The Quickly Vanishing YA Standalone

Hello guys! This post idea literally came to me yesterday while I was finishing off reading Rebel of the Sands.  At the moment when I realised that it wasn’t going to be a standalone.

I’m going to be focusing really on YA fantasy then contemporary as contemporaries seem to be mostly standalones which is understandable. But the amount of YA fantasy standalones are close to zilch.


I understand that many story arcs need multiple books to develop a story and its characters and so on and so forth. But sometimes it isn’t needed. Sometimes the story arc and the arcs of the characters can be wrapped up in one book. Rebel of the Sands could of been wrapped up in one book and I find it frustrating that the story line is being dragged out for too long.


I’m not accusing any one book of doing this, but sometimes I feel that the publishers are tagging onto this trilogy hype just to extract more money from the original material. I’ve heard many people talk about trilogies where the fist book that absolutely loved, while the second and third were disappointments. Some of these trilogies might be the victims of publisher greed.

There was one fantasy standalone that got considerable hype which was Soundless by Richelle Mead. This fantasy book was considered so special because it was a standalone (and it dealt within Chinese mythology I think) but when the reviews came in, they were pretty mixed. Many of the meh to negative reviews talked about how the pacing was whack and how a hundred more pages would of made the ending more satisfying. I have not read this book and I don’t plan on doing so. All I know is that writers might be scared now of just making their fantasy stories one book.

As a bibliophile, I do love series. I love knowing that I can continue on reading in that particular world or seeing familiar characters again and having a satisfying, epic ending. But I also love just wrapping up a story in one book and having the ‘freedom’ I guess to venture into another one. Though this book isn’t necessarily YA Fantasy, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a great example of how a book with a great arc and great characters can wrap its self up nicely.


So how do you feel about the dwindling amount of YA Fantasy Standalones? Do you like trilogies so much that you don’t really care? Or are you just in the middle? Comment below and let’s get this discussion going!

I’ll write soon.


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19 thoughts on “The Quickly Vanishing YA Standalone

  1. jbgarner58 says:

    There’s a tendency, just on a writing level, to think it larger terms these days, even if it may not be appropriate. I think it’s something that pervades all kinds of media now. Look at the film industry, where the creators want to interconnect everything now. Sometimes this is great, sometimes this is horrible, and often it’s just mediocre.

    We’ve talked about this before, Astra, so you know I’ve been caught up in that trap myself to a degree. Still puzzling that one out (though I’m edging towards a duology for sure). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. thesassygeek says:

    Great discussion post, Astra, I really like this subject. I definitely think we need more YA stand alones (fantasy or other genres)! Well, that are done right anyways. I like wrapping up a book and not having to worry about waiting forever for two more. I don’t really have the patience for series, I prefer to read one book at a time. I know I was really disappointed with “Soundless”, I think if it were a little bit longer it could have been way more satisfying. It did not by any means need to be a series or anything like that though.

    I read (and very much enjoyed) “Crimson Bound” by Rosamund Hodge, which is a stand alone YA Fantasy book. Honestly it’s one of the very, very few I’ve read and liked that aren’t part of a series. I liked that everything was answered and when I was done, I was done. No waiting.

    Sorry for the long comment! I just LOVE this subject, haha. You make such great points on it as well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • A Stranger's Guide to Novels says:

      Don’t worry, I love long comments! I’m happy that you’re so interested in the topic.
      I am so with you one patience. I seriously have none so waiting for a whole year for a book is tedious for me! I guess I don’t really mind if the plot is going somewhere, but if it isn’t then what’s the point.
      I love the feeling of just being done with a book as you described. It’s satisfying just to know you are done with that world and dragging it out makes me feel a bit resentful towards it.


  3. Lois says:

    I definitely think that some franchises are being extended so they can capitalize on the success of the first book. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you feel like there’s more you could expand upon plot and character wise. However, you need to know where to draw the line and I feel like with this idea of building a franchise not just with the books but in the media that line is blurred and ignores. I mean look at the Shadowhunters world. You’ve gone from having 2 series to now having 6 series released in that same universe.

    The only fantasy standalone I can think of is Uprooted by Naomi Novik and I definitely think we need to see more of standalones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A Stranger's Guide to Novels says:

      Definitely. It isn’t a bad thing to turn your standalone into a series, but when there is no plot whatsoever…then there is a problem. The Shdaowhunter world had so many books! I hues that there must be a demand for them or there wouldn’t be so many, but still I do get a little lost with them.
      I’m planning on reading Uprooted this year and hopefully it will prove my point that YA fantasy books can be standalones.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. AccioPadfoot says:

    I like both. However, I do think there needs to be more stand alone novels that aren’t contemporary like you said. I’m not big on contemporary so trying to find a stand alone novel in the YA genre to read kinda sucks.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Kat Impossible says:

    I actually just finished The Siren by Kiera Cass and I had this fixed idea in my head that it was a series, but nope – totally a standalone. I am not sure you can call it Fantasy, but it definitely has something mystical about it. I am sort of glad and sad that it’s only one book. The story was great and doesn’t need a continuation, but sometimes you just want to stay with characters longer. So I am torn about the subject – clearly!

    Liked by 1 person

    • A Stranger's Guide to Novels says:

      I understand how you can be torn on this subject! I guess I think it comes to whether the story has enough to give or if the story can be laid to rest in one book. That decision is hard one I guess but I think a lot of people are just picking the former even though their plot has thinned out.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. cw @ readthinkponder says:

    I love this post Astra! I usually love standalones because I feel like they can REALLY pack a punch in one book, and that’s when it’s most satisfying. You make a good point though; there really aren’t any fantasy standalones. And I wish there was more! I guess fantasies are written as a series because it allows more time to develop and expand the worldbuilding.

    Still, I believe authors can write a fantastic book with fleshed out worldbuilding in one book! But personally, it doesn’t really bother me unless it’s blatantly obvious that the story has been stretched into three books when it could easily have been one book.


  7. betweenthebookshelves says:

    I definitely agree that we need more standalones in a wider variety of YA genres. I’m not a huge contemporary fan and tend to go for other genres, but it’s quite annoying and a little intimidating to see all those series on the shelves. It would be nice to pick up a book and know that the story is over at the last page instead of having a sequel (or more) hanging over your head. I’m always paranoid that they will drop the ball in an effort to get the extra books (and money).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. selinn92 says:

    As long as the idea is well written and the plot continues to be amazing, I don’t care if the publisher pushed them to make a trilogy. It is hard to find great standalones in fantasy though 😦 Empire of Shadows was well done 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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