Paranormal’s become an increasingly rare find in YA since the days when young sorcerers, vampires, and werewolves ruled the shelves, which is a serious shame for those of us who love a little something super in their natural. But there have been some definite standouts creeping onto shelves in the past few years, from Sarah Rees Brennan’s Lynburn Legacy series to Kali Wallace’s Shallow Graves to Lindsay Ribar’s Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies. The titles below focus on the combination of paranormal and another of my favorite things: two-book series, aka duologies. Here are five favorites.
Sekret and Skandal, by Lindsay Smith
Could there be a more relevant duology right now? Smith’s professional expertise in the increasingly interesting Russia shines through in this Cold War–set pairing about psychic teen spies. The protagonist of both books is Yulia, a seventeen-year-old living in Soviet Russia who’s able to read an object owner’s history simply by touching it. When she’s kidnapped by the KGB and forced to join their elite psychic spy unit, escape is the first thing on her mind, until her loved ones are captured and using her power is the only way to possibly set them free. There’s romance, music, betrayal, twists, and the highest stakes possible. While it may be paranormal, if you’ve ever been curious about the Cold War, I cannot recommend getting a healthy dose of well-done history right here. (For more in the series, check out prequel novella Kursed.)
Pivot Point and Split Second, by Kasie West
Those who eagerly await West’s reliably banterful contemporary romances year after year may not realize she actually broke onto the YA scene with this paranormal duology. (Heavy on ridiculously shippable romance, naturally.) At its heart is Addie, a girl with the ability to look into the future to see both possible outcomes of a decision—something that comes in super handy when her parents announce they’re getting a divorce and ask whom she wants to live with. Life with her mom means status quo, while life with her dad brings new adventures and a potential new romance. But danger follows Addie down her split path, and the choices she’s forced to make within her choices may force losses she’ll never recover from.
Beware the Wild and Behold the Bones, by Natalie C. Parker
Are you a fan of Southern Gothic gorgeousness? If so, Parker’s companion duology, each narrated by a different girl in a friend group in the small town of Sticks, Louisiana, is an absolute must. It begins with the story of Sterling Saucier, who loses her brother to Sticks’ legendary swamp and finds that no one remembers he ever existed; to them, the girl who emerges is the one who has been Sterling’s sole sibling the entire time. But Heath believes Sterling that the murky glowing waters of the swamp have upended her life, because he knows what it is to lose someone to the swamp, and joins her in her determination to set things right. Reading this series is like being trapped in a tangibly foggy glow of the most beautiful order, and if you want to see just how much magic can be infused into a story in which no one actually has powers, snatch it up ASAP.
The Art of Wishing and The Fourth Wish, by Lindsay Ribar
On the surface, this duo about a teen girl who falls for the genie charged with granting her wishes may seem like a light and fluffy romance…and it is, which is awesome. But, as in many light and fluffy romances, there’s so much beneath the surface, and in this case, it’s a whole lot of cool exploration of gender, sexuality, free will, and consent. Oliver is Margo’s for the time it takes her to make three wishes, at which point he’ll move on to become someone else’s genie. Margo takes her sweet time contemplating the perfect wishes, and soon doesn’t want to make a third wish at all, for fear of losing Oliver completely. But when his murderous ex-boyfriend enters the picture, losing Oliver becomes an even more threatening prospect than she ever imagined.
Nearly Gone and Nearly Found, by Elle Cosimano
This riveting, Edgar-nominated mystery pair stars Nearly Boswell, a girl whose secrets range from the finer details of her home life to her ability to sense emotions through touch. It’s the latter that comes in handy when her affinity for personal ads leads her to clues that might help her solve a rash of violence against her classmates…and to Reece, the bad-boy student who’s actually a narc, and possibly the only person who can help Nearly unveil the killer before she becomes his next victim.