One of the teen girls I've mentored loaned me her favorite book series, The Secret of the Rose by Michael Phillips. This book series takes place primarily in Prussia and Germany before, during and after World War II. The story follows Sabina von Dortmann, a young lady in the years before the war, and Matthew, an American living overseas with his diplomatic father, throughout their lives. I honestly learned a lot from these historical fiction books, however they were what I would call "slow" reads - very informative but difficult to get through because of the German & Russian names & places and the multitude of characters. There were numerous plots and sub-plots throughout the series - click the links below for more detail about each book.
The My Name is America and Dear America series are similar books - they share stories of one person while including history within the story. These books are written in the form of journals, however I think the writing is occasionally above the level of the youth who is supposed to be writing the journal. This year I read three of these books:
(1) The Journal of Jesse Smoke : A Cherokee Boy, Trail of Tears, 1838
(2) Color Me Dark: The Diary of Nellie Lee Love--The Great Migration North, Chicago, Illinois, 1919
(3) The Great Railroad Race: The Diary of Libby West, Utah Territory 1868
Inheritance Cycle series this year, too. I read the first couple of books in this series over five years ago when I was still teaching middle school and many of my students were reading these books. I recently finished up the final two books, completing the 860-page Inheritance a couple of days ago. These books remind me of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series with humans, dwarves, elves, and various other species. The primary characters are Eragon, a farm boy who becomes the last Rider, and his dragon, Saphira. These two go through many adventures and battles as they help save the Empire. I thoroughly enjoyed these books, however they were each very long and it sometimes took me a while to get into them. (And besides that, the hardback copies I have were much too heavy to hold while I was riding the exercise bike!)
Have you read any good book series lately?