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Group Collaboration | Series vs. Standalones


This month we asked for your opinions on the great series vs. standalones debate. We received quite a mixed response with lots of readers finding it hard to choose between the two. Here's what some of our team had to say...

"Recently I have preferred to read standalone books, although this is only after having a massive binge on Trilogies. The change in direction is mainly because I would find that generally with trilogies; the first book got you interested, the second was exciting, followed by a third which felt the story was being dragged out. Upon recommendations, my standalones began with ‘Ketchup Clouds’, which was a distinctly original, and then I moved onto ‘Cruel Summer’ which was an intriguing and exciting murder mystery.

I am progressing with the standalones at the moment as I feel there is too much emphasis on books needing to be a series, for example, after the success of ‘Twilight’ and ‘The Hunger Games’, we are seeing more and more Young Adult Fiction being created into film, such as the forthcoming ‘Maze Runner’ and ‘Divergent’ series’." - Cat

"I love both series and standalones, and I find it hard to choose between the two. I love series a lot, because I love knowing there are more exciting things on the horizon for characters, and it’s the most exciting thing to pick up book two and continue on. The Harry Potter series are my favourite books ever, but at the same time, there is something really nice about picking up a book and knowing that that’s all there is; there is nothing after this book. Books like Jodi Picoult’s incredibly well written novels are individual books, and that’s all they need to be. You wouldn’t need a continuation on those stories. John Green, too. I loved The Fault in Our Stars, but, even if the ending wasn’t how it was, you wouldn’t need - you wouldn’t want - another book after it. Some stories are meant to end sooner than others, I think." - Anjali


"I love the series give you more time to get to know the characters! Sometimes it can take a whole book to really understand a character, so getting a second book is a treat. Sequels allow you to jump right into a comfortable setting and get down to the story. That being said I HATE reading a really great book and then waiting a year for the sequel. I always have to re-read the first book when the sequel comes out so that I remember everything." - Alexandra 

"For years I was very much a fan of series. Getting sucked into a whole new literary world and getting to know all its characters can feel like the best thing ever. Not to mention the fact these book series tend to last years, so whole communities and fandoms can spring up from them!
Recently I've been loving my standalones so much more. There's no waiting around for a sequel - which can be absolute torture! - and you get the instant gratification of having a beggining, middle and end of a book straight away. Plus if you hate how it ended you can just forget about it instead of having that sinking feeling that you need to find out what happens next." - Ria

"Book series are great – they give the author more freedom to allow the plot to take them where it will; characters are more fully developed and given the chance to grow organically; readers aren’t put off by a mammoth novel and it’s pretty much the only time a book will receive the kind of buzz films enjoy. Buuuuut, this is all if you know you’re getting into a book series. Yep, I’m that person who judges a book by its cover, who only skim reads the blurb (if at all) and makes rash decisions in the bookstore. Publishers, please make it obvious on the cover when a book is part of a series! Sincerely, the girl who bought The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (A.K.A. book number 2 in the MaddAddam series) in the airport and had a confusing and disappointing journey ahead of them." - Ali


"My vote on this one goes to standalones. That's not to say that there hasn't been some good series, but for me standalones are better. For me I'm always disappointed if I love a book and find out there's another in the series, because the first book is always the best therefore what is the point in any others being in existence? You wait months and years for the next book, your expectations are built up and then suddenly it all goes down the drain and you turn back to that first book and promise never to betray it again! A little dramatic maybe but you get the point!" - Laura

"I think I'm Switzerland with this debate. With a series, you get to continue on new adventures with your favourite characters and learn more about them. An example of this would be the Peter Grant series where in each book you are taken to a new story with new adventures while knowing a good chunk of the character's past from previous books. Sometimes, I really love knowing a book is the first in the series because by the end of it, I will just want to find out more about the characters and how the story will change. The A Song of Ice and Fire series is a prime example. But standalone books are also awesome! I personally think that there is a lot more effort into the story and the characters so by the end of the book, you feel completely satisfied with it and you feel like you've known the characters all your life. I also like standalone books which have a cliffhanger because it will leave you wondering what happens next and yet, you feel like you're better off not knowing and just letting your imagination wander over the many possibilities. I definitely think More Than This is a perfect standalone book and would not wish for a sequel to be made because it is just perfect the way it is." - Lucy 

"Recently I have been enjoying standalones like Cruel Summer (James Dawson), Forgive Me Leonard Peacock (Matthew Quick) & Genesis (Bernard Beckett). I do however also enjoy reading a series although there always seems to be one book that, after a long while waiting on a cliffhanger, isn’t as good as the others which can leave you wishing the first had been a standalone! It is sometimes nice to follow a familiar character but I think it all depends on whether their story can be told in just one book." - Erin

*All images via Goodreads
As always thank you to all of our lovely contributors this month :)

Don't forget to leave us a comment below with your opinions on the debate - we'd love to hear from you!  


Our next group post is all about putting yourself in the shoes of a protagonist! We're going to be discussing which characters we would want by our side through our journeys in the form of a best friend or sidekick and we want your contributions! Drop us an email - - or tweet us @blog_bookshelf by 14/5/14 to have your answer included in the post!


1 comment

  1. Like what the others have to say, I also find it hard to choose one over the other. Series are exciting since the plot is way more elaborate than standalones and there's something about the waiting for the next book that makes me look forward to it more. On the other hand, the good thing about standalones is that you (more or less) get a sense of fulfillment after reading a single book without waiting for the next one.

    Still, if I really have to choose, I'd go with series (mostly because series has a higher possibility of building a fandom) :)


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