This week's topic was suggested by me awhile back! To me, a really good sequel should take the themes and characters from the first book and advance them so much that you're sort of knocked off your seats.
In no particular order:
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins - I can't think of a better companion to Anna and the French Kiss - not only do we get lots of Anna and St. Clair, but we get another amazing, sweet, aching romance that just stays in our hearts.
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys - This isn't technically a sequel to Jane Eyre - more like a companion - but for me, Wide Sargasso Sea elevated Jane Eyre so much that I actually enjoyed the latter - and that's what a sequel should do.
The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson - The reason this works: I never expected a sequel because I thought 13 Little Blue Envelopes ended so perfectly, but then Maureen comes back and pulls this very complex, very emotional plot out of her head, and throws in more travel, more complicated teen relationships and lots of laughter...and it's just amazing. It's the completion I never knew I needed.
Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty - I mean. Do I even have to say anything here? Sloppy Firsts was incredible, but Second Helpings MAKES THE SERIES. The speech at the end. The passion red t-shirt. COME ON.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling - I know a lot of people will probably put something HP on their lists...but I'm not sure there are that many people who love Half-Blood Prince like I do. I LOVED the backstory on Voldemort, I loved Harry's growing feelings for Ginny, and I thought the ending with Dumbledore was brilliant. I felt like this book was the culmination of everything I'd been waiting for.
Where She Went by Gayle Forman - I fully admit to liking, but not LOVING If I Stay. I thought it was well done, but I wasn't squeeing over it. And then comes this totally magical, one-night-in-New-York book in Adam's voice, where Mia and Adam just try to unravel things...I think my heart stopped at least ten times. I was crying from feels.
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein - I've said so much about this and Code Name Verity lately that I'll just leave you with this: when you can't decide if the original or the sequel is better...it's a great sequel.
The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy - I read the entire Border Trilogy in high school, and I remember thinking that while All the Pretty Horses was beautiful, the brotherhood that Billy had with the wolf in The Crossing just slayed me.
The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien - While Fellowship will always be my favourite, The Return of the King had me sobbing, trying to push Frodo and Sam up the effing mountain, then cheering on Eowyn, then wanting to punch the other hobbits in the Shire. A great end to a great series.
Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery - is ANYONE going to argue with me here? The original Anne and Anne of Avonlea were wonderful, but Anne and her college pals and Patty's Place and that horrid proposal...SO MUCH AWESOME.
What's on your list of awesome sequels? Did I miss any great series here? I tried to include both adult and YA for a change! Let me know what you think in the comments!