There’s nothing quite like getting obsessed with a series of books in your youth- the passion and excitement you feel then is just never quite matched in adult life.
True; you can still get hooked, but it takes a lot more to captivate our cynical minds once we get past our teens, which is why series such as The Hunger Games, Twilight and (obviously) Harry Potter have been so fiercely popular.
If you’re looking for something to entertain your kids with over the half term break, we’ve selected a choice few series that’ll keep them gripped until they have to go back to school.
We apologise in advance- side effects may include monosyllabic answers, mole-like hibernation and total lack of focus on anything else.
The Fog Diver by Joel Ross
What’s it about? After a poisonous fog descends over Earth, the world’s population (or what’s left of it) is forced to take refuge on the very highest mountain tops. In this new world where death or fogsickness is never far away, 13 year old Chess and his friends must scavenge for scraps of junk to sell, which is only made possible by Chess’s miraculous immunity to the dreaded fog.
Why kids will love it: Told in the first person from the perspective of the main character, this has the same ‘down-and-out kids fending for themselves’ feeling found in all the great adventure stories- from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to Harry Potter. A second book entitled The Lost Compass was released last year and there are hopes for more books to follow in this burgeoning series.
£5.40, Amazon, Buy it now
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
What’s it about? 12 year old criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl sets out on a series of mishaps and adventures in a bid to restore the Fowl family fortune and reputation. It’s a series that straddles both fantasy and science fiction; bringing together everything from fairies to the Russian Mafia.
Why kids will love it: The charismatic mischievousness of Artemis is highly appealing to kids, making him a character that they find fascinating and want to read more about. Colfer knows how to thrill his audience and comes up with twists and turns that will keep the reader guessing right to the very end. A huge hit, this series now has eight books; each leading Artemis on a new misadventure.
£4, Amazon, Buy it now
Maximum Ride- The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
What’s it about? Follow the story of Max and her faithful sidekicks; Fang, Nudge, Iggy, the Gasman and Angel as they tear through America trying to avoid terrifying predators the Erasors whilst rescuing Max’s younger sister at the same time. Part of a trilogy, what sets this story apart is the genetic condition with which the characters live- they all have wings and have spent most of their lives in a lab.
Why kids will love it: Readers who love quick-moving novels will inhale this book- it tugs at the heart strings and probes into modern day controversies such as genetic modification but all through a highly entertaining lens. James Patterson is one of the greatest children’s writers of the century, displaying a consummate ability to create protagonists that are both fierce and vulnerable: a true delight to experience through reading.
£8, Amazon, Buy it now
Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A Nielsen
What’s it about? Taking us all the way back to Ancient Rome, this book follows the story of Nic- a young slave. When Nic finds an ancient bulla that once belonged to Julius Caesar he unleashes a formidable power that was once reserved for the gods. Nic tries to use this newfound power to break free of his chains, but instead finds himself embroiled in an underground rebellion that threatens to topple the entire Roman Empire.
Why kids will love it: Bringing together elements of history, this is riveting story of good and evil that will satisfy even the most diehard Harry Potter fan and get kids excited about the past. The second book was released in December.
£6.50, Amazon, Buy it now
Will Wilder: The Relic of Perilous Falls by Raymond Arroyo
What’s it about? Growing up in a town called Perilous Falls was never going to be easy, but Will Wilder possesses a special skill to fend off the ghouls and monsters waiting to pounce. Unbeknownst to Will, when he borrows an ancient relic he ends up breaking the protective seal that it has held around the town and in doing so accidentally unleashes an even more terrifying evil.
Why kids will love it: It’s wild and swashbuckling and has the motion of a hair raising rollercoaster ride- kids will love the pace and energy that emanate from the pages. Arroyo writes with great humour and the hilariousness of his quirky characters will not disappoint.
The second book in the series hit the shelves just a couple of months ago.
£7, Amazon, Buy it now
The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan
What’s it about? From the writer responsible for the Percy Jackson phenomenon comes another riveting series. Carter Kane has always known that his father, the brilliant Egyptologist Dr Julian Kane, was hiding something. Even though Carter has followed him around the world on different archaeological adventures, it’s not until they head to London that things start to go wrong. When the god of Chaos is unleashed and captures their father, Carter and his sister must embark on a worldwide mission to save him.
Why kids will love it: There’s nothing like an epic quest to get kids hooked on a book. True to form, Riordan’s latest adventure has all the elements guaranteed to make a good story: a perilous quest, charismatic heroes and a touch of the supernatural.
£6.50, Amazon, Buy it now
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
What’s it about? Adelina is a young survivor of a teribble blood fever that ravaged the nation a decade ago. Whilst most people perished, some survived and were left with unique looks: Adelina’s hair turned silver, her lashes white and she lost her left eye. But that wasn’t all. Adelina has also developed powers. To avoid persecution by the Inquisition Axis and manipulation by the Dagger Society, she must join the underground Young Elites and fight for her life at all costs.
Why kids will love it: The main character isn’t a typical hero- it’s actually her antiheroic traits that make you root for her. You don’t often find protagonists in children’s books with questionable morality so The Young Elites is highly refreshing. Adelina allows kids to explore the ideas of right and wrong and that no one can ever really be just one or the other.
£8, Amazon, Buy it now