Sometimes we need an escape from reality, and these young adult fantasy books are our ticket to worlds beyond even our own (very active) imaginations. Read on for 12 must-read young adult fantasy books that will whisk you away from your everyday life and bring you stories full of adventure, romance, and–perhaps most importantly of all–magic.
14Young Adult Fantasy Books You Have to Read
1. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
The books in Elisabeth’s world are not normal. Books of magic are dangerous and can transform into terrible monsters, and she’s spent her entire live protecting the kingdom from their power. When the library’s most dangerous book is released, Elisabeth finds herself framed for the crime. Now the only person she can turn to for help is her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn.
2. Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells
Raised among the ruins of a conquered mountain nation, Maren dreams only of sharing a quiet life with her girlfriend Kaia—until the day Kaia is abducted by the Aurati, prophetic agents of the emperor, and forced to join their ranks. Desperate to save her, Maren hatches a plan to steal one of the emperor’s coveted dragons and storm the Aurati stronghold. If Maren is to have any hope of succeeding, she must become an apprentice to the Aromatory—the emperor’s mysterious dragon trainer. But Maren is unprepared for the dangerous secrets she will uncover.
3. The Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle Van Arsdale
One girl must uncover secrets of the past to save her friend from a terrible curse in this dark and mesmerizing story of love, revenge, and redemption inspired by the myth of Medusa. Suspenseful and vividly imagined, The Cold Is in Her Bones is a novel about the dark, reverberating power of pain, the yearning to be seen and understood, and the fragile optimism of love.
4. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
It’s been five years since the war that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is a young woman bent on discovering who killed her parents and avenging her losses. Too bad a forbidden romance might get in the way of her revenge. Check out the rest of Dark Artifices series, Lord of Shadows and the last book, Queen of Air and Darkness.
5. The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace
Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.
6. The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—must hide who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and their lives.
Esta is a talented thief, raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, and all of her training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the mysterious Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future. Check out the second book in the series by Lisa Maxwell, The Devil’s Thief
7. Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta
To save her sister’s life, Faris must smuggle magic into a plague-ridden neighboring kingdom. Can she live long enough to reap the benefits of this risk?
Find out more about Faris and what happens to the kingdom of Avinea in the sequel Splendor and Spark.
8. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince.
9. Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto
An Ember in the Ashes meets Three Dark Crowns in this lush debut fantasy novel about a girl who disguises herself as a boy to join a secret group of warriors that ride phoenixes into battle.
10. The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine
Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.
11. The Beast is An Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale
A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.
12. Daughters of Ruin by K.D. Castner
Rhea, Cadis, Suki, and Iren have lived together since they were children. They are called sisters. They are not. They are called equals. They are not. They are princesses…and they are enemies.
13. The Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black
Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home.
14. Alanna (Song of the Lioness, #1) by Tamora Pierce
In a time when girls are forbidden to be warriors, Alanna of Trebond wants nothing more than to be a knight of the realm of Tortall. So she finds a way to switch places with her twin brother, Thom. Disguised as a boy, Alanna begins her training as a page at the palace of King Roald.
Don’t miss out on the entire four-book Song of the Lioness series.