Culture Crush Book Review: Youth Series for Summer Reading, or, Life After Harry Potter

Summer is on the way, and with the ending of the school year, plenty of time for reading great books abounds. If your child, like mine, has read the entire Harry Potter series for the eighth or so time, you may need some recommendations for fresh and exciting summer reading. Unless specified, these titles should be appropriate for grades 3 and up.

By Lisa

Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage: Seven books in this Juvenile fiction series, plus additional tie-in books/stories, allow for hours of fantasy, as readers journey with Septimus and a cast of characters through many adventures with magic and alchemy. This series is particularly good for the young reader, as there’s silliness and humor, plenty of action and very little violence.

Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley: What happens when you discover that Fairy Tales are based on real people? This Juvenile fiction series presents the adventures of two young sisters as they become fairy-tale detectives and try to right some wrongs. With some additional tie-in publications, too, The Sisters Grimm has a lot of thrills and also deals with intent, perception and misperception. Lots of thrills and some violence, this series may not be for everyone, but my kids (ages 13 and 9), love it!

The Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander: Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper goes on many adventures with a group of strangers who become his friends in this classic story of magic in a time before technology. Some descriptions of violence, but if your child has read Harry Potter, they should not be too bothered by the battles in this series. Check out other books and short series by Alexander for terrific quick reads.

Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan: Adventure and thrills await in this well-known, recently published Juvenile series, with characters from Greek myths brought to life in our contemporary world. Adults may roll their eyes here and there, but the series is not too scary and a great fit for grades 3-8.

Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan: Highly recommended by my kids, this series combines action and drama in a story interesting for all ages. Again, contemporary characters draw on ancient myths for the story.

Fairy Realm series by Emily Rodda: Sweet, fun adventures in a realm of magical creatures for the younger set in grades 3 and 4. A human girl enters the Fairy Realm to help out and play.

39 Clues series by various authors: I can recommend this series in general, but a few of the books have some very gruesome descriptions, making some of these books better suited for grades 5 and above.

Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott: This well-written adventure series combines two seemingly ordinary, teenaged fraternal twins working boring summer jobs with a host of mythological and historical characters into a globe-trotting adventure through space and time. Even adults should be able to enjoy these books, which are more appropriate for grades 6 and up.

Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis:  These classic children's magical stories pitting good against evil have some challenging vocabulary and intense descriptions, so I recommend for children in grades 4 and up.

Series are a great way to delve into the world of literature and enjoy the same characters for an extended period of time, thus making the books perfect for long, summer days. These are only a few of the better Juvenile fiction series out there. For a fun read or to preview for your child, many of these stories will sustain an adult’s interest, too. Check back soon for more ideas in another installment of Culture Crush's Summer Reading recommendations.

What are your favorite Juvenile series? Share your suggestions in the comments.


  1. Thanks for these ideas. Some are new to me. My kids also really like the "Mysterious Benedict Society" books and the "Boxcar Children."


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