics that predicted the future.

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7. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Books: The Magician’s Nephew; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; The Horse and His Boy; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver Chair; The Last Battle

The British scholar C.S. Lewis wrote one of the best book series for children—in fact, it’s so good that we’ve ranked it one of the 100 best books of all time for adult readers! Set in the fantastical world of Narnia—a land with talking animals that’s accessed via a portal in a wardrobe—the books have remained ubiquitous since their publication in 1950. The Chronicles of Narnia has spawned several films and appeals across generations due to its enchanting tales of children finding themselves becoming royals in the Narnian kingdoms.

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8. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Books: The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King

J.R.R. Tolkien’s baroque fantasy masterpiece began when The Hobbit was published in 1937. The voluminous Lord of the Rings sequels that follow have enraptured generations of readers with their elaborate, meticulous world-building and epic quests across Middle-earth. The books are filled with Tolkien’s invented dialects and other hidden complexities related to the decadent plotting and descriptions.

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9. Earthseed by Octavia Butler

Books: Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents

Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, like many books by Black authors, offers powerful themes on courage and leadership in the face of profound inequality. In these stories set in a future apocalypse wracked by ecological disaster, teenager Lauren Oya Olamina survives within a gated community where she invents a new religion, Earthseed. First published in 1993 and set in 2024, the saga continues with Parable of the Talents, where Lauren, now an adult, faces a dystopia run by violent fundamentalists who’ve brought back slavery. Butler planned several additional books for this series before her passing in 2006.

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10. Darius the Great by Adib Khorram

Books: Darius the Great Is Not Okay, Darius the Great Deserves Better

Adib Khorram’s rich and lovely debut YA novel captures high school sophomore Darius with sensitivity, relatability and a wit readers fall in love with. Darius is biracial—Persian and white—and suffers from depression and body-image issues made worse by terrible bullying at school. If you’re looking for young adult or children’s books about diversity, this two-book series is an honest and uplifting must-read that landed on multiple “best of” and award lists. Next, check out some more of our recommendations for the best book series for teens.

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11. Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas

Books: House of Earth and Blood, House of Sky and Breath

If you love fairy tales or Sarah J. Maas’s other popular series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, you’ll love Maas’s latest book series. The first book, House of Earth and Blood, released in 2020, gears toward adult readers and captures the same mix of passion and suspense as Maas’s other work, with mythical creatures partying it up in modern times. The book follows Bryce, who is half-fey. When her roommate is killed, she must investigate the murder with the help of a hunky fallen angel.

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Outlander Seriesvia merchant

12. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Books: Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone

Get ready for time travel, historical settings and passionate romance in this bestselling, ultra-popular nine book series that’s also an acclaimed TV show. Readers love Diana Gabaldon’s intricate details across vastly different time periods. As the story begins, heroine Claire Randall, a British nurse during World War II, returns home to her husband in 1945 only to find herself transported to 1743, where she becomes caught up in the midst of more war and finds herself falling for another man.

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13. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Books: Shatter Me, Unravel Me, Ignite Me, Restore Me, Defy Me, Imagine Me, Believe Me

This fast-moving, bestselling YA series catches you from the first page. First published in 2011, the series has hooked readers with its intriguing narration by 17-year-old Juliette. She writes diary-style, slowly revealing details about the apocalyptic world where she’s imprisoned by the Reestablishment and forced to use her powers for evil. Anyone she touches dies—which is a problem when you’re falling in love.

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14. Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Books: Heartstopper: Volume One, Volume Two, Volume Three, Volume Four

Heartstopper, published in 2020 and the first volume in this graphic novel series, is one of the best LGBTQ+ books for YA readers. But both teens and adults alike will be enamored with its charm, humor and giddy romance—not to mention its Netflix adaptation! In this series, Charlie falls for the seemingly straight rugby player Nick in a sensitive high school coming-of-age story that will steal your heart.

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15. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Books: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay

The Hunger Games entered the scene in 2008 and became a cultural phenomenon. Adult readers were also caught up in this addicting YA series, set in a harrowing dystopia where kids are forced to fight to the death in annual televised games that pit district communities against one another. Jennifer Lawrence played Katniss Everdeen in the film franchise that shows passionate rebellion against fascist controllers.

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16. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Books: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before; P.S. I Still Love You; Always and Forever, Lara Jean

These popular teen romances have been adapted into hit rom-coms on Netflix, but the endearing books offer moments just as cringe and easy to binge. Teen Lara Jean dies of embarrassment when her kid sister delivers love letters written to all her crushes long ago. This is a heartwarming series that captures the intensity of coming-of-age with depth and humor.

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Earthsea Seriesvia merchant

17. The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin

Books: A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu, Tales from Earthsea, The Other Wind

Ursula K. Le Guin’s classic fantasy series, first published in 1968, is considered a quintessential, influential work in the fantasy and science fiction genres. The series follows Ged, a likely precursor to Harry Potter, in his studies at a wizarding school where he unleashes his shadow. Le Guin forges unique, complex world-building in her creation of Earthsea and its system of magic in effortless prose that’s richly philosophical and adventurous.

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18. Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris

Books: Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, Dead to the World, Dead as a Doornail, Definitely Dead, All Together Dead, From Dead to Worse, Dead and Gone, Dead in the Family, Dead Reckoning, Deadlocked, Dead Ever After

Charlaine Harris’s 13-book vampire series was adapted into the hit TV show True Blood, set in fictional Bon Temps, Louisiana. You might remember real-life couple Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer starring as Vampire Bill and the titular Sookie, a waitress who’s part fairy and caught up in all manner of mayhem with mythical creatures of all sorts. This is a rollicking, deliciously pulpy and addicting series for those who love vampire books.

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19. Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire

Books: Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men, Out of Oz

These are the books that inspired the mega-hit Broadway musical Wicked. If you love the original L. Frank Baum Oz series or are a fan of the popular 1939 film adaptation, give this adult redux a read. Published in 1995, Gregory Maguire’s revamps of the classic story offer a sympathetic take on Elphaba, the green-skined girl who’s unfairly judged. When you dive into this series, you’ll see the Wicked Witch’s side of things, where the Wizard is a mad dictator.

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20. Easy Rawlins by Walter Mosley

Books: Devil in a Blue Dress, A Red Death, White Butterfly, Black Betty, A Little Yellow Dog, Gone Fishin’, Bad Boy Brawly Brown, Six Easy Pieces, Little Scarlet, Cinnamon Kiss, Blonde Faith, Little Green, Rose Gold, Charcoal Joe, Blood Grove

If you love mystery books, don’t miss Walter Mosley’s noir novels set in and around post-war Los Angeles, following hard-boiled detective Easy Rawlins. The first book in the series came out in 1990, and Denzel Washington starred as Easy in the 1995 film adaptation. Inspired by classic crime fiction, Mosley’s series updates the detective genre by offering a Black man’s perspective and experience as a private eye confronting the corruption that intersects with racial injustice.

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21. The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Books: Red Queen, Glass Sword, King’s Cage, War Storm

This bestselling twisty YA series features fantastical dystopian havoc in a world where people are divided by blood—whether yours is red or silver guides your fate. The Silvers have all the power in a realm where, if you don’t have magic, you must toil. But when young heroine Mare discovers she possesses special abilities despite having red blood, it propels her on a quest to liberate the oppressed and smash the system.

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22. The Wormwood Trilogy by Tade Thompson

Books: Rosewater, The Rosewater Insurrection, The Rosewater Redemption

This award-winning Afro-futurist series takes place in Nigeria. Once a year, an alien biodome conducts “The Opening,” where it heals those who’ve gathered around it. The story follows a “sensitive” with a dark past, Kaaro, who must use his abilities to help the government. When other sensitives start dying, he becomes enmeshed in the mysteries of the biodome.

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Little Women Seriesvia merchant

23. The Little Women Collection by Louisa May Alcott

Books: Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men, Jo’s Boys

Every generation seems to come to Louisa May Alcott’s classic 1868 series about the March sisters with fresh eyes. There have been four film adaptations across the last century, proving that the themes of familial bonds and coming-of-age tensions endure. The loosely autobiographical books explore female empowerment as the independent heroine, Jo, resists social convention and explores her passion for writing—much like Alcott’s real-life story.

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24. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

Books: Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, Inheritance

Christopher Paolini was a teen author in 2001 when he first self-published Eragon, which eventually became a bestselling sensation. The first book in The Inheritance Cycle follows a farm boy, 15-year-old Eragon, who discovers a mysterious egg and soon finds himself bonded with Saphira, the dragon that hatches from it. The two set out on a quest to avenge the Dragon Riders, a sect killed off by a merciless king in a book known for enrapturing readers, who race through to the last page.

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25. All Souls by Deborah Harkness

Books: A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, The Book of Life, Time’s Convert

Deborah Harkness’s thrilling paranormal fantasy merges academic detail with a sprawling romance in this epic 2011 series about a professor (and reluctant witch) who discovers an ancient text that releases various creatures and entities into the world. Enter the handsome vampire who should be her sworn enemy, but instead makes her swoon. The book series is now a hit TV show starring Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer as the magic couple.

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26. The Binti Trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor

Books: Binti, Home, The Night Masquerade

You’ll be immersed in this Afro-futurist series as Binti becomes the first of her people to gain entry to the prestigious Oomza Uni, an elite intergalactic college. Attending means leaving her family behind—a hard choice that gets worse once her vessel is attacked by aliens en route and she’s the only one to survive. The first book in the series debuted in 2015, captivating readers and earning Hugo and Nebula awards.

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Wheel Of Time Seriesvia merchant

27. Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

Books: The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, The Shadow Rising, The Fires of Heaven, Lord of Chaos, A Crown of Swords, The Path of Daggers, Winter’s Heart, Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams

This iconic fantasy series debuted in 1990 and has commanded interest and attention since. A TV series recently premiered based on the series with Rosamund Pike as the magical Moraine, a woman tasked with finding the hero who can save the world by taking down The Dark One. You’re in for a world of epic world-building and vast, elaborate plotting. Later books in the series were written by fantasy author Brandon Sanderson, based on notes and details left by Robert Jordan before his passing in 2007.

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28. The Montague Siblings by Mackenzi Lee

Books: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks

In this witty, delightful Stonewall Honor winner you’ll be taken in by a 17th-century bisexual lord who’s out for romance, fun and adventure. One of the best LGBTQ+ books, the story follows Monty as he travels across Europe with his bestie/crush Percy in tow. Each book in the series follows one of the heart-stealing Montague siblings—Monty, Felicity and Adrian—on their various romps, filled with charming drama and told with addictively wry prose. You can follow up with the related novella The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky as Monty’s love story with Percy continues.

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29. The Dark Tower by Stephen King

Books: The Gunslinger, The Drawing of the Three, The Waste Lands, Wizard and Glass, Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, The Dark Tower VII

In this series, Roland, the last of a long line of gunslingers who’ve descended from old-world knights, searches for a mythical tower, purported to be a cosmic gateway. It’s one of Stephen King’s most popular, can’t-put-it-down book series. The first book came out in 1982 and was adapted into a feature film starring Idris Elba as the titular cowboy in this mix of Western, sci-fi and fantasy.

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30. Legacy of Orisha by Tomi Adeyemi

Books: Children of Blood and Bone, Children of Virtue and Vengeance

This highly acclaimed and anticipated bestseller came out in 2018 to huge fanfare. It takes place in a fictional African country where cultures divide between an oppressive ruling class and the Maji, who possess forbidden power that’s been wiped out. In this exciting, popular series, you’ll encounter Zelie, a young Maji who collides with the King’s daughter, who possesses a scroll that can restore magic. If you’re interested in books about race relations in America, this YA fantasy series offers poignant modes for thinking about struggles around injustice, featuring strong female characters.

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Forgery Of Magic Seriesvia merchant

31. Forgery of Magic by Maya Motayne

Books: Nocturna, Oculta, Lucero (forthcoming)

If you’re looking for great books by Latinx authors, try the Forgery of Magic series by Maya Motayne. The books create a rich tapestry of Latinx folklore and history within their world of magic. Follow Finn, who can shift her own face, and Alfie, a prince, each dabbling in forbidden magic as they accidentally unleash a powerful force they must work together to defeat. This 2019 series is perfect for teen YA readers, as well as adults who’ll fall into its mystical adventure just as easily.

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32. The Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan

Books: The Hidden Oracle, Dark Prophecy, The Burning Maze, Tyrant’s Tomb, The Tower of Nero

If you’re a fan of Percy Jackson, then try The Trials of Apollo, also by Rick Riordan, who writes some of the best book series for kids who love Greek myths and adventure. The series follows the queer, teenaged god Apollo, who’s been tossed into New York City by his angry dad, Zeus. Published in 2016, it continues Riordan’s signature humorous style and vibrant world-building as Apollo becomes human and makes his way to Camp Half-Blood, run by demigods.

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33. Dollanganger by V.C. Andrews

Books: Flowers in the Attic, Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, Garden of Shadows

Readers of this addictive series, first published in 1979, find themselves shocked but gripped by this twisted page turner. The series follows generations of the wealthy but weird Dollanganger family. In the first book, after four children lose their father in an accident, they return to their grandparents’ estate, Foxworth Hall, only to find themselves confined to the attic by their grandmother. Their mother tells them this is perfectly fine and normal, not to mention necessary to receive her inheritance, but things quickly get deadly for the shut-ins.

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34. Bridgertons by Julia Quinn

Books: The Duke and I; The Viscount Who Loved Me; An Offer from a Gentleman; Romancing Mister Bridgerton; To Sir Phillip, with Love; When He Was Wicked; It’s in His Kiss; On the Way to the Wedding

Shonda Rhymes brought these fanciful romances to Netflix as a super popular TV series. If you’re looking for some amped-up Jane Austen-esque courtship shenanigans, then get ready for this easy-to-binge, best book series for romantics. The first book, The Duke and I, came out in 2000 and introduces Lady Whistledown, a mysterious writer who publishes a Regency-era gossip newsletter about society’s romantic goings-on. A popular topic concerns Daphne Bridgerton and the eligible bachelor and duke Simon—a flirty, seemingly unlandable rogue. If you loved the Netflix series, these are other excellent book recommendations based on TV shows.

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35. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

Books: The Poppy War, The Dragon Republic, The Burning God

This acclaimed trilogy starts with The Poppy War, Asian American author Rebecca Kuang’s 2018 debut novel. Set in a fantasy world based on 20th-century China, the book follows impoverished war orphan Rin, who shocks everybody by earning admission to Sinegard, the land’s most prestigious military academy. Once there, she discovers a powerful ability: shamanism, which allows her to unleash the fiery powers of a phoenix god. War, drugs and magic abound in this action-packed tale of fierce determination, gritty militarism and shifting politics.

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36. Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Books: City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, City of Heavenly Fire

Get ready for the Shadowhunters, demon hunters who have angel blood. In this bestselling page-turning YA series, also now a TV series, Clary finds herself enmeshed with angel warriors in a city filled with fantastic beings. Prepare for werewolves, fairies, vampires and Jace, the wisecracking, arrogant Nephilim who pulls Clary into a darkly complex magical world. The first book in this popular series came out in 2007 and has been influencing the YA scene ever since.

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37. Brooklyn Brujas by Zoraida Córdova

Books: Labyrinth Lost, Bruja Born, Wayward Witch

In the first book of this series, published in 2016, you’ll meet Alex—an unhappy teenaged witch who does a spell to get rid of her magical powers. Of course, it goes badly. Her family disappears into the underworld, and now she has to get them back and come to terms with her gifts. This is a YA series filled with rich cultural mythology and characters enmeshed in family drama that feels true and relatable within a fantasy landscape.

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38. The Tensorate by Neon Yang

Books: The Black Tides of Heaven, The Red Threads of Fortune, The Descent of Monsters, The Ascent to Godhood

Set in an elaborate fantasy realm filled with mystical creatures, magic and futuristic tech, this series follows twins who take on their controlling mother, known as the Protectorate, who sold the pair at birth to pay off a debt. In this world, youths decide their gender when they’re ready, and Neon Yang weaves a powerful story of queer, nonbinary characterization in the time before choosing. Readers love this series for the sensitive, emotional story that’s intimate and epic at once. If you want more diverse reads delivered straight to your door, check out these book subscription boxes next!

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Anne Of Green Gables Seriesvia merchant

39. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Books: Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne’s House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside, Rainbow Valley, Rilla of Ingleside

Generations of readers still adore this 1908 book series about fearless Anne—a spunky, lovable orphan—and her adventures after she’s adopted by farmers. Grumpy elder siblings seek to adopt a boy to help out around their rural farm. By mistake, they’re given Anne, who despite having a harrowing early life manages to win everyone over.

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40. Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

Books: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons

When you’re in the mood for epic fantasy adventure mixed with political betrayal and magical intrigue, this is the series for you. Look out for House Stark, the Targaryens and the vicious Lannisters, as well as Wildlings and dragons, in this page-turning drama that’s not for the faint of heart—violence, along with winter, is coming.

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Molly Pennington, PhD
Molly is a writer and collage artist with a PhD in film and cultural studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Her professional astrology services and artwork are available at Baroque Moon Astrology. She covers the zodiac, books, movies, TV and culture for Reader’s Digest, and loves to talk about all the ways we make meaning.