The Ultimate List of YA Fantasy Books: 65+ Picks

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We love YA fantasy book so gathering a list of our favorites was easy! The hard part? determining which category to put these YA fantasy books.

One of the best thing about this genre is that books fit into so many different sub-genres.. A book can have romance and be historical fantasy or a book can be a series but also a fairy tale re-telling.

But the best thing about these books is that every young adult fantasy will take you away to a different time or place and let you immerse yourself in a new reality for a little while.

YA Fantasy Book Sections

Looking for a specific sub-genre of ya fantasy books? Click these links below to jump to the section of your choice.

Witch // Vampire // Historical Fantasy // Pirate // Fairy // Fairytale Retellings // Magical Realism // Dystopian // Paranormal // Royal // Diverse // Fantasy Series // Stand Alone // Angel // Romance // Circus // Magic School // Greek// Dragon

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Witch YA Fantasy Books

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

I absolutely loved this book about Sunny, a twelve year old girl who lives with her parents and two bothers in Nigeria. Sunny is albino and teased for her looks.

When Sunny discovers that she is a “free agent”, someone with magical abilities whose parents are not magic, she enters a world she didn’t know existed. Sunny and her three fellow magical students must study and learn their abilities in order to stop the Black Hat Killer before he brings about complete destruction.

Unlike anything that I have read before, the story is woven beautifully.

The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

I loved this book and read it in only a few days.   Once a year, Wren is chased through the forest by a group of boys who deliberately taunt her and terrify her.  They are judges-  a powerful group of families who control magic.  Little do they know that Wren is an Augur- another magical family who has to keep her identity hidden. 

The war between the Judges and the Augur is old and deep.  In order to save her family, Wren must take an internship within the walls of a Judge’s home and risk everything.  The lies and the deceit are spellbinding I cannot wait to read the next book in the series

Spells Trouble by P.C Cast and Kristin Cast

Hunter and Mercy Goode are twins who are about the celebrate their birthday and learn what it means to be the gatekeepers.

They are witches. When trees start dying, the gates start opening and people start dying, the twins are not prepared for what they must do do save the town and themselves.

This is the first book in a trilogy and although I enjoyed it, there were a few things that disappointed me. I also think that the plot twist could have been less obvious. Also, It was clear that this is the first book because the story ends rather abruptly and leaves you hanging (a huge pet peeve). Now I have to wait until April of 2022 to know what happens next! Ugh!

Thank you Macmillian Audio for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

The Watchmakers Daughter (Glass and Steel#1 by C.J Archer

I read this book in a day. I then read the next three is as many days. I am not sure what is do addicting in them but they are just that- addicting.  There is a little magic, a great story and a whole lot of chemistry going on in these books.

India Steel does not know what to do when her father dies and her fiancé steals her inheritance- the watch store where she always worked. Members of the watchmaking guild are afraid of her. Left with no other choice, India takes a job with Matthew Glass. A charistmatic, if not mysterious man from America. 

Young Adult Vampire Fantasy Books

For more Vampire fantasy novels, check out our list of best Vampire Fantasy Books.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Twilight started a phenomenon and obsession with vampires in the same way that Harry Potter created an obsession with magic. This is obviously my opinion but I am sticking with it.

This vampire trilogy is definitely lacking the gore and fear factor and makes up for it with an amazing romance. I mean, I think there are people who still have their “team Jacob” and “team Edward” shirts. For the record, I was always team Edward.

If you have not read this series yet, what are you waiting for?

Vampire Diaries by L.J Smith

The popular CW show was a best-selling series first. Brother Stephen and Damon, are both vampires who have come back to their hometown.

Damon wants revenge on Stephen, Stephen wants peace with his brother, and Elena is the girl stuck in between. The books and the show are different, but if you like the show, you should try these books too.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Royal vampires and their body guards train at the famed Vampire Academy where this book is set. Lissa is a princess and her best friend, Rose, is training to be her protector.

When a series of crazy events happen that threaten Lissa’s safety, Rose is on a mission to figure out who is behind the threats….. if she doesn’t get distracted while lusting over her teacher first.

Historical Fantasy Books for Teens

All that Glitters (Enchanteé #1) by Gita Trelease

Camille is an orphan who must use magic to transform pieces of metal into money in order to buy food for her sister. But when the magic starts to fail, Camille must use dark magic to transform herself into a baroness in the court of Louis the 16th.

Soon, the dark magic takes its toll and Camille must make a choice between reality and magic. When revolution erupts, Camille must determine how to survive.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

This YA historical fantasy that takes place in Paris in 1889 where coercion, magic, betrayal, and murder are the norm.   At the Exposition Universalle World Fair is an artifact that will give the owner magical Forging abilities.

Severin and his fiercely loyal friends come together to take the artifact in the hope of also obtaining Serverin’s inheritance. Severin finds himself torn between his loyalty to his friends and his desire for revenge.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

I listened to the audible version of this book and I was hysterical. It is a twist on the historical tale of Lady Jane Grey the 9 days Queen.

Instead of Catholics and Protestants, this book gave us people who could transform into animals and those who could not. It was ridiculous but funny and the authors cleverly wove in historical details and sayings attributing them to the characters.

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Louise Le Blanche is a witch, Reid Diggory is a witch hunter, but when they are forced to be married Lou has to keep her identity a secret and try not to fall for her handsome husband.

Set in the pre-industrial age in Paris, France, this historical fantasy book is perfect for lovers of YA! It’s got funny, fierce heroines, a steamy love story, and a cast that is actually diverse! I devoured all three books in this series.

My Contrary Mary by Cynthia Hand

The latest book by this writing trio is another historical fantasy with a twist. This time it’s Mary Queen of Scot’s story that gets the magic treatment.

Mary can transform at will to a mouse, but she needs to keep is a secret as shape-shifting is frowned upon. Can she be the Queen the country needs, win Francis’s heart, and keep her secret?

Pirate Fantasy Books for Teens

Fable (Fable #1) by Adrienne Young

I’m not the resident fantasy girl, but HOLY YES BATMAN. This story of a bad-ass female pirate was incredible. Normally, I only like fantasies if they have a strong romantic element. But in Fable, I found myself drawn in by our namesake character and the vivid world description.

Well done, Reese with this pick….I need to go update our list of the best Reese Book Club picks now, because this one is top-notch.

Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas

I loved this unique Peter Pan story that had me thinking about the true meaning of Neverland and the stories of the lost boys. Wendy Darling and her parents have never been able to move on after her brothers disappeared mysteriously five years ago.

Wendy has no memories of the 6 months she was gone and no explanation for why she came home and her brothers didn’t. Now, as children start to go missing again, it feels like too similar to be a coincidence. This is a smart, well-written, well thought out twisted Peter Pan story. Thank you to for my copy of this book.

The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Flora and her brother are pirates on the Dove. In order to protect her identity, she has become Florian and is tasked with protecting Lady Evelyn on the ship until the time she can be sold.

Flora does not intend to fall in love with Evelyn and when the two free a captured mermaid, they change the fate of more than just her.

I am so glad that someone recommended this book to me. It is one of those books that really did not get the visibility that it should have. This book is so well written and is filled with magic while also exploring the power of love.

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Berry

This Peter Pan retelling finds Peter aboard a ship of sailors. He and a bunch of other orphans aboard the ship have to protect a treasure locked in a chest hidden on the ship from pirate captain Black Stache.

Think of this as the origin story to Tinkerbell, her fairy dust, and how Peter gained his abilities to fly.

YA Fantasy Books about Fairies

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This book has a cult-like following for a reason. The first book in the series is a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in the world of Prythian. Magical creatures, humans, and fae are all prominent in the book.

This is a fast-paced, addicting, romance fantasy series. A love triangle develops by the end of the story and book 2 is jaw dropping! You will want to binge this series in one week.

If you loved ACOTAR, check out this list of books just like it.

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of Air #1) by Holly Black

When Jude was seven years old, her parents were murdered and she was taken to live in the high court of the Faeries with her two sisters. Now, ten years later, Jude is living as a human among faeries and trying to find her place in Court.

This YA fantasy if filled with angst, treachery, and drama that makes it completely addicting.  As a matter of fact, I ordered the sequel the minute that I was done with this book, which is the first in a trilogy.

Glimmerglass by Jenna Black

This was a fun quick YA read about Dana Hathaway: a half-human, half-Faerie 16 year old.  She leaves her alcoholic mother to go to Avalon and meet her father for the first time. 

Avalon is the gateway to the fairy realm and she will soon question who she should trust when she discovers she is a Faeriewalker, someone who can travel between the human and faerie world. Now, that she is caught between two worlds, she does not know who to trust and everyone seems to want something from her.

Fairy Tale Retellings

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

I adored this book by Novik. I loved the strong female characters, the story, and the writing.  This book is an adaptation of Rumplestiltskin that complex and wonderful and the ending had me in tears.

Miryem’s family are moneylenders but her family is in poverty because her father does not collect his debts. In an effort to save her family, Miryem begins collecting the debts herself and soon a rumor begins that she can turn silver into gold. Soon, these rumors spread to the king of Staryk and Miryem’s life changes forever when he comes to see if the rumors are true.

Cinder by Melissa Meyer

This 4 book series is set in the future in a time of disease and war.  This series is a part twisted fairy tale, part dystopia, and part sci-fi fantasy.  

Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel are re-imagined as you have never seen them before. All of them are smart and strong women far from the helpless damsels in distress we know them to be. 

The first book, introduces us to Cinder.  She is a cyborg (part human, part machine) who lives with her…… guessed it….. two step-sisters and step mother.

If you’ve read and loved Cinder, check out this list of books just like it!

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

If you love A Court of Thorns and Roses, this is the perfect book for you.  It is another fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast and I read it for a buddy read with some bookstagram friends.   

I really enjoyed this book although it is definitely a lot tamer than the ⁣other books in the series.  It is not a typical retelling because it has more of a  love triangle but, I don’t want to reveal more.⁣ It’s the first in the series.

A Spindle Splinter by Alex E. Harrow

This is the story of sleeping beauty like you have never read it before. Zinnia is turning 21 and it is the last birthday that she will have. She has a rare medical condition in which nobody has ever lived past twenty-one. Zinnia has always thought that she is a modern sleeping beauty.

Charm, Zinnia’s best friend, wants to make the last birthday special but, when Zinnia pricks her finger on the spinning wheel, she finds herself in another dimension with another sleeping beauty.

This modern Sleeping Beauty gives the power back to the women whose lives are stolen. It is a quick read that I absolutely loved because the women are no longer helpless.

Hunted by Meagan Spooner

I read this as research for our Books to Read if you Love A Court of Thorns and Roses post. It’s another beauty and the beast retelling, except this Beauty is more like Katniss Everdeen. No ballgowns or talking tea-pots, just a female huntress out to avenge her father’s death and free the beast from his prison.

Light on the romance, heavy on the hunting descriptions. Yet there was a charm in this tale set in the wilds of Russia that I found as captivating as the magical firebird in the story.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

“There was and there was not.” This fairy tale adaptation is about a girl cursed with being poisonous to anyone that touches her and her quest to free herself from her curse.

What could have been another princess in distress story became a story about finding your own power and using it.

YA Magic Realism Books

This is an abbreviated list of magical realism books, for more check out our complete magical realism books post.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This is a book that is narrated by Death. He tells the story of Liesel, a young girl in Nazi Germany in 1939. Liesel is living with her foster parents an learning to read from stolen books.

She also shares these books with the Jewish man who is hiding in her basement. This book is brilliant, powerful, poignant and unforgettable. while technically a YA book, this book is literary fiction at its finest.

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

I listened to this book and it was unreal.  I want my son to read this so badly but, I also want him to listen to it as well. It is a story about music.  The audio version plays to music so it is a full sensory experience. 

The story follows a harmonica as it lands in the hands of Freidrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania and Ivy in California. Part fairy tale and part historical fiction, this book is amazing for middle grade and adults alike.

A Million Junes by Emily Henry

This is a perfect YA Fantasy read with just the right amount of romance, conflict, mystery, and magic.   In a small town of Five Fingers, Michigan, live the O‘Donnells and the Angerts, two families feuding for generations. Jack “June” O’Donnell has always stayed away from the Angert family with no real explanation for the cause of the feud.

When June meets Saul Angert, everything changes. She can’t seem to stay away from him and strange things begin to happen. June decides she needs answers and embarks on a journey that will take her to places she never thought were possible.

Dystopian YA Fantasy Books

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

The Selection Series is often described as The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor, so if you haven’t yet read this series… DO IT! And then watch the movies!

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

The Hunger Games meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this haunting and disturbing tale. At the age of sixteen, all women must go into the wild for a year to release their magic.  The people of Garner County call this the Grace Year and speaking of it is forbidden.

As Tierney James Grace YEar approaches, she dreams of a world in which women aren’t pitted against each other in a battle to survive.  This book is eery and completely creepy.  I could not put it down

Divergent by Veronica Roth

In this trilogy, Chicago society is divided into factions that are each dedicated to a certain virtue. Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity and Erudite. On a selected day, all 16 year olds gather to choose their faction.

Beatrice must make the choice between staying with her family and becoming who she was meant to be. This first book in the trilogy is unlike anything that I had read before. It drew me in and kept me turning the pages until the end. Of course, nothing is really as it seems in this dystopian YA Fantasy.

Mortal Engines

I had heard so much about this book and was so excited to read it.  I have a hard time not comparing this book to the Divergent Series and The Hunger Games which were both amazing. 

This book is part fantasy and part sci-fi in a world of predator cities. Giant cities chase small towns and devour them in an effort to survive.

Paranormal Fantasy for Young Adults

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

While this is technically a middle-grade book, it was SCARY.  I absolutely loved it but, it should not be read by anyone who is afraid of ghost stories. 

When Cass is rescued from drowning, she is suddenly able to maneuver between the land of the living and the other side of the veil. The boy that rescued her is a ghost and he becomes her best friend. 

Her parents are ghost hunters and then they get a job filming a tv show in Scotland, they all pack up and go, including Cass’s ghost.  What they find is scary, creepy and a fabulously fun read

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

When Jacob experiences a family tragedy, he find himself on a remote island off the coast of Whales. He Discovers a crumbling ruin that was once Miss Pereguine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

As Jacob explores the ruins, he finds clues that leads him to believe that these children might be alive even though it seems impossible. This fantastic story is mixed with vintage photographs that brings the characters to life.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

This book started so strong for me, I was completely enraptured with this world. As the story continued, I found the story changed tones. What was once a hopeful story, slowly became a story of unreachable love.

200 years ago Weep was cut off from the world so much so that nobody can even remember the city’s real name. When Lazio stars dreaming of a blue-skinned woman, he cannot forget her.

This YA fantasy has paranormal elements, warriors and magic. It is unlike any other.

Smoke and Summons by Charlie N. Holmberg

Ok, so technically this book is not about ghosts but it is about ancient spirits who use humans as their vessels. Sandis is at the command of the powerful spirit who can change her into a powerful weapon on a whim.

In order to save herself and escape Sandis must run. She finds an ally in Rone, a thief who owns a device that gives him one minute of immortality every 24 hours. Sandis must trust One if she is going to evade capture and probable death.

Royal YA Fantasy Books

For more royal reads, check out this post.

Royal Replicas by Michael Pierce

Talk about a guilty pleasure! I devoured this book in less than 24 hours. I couldn’t stay away and can’t wait to read the next 3 in the series.

Victoria has just learned that she and 6 other girls are clones created to replace the royal heir, Amelia. Now she must compete to win both her title and the hand of a prince.

This is literally the perfect book for people who loved The Selection Series (which is basically everyone.)

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

I read this story in just two days and then passed it onto my son who loved it too.  Think Cinderella with a twist.  When princess Theodosia’s mother (the Queen) is killed, she is taken to live with the conquering family. 

She becomes the princess of ashes, donning a crown made of Ashes as a reminder of who she is.  This is a great YA book and the first in a trilogy series.

Furyborn by Clare Legrand (The Empirium Trology)

his book is a true fantasy for the fantasy lover.  I love the strong female characters that are the center of this book.  It is fast moving and non-stop action.

Rielle and Eliana are separated by 1000 years but, their stories will come together in an amazing way. The plot is intricate and the characters are believable. I cannot wait to read the rest of this trilogy.

American Royals by Katharine McGee

I finally got around to reading this YA royal romance! I’m a huge royal romance fan, and this book has been sitting on my shelf forever! The story set-up is this.

What if George Washington had become America’s monarch instead of its president? How would his descendants be ruling the country today? I mean. What a fun plotline! This book was pure fun and honestly would make for a perfect beach read.

Diverse YA Fantasy Books for Teens

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha, #1) by Tomi Adeyemi

I really enjoyed this book and the original story within the pages.  I listened to the amazing audiobook and I loved to listen to the story the way that the story was intended to sound. 

When magic disappeared from Orisha, Zelie’s world changed forever.  When the king ordered all the maji killed, Zelie was left without a mother or magic.  She is on a quest to find revenge and to bring magic back to Orisha.

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Amani is a girl who lives on a moon ruled by a cruel and ruthless empire. When she is abducted and taken to the palace she realizes that she looks almost identical to the Princess. Amani must start life anew as a double for the princess or face possible death.

But, as Amani starts a new life, she discovers more about herself and the royal that she must now become. She must immerse herself in the world of royal courts and politics while convincing everyone, including the princess’s fiance, that she is the princess.

The story is fast moving and twists and turns throughout. It is part sci-fi, part fantasy, and part romance for young adult/ new adult. I love the character development and the drama that is so typical of any 18-year-old – especially if you are a spoiled-brat, entitled princess.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

I loved the first book. I finished it and immediately rushing into book 2. The people in the world of Orleans are devoid of natural beauty and need The Belles to use their magical treatments to be beautiful. The most powerful of the Belles is known as the favorite and works for the royal family to set trends and perform beauty treatments.

But what happens when a sick queen and a greedy princess have differing views on ruling the people of Orléans and The Belles of the world. The world-building in this YA Fantasy was wonderful and the descriptions of the elaborate beauty treatments painted a vivid picture. The characters were flawed but wonderfully constructed and the teacup pets were adorable.

The Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I don’t know what took me so long to read this amazing book. I heard such great things and I did not want to be disappointed but, I was also afraid that it would be dark. Somehow, despite being about the god of Death, this was not a dark or heavy book.

Casiopea lives in her grandfather’s home with her mother where is is forces to clean. She dreams of leaving someday. When she accidentally frees the Mayan god of death, he attaches himself to her and she must go with him to free him from his brother’s curse.

I loved this book and its completely unique story.

YA Fantasy Series

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine  Arden

This story that is based in Russian folklore was a slow build.  I wasn’t sure about it until about halfway through when I couldn’t put it down.  In fact, I went out to buy the sequel (The Girl in the Tower) immediately because I needed to find out what happens. 

Vasya lives with her family on the edge of a Russian forrest where they hear stories of the Blue-eyed winter demon and honor household spirits. When Vasya’s dad brings home a new stepmother who forbids there practices, misfortunes follow. Vasya now must use the gifts that she has kept hidden all these years.

The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

I read this book a few years ago when we first started the blog. This book was one of the books that got me back into reading fantasy, once of my favorite genres to read.

This historical fantasy takes place in 18th century Cairo. When Nahri accidentally summons Dara, a Djinn warrior, she is swept to Daevabad, the City of Brass.

Soon Nahri must learn who to trust in a city when magic cannot shield her from the danger that threatens from all around her.

Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo

I was so excited when I learned that Netflix was making this into a series. I think it will be amazing on screen and I am so curious to see if they keep to the book or change things, which is so often the case.

Alina Starkov is an orphan who has never excelled in anything. When her regiment is sent into the fold and her best friend is in danger of being killed, she unleashes a power unlike anything anyone has seen. It may be the answer to the wars that have ravaged her nation.

If you love this book, be sure to check out our post of Books Like Shadow and Bone

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

This is such an original book that is a fairy tale (think original Grimm’s tales as opposed to Disney) meets modern day.  Alice is 17 when she learns about the existence of magic and that the bad luck that has been following her may not be luck at all. What would have happened to Harry if he did not know about magic until he was 17?

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Cyra is known for her deadly ability to inflict pain on others with a touch. Her brother is a dictator who takes joy in using her as a weapon against anyone who opposes him.

When Akos and his brother are kidnapped from the neighboring enemy country, he has to fight to survive. He realizes that Cyra is fighting for her survival too and perhaps they have more in common than they ever thought possible. When war comes, they will have to choose between love and history.

YA Fantasy Stand Alone Books

Dreams Lie Beneath by Rebecca Ross

I adored this stand alone YA fantasy novel in which local wardens are responsible for recording dreams and later fighting the same dreams when they appear on the night of the new moon.

Clementine is training to be a warden under her father, but he loses his post, she swears revenge on the challengers. While plotting her revenge, she also seeks to overturn the curse that’s haunting the entire kingdom.

Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo

I was so excited when I learned that Netflix was making this into a series. I think it will be amazing on screen and I am so curious to see if they keep to the book or change things, which is so often the case.

Alina Starkov is an orphan who has never excelled in anything. When her regiment is sent into the fold and her best friend is in danger of being killed, she unleashes a power unlike anything anyone has seen. It may be the answer to the wars that have ravaged her nation.

If you love this book, be sure to check out our post of Books Like Shadow and Bone

The Extraordinaries by T.J Klune

Nick Bell is the most popular fan-fiction writer of the Extraordinaries.  When Nick has an unexpected encounter with Shadow Star, his superhero crush, Nick decides to become a superhero. 

With the help of his friends- an eclectic group of teens, Nick will do almost anything to become an Extraordinary if his ADHD doesn’t take him off course.  This book was laugh-out-loud hilarious.  I loved this YA coming of age story.

Kaleidoscope by Brian Selznick

I think Brian Selznick has an amazing mind to portray such a poignant story through a series of short stories. These come together with common themes and characters as the stories slowly overlap and intertwine. I think this is a beautiful piece of writing that will be completely lost on the younger audience to which it is intended.

This is NOT a middle grade book in my opinion. It is a piece of fantasy fiction that becomes increasingly sad as the whole picture becomes clearer. The relationship between two individuals over space, time, and dimensions is explored through love, loss and grief. This is one of the heavier books on this list.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Wow!  This book is an absolutely epic adult fairy tale.  It is complex and so unlike any traditional American fairy tale.  An enchanted wood, magic, and mythical creatures grab you and pull you in. This is not a typical damsel in distress tale so do not let it fool you.

Agnieszka lives next to a wood filled with dark powers. The village depends on the Dragon to protect them from these dark powers. In exchange, one woman from the village must go and serve him every ten years. To everyone’s surprise, he chooses Agnieszka.

Angel YA Fantasy Books

Fallen by Lauren Kate

I picked up the first two books in this series after turning in a few books at Cathy’s Half-Priced Bookstore. I fell in love with the first book and the story of Daniel and Luce’s love.

Luce has been sent to Sword and Cross boarding school, a place for other troubled kids like her. The minute she gets to the school, Daniel catches her eye but he will not give her the time of day. But there is definitely more to Daniel and Luce will discover his secrets no matter what the cost.

Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I loved the Disney cartoon Gargoyles when I was a little girl, so when I saw a YA Fantasy book about the creatures, I knew I needed it. I read this to help ease me out of my House of Earth and Blood book hangover and it was a perfect read. 

It’s actually a spin-off of one of Armentrout’s other series, which I didn’t know until after I read the story. I didn’t feel like I missed anything having read this first. Gargoyles are Wardens out to fight demons and protect humans, and one special human in particular. It’s more romance than fantasy.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

A friend of mine recommended this YA fantasy series to me a while ago, but I was turned off by the dated cover. This month I finally decided to tackle the series and I’m so glad I did!

Good and Bad Angels roam the earth, here to fulfill their purpose. When Clara starts getting visions of her purpose, she and her family move to Jackson Hole, Wyoming so she can save a boy from a fire. But will it all go to plan? I’ve already started the second book in this trilogy

YA Fantasy Romance Books

Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

Just when I thought that nothing could top the Caraval series, Stephanie Garber writes this book.  This YA fantasy will not disappoint her die-hard fans and for those that have never read Caraval, you can fall in love for the first time.  I absolutely loved this book.

Evangeline Fox was raised in her father’s curiosity shop where she grew up learning about the legends.  When Evangeline learns that the love of her life is about to marry her step sister, she offers the prince of hearts anything in exchange for stopping the wedding.  This deal takes Evangeline to the North where the real adventure begins.

Thank you so much to Flatiron for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I have been on some weird dystopian kick recently – which is funny because I had to be forced to read the Hunger Games. Now I can’t seem to stop! I’m sure I’ll switch gears this summer but right now I’m loving this story.

In this world, those with red blood are common and those with silver blood are elite with superhuman abilities. In the war against Silvers and Reds, Mare Barrow is special and so is this book. The ending was a total shock! I couldn’t put it down.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

We have talked about this series so many times that it has its own blog page of books that are similar.  It is so much fun- think hunger games meets the bachelor.  But, in this case, the bachelor also happens to be the future king.  Can you imagine if William held a contest to see who would be the future princess?

Circus YA Fantasy Books

Caraval by Stephanie Garber 

The story begins with letters from Scarlett to Legend, the leader of Caraval- a game played once a year in a far off destination. Every year, every time it is played, the game is different. Filled with magic and wonder, this destination-based competition is played by Scarlet as she tries to get this year’s prize – her sister Tella – before anyone else can.

There is a love story and magic as the stakes get higher the longer Scarlet plays. This is the first book in three part series that gets better and more complicated with each new book.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Every word captivated me from beginning to end and I couldn’t put it down. The story was magical- both literally and figuratively and the descriptions are so vivid.

The stage has been set for a magical competition between the pupils of two very powerful magicians. The stage: the night circus. The pupils, a man and a woman, are unsure of the rules, unsure how to win or when the competition will end. As the competition continues, the opponents fall in love- a situation that only complicates their predicament.

This is magic in a way that I never imagined it before. The story has twists and surprises that left me wondering how I didn’t see what was right there all along.

Circus Rose by Betsy Cornwall

Rosie and Ivory have grown up in their mother circus and are returning to Port’s End. It is a place closest to any home after years traveling. As the circus prepares for opening night, fundamentalists seek to stop the show for continuing.But, as the show begins, a massive fire strikes the tent and that is only the beginning.

This book is a queer re-telling of Snow White and Rose Red (not to be confused with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs). It has been thoroughly reimagined and transformed in this book.

YA Fantasy Books with Magic School

Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

Thank goodness Hogwarts is nothing like this school. There is not a single first year that would survive. This school for magic, The Scholomance, is bursting with magic that is very dark and unforgiving. Losing a few classmates is nothing surprising. You either graduate or die. If you love the dark side of Harry Potter, you will love this book.

Magic For Liars by Sarah Gailey

Did someone say Harry Potter for adults?

This book is magic school and a chosen one wrapped up in a murder mystery with a not so lovable PI, Ivy Gamble.

Ivy has never had magic unlike her twin sister Tabitha. When Ivy is hired to investigate a murder at the school where Tabitha teaches, two worlds come together and Ivy must confront her past. This book was such a fun read.

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily Danforth

I started Plain Bad Heroines and I did not know what to think.  I was debating giving up on the book for a little while because I just wasn’t sure where the book was going.  Fast forward.  I loved it and I am glad I stuck with it. This book is unlike any other book I have ever read. It has all the makings of a cult horror. It is scary, complex and so well written.

The lines of reality and fiction are perfectly blurred. It is a book about a book and making a movie about that same book. ( follow that? Lol) The story intertwines the lives of all those that read the book and the mystery and supernatural that follows them 🐝. I don’t usually read horror but I loved this book. Thank you to @librofm for my copy! If you’ve read this I have to talk to someone about it!!!

Greek Mythology Fantasy for Teens

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I am including this series because of how many times my son has read it.  I don’t think there is a boy (or girl) out there who has read this series and not loved it. It is the only series that can compare to Harry Potter in terms of how much my son LOVES it.  

It is not magic in the strictest sense of the word.  Rather, it’s about the Greek Gods set in a modern world, with their own special kinds of powers.

Looking for more? Be Sure to check out our 18 Books for Percy Jackson Fans

Lovely War by Julie Berry

This book’s premise had me a little skeptical, Greek Gods telling a love story set in WWI? I didn’t think it was up my alley. I must have had it recommended to me almost a dozen times now, and now I’m the one recommending it.

It was two, sort of three, love stories in one book, but it touched on racism, PTSD, and the sacrifices of war. It was so well handled that I was sad to see it end. 

The Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan

Greek god Apollo, transformed into a mortal, is sent on a quest to regain his immortality. He sets off with his Demi-god master to free the Oracles from the Triumvirate.

Along the way, they battle roman emperors, make new friends, and get stuck in many deadly situations. The first in a 5-part series, this is one Greek mythology story you won’t have read before.

YA Fantasy Books with Dragons

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) by J.K Rowling

Although the order changes sometimes, this is my second favorite Harry Potter book in there series. in my opinion, it was the first book that really showed Rowling’s potential for great story telling.

Harry Potter finds himself participating in the Triwizard Tournament when someone tricked the Goblet of Fire and put in Harry’s name. He finds himself competing against much more experienced wizards in a tasks that will bring him glory or death.

Harry faces dragons, dark wizards and mermaids while performing magic he never thought possible

For all things Harry Potter, be sure to check out our Harry Potter Hub

Eragon Christopher Paolini

Eragon, a 15-year-old boy, believes that he is merely a farm boy until one day, he discovers a polished blue stone in the forest. When the stone hatches and a dragon emerges, Eragon enters a world full of magic and power that he never knew existed.

Eragon discovers that he is a dragon rider, one of few left.  This series is a world of dragons, magic, and power.  Almost a “Dragon Masters” for the more mature reader, this series will take you into a world of fantasy you won’t forget.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

An introduction to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit was the first fantasy book that I ever read.  Smaug, a dragon, is the main antagonist in this story. This book opened up a whole new world and genre of book.

Bolbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys his comfortable life close to home. When a wizard named Gandalf shows up on Bibloa’s doorstep with dwarves, they invite him on a quest. There, he will encounter Smaug, a creature named Gollum and find a ring that will change his life.

This YA fantasy is a the prelude to the amazing Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Looking for Dragon Books for Kids? Check out our post here.

Whew. That’s our extensive list of YA fantasy books. Is your favorite on the list?

The post The Ultimate List of YA Fantasy Books: 65+ Picks appeared first on Beyond the Bookends.

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