Series books can be fantastic, and often are. Sometimes, though, they miss the mark (I’m looking at you, Divergent series). No matter how poorly-written or well-written a series is, the success of a series with a particular reader depends on that reader’s personal tastes. Teen girls (and adult women) who love romances adore the Twilight series, while sci-fi nerds like myself total go in for the Fifth Wave or the Chaos Walking series.
My kids and I loved reading the Lemony Snicket series together (we read together nightly, well into late-elementary school), but that’s most definitely not for everyone. The absurdist humor and bizarre situations of that or The Mysterious Benedict Society series appealed to us because, frankly, we’re absurdist and bizarre. 😉 I would NOT recommend those to lower-level readers, not only because of the vocabulary, but because they’re simply too complicated and the concepts would go over lower-level readers heads.
For younger readers, we loved the Magic Schoolbus series. They were fun, funny, but packed with actual science and knowledge. They truly brought pleasure to learning about science.
Of course, the two greatest series ever written have also been quite successful movies also: Harry Potter and Hunger Games. We just saw The Mockingjay Part 2 at the Providence IMAX theater yesterday … excellent stuff. The characters were well-thought out, the worlds the authors created were compelling, the romances weren’t overdone and melodramatic. Fantastic books, with really great movies adaptations.
An interesting side note of series books today is that students are less likely to actually follow the series and/or read the books in order. This baffles my mind. I can see doing so in a series that doesn’t build a story from book to book, like Magic Schoolbus, but it’s crazy to me that students will jump into the middle for Harry Potter (or other such series) that clearly have a backstory. Do they just not care that they don’t really know the back story well, or are they just smarter than us old’uns?