My love for young adult fantasy books was sparked as a teenager, now 30 years later, I have read more YA fantasies than could ever fit on one list. From my reading experience, the ones below are the best of the bunch. Gathering a list of our favorites was the easiest part of the task. The hard part? Narrowing them down!
Over the years, the choices and variety of YA fantasy books have grown exponentially. The genre has taken off in a way that it now appeals to people who do not typically read fantasy. A book can have romance or history and have a fantasy component as well.
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.
*Young Adult Fantasy Novels Post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.
**YA Fantasy Book Updated 9/9/2023**
YA Fantasy Books
Looking for a specific sub-genre of ya fantasy books? Click these links below to jump to the section of your choice.
Best of 2023 // Best of 2022 // Witch // Vampire // Historical Fantasy // Pirate // Fae // Fairytale Retellings // Magical Realism // Dystopian // Paranormal // Royal // Diverse // YA Fantasy Series // Stand Alone // Angel // Romance // Circus // Magic School // Greek// Dragon
Best Young Adult Fantasy Novels 2023
This prohibition-era historical fantasy novel was inspired by Moulin Rouge! It’s filled with romance, carnival performers, and a magical community on an island near New York.
Luxe (our Satine) can use her magic to create illusions to give people exactly what they want but what her family needs is money. When Dewey, a time-traveling smuggler, asks her to help him become mayor by pretending to be his fiance, she thinks her prayers are answered.
Until she meets Jamison, a poor commoner with no magic to speak of. They begin an illicit relationship that might spell doom for them all. This YA fantasy novel held me captive. It was so original!
If you love fantasy books of any kind, stop now and make time to read this fantastic book. This is the book that you would get if The Princess Bride had a book baby that empowered women everywhere to be the heroes in their own story, seek out adventure, and be brave enough to become who they were intended to be.
Tress has grown up on her tiny island with her one friend Charlie, who is also the Duke’s son, to keep her company. When the Duke takes Charlie away and he doesn’t return, Tress sets off to rescue him from the Sorceress who lives on the deadly Midnight Sea. She will encounter pirates, talking rats, betrayal, love, and friendship on her voyage.
This is one of the best books I have read in a really long time. All the stars to this beach read. This is one of the best fantasy books for adults, but it is appropriate for a young adult or teen audience as well.
While technically published in December 2022, this YA fantasy novel is currently being re-released and I am so glad that it is. This is a breakout TikTok YA fantasy romance book that is the first in the series.
Arwen Valondale has always had the ability to heal with the touch of her hands. When she is captured by the King of Onyx’s soldiers while trying to save her brother, she is brought back to the vicious king’s kingdom as a prisoner.
Soon she finds herself training with a healer and unable to escape due to the vicious beasts in the surrounding forest. If you love YA fantasy novels, this book is a must-read for 2023
Best Young Adult Fantasy Books of 2022
This is the second book in the New York Times best-selling YA fantasy series. Jacks has betrayed Evangaline for the last time and she swears that she will never trust him again. But now, Evangeline finds herself cursed and must rely on Jacks to help her try and break the curse.
Stephanie Garber never fails to write a YA fantasy novel that is unputdownable. Beware the ending. I cannot believe I have to wait to find out what happens because there is no way this story is over. This was a must on our list of ultimate beach reads 2023.
This is the first book in a fantasy duopoly that will leave you ready for the next book. Rhea and Lexos are twins born to a family that has ruled for centuries using magic and paints the stars, changes the seasons, and can cause death by uttering a name.
Their father is a tyrant who has a tedious grip on his power and no willingness to accept it. Rhea and Lexos are trying to keep the family together but magic, lies, and deceit will take their toll.
The writing in this book is so vivid, the plot is fast-paced and the descriptions of magic feel the same as those in The Night Circus. This young adult fantasy book was hard to put down.
Witch YA Fantasy Books
I absolutely loved this YA fantasy book about Sunny, a twelve-year-old girl who lives with her parents and two brothers in Nigeria. Sunny is albino and teased for her looks. This is one of the fantasy books set in Africa that is a must read!
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 I have read, the story is woven beautifully and is one of the best fantasy books for teens. if you love young adult books about witches, this is at the top of our list.
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. This is a modern witch book that is a must-read and a young adult fantasy novel that should be on your TBR as well.
I read this book in a day. I then read the next three in as many days. I am not sure what is so addicting about these witch books, 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 charismatic, if not mysterious man from America. While this series is technically not a young adult fantasy book, there is no inappropriate content in this series.
Do you love young adult fantasy novels and are looking for more witch books? Check out this post.
Young Adult Fantasy Books: Vampires
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 is a must-read young adult fantasy book.
This vampire series is definitely lacking the gore and fear factor and makes up for it with an amazing romance. When Bella Swan goes to live with her father, she is immediately drawn to Edward Cullen, a mysterious teenager with an old soul. Soon, she discovers he is a vampire. I will not ruin the rest of this cult-like pick from vampire books. But, if you have not read this vampire book yet, what are you waiting for?
It is an iconic urban fantasy series. This love story definitely qualifies as one of the best romance novels of all time. If you love vampire books, you can also check out our list of the best fantasy books for teens.
The popular CW show was a best-selling vampire book series first. Brothers, 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 young adult fantasy books too.
Royal vampires and their bodyguards train at the famed Vampire Academy where this book is set. Lissa is a princess and her best friend, Rose, is preparing to be her protector. This is a ya fantasy that is not to be missed.
When a series of crazy events 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. If you like the Zodiac Academy books, we think you will love this pick from fantasy romance books for teens!
Do you love YA fantasy novels? Check out these vampire books.
Historical Young Adult Fantasy Books
This book is more than a YA fantasy. It is a detailed historical fantasy that will transport you to Shanghai in 1931. There, Lady Fortune is an assassin who is almost invisible. She was once known as Rosalin Lang, before she was brought back from the brink of death.
The Japanese Imperial Army has begun its invasion and Lady Fortune is sent on an undercover assignment with no clue who she can trust. This is an in-depth magical realism book that will transport you back. If you love young adult fantasy novels this one is a must read.
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. The magic is beautiful in this young adult fantasy novel.
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. This YA historical fiction is a great one.
This YA historical fantasy takes place in Paris in 1889 where coercion, magic, betrayal, and murder are the norm. At the Exposition Universelle 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. I loved this first book in this YA fantasy book series.
I listened to the audible version of this young adult fantasy novel 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.
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. Could you ask for anything more from enemies-to-lovers books?
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 witch books in this YA fantasy series of books set in Paris.
For more books like these, check out our list of Historical Fantasy Books
Pirate Young Adult Fantasy Novels
I’m not the resident YA 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 sailing novel
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 too similar to be a coincidence. This is a smart, well-written, well-thought-out, twisted Peter Pan story. This pick is perfect for a list of the best YA fantasy books and it is also one of the best paranormal books for teens.
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 of Tinkerbell, her fairy dust, and how Peter gained his ability to fly. It’s one of our favorite fairy tale retellings and is the perfect book for a 13-year-old. We are sure that any age will love this YA fantasy novel.
YA Fantasy Books about Fae
Whew. I have found my newest YA Fantasy series addiction. Orphan twins Tory and Darcy find out they are actually Fae after their 18th birthday. And not just any Fae, they are the heirs to the throne and they only need to graduate from Zodiac Academy to claim their throne.
The problem comes in the form of the 4 Heirs – The boys in each elemental order who have been raised to share the throne and rule Solaria together in the Twins’ absence.
They aren’t planning to give up their claim anytime soon and they use their considerable magic in the air, fire, earth, and water elements to put these girls to the test.
This urban fantasy series is on fire hot, with lots of steam, bullying romance, and deadly situations. Even though this is one of a few great books set in high school, do NOT read this one if you are under 18. But if you are looking for books like ACOTAR, you’ll devour this one too! Or check out our list of books like Zodiac Academy!
A stand-alone YA fantasy romance book? These are few and far between, but this one is perfect for fans of ACOTAR.
This story of a human falling in love with a Fae prince has tons of elements for Sarah J. Maas fans to love. From Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn Fae courts, to enchantments and a forbidden love story, this is one of the fae books you will want to add to your TBR.
I fell hard for Rook and Isobel. I think you all will fall for this fae romance book from our list of best YA fantasy books!
This book has a cult-like following for a reason. The first book in the series is a loose fairy tale 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, fantasy romance series. A love triangle develops by the end of the story and book two is jaw-dropping! This is on its way to becoming a classic from the list of enemies-to-lovers books. You will want to binge this series in one week. We could not leave this epic romance off a list of the best romance novels of all time.
While this book is technically a YA fantasy series, the books become very steamy and we definitely see this as one of the best fantasy books for adults on the list. We are so excited this is going to be one of the Hulu book adaptations.
If you loved ACOTAR, check out this list of books just like it. And with a Hulu book adaption in the works, you might want to head over to our guide on all of Sarah J. Maas’s books.
I am not sure why it took me so long to finally read this young adult fantasy book that has been on my TBR list since it came out. I loved it and couldn’t put it down. It’s a YA fantasy royal novel with all the 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. Teenage angst makes enemies-to-lovers books that much more fun to read.
This epic book series from Sarah J. Maas was started when Sarah was still a teenager! It’s all about Celaena, an imprisoned assassin who is offered freedom by acting as the champion for Prince Dorian.
As she prepares to earn her freedom in the competition, she begins training sessions with the captain of the guard. As she tries to acclimate to court life, the prince is drawn to her, and a love triangle forms.
The YA fantasy series gets better and better with each book! A total must-read if you are looking for books like ACOTAR and a must-read if you love fae books. Or head over to our guide on all of Sarah J. Maas’s books.
This was a fun quick YA read from our list of fae books. Dana Hathaway is 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. This YA fantasy book is a fun and quick read if you are looking for books like ACOTAR and is fun read if you are looking for urban fantasy books.
Young Adult Fantasy: Fairy Tale Retellings
This debut novel is billed as an Ethiopian-inspired fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre but I think the Jane Eyre part is the least exciting part of this fantastical tale. (Which is saying something!)
I’ve never read any YA Fantasy book like this one. The world-building is so unique. Andromeda is an exorcist who cleanses households of the evil eye. Magnus Rochester is desperate to have the evil eye removed from his household but no other exorcist will take the job.
The chemistry between these two is intense and instant, the scenes of terror throughout the book are ideal for the haunting season, and the subtle Jane Eyre references bring the whole thing up a notice. This YA fantasy is one of the best novels about Africa.
I adored this YA fantasy book by Novik. I loved the strong female characters, the story, and the writing. This book is a classic retelling of Rumplestiltskin that is 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.
If you are looking for books like 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 first in the series of YA fantasy romance books although it is definitely a lot tamer than the other books in the series. It is not a typical Beauty and the Beast retelling because it has more of a love triangle but, I don’t want to reveal more. It’s the first in the series about Prince Rhen and his kingdom.
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 power back to the women whose lives are stolen. It is a quick read from ya fantasy books that I absolutely loved because the women are no longer helpless.
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 young adult fantasy set in the wilds of Russia that I found as captivating as the magical firebird in the story.
“There was and there was not.” This fairy tale adaptation is about a girl cursed with being poisonous to anyone who 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 in this young adult fantasy novel
This four book series is set in the future in a time of disease and war. This series is 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 in this series of classic book retellings introduces us to Cinder. She is a cyborg (part human, part machine) who lives with her……..you guessed it….. two step-sisters and stepmother.
If you’ve read and loved Cinder, check out this list of books just like it! Young adult romance fantasy books for teens like this are hard to come by.
YA Fantasy Novels: Magic Realism Books
This is a young adult fantasy book that is narrated by Death. And in this haunting magical realism book, he tells the story of Liesel, a young girl in Nazi Germany in 1939. Liesel is living with her foster parents and 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 historical fiction book, this book is fiction at its finest and is a must-read from our list of WWII books for kids. This is one of my favorite thought-provoking books.
I listened to this feel-good 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. The full-cast audiobook plays music so it is a full sensory experience.
The story is three tales woven together in one with a magical harmonica at the center. The story follows a harmonica as it lands in the hands of Freidrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California set during WWII.
Part fairy tale and part historical fiction, this is one of the novels about music that is amazing for middle grade and adults alike. We even included it on our list of Books for 13-Year-Olds. This is a magical realism book everyone should read.
This is a perfect YA Fantasy read with just the right amount of romance, conflict, mystery, and magic. In the 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. This is such a unique Romeo and Juliet retelling.
If you love these YA fantasy novels, you can check out our list of more books like them.
Dystopian YA Fantasy Books
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 dystopian YA fantasy book is eery and completely creepy. I could not put it down
In this trilogy, Chicago society is divided into factions dedicated to a particular virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. On a selected day, all 16-year-olds gather to choose their faction.
Beatrice must choose between staying with her family and becoming who she was meant to be. This first book in the trilogy is unlike anything I had read. It drew me in and kept me turning the pages until the end. Of course, nothing is as it seems in this dystopian YA Fantasy.
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. Of all the urban fantasy books, this one closely resembles sci-fi.
This is the first book in the Hunger Games series and it is epic! In the aftermath of what was once North America, there are 12 Districts surrounding the capital.
Each year, each district sends one boy and one girl to fight to the death in a competition called “The Hunger Games”. Katniss Everdeen volunteers as a tribute to save her younger sister from the certain death of the games. This sci-fi book has everything but at its heart, it is a perfect pick for books about sisters. This young adult fantasy book has heart while making you turn the pages!
This book reminded me of Fourth Wing because of the kill-or-be-killed attitude. It is either graduate or die.
If you love The Hunger Games, check out these 24 books just like it!
Young Adult Fantasy Novels: Paranormal
This romantic, paranormal book is a great YA debut. Este Logano has enrolled in Radcliffe Prep, the third spookiest school around, on a mission to uncover the truth about her deceased father.
Along the way, she encounters Mateo, a charmingly annoying ghost, and together they embark on a wild journey through trapdoors, hidden passages, and ghost-filled halls to solve a mystery that started decades before.
If you love books set in a library, we have an entire list for you as well! Some of this young adult fantasy novel was definitely creepy and I could not stop turning the pages.
While this is technically a middle-grade book, this paranormal book was SCARY. I absolutely loved it but, it should not be read by anyone who is afraid of ghost stories or ghost books.
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 young adult fantasy novel.
When Jacob experiences a family tragedy, he finds himself on a remote island off the coast of Whales. He Discovers a crumbling ruin that was once Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
As Jacob explores the ruins, he finds clues that lead him to believe that these children might be alive even though it seems impossible. This fantastic story is mixed with vintage photographs that bring the characters to life. And while this pick is also a middle-grade book, it is intriguing enough to include it in a list of YA fantasy books.
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 starts dreaming of a blue-skinned woman, he cannot forget her.
This YA fantasy book has warriors and magic, but is it also a completely original paranormal book. It is unlike any other.
Royal YA Fantasy Books
Talk about a guilty pleasure! I devoured this YA Fantasy book about royals 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.)
I read this young adult fantasy novel in just two days and then passed it on to 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 fantasy book about royals and the first in a trilogy series.
This book is a true YA 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 YA fantasy trilogy.
I finally got around to reading this YA fantasy royal romance! I’m a huge royal romance fan and this one is a great twist on the sub-genre.
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 royal book was pure fun and honestly would make for a perfect beach read. in addition to a must-read YA fantasy romance book.
For more royal reads, check out this post.
Diverse YA Fantasy Books for Teens
I really enjoyed this book and the original story within the pages. I listened to the amazing audiobook and I loved listening to the story the way that the story was intended to sound. We were so happy to include this amazing YA fantasy book in our list of books set in Africa. (Orisha is a mythical Nigeria).
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 bring magic back to Orisha. This is one of the fantasy books for teens that builds a whole new world and brings young adult fantasy books to a whole new level.
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 young adult fantasy novel is fast-moving and twists and turns throughout. It is part sci-fi, part fantasy, and part romance for young adults/ new adults. 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.
I loved the first book. I finished it and immediately rushed 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.
I don’t know what took me so long to read this amazing young adult fantasy 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 who is forced 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
This YA fantasy book which is based on 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 forest 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 these practices, misfortunes follow. Vasya now must use the gifts that she has kept hidden all these years.
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 YA fantasy, one 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.
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 Books Like Shadow and Bone or Leigh Bardugo Books in Order: Complete Guide to 18 Amazing Books. It’s one of the most popular Netflix book adaptations.
This is such an original book that is a fairy tale (think original Grimm’s tales as opposed to Disney) that meets the 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.
I kept thinking about what would have happened to Harry Potter if he did not know about magic until he was 17. This YA fantasy book like Harry Potter is so original and fun, I knew I had to include it in this list. It is also a fun original urban fantasy book.
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. This is a YA fantasy you wont want to miss.
YA Fantasy Stand Alone Books
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.
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 that is also a sweet pick from fantasy romance books for teens.
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 YA 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.
Wow! This book is an absolutely epic adult fairy tale. It is complex and so unlike any traditional American fairy tale retelling. 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.
I don’t want to say more about this book and ruin its magic. But, if you love fairy tale retellings or are looking for books like ACOTAR, this is a perfect pick.
Angel YA Fantasy Books
I picked up the first two books in this YA fantasy series after turning in a few books and quickly 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.
This Fae series needed to be included in the best fantasy books for teens. This is one of the urban fantasy books that is totally addicting. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
I loved the Disney cartoon Gargoyles when I was a little girl, so when I saw a YA Fantasy book that is also a paranormal romance book, 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. This pick from fantasy romance books for
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. This urban fantasy is as much romance as fantasy.
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! They are perfect for readers looking for books like ACOTAR!
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
Just when I thought that nothing could top the Caraval series, Stephanie Garber wrote this book. This YA fantasy romance book will not disappoint her die-hard fans and for those who 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 stepsister, 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.
The Prince of Hearts has plans for Evangaline but, throughout the story, we can never fully guess his intentions. This first book in the Once Upon a Broken Heart Series will leave you wanting much more.
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 young adult fantasy novel.
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.
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. It’s a reality TV royal match-making contest in a dystopian world.
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? This is one of our favorite YA fantasy books about royals.
Circus YA Fantasy Books
When it comes to YA Fantasy books, this one is a classic. 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 a three-part series that gets better and more complicated with each new book. This series of YA fantasy romance books is a must-read.
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 of 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.
Not only can you find this book in our list of the Best Romance Novels of all Time, but you can also find it on our list of The Best Carnival and Circus Books, 24 Books Like the Hunger Games. And now, you can find books just like it in our post of Books Like the Night Circus. Can you tell we love this book?
Rosie and Ivory have grown up in their mother’s circus and are returning to Port’s End. It is a place closest to any home after years of traveling. As the circus prepares for opening night, fundamentalists seek to stop the show from continuing. But, as the show begins, a massive fire strikes the tent and that is only the beginning.
This YA fantasy 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. It is a must-read for a list of books like The Night Circus
YA Fantasy Books with Magic Schools
Most of these magic school books appear on our Dark Academia book list. You can see the full list of dark school-based novels here.
Why did I not read this book before now? In a way, I’m glad I just read this because I only have to wait a few more months for the sequel. If you love YA fantasy books, this King Arthur re-imagining is a must-read in our list of fantasy books for teens!
Bree Matthews’s mother died in a tragic accident and she cannot seem to recover. When she has a chance to attend a special program for bright high school students at UNC-Chapel Hill, she jumps at the chance.
When Bree witnesses a magical attack on her first night there, her world is thrown upside down as she enters the world of the Legendborn. It is a secret society of students with powerful magic who are also descendants of King Arthur! This is my favorite read from our list of books about secret societies and is a perfect dark academia novel to delve into that genre.
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 YA fantasy book. The books from this series are some of my favorite fantasy books for teens and you should add them to your TBR if you have not read them yet.
If you love books like this, check out our list of Dark Academia books.
Did someone say Harry Potter for adults?
This YA fantasy book is about a 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.
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 YA fantasy book is unlike any other book I have ever read. It has all the makings of cult horror. It is scary, complex and so well-written.
The lines between 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 witch book. If you’ve read this dark academia novel, I have to talk to someone about it!!!
Greek Mythology Fantasy for Teens
I don’t think there is a boy (or girl) out there who has read this middle grade fantasy 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.
This first Percy Jackson book is about our beloved Percy, who discovers he is a demi-god and must recover Zeus’s stolen lightning bolt. He travels into the underworld to locate the lightning bolt and, at the same time, try to save his mother.
His amazing adventures with Annabeth and Grover along the way create the foundation for all the books that follow in this amazing and epic series. Disney has this book becoming a tv show in 2024. If you love Percy Jackson books, you should check out our 18 Exciting Books like Percy Jackson for Fans to Enjoy or our Epic Guide to Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson Books in Order.
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 this young adult fantasy novel.
It was two, sort of three, love stories in one historical romance 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.
This is one of the books like Percy Jackson that Percy actually shows up in! The 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 retelling you won’t have read before. And while this is technically middle grade, if you love YA fantasy novels, you will love this book at any age.
YA Fantasy Books with Dragons
Although the order changes sometimes, this is my second favorite Harry Potter book in the series. In my opinion, it was the first book that really showed Rowling’s potential for great storytelling. If you are reading the Harry Potter books in order, as you should, you will LOVE this book.
Harry Potter finds himself participating in the Triwizard Tournament when someone tricked the Goblet of Fire and entered Harry’s name. He finds himself competing against much more experienced wizards in tasks that will bring him glory or death.
Harry faces dragons, dark wizards, and mermaids while performing magic he never thought possible. He faces the Deatheaters for the first time (which is how Harry found himself on our list of books about secret societies).
For all things Harry Potter, be sure to check out our Harry Potter Hub
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 the few left. This middle-school fantasy 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. This is another pick on our list of YA fantasy books that are technically middle grade but worth the read.
An introduction to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit was the first high 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.
Bilbo 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 the prelude to the amazing Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is an iconic book which made it an easy pick for the best graphic novels of all time.