Series to Binge On: Contemporary

Contemporaries are, for the most part, standalones with companion novels–but there are a few great series you don’t want to miss. This list has everything from thieves, spies, to high school sports, and stories guaranteed to appeal to those with a more realistic bent.

SWIM THE FLY by Don Calame

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Fifteen-year-old Matt Gratton and his two best friends, Coop and Sean, always set themselves a summertime goal. This year’s? To see a real-live naked girl for the first time — quite a challenge, given that none of the guys has the nerve to even ask a girl out on a date. But catching a girl in the buff starts to look easy compared to Matt’s other summertime aspiration: to swim the 100-yard butterfly (the hardest stroke known to God or man) as a way to impress Kelly West, the sizzling new star of the swim team. In the spirit of Hollywood’s blockbuster comedies, screenwriter-turned-YA-novelist Don Calame unleashes a true ode to the adolescent male: characters who are side-splittingly funny, sometimes crude, yet always full of heart.

HEIST SOCIETY by Ally Carter

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When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history–and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way. Continue reading

The Mob, Mafia, and Other Organized Crime Novels

Thieves. Mafia bosses. Drug lords. Outlaws. Mob lawyers.

All the way back to the tales of Robin Hood, we’ve loved stories about thieves and the criminal underworld–whether the characters have a heart of gold or not. Here are the best books from our collection that fit the bill!

SON OF THE MOB (Son of the Mob, #1) by Gordon Korman

Vince Luca is just like any other high school guy. His best friend, Alex, is trying to score vicariously through him; his brother is a giant pain; and his father keeps bugging him to get motivated. There is just one thing that really sets him apart for other kidshis father happens to be the head of a powerful crime organization. Needless to say, while Vince’s family’s connections can be handy for certain things-like when teachers are afraid to give him a bad grade as they can put a serious crimp in his dating life. How is he supposed to explain to a girl what his father does for a living? But when Vince finally meets one who seems to be worth the trouble, her family turns out to be the biggest problem of all. Because her father is an FBI agent-the one who wants to put his father away for good.

THE GODFATHER by Mario Puzo

More than thirty years ago, a classic was born. A searing novel of the Mafia underworld, The Godfather introduced readers to the first family of American crime fiction, the Corleones, and the powerful legacy of tradition, blood, and honor that was passed on from father to son. With its themes of the seduction of power, the pitfalls of greed, and family allegiance, it resonated with millions of readers across the world—and became the definitive novel of the virile, violent subculture that remains steeped in intrigue, in controversy, and in our collective consciousness.

ARTEMIS FOWL (Artemis Fowl, #1) by Eoin Colfer

Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius—and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren’t the fairies of bedtime stories; these fairies are armed and dangerous. Artemis thinks he has them right where he wants them…but then they stop playing by the rules.

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