12 Books With Awesome Sequels

Here’s a question for you: what do pumpkin spiced lattes, puppies, chocolate cupcakes, and books all have in common? Give up? OK, I’ll tell you. When it comes to PSLs, furry pups, cupcakes (of pretty much any flavor,) and books, more is ALWAYS better. Ergo, books with awesome sequels — the ones that invite you to spend even more time with your favorite characters, take you back to that setting you love, and answer all those questions that left you hanging in the first book — are, well, awesome.

If there’s one thing all book lovers know, it’s the anguish of having to wait (and in some cases wait, and wait, and wait) for the release of the next sequel in your favorite book series. Just ask any George R.R. Martin fan. And while we’re all familiar with series like Lord of the Rings , Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables , The Chronicles of Narnia , and The Baby-Sitters Club — aka: some of the most beloved book series of all time — there are tons of other amazing stories out there with cannot-miss sequels. Some you might not even know about.

Ready to while away your next extra-long weekend reading through one amazing book sequel after another? Here are 12 books with awesome sequels that keep all the literary goodness coming.

1. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

The novel that first introduced readers to Elena and Lila, best friends growing up on the rough streets of 1950s Naples, put Italian author Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels series on the international book stage, for sure. My Brilliant Friend , and the novel’s subsequent titles: The Story of a New Name , Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay , and The Story of the Lost Child , follow Elena and Lila from childhood and into their adult lives as their relationship evolves through starting families, moving away from home, professional successes and failures, and the different choices each of these best friends make throughout their lives.

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2. The Small Rain by Madeleine L'Engle

Katherine Forrester is the daughter of well-known, if somewhat emotionally isolated, musicians, whose own emerging musical career is as intense as that of her parents. As a teen she spends most of her time alone — especially after the loss of her mother — and throws herself into her piano career with unwavering single-mindedness. The sequel to The Small Rain , the novel A Severed Wasp , meets Katherine Forrester (Vigneras) in her 70s, as she returns to the city of her youth and dives into the world of musical creation once again.

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3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Lisbeth Salander is not a woman you want to mess with — not in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo , nor in any of the three subsequent sequels that make up Steig Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy (now technically a quartet). Paired up with destroyed journalist Mikael Blomkvist, this tattooed, computer hacking genius helps investigate high-profile crimes — until, later in the series, she’s implicated in some crimes of her own.

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4. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones’s is the kind of self-aware, hyper-hilarious woman that every gal wants to be BFFs with; and Bridget Jones’s Diary takes readers on Bridget’s day-to-day journey of weight loss and weight gain, cutting down on alcohol and cigarettes (or, not so much) and discovering how to be the best Bridget Jones she can be. The sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason , takes you on even greater adventures with Miz Jones, as she grapples with disappointing men and smug married friends, and even travels all the way to Thailand.

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5. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart tells the story of Okonkwo, a man living in an Ibo village in Nigeria, and struggling with his obligations to his tribal society. Simultaneously, it chronicles the destruction of that same tribal society by European missionaries who have come to Okonkwo’s village, where their own values and traditions clash entirely with those of the Ibo. In the sequel, No Longer at Ease , Okonkwo has returned to his homeland after time spent abroad, and finds himself immersed in a whole new set of cultural and political challenges.

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6. Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller

Alexandra Fuller grew up in Rhodesia — a conflict-torn, unrecognized state in the southern heart of Africa that has since become Zimbabwe. Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight describes Fuller’s childhood, as she and her European-born parents flee one violent conflict after another, traveling across the heart of Africa and finally settling in Zambia. The sort-of prequel/sequel, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness , takes Fuller back to this unforgettable landscape as she explores the amazing, complicated life of her mother, Nicola.

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7. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Sex, drugs, jazz, art, and adventure are the themes that lie at the center of Jack Kerouac’s semi-autobiographical novel On the Road . Following the 1950s-era beatnik search for the American Dream, this novel follows the wanderings of some of fictions most celebrated characters: Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty. Sort-of sequel, The Dharma Bums , is a continuation of this journey, following two best friends in their search for truth and the zen way of living.

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8. The Giver by Lois Lowry

Jonas lives in a hauntingly Orwellian world of conformity, uniformity, and blind comfort. What he soon finds out, however, is that it is a world stripped of its memories — memories that consist of great pain, intense conflict, and sometimes great joy. When asked to be his community’s Reciever of Memories, he personally takes on all that has been forgotten. The Giver Quartet supplements The Giver with three more books: Gathering Blue , Messenger , and Son , all of which deal with similar themes.

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9. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

Another memoir with a sequel, Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes tells the story of McCourt’s childhood in depression-era New York City, and what it meant to be an Irish immigrant during those tumultuous years in American history. Beautiful, compassionate, and heart breaking, Angela’s Ashes is followed by ‘Tis , a memoir that picks up where McCourt’s first story left off, and is filled with just as much passionate, vibrant storytelling.

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10. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

One who is trapped in a "catch 22" has found themselves in a difficult situation for which there is no easy solution — or possibly any solution at all. As such, the hopeful and heroic bombardier who resides at the center of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 , Yossarian, is constantly finding himself in such dire straits, attempting to save himself from the risks and destruction of World War II. The sequel, Closing Time , encounters all the characters from Catch-22 as they each approach the end of their lives, and explores how their lifetimes were influenced by the experience of war.

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11. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

When Alice journeyed down the rabbit hole to discover some of the most fabulous, outrageous, and extravagantly-attired characters ever known to fiction, chances are you were right there alongside her, loving every minute of it. In the sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the story Through the Looking-Glass, Alice has embarked upon another adventure, this time through a mirror and into the upside-down and backwards world of the Red Queen, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and all the other characters you love.

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12. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

The only way you could love Jerry Spinelli’s Stargirl more than you already do is if there were more of her to love. Luckily, there’s a sequel. In the first novel, Susan Caraway introduces herself at Mica Area High School as Stargirl. Going to class makeup-free, wearing kimonos, playing the ukulele during lunch, and cheering for both teams at high school sporting events is only the beginning for this teenage guru of nonconformity. In the sequel, Love, Stargirl , you meet Susan a year after she's moved away from Mica High, and you’ll get all the updates on her life you’ve been waiting for.

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Image: tudor-rose/Flickr