It bothers me how many young adult novels are part of a series. I guess this is great for you if you’ve been in the young adult section for years now, perusing its shelves with eager anticipation as each now tome is produced. You know which authors you like and you know that what they come out with next will be worth your time and money. You know which ones are bad and to avoid. But I’ve been out of the book scene for four years, and am only just now daring to inch myself out there to see what’s available. After years of assigned reading and another year of trying to catch up on some classics (and polishing off the entire Percy Jackson series in a couple of weeks), I’m finally ready to being reading the new stuff. Since I’m planning to review books for the Consortium starting in January, it kind of makes sense that I stay on top of the books that are coming hot off the presses. Nobody wants to read a review of a book that is a few years old. Most everybody has already read it and reviewed it by that time. That’s where these series really do me a disservice. When looking at the “hot new” books that are coming out in 2011, almost all of them are part of a series. I don’t want to have to go back six years or so to find the first book. And what if it turns out to be good, I don’t have time to waste on reading all the subsequent books. Whatever happened to stand alones? Even if they turn out to be dismal books, at least I can read them by themselves and not feel guilty for not picking up the sequels. I don’t have to wait and see if the series will improve.
As it is, I am going to be trudging through the young adult (my genre of choice) and other novels of 2011 with care, searching for ones I feel worth my time. And who knows, maybe I’ll come across a series I find worth reading through the entire thing.