The Weekly Debate (4): The Invasion of the Book Series

Interested in more questions? Check out Eleni's weekly Monday's Question of the Day!

This week's question: Do you feel that there's currently a dominance of series, companion novels included, or stand alone novels in YA literature? And if so, what opnions do you have about it (ie. you like reading series)?

I've been reading a vast amount of paranormal romance these past months, and I really can't remember the last time I read a stand alone novel in the paranormal area. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Frantaskey, which is actually fairly ironic considering I didn't feel entirely satisfied with the ending. As for non-paranormal reads, what I immediately think of is Hate List by Jennifer Brown. Other than a couple others, I draw a complete blank. - eek! My perspective might be skewed, but I really can't think of many single novels. Do any stand alone novels from 2009 immediately pop into your mind?

As for my opinion about this perceived increase in series, it's hard for me to decide because series and stand alone novels each have their own flaws and successes. I like series, because who doesn't like to be immersed in a world they love for a few books longer? There have definitely been times I've been sad putting down a stand alone novel because I know that once I finish it, there's no going back. However, all the time between releases in a series turns me off more often than not. Even in a thoroughly-developed, interesting series such as Harry Potter, I found myself losing interest towards the end and had to almost force myself to read the last one (though it turned out to be quite good). That brings me to my second and last annoyance with series: when they just drag on and on and on... and on. It's a bit embarrassing to admit, but I have an extremely short attention span and don't retain information that well. Fortunately, I don't see this stretched-out aspect in most series, but when I get to book 7... what happened in book 1 again? Hm, let me just think back to 5 years ago... Or, even worse, the middle books just feel like fillers; something to tide the readers over until the next major book and make a little bit of additional money.

On the other hand, stand alone novels are just that; they stand alone. Like I mentioned above, I don't want to leave a beautifully, skillfully-crafted world and single books can only last so long. On the other hand, for books like Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, I was content with the story and ending and didn't really expect or even want a second book. That doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to Linger, but I'm definitely scared that something will happen in book 2 that ruins Sam and Grace's beautiful relationship in Shiver. And let's face the facts: it's cheaper and easier to just get one book versus five. But what just really makes me love some stand alone novels is the strong effect they have on me. It's hard to capture that when you're releasing books at one year increments, though certainly not impossible.

My final stance: I definitely feel there's a greater number of series than stand alone novels (at least in what I read), and I wish there were more single novels. I'm fairly evenly split between enjoying series and single novels, but I still slightly lean towards stand alone novels because they often have a greater emotional impact on me. I love series as much as the next person, but it's nice for me to occasionally be able to read a book and have closure instead of ones that end with an open cliffhanger. :)

Though that leads me to wonder whether single novels will start dying out, considering the poor economy and the following that's promised with a good series...

It's your turn to voice your opinions! What do you think?