Chat It Up: Series or Standalone?

Before we go on further, I would like to set the parameters of this little discussion. I am only talking bout contemporary books, but most specifically, fluffy reads, as is the theme of this blog.

For contemporary books, it is most common to see standalones. And I love that. It doesn't require so much commitment. You get a full story. What's not to love? (Wanting more maybe) But overall, that is my preference.

For contemporary series books though, there are two kinds. I'm sure everyone knows this. The most common kind of series for any genre of books is one where you follow around the same characters and storylines. But another kind of series that we see a lot in contemporaries is that where there are different protagonists for each book that they can pretty much be a standalone. So I don't really know how to classify the two so let's just go with series and standalone-series.

If a contemporary were to be turned into a series, I would totally choose standalone-series. The thing about contemporaries is that they don't have a lot going on in terms of plot. A lot of it has been done already. What makes each book unique is usually the writing, characters, etc. So to drag it on for so long definitely doesn't work so well in my opinion. That's why I choose standalone-series. You get something new from each book while still seeing some characters you've loved before. Examples: Anna and the French Kiss series by Stephanie Perkins and Camp Boyfriend series by J.K. Rock. In a sense, they're like standalones too, which is my first preference.

With series contemporaries, I usually get annoyed. I really don't like it, especially when the sequel doesn't even give much. Too much drama is piled on. I just can't take it. But, there are those that have worked for me, although very few. Some that I liked were The Little Blue Envelopes series by Maureen Johnson and If I Stay series by Gayle Forman. So I don't really avoid this, but I'd be sour about it before I even read the sequels.

What about you? What do you prefer when it comes to contemporaries? Standalone? Standalone-series? Series?

Talk, ramble, discuss, 
Fluffy Reader Francine


  1. I don't really read contemporaries, so I can't really give much of a valid opinion on this, but I think in theory what you say makes sense. It really seems like there's only so much you can do with a contemporary storyline. Sure, you can keep adding more to it and messing with it, but then I think it can sort of become a fantasy in a way because it stretches past the point of believability with the all things happening to the characters. Contemporaries, especially the light fluffy ones, don't need to go beyond one book because if they do, they'll lose that light happiness.

    Now if we were to look at these when it comes to like fantasy books? I'd prefer following one character. But that's different! :P

  2. I'm not much of a contemporary reader (as you know, haha), but I think I would prefer a simple standalone (no series whatsoever).

    Contemporaries are all about reading about the happenings in someone's life over a (generally) short period of time. They might be broken at the beginning, work through that brokenness at the end, and then be less broken by the end. And then we, as readers, have to try and invent what we think might happen to the character/s afterwards because I find that most contemporaries are pretty open ended.

    I think if there's a sequel to a contemporary that ends openly, it feels kind of off. Like, there's what we thought had happened, by making it up in our minds, and then the author has taken away that open-ness and written an ending. I don't know, it just feels weird.

    With the standalone-series, where the books are companion novels rather than anything else - it depends on whether or not I liked that secondary character enough to want to read an entire book about them. And also if the story is different enough from the very first one. I have heard some things about companion contemporary novels being very similar, which I think would be very annoying.

    Anyway, at the end of this rambly comment, I must say that I prefer singular standalones, because I feel that's how contemporaries should be told. But then when it comes to series, companion series are probably better because it gives insight into another person and their story.