For the month of July, I’m planning a series of posts about readalikes: what to read (or what to suggest to your favorite child reader) when you’ve read all of your favorite author’s books or all of the books of a certain genre that you know of, and you don’t know what to read next. What if you’ve read all thirteen of Lemony Snicket’s woeful, hilariously funny series of unfortunate events? What’s next? What can top the Baudelaire orphans and their misadventures?
They’re not all series of unfortunate orphan cliffhangers, but if you like the wordplay and wit or the dark humor and adventure in the Lemony Snicket books, you might try these:
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Milo is bored, but not for long. When a tollbooth and a car appear in his bedroom, Milo decides he might well play along. He’s got nothing else to do. Little does he know that the land he is entering will be both exciting and adventurous, far from boring.
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. Orphans, check. Mystery, check. Eccentricity, check. This book is much longer than one of the Unfortunate Events books, but since there are only three in this series and thirteen in Lemony Snicket’s saga, the page count comes out to about the same in the end. Four gifted children are sent undercover as spies at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. I didn’t know until recently that Ms. Aiken wrote twelve books in the Wolves Chronicles, including a prequel. I have three of them in my library, but I’d like to collect and read them all. These do have orphans and wolves and danger and an alternate British setting.
The Whispering Mountain, a prequel to the series
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
Black Hearts in Battersea
Nightbirds on Nantucket
The Stolen Lake
The Cuckoo Tree
Dido and Pa
Cold Shoulder Road
The Witch of Clatteringshaws
Maryrose Wood’s Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series is about three children who were raised by wolves. The story, which features governess Penelope Lumley, a fifteen year old graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, continues with much cliff-hanging action and excitement through five volumes:
The Mysterious Howling, Book 1.
The Hidden Gallery, Book 2.
The Unseen Guest, Book 3.
The Interrupted Tale, Book 4.
The Unmapped Sea, Book 5.
Lemony Snicket himself, aka Daniel Handler, has written a new series that’s akin to the Unfortunate Event series, but more confusing and weird. It actually features author Lemony Snicket when he was thirteen and just learning to write and detect. If you liked Unfortunate Events, you might like the series All the Wrong Questions:
“Who Could That Be at This Hour?”
“When Did You See Her Last?”
“Shouldn’t You Be in School?”
“Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?”