Serious Series Business by Micki Uppena
I will never forget the first series that I fell in love with. The Boxcar Children, Trixie Belden, and Little House on the Prairie helped me develop deep love for character development. I loved the predictability, the family, and the comfort of knowing where the character’s journeys would lead.
As I entered middle school I began delving into darker characters and fell in love with the Flowers in the Attic series. The uncomfortableness of the story lines and the struggle these characters faced helped me get through the adolescent angst.
Harry Potter happened to me as an adult! The magic of wanting to finish the book so that you could get to the next. I couldn’t get enough! Harry Potter was binge reading at its finest. Until it wasn’t. As I was approaching book six I knew that I had to take book breaks. I had to slow down the pace. I needed to savor every word. I delved into Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with apprehension not knowing that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was on it’s way. J.K. Rowling made the announcement that upon its release it would be Harry’s last appearance. By this time I had two children of my own lost in the series. We waited and waited for the book. I stood in line to be own of the first to hold the book in my hands. There were so many times while reading the book that I stopped and threw it across the room so that I would stop reading. I was not ready to let go of these characters. How could there ever be another series that helped me encounter all the emotions of family and grief, of magic and whimsy, of good and evil?
Recovering from Harry Potter was difficult. I felt gratified as a reader and knew that I would reread these books several times to keep these characters close. I quickly jumped into the Divergent series and The Hunger Games. I fell quickly in love with Tris and Four. Katniss and Peeta demonstrated so much strength. My reading life was on the road to recovery. And then one day it changed dramatically! I was reading Mockingjay and I couldn’t go on. It was not going in the direction that I needed it to go. This was not the story that I wanted! How could Suzanne Collins do this to my books? The foreshadowing in Insurgent was more than I could handle. I knew what was going to happen and I was not strong enough to read it.
These books still sit on my shelf. Bookmark in place. Waiting to be finished. Perhaps someday I’ll be ready for these stories to be told. Today is not that day. My reading life has changed dramatically and I now gravitate to stand alone books. I gravitate to my favorite authors. I gravitate to my favorite genres, but I seem to have a paralysis when it comes to series reading.
As a librarian and reading teacher I push series onto kids. I want them to get hooked and run to the library for more of their favorite characters. My hope is that they connect their lives with the characters. I want them to be able to use characters to keep pace in the timeline of their lives. With every series I recommend, I feel the hypocrisy sink in. In doing this I realized that you find the characters you need when you need them. We are looking for those characters to identify with. We are looking for characters who will help us escape. We are looking for the characters we need! As in life, the story doesn’t always go as planned, but we go on.
Micki Uppena is a proud member of the Nerdy Book Club. She is a K-12 librarian in Lancaster, Wisconsin, and is ready to admit that she abandons books. Her greatest passion is connecting readers with the books they need, when they need them. You can find her on Twitter @mic_uppena.