I’ll be the first to say I love book series more than standalones. That said, some series I’ve read could have easily been shortened to just one book. On the other hand, when I do read a standalone, I’m often left wanting more. Here are six books that should have gotten sequels and six books that shouldn’t have. Spoiler warning in case you haven’t read these books yet!
Shouldn’t Have a Sequel: ‘If I Stay’ by Gayle Forman
I might not have loved If I Stay as much as others did, but I think it ended well. Then I read the sequel and wanted to throw it across the room. It took a perfectly fine ending and made it horrible. Compared to Forman’s other duology, Just One Day, this sequel was terrible.
If I Stay ended with Mia waking from her coma because of her love for Adam and music. The sequel, Where She Went, shows us what Mia chose to do after waking up. She chose Julliard, but Adam comes back into her life while there. The entire book just shows them reconnecting from Adam’s perspective.
Should Have a Sequel: ‘Ella Enchanted’ by Gail Carson Levine
I’m not even going to talk about the movie because that was rough to watch again after reading the book. Ella Enchanted was a standalone with the potential to be one of the best series in Gail Carson Levine’s extensive book catalog. I’m honestly still waiting on a good movie adaptation–and sequel.
Now, there’s technically another book in the same world, but it doesn’t follow Ella. I really want to see Ella and Prince Char’s life together after she breaks her curse and agrees to marry him after all!
Shouldn’t Have a Sequel: ‘The Notebook’ by Nicholas Sparks
We all know the ending of The Notebook: Allie and Noah share a final kiss in the nursing home and fall asleep together in her bed. Then The Wedding comes into play. The unneeded sequel tells the story of Noah and Allie’s daughter, Jane, as she and her husband try to fix their marriage.
I still don’t know why Nicholas Sparks decided to write The Wedding. The Notebook may have been one of his biggest hits, but there wasn’t any material left for a sequel. Hollywood hasn’t bothered to adapt The Wedding, and I don’t blame them.
Should Have a Sequel: ‘The Keepers’ Tattoo’ by Gil Arbuthnott
In the world of The Keepers’ Tattoo, twins are marked with a prophecy in a language only Keepers can read. Nyssa and Kit were the last to be marked before the Keepers were killed by the Shadowmen. Nyssa goes on a journey to find her brother and make the prophecy come true.
After reading this book in junior high, I waited and waited for a sequel. When I rediscovered it years later, I was still hoping for a sequel. The book has a satisfying ending, but there’s so much more to the twins’ story that I want to learn about.
Shouldn’t Have a Sequel: ‘Me Before You’ by Jojo Moyes
While you’re reading Me Before You, it’s obvious how it ends. That’s why I was surprised to see the book had two sequels, After You and Still Me. I get why Moyes wrote more and explored Lou’s life after Will’s death. But it felt unnecessary and like we were just slowly pulling a band-aid off.
I read all of the books when they came out, but I wish I hadn’t. After You sees Lou trying to fall in love again amidst her emotional healing. And Still Me gives her a third romantic interest and a new perspective on life in New York. I say if you want a romance to make you cry, stick to just reading the first book.
Should Have a Sequel: ‘Tuck Everlasting’ by Natalie Babbitt
Tuck Everlasting should have had a sequel. I’d even be happy with more than one. Winnie was only ten when she met the immortal Tuck family. There are bound to be more stories about them that Babbitt has in her head.
Tuck Everlasting follows Winnie as she befriends the Tucks. She falls in love with Jesse, but their age gap is a bit of a problem. Toward the end of Winnie’s story, she’s given the immortality water but uses it to save a toad. At the end of the book, Jesse finds her grave.
I want to know what Winnie’s life after Jesse was like. Did she ever tell anyone? Did she contemplate going back to the spring or looking for them? And what about Jesse? Did he ever find another girl to love, or did he stay alone forever, mourning Winnie?
Shouldn’t Have a Sequel: ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott
Sometimes classics should be left alone regardless of how popular they are. When Little Women was first published, it was a commercial success for Louisa May Alcott. So it’s not shocking she capitalized on that and wrote two more books. However, she has said that she hated Little Women after writing it.
Little Men follows the students at Jo March’s school, Plumfield. The final book in the trilogy, Jo’s Boys, follows those students all grown up and living their adult lives. It’s not that interesting, especially if you’re still on Team Laurie.
Should Have a Sequel: ‘Sorcery of Thorns’ by Margaret Rogerson
Margaret Rogerson is best known for her standalone novels, which is unusual for a YA author. When you read her books, you get wrapped up in the worldbuilding and fall in love with the characters. They make you want more, and I wish that Rogerson would be more open to writing series.
That’s what happened with me and this book. Sorcery of Thorns tells the story of Elisabeth as she and her enemy-turned-ally Nathaniel uncover conspiracies against the kingdom. The book was perfectly paced, but I would have loved for the story to keep going and show more of the world’s history.
Shouldn’t Have a Sequel: ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee
I had to read To Kill a Mockingbird for four high school and college courses, and I’ve come to love it so much. But when Go Set a Watchman came out and it was supposed to be the long-awaited sequel, I was heartbroken.
Now, I’m not saying I don’t want a sequel to the classic. I’m saying this isn’t the sequel I was expecting. The characters didn’t feel like themselves. And we skipped a considerable part of Scout’s life. We shouldn’t have gotten a dying Atticus; we should have gotten a curious teenage Scout instead. We managed to go this long without a sequel from Harper Lee–and frankly, it should have stayed that way.
Should Have a Sequel: ‘Flipped’ by Wendelin Van Draanen
Flipped is one of my favorite books (and movies) of all time. So it’s not shocking I wanted more of Juli and Bryce. This was the first time I’d read a book that told the same story from opposite sides of a budding romance. I just want to know what happened after the ending.
Juli and Bryce met just before second grade, and she fell hard first. Then, once she’s moved on, Bryce starts to like her. The book ends with the two planting a tree and becoming friends. I just want to know if they fall in love or just stay friends as they grow up.
Shouldn’t Have a Sequel: ‘The Hundred and One Dalmatians’ by Dodie Smith
Did you know Disney’s 101 Dalmatians (and its many other Dalmatian-centric movies and shows) was inspired by a novel? Dodie Smith’s The Hundred and One Dalmatians is pretty much just like the classic flick, but the sequels take a hard left turn that even Disney wasn’t going to take.
The Starlight Barking takes the story of the Dalmatians and turns it into a sci-fi adventure. The humans have gone into a deep sleep caused by Sirius, an alien dog. The Midnight Kittens is the third book in the series, and it’s not even about the Dalmatians. I still don’t understand the point of the sequels.
Should Have a Sequel: ‘The Host’ by Stephenie Meyer
The Host was an enjoyable read that had the potential to be great. The book was initially planned to have two sequels. But for some reason, Stephenie Meyer has been pretty quiet about it. She said she has outlines for the next two books, so where are they, Stephenie?
The Host follows Wanderer, AKA Wanda, who shares her current body with its previous host, Melanie. Wanda travels to where Melanie’s family and friends live, and she helps them fight back against her species. At the end of the book, Wanda and Melanie are in separate bodies, both happy and friends.
If you watched the movie adaptation starring Saoirse Ronan, you know that it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, leaving us to wonder what might have happened after the credits rolled. It looks like we’ll be hanging off that cliff for a long, long time.