Recommendations for… first books of series you could read as a standalone

Even though I participate in giving Monthly Recommendations, I thought I would start my own where every couple weeks I give recommendations for a specific topic. Today I’m doing recommendations of first books in series you could read as a standalone.

AKA calling me out for never finishing series.

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Wither by Lauren DeStefano

I actually don’t know if this was a series when I read it (I think it was but idk), so I never continued the series. But I really enjoyed Wither, and I actually really recommend it. It has a super interesting premise, great female relationships, a great plot. I think it’s highly underrated.


Legend by Marie Lu

Legend is the only YA dystopian I read after the Hunger Games that I still reread and genuinely enjoy. It has insta-love, which sucks, but I forgive it because the rest is great. There’s my favourite trope in dystopian/fantasy of taking down the corrupt government, which is so well executed.


Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Vixen is about flappers in the 1920s, and I love it. It’s such a sweet, dramatic, angsty, easy-to-read book. The second book is good, too, but I think Vixen works well on it’s own as well.


The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

It seems like if you’ve read this book, you either love it or hate it. I’m closer to the loving it side, though I do realise it has problems (namely Mara being ~*~ not like other girls ~*~). That being said, I really like the ending of this one and never continued the series.


Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan

Okay I didn’t realise this was a trilogy until like two years ago. I assumed the worst of the ending, and then I was on Goodreads and was like “wait wtf”. But if you want a guilty pleasure romance with angst through the roof, this is the one for you.


The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

loved this book when I was younger, and it’s what started by obsession with synesthesia. It’s super interesting, and I highly recommend it.


Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

I think we all know how much I love this book, but in case you had forgotten, here’s a reminder. It has everything you could want: badass women, angsty romance, good bromances, action, poison, magic kingdoms, a transgender character. Read it.


The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson

I think this was probably originally just supposed to be a standalone and then when it did well, the author milked it (typical). I haven’t read the other books, but I know people who have and didn’t enjoy them as much. HOWEVER, the Butterfly Garden is such a good, dark, twisted book that I highly recommend if you’re into those things.

(review coming Friday!)


A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

So I know this series is so beloved. But honestly, the first book is by far the strongest, and could just be read by itself. If you aren’t a series person but still want to try this book, I would definitely recommend it. It’s great, and the ending is good enough to just read it as a standalone IMO.

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So, those are the first books in a series I think you could read as a standalone! Have you read any of these? Do you agree with me? Are there any other books from series you think you could read as a standalone? Let me know!!

Thanks for reading! xx


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18 thoughts on “Recommendations for… first books of series you could read as a standalone

  1. I’ve only read two of these, but I agree with you on both of them! I was one of those people who read The Butterfly Garden’s sequels and found they weren’t nearly as strong as the first. It also definitely didn’t feel like it was meant to be a series. There’s actually another one coming out this year I think? Even though the third was supposed to be the last. Definitely milking it.

    I only read the first Shade of Magic book, and I was pretty happy not continuing the series. I really liked the book! But I just didn’t feel compelled to continue. So I’m glad to hear it’s the strongest, and could definitely be read as a standalone. 🙂

    This is such a fun, unique post! It’s interesting to see how some books leave off with definite room for a sequel, whereas some don’t necessarily.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay so glad you agree!! I figured it probably wasn’t worth reading the rest of the series, and yeah, it definitely seems like the success of the Butterfly Garden is being milked.

      I’m glad you enjoyed ADSoM! It’s definitely the strongest as a standalone, IMO.

      Thank you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read the Mara Dyer series yet, but may try the first book at some point. If I don’t love it, I doubt I’ll continue the sequels. Haha. And even though I adore the Shades of Magic trilogy, I definitely think that someone can read only the first book and be perfectly satisfied where it ends! Lovely post, Ally! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I completely agree about Poison Study! I loved the first book, and liked the following ones much less. (This is the second blog post I’ve read today to mention this book. I think that’s the universe telling me it’s time to re-read it.)

    Liked by 1 person

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