Fantasy has been around for a long time, and it’s a genre that can be appreciated at any age. Fantasy lets us explore new locations and discover new lands while feeling like we truly know the characters we’re reading about. People love the chance to escape the world we live in for one where true love, dragons, and adventure all await. Let’s dive right in! Here are the very best YA fantasy book series for your reading list.
Caraval By Stephanie Meyer
Caraval is the story of two sisters. Scarlett has always dreamed of seeing Caraval. It’s a performance that only appears once a year, and she’s never been invited. Her sister Tella accompanies her when she finally gets an invite, but she gets kidnapped. Now Scarlett has to find her sister before something terrible happens. Each move they make has a dangerous set of consequences, and if she doesn’t win the contest and save Tella, she’ll be gone forever.
If you’re looking for a series that will have you love the characters, engage in the story and genuinely feel as if you’re inside the book, this is the one. It’s been beloved by fans for ages.
Kiss Of Deception Mary E. Pearson
Princess Lia has had enough. She doesn’t want to get married, and she doesn’t want to do her duty as a first daughter and be forced into it, either. So the morning of her wedding, she runs. The problem is she meets two mysterious strangers. One happens to be an assassin sent to kill her, the other the fiance she jilted at the altar. The other problem? She’s falling in love.
Kiss Of Deception is told from three points of view. Lia’s, the assassins, and the princes. It’s fun determining who is who and learning the characters’ motivations. This is a series that will make you cry, laugh, and make you believe in love.
Twilight By Stephenie Meyer
Now many people think this book is overhyped and the phenomenon is over. However, it makes this list because when it first came out, it excited people to read again, and the fantasy elements were attractive. Bella is a teen who just moved back home with her father and met the mysterious Edward. She realizes the secret he’s hiding, and the two form a relationship. However, his family disapproves, and for a good reason. Will they be able to have a friendship, or will he disappear forever?
Twilight is an easy and fun read that details the love of a human and a supernatural.
Glimmerglass By Jenna Black
Glimmerglass is a quick read, and it’s so much fun. Dana is a half-human, half-faerie. After escaping from her alcoholic mother, she travels to Avalon to meet her father. This is the gateway to the realm of the fairies. When she gets there, she discovers that she’s a walker. That means she can travel between the world of humans and the faerie world. Now she doesn’t know which world she belongs to and which one she should run from.
Cinder By Marissa Meyer
Cinder is a lovely series that deserves this list because it explores diversity, love, adventure, and strength inside the human heart.
Cinder is a fantasy that is set in a whole new world. Our character lives in New Beijing and is the best at what she does. Little does she know she is the only one who can save and change the world. Did we mention she’s a cyborg? Her unique abilities and story arc will keep you wondering what’s happening next while devouring each page.
The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games is another on this list that spans multiple categories, but it’s a series many people love for two reasons. It inspired them to read when they were younger, and while the book’s premise doesn’t appeal to everyone, the books do have a good message about never giving up and how far you’d go for family.
America now has districts, and there are twelve surrounding the capitol. Each year, one boy and a girl get sent to fight to the death. When Katniss sees that her sister is the sacrifice for this year, she instantly runs out of line and volunteers. They accept, and now she’s in the battle of her life and simply trying to survive.
Waterfall By Lisa Tawn Bergren
Waterfall is a time-traveling romance that excites you for the rest of the series because each volume gets better.
Most teens would love a vacation to Italy, but that’s not true for the Betarrini sisters. They have spent each summer with their parents, stuck in medieval places and exploring archaeological areas. Instead, Gabi and Lia are bored and tired of the same things. Until Gabi places her hands on a tomb that sends them back in time, now they are stuck in a kingdom going to war, avoiding dangerous people at every turn, and the chance for a love that truly transcends time.
Eragon By Christopher Paolini
Eragon is another series that inspired a generation to read, and it’s an excellent option for teens. It is a fantasy series that started when the author was just fifteen. That’s right! He wrote this book when he was a teen himself! The story begins when Eragon finds a blue egg in the forest. He hopes to sell it so his family has food in the winter.
What ends up happening is a dragon hatches instead, and now he’s thrust into a world that he no longer knows, and it’s a complete change. With his life in jeopardy and the need to take on the king, he wonders what his future holds and if he can survive long enough to see it.
An Ember In The Ashes By Sabaa Tahir
An Ember In The Ashes is a story of power battles and a girl who risks everything to become a spy. Laia has her brother kidnapped, and her family ripped away. Elias is a soldier that hates his life and longs to escape. The only thing they can do, at least for now, is survive. Laia is sent to the academy where Elias lives and is brutally treated by the Commandant when she becomes her slave. When the pair cross paths, Elias helps her escape danger and trouble.
What the pair don’t realize, however, is that falling in love could change everything and hurt those closest to them.
The Hobbit By J.R.R. Tolkien
Everyone knows Tolkien, and the Hobbit is the book that started it all. The Hobbit is before the Lord of The Rings, so we will see Bilbo’s journey. For those that don’t know, Bilbo is a hobbit. Hobbits are tiny creatures that live in the Shire and live a quiet and happy life. However, when Gandalf the Grey (a wizard) comes into their lives, everything changes forever.
The Hobbit is a great story to get into fantasy. There are dwarves, elves, mines, forests, dragons, and missions to help others. Through this book, you’ll explore and have great adventures as you help dwarves recover their homes.
However, we must say this. The films (if you’ve seen them) are incredibly different from what the books offer. Check out the books, and don’t let the movies discourage you.
Daughter Of The Pirate King By Tricia Levenseller
This book is fantastic! A favorite of social media, Daughter Of The Pirate King, is the story of Alosa. She deliberately lets herself get kidnapped to search for her enemy’s ship. What she doesn’t plan on, however, is being the first mate on the boat. Noticing that her feelings are quickly swaying from the mission, she reminds herself of the punishment that awaits her if she can’t get her father the prize she wants.
Revelle By Lyssa Mia Smith
Are you ready for a book that Moulin Rouge inspired? Check out, Revelle! It’s set on an island in Prohibition-era style New York. The romance and mystery of the book have kept readers thrilled, and many were sad that this was a stand-alone as they wanted a complete series.
Luxe Revelle is a star in her family’s show. However, their livelihood is threatened, and they struggle to make a living. When the son of the wealthiest family makes her an offer she can’t refuse, she doesn’t. However, the pair can’t help but feel as if they know each other, and as they get closer, the danger rises to high levels. Can they win this game, or will they both lose everything?
Descendant Of The Crane By Joan He
Princess Hesina of Yan resides in the palace and loves her father more than anything. Before he passed away, he had told her he’d show her how to rule the kingdom. While the doctors say her father died naturally, the princess knows he was murdered. She can feel it in her heart. As the investigation into her father’s death is more complicated than she knew, she realizes her life is in extreme danger.
Descent of The Crane is a great way to get into the fantasy genre, and it has a historical feel to it that is well done.
To Kill A Kingdom By Alexandra Christo
Lira is a princess and a siren. She is the most lethal and has the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection. However, in a twist of fact that is entirely too cruel, she must kill one of her own. Her mother transforms her into a human, and she has one season to deliver the prince’s heart to her mother or remain a human and be hated forever.
The ocean is where the prince calls home, and hunting sirens is his hobby. She promises to help him destroy all the sirens when he rescues Lira from the sea. But can he fully trust her? How much will he have to do to save mankind from the bloodthirsty sirens?
To Kill A Kingdom is a story about love, betrayal, and not wanting what your family wants for you.
Children Of Blood And Bone By Tomi Adeyemi
Zelie remembers that the soil is full of magic, but everything changed when that magic disappeared. Without a mother, she has to fight for what she believes in and help her people before the magic is gone forever. While outrunning the prince and avoiding danger, she realizes she may also have to fight her heart.
Children Of Blood And Bone is a story of fighting for your future and giving people hope when it glows dimly in the dark.
The Reader By Traci Chee
The only thing Sefia knows is how to survive. She runs into the wilderness with her aunt when her father is brutally killed. She has learned how to track and hunt, thanks to her teaching. However, when her aunt is kidnapped, she’s left alone with only the book her father gave her for company. Her goal is to discover why her father was killed, and her aunt was taken. Upon meeting a mysterious stranger who offers help, she wonders if her luck will improve.
The Reader is a story of action and adventure with a few twists and turns thrown in for good measure.
The Weight Of Feathers By Anna-Marie McLemore
The Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and, therefore, enemies for two decades. The Palomas swim in mermaid shows, and the Corbeaus are former tightrope walkers. Lace is a Paloma and new to her family show. She views her enemies as demons and should never be trusted. However, it’s one of her enemies that saves her life when she’s in danger, and she feels herself falling for him.
The Weight Of Feathers story shows that first impressions are only sometimes correct.
The Light Between Worlds By Laura E. Weymouth
Five years ago, two sisters hid from air strikes in a bomb shelter. On a fateful night, they are transported to a world with Woodlands. In the forest are creatures of myths they never thought they’d see. When they finally get home, everything is changed. Evelyn misses the other world, and Philippa wants to forget. Because of this, Philippa moves to America and only returns when she discovers that Evelyn has gone missing.
In The Light Between Worlds, you’ll find two sisters with an incredible story and the painful truths that they’re running from. The book deals with self-harm, suicide, PTSD, and other issues. You should read this book if you aren’t affected by these issues.
Fantasy Of Frost By Kelly St. Clare
Sometimes, we need to know what it’s like to live. The main character of Fantasy Of Frost knows this better than anyone. Her mother hates her, and her court shuns her. All she knows is pain; no one ever shows her kindness until the prince.
There is only one warning we will give you here, and that is that the book ends on a cliffhanger.
Ruby Red By Kerstin Gier
Ruby Red is about time travel. Sixteen-year-old Gwen has a gift in her family. They can time travel, but only if they’re female. Supposedly it skipped over Gwen, so imagine her surprise when she realizes it didn’t. She is completely unprepared, having not been trained for such an event, and because of that, she needs to prepare for what her family says comes with her gift.
Then she meets Gideon. He’s arrogant, rude, and obnoxious; half the time, she wants to snap at him in annoyance. What’s stopping her? He’s the best-looking thing she’s ever seen, and that’s in any century she’s visited.
Romanov By Nadine Brandes
Historical fantasy is making people stand up and take notice. This is for a good reason; stories like Romanov bring fun, romance, and adventure in a big way. Nastya’s only chance of saving herself and her family is to release a spell, and she needs help from a soldier to do it. The mission doesn’t scare her half as much as her attraction. Mainly because he’s on one side of the firing squad and facing her on the other.
A Kingdom Submerged By Deborah Grace White
Two fates never meant to collide have changed, and now the world has changed. Despite being an orphan with no name, Merletta is determined to obtain the rank of the record holder. She doesn’t care if people hate her or want her dead. She’s going to try anyway. Heath knows nothing about mermaids and has a dragon as a best friend.
Their two worlds couldn’t be any different. However, when Health’s search for solutions for his kingdom brings him to Merletta, they find that insurmountable barriers keep them apart.
Splintered A.G. Howard
Splintered is a book about another world. Alyssa Gardner hears bugs whispering and can talk to flowers. That is precisely what gets her mother locked in an insane asylum. However, Alyssa knows how to avoid that same fate. However, when she learns the truth about her family, she knows that time has run out, and she has to fix past mistakes, or there is no future to be had.
Her companions are the neighbor Jeb who she’s been in love with forever, and the mysterious Morpheus. She trusts Jeb, but who will she pick to guard her heart?
The Forbidden Library By Django Wexler
Alice’s father has gone down with his ship, and she is sent to live with her uncle. She has never heard of him, has no clue who he is, and wonders if this will be a good idea. She sees an enormously huge manor, a talking cat, and a forbidden library when she arrives.
But you know you can’t tell someone not to do something, which is the case in the Forbidden Library. But what happens when Alice finds herself inside the book with no way out unless she defeats a creature that got trapped?
Dreams Lie Beneath By Rebecca Ross
Dreams Lie Beneath is a curse, power, and goals story. During each new moon, magic makes nightmares come to life, and only a select few can help. Clementine gets unknowingly drawn into the confect, and secrets begin to come out as she gets closer to a magician. As the curse gets more assertive and people get more frightened, she wonders what will happen to all of them.
Oathbound By Victoria McCombs
Emma has spent her entire life avoiding anything to do with pirates. Unfortunately, she has to partner with one when a secret illness hurts everyone on the island they live on. The captain’s secrets, however, are dark, and they threaten to kill everyone. His obligations are tainted with betrayal, and though his oathbound must be fulfilled, Emma wonders if the only thing in their future is destruction.
Oathbound is a book that explores the fantasy realm of pirates while providing you with a heroine you can genuinely root for.
This Dreamer By Sara Watterson
Evie has been growing restless, watching mortals from the control room. So when her friend offers to smuggle her into the human world, she’s excited to see it for herself and instantly accepts. Secretly though, her heart longs to observe Adan. He’s a human dreamer, and she promised she’d only spy a little.
Trouble immediately finds her, and she can’t return. What’s worse is that Adan is missing, and even worse is that her director thinks she’s to blame. Follow the journey in This Dreamer as she searches for Adan and the truth of her world.
The Orphan Queen By Jodi Meadows
Wilhelmina has what feels like a hundred identities. Not only is she a royal princess, but she’s also a spy and a threat. Wilhelmina and the other orphaned children were taken to the capital and made into stealth and theft experts. Using her new skills, she intends to take back her throne. She and her best friend Melanie pretend to be nobles so they can get inside, and now they have a mission to uphold.
The Orphan Queen is dangerous, romantic, and intriguing. Follow Wilhelmina as she makes her way back to her rightful place.
Vivid By Ashley Bustamante
When Ava was young, she began a journey to Magus. A dozen years later, she has started on the road to betraying them. On Magus, you’ll see colors that can help your magic. When a rogue escapes imprisonment, he shows up at Ava’s school. She becomes fascinated with his story and allows him to evade the people after him.
As she learns more about the magic around her, she questions whether she’s acting on her own heart or if someone else is making the decisions for her. Vivid tells you what it’s like to want to step out and find out the truth.
Wishtress By Nadine Brandes
When Myrthe was born with the gift of turning tears into wishes, as it’s a big secret to keep, she doesn’t tell anyone. Unfortunately, a granted wish goes wrong, and now she’s cursed. If she sheds one more tear, it will kill her. She must harden herself and ensure she doesn’t cry.
Bastiaan is powerful. He kidnaps the old king, and the new king wants him to track down Myrthe and hand her over. However, he only wants to find her so she’ll give him a wish. The one issue? He’s falling in love with her, and she’s convinced that the only way this journey will end is with her death.
Wishtress is a story that is filled with bravery and human greed. Myrthe is saddened to see that people are ready to bully and betray her for her gift or worse. Would they kill her for her talent?
The Keeper Of Night By Kylie Lee Baker
Ren is a half-reaper and half-shinigami. Collection of souls for a century, things have stayed the same. The problem is that the hierarchy is harsh, and they despise her. Her only option is to hide her emotions and avoid the torment.
The Keeper Of Night is a story that focuses on mythology, history, and a character that never gives up hope no matter what happens.
A Thousand Pieces Of You By Claudia Gray
A Thousand Pieces Of You explores the chance to dive into other worlds. Marguerite’s parents have an invention called the Firebird that allows you to jump into different universes. They believe that this is going to change the world and science forever. Her father is brutally murdered, and the killer escapes before the law can get him. Marguerite refuses to let him go free, and she chases after him.
The issue is she meets alternate versions of the people she knows, including the killer. Soon, she finds herself questioning whether or not the killer is guilty or not. As soon as she finally learns the truth, she realizes death is far more sinister than ever imagined.
The Paper Magician By Charlie N. Holmberg
Ceony arrives at the cottage of Emery when she’s had her heart broken. When she’s bonded to paper, that will be her magic forever. She wanted metal, so this isn’t something that makes her happy. Soon she learns that it can be fun though she does things she shouldn’t. Then her teacher gets attacked. To save Emery, she must make a journey she’s never had before and is willing to risk everything to save her friend.
The Paper Magician is a fantasy adventure steeped in history and magic. Through Ceony’s journey, you’ll find a steampunk adventure waiting to be unfolded.
Circles Of Seven By Bryan Davis
Circles Of Seven is the third book in the Dragons In Our Midst series. In this book, you’ll find that dragon traits and wisdom are utilized daily. Billy and Bonnie have been exploring a domain of evil. In the realm they are currently in, each one has been led deeper into the enemy’s territory. They must set the prisoner’s residing there free, but tragedy quickly strikes. Now he has a choice, save the prisoners or his best friend.
Dust By Kara Swanson
Dust showcases a world that is considered to be too dark. Claire knows this first hand. Her twin brother was kidnapped as a child, and now she’s in a desperate search to find him, and in doing so, she has to find a boy who shouldn’t exist. Peter Pan is trying to get back to Neverland. He’s grounded and stuck in London, and his Lost Boys are hunting him. As he searches for hope, he realizes he needs a girl with magic. However, the one he finds is afraid of her destiny. Upon working with him, Claire’s world gets turned upside down, and she realizes she may not know anything about who she truly is.
Huntress By Julie Hall
Huntress is the first in the Life After series. No one’s afterlife is worse than Audrey’s. She is confident that someone made a mistake. She thinks that waking up without her memories is the worst thing ever. She’s assigned to hunt demons, and her trainer makes this easier as they get along well. However, a decision made under duress changes everything.
Princess Academy By Shannon Hale
Miri lives on a mountain, and her ancestors have lived simply for generations. When word comes that the king’s priests have decided that this village is the home of the new princess, they wonder who will be chosen. An academy is made, and all the girls must learn to become a princess.
The Princess Academy is the story of bitter competition and rivalry and saving yourself when no one believes in you.
Enchanted By Alethea Kontis
It is never easy being overlooked. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, but there is one big problem. What she writes comes true. They become friends when she meets an enchanted frog that asks her about her stories. When she kisses her frog goodbye, she doesn’t realize that he has become the prince that Sunday’s family hates.
Enchanted tells the story of falling in love with someone and accepting them as they are.
Rise Of The Vicious Princess By C.J. Redwine
The princess is the dutiful sword of her country. She’s been raised to be ruthless and does her job well. The only thing she wants is peace. However, when violence erupts in the castle, everything changes. So she forms a plan. By day she is the trusted princess, but by night she’s a ruthless smuggler. Unfortunately, as the danger comes closer, she only has one thing to lose—her heart.
Rise Of The Vicious Princess is an excellent story about what happens when you begin to fear that you’ll lose yourself.
The Wild Orchid: A Retelling of The Ballad of Mulan By Cameron Dokey
Mulan is unlike anyone else in China. She can wield a sword with unmatched skill. When war strikes, she disguises herself to fight for her father. She never expected that she would fall in love or make a friend, certainly not with the commander of her division.
The Wild Orchid is a tale of love, bravery, and truth that will have you on the edge of your seat.
Keen: Banshee Song Series By Laura L. Zimmerman
Keen is the story of Caoine. She has no control over the banshee song that she sings on a nightly basis, and it predicts the death of others. Not to mention that everyone makes fun of her because of her skin and hair. However, when she arrives at a new school, she makes friends for the first time.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t last, and her life begins to spin out of control. Is her curse overcoming her, or can she fight to stop the danger?
Frequently Asked Questions
Are There Fantasy Novels With Strong Female Leads?
Yes, there are. You’ll find that many of the books on this list have female leads that overcome the oppression in their lives.
What Do Fantasy Novels Teach Us?
Many fantasy novels have heartbreak and other devastating things that happen in real life. However, the characters never give up hope and remind us that we shouldn’t either and that we are stronger than we know.
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