Top 13 Crime Families in YA Literature

It’s release day for Pyromantic by Lish McBride today, the sequel to Firebug and one of my all-time favorite series. It’s got loads of snark & sass, the perfect dash of romance, and my favorite combination of all time ever: crime families in YA literature.

Seriously, I LOVE organized crime/crime families/the mob/the maffia/etc. in YA literature. Sometimes it’s mixed with magic — like it is in Pyromantic — and sometimes it’s more realistic. But whatever form it takes, I can’t get enough.

So to celebrate the release of Pyromantic, here are my picks for the best crime families in YA literature!

Full disclosure: I’m really listing 13 books; some of these are from the same series or trilogies.

1. White Cat by Holly Black

This is the book that started it all for me; the one that got me hooked on crime families in YA. It’s the first in a trilogy, followed by:

2. Red Glove by Holly Black

3. Black Heart by Holly Black

This is one series whose cover change I never quite got over. I lament that my hardcover of Black Heart does not match the first two books.

4. Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer

I think this trilogy was the second series to continue feeding my love of organized crime in YA. Originally published in Germany, I was thrilled when the English translations were published here in the U.S.

5. Arcadia Burns by Kai Meyer

6. Arcadia Falls by Kai Meyer

7. Firebug by Lish McBride

I love, love, love this series. As I mentioned previously, Lish is a master of snark and sass and these books are chock-full of them. They’re also packed full of wit, humor, action, and just a dash of romance.

8. Pyromantic by Lish McBride

In stores TODAY!

9. Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt

This is a contemporary, no-magic series of companion novels – so technically, you can read them separately from each other. But honestly, why wouldn’t you just read them all in order? Each book is also loosely based on a fairy tale, thus the series is dubbed the “Once Upon a Crime Family” series.

10. Break Me Like a Promise by Tiffany Schmidt

11. Vendetta by Catherine Doyle

Here’s another contemporary, magic-free crime series. This first book was published by Scholastic in the U.S., but so far, I’ve only been able to find the subsequent books from U.K. booksellers (via Amazon or Book Depository). Still, if you love organized crime in YA as much as I do, you won’t let that stop you from devouring these books.

12. Inferno by Catherine Doyle

I think the third book in this series, Mafiosa, was just recently published in the U.K., too!

13. Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

The only standalone book on our list! This is also a contemporary that follows one girl, facing the truth about her family and confronting it head-on.

Any others that I missed? Please let me know in the comments!

Also let me know: what are your favorites from this list?






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