Saturday, April 2, 2011

About the definition of YA series

Today, I'd like to talk about YA series.

Sometimes highly anticipated, sometimes dreaded, the famous "Book Two" always provokes strong reactions in readers. But what is a book series, exactly? Wikipedia (aka the Holy Bible) says it's "a sequence of books having certain characteristics in common that are formally identified together as a group."

I don't agree with this.

I know it's the common definition, but I see a difference between a book with an unfinished story line that overflows on subsequent books, and several stories within the same universe. Case in point: I don't consider Graceling by Kristin Cashore to be part of a series. The sequel is in fact a prequel with completely different characters, and the final book is centered around a secondary character in Book One. I'd actually consider those companion novels, not other books in the same series.

On the other hand, I think the Wicked Lovely books are part of a series, for even though the character focus changes in Book Three and Four, the story's still coherent in itself and the plot-line keeps moving.

What do you think? What do you consider a book series?

1 comment:

Small Review said...

In casual talking, I usually just refer to all books like that as a series. When talking more specifically about the books, then I try to make the distinction between a series and a bunch of companion novels.

I think it's an important distinction to know and one I'm always curious about. For instance, I'm glad you said that about Graceling because I want to read that book, but do I necessarily have time to read two books now? Plus remember them both for when the third comes out? Not really. But knowing they're companion novels and not a series that makes me a lot more likely to pick up the book now.

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