This season, pick up one of these great young adult gems that you should have read, but somehow, inexplicably, missed. Summer is a time for relaxing, hanging out, and reading a good book. Try one of these top fantasy books:
This comedic young adult fairytale rip-off is one of my absolute favorites, and I still grab it whenever I’m having a bad day or need a pick-me-up. It follows the Princess Cimorene, who is so totally fed up with all the things she isn’t allowed to do (like cook, sword fight, learn magic, study Latin, or juggle) that she runs away and volunteers to be “kidnapped” by a dragon. While working for the dragon Kazul, Cimorene has to fend off irritating princes who keep trying to rescue her, gets some advice from a witch with way too many cats, and uncovers a plot by the evil magicians. I highly recommend this one to readers of any age. Kindle release is September 15.
Kim is in grad school, and very unhappy about it. In order to distract herself from the mundane life she’s stuck in, she studies ballet and fencing, and tries not to dwell on all the guys who just don’t get her. On a whim, she decides to travel to Europe to find her grandmother’s family who her grandmother left behind and refuses to discuss. But a stop in Vienna brings no answers; only ghosts. Real ones. And when the ghosts are followed up by Kim’s abduction to an obscure eastern European kingdom, Kim will have more to worry about than research papers and pointe shoes. In a Princess Diaries meets Pirates of the Caribbean adventure, you’ll find a plot and characters that will keep you hooked from cover to cover.
Orphaned Corinna Stonewall always knows what time it is, never gets cold, has hair that grows two inches every night, and is a very capable Folk Keeper, thankyouverymuch. She doesn’t pacify the Folk—because nothing can ever pacify the fearsome, angry, cave-dwelling demonic beings who are as happy to eat their keeper down to her bare bones as they are to spoil milk, sicken animals, and rot vegetables—but she feeds and distracts them. But when she discovers she is the daughter of a Lord, and moves to his estate by the ocean, Corinna discovers much more about herself than her last name and strange connection to the sea.
Cerinthe Gale is a trained healer, but a natural dancer. When she is unable to save her mother’s life with her skills, Cerinthe gives up healing and devotes herself to dancing at the School of Royal Dancers. Focusing entirely on her passion for dance, she manages to gain entrance to the school as one of only a few newly admitted students. But circumstances conspire against her new happiness, and when her rival is injured during a dangerous competition, Cerinthe is forced to reexamine which path is truly her destiny.
Sabriel is at a boarding school in Ancelstierre—a place similar to 20th century England—when she receives word that her father, the Abhorsen of the Old Kingdom, has been killed. In the Old Kingdom magic runs free, stopping most technology (including electricity and modern weapons) and allowing evil necromancers to raise the dead. It is the Abhorsen’s job to put them back where they belong—beyond the “Seventh Gate” and into the realm of the dead. Now Sabriel must take up her father’s tools, a sword and bandolier of bells with which to control the dead, and hunt down the necromancer and the evil dead who killed her father. Even more importantly, she must stop this evil from crossing the wall into Ancelstierre, where the existence of magic is denied and the people will have no protection from the necromancer and his puppets. I love the updated cover on this young adult gem!
Kate knows magic exists. It’s always been a part of her life, and she no longer finds it strange. But Jarrod, the new kid at school who can create a thunderstorm inside when he’s upset, doesn’t believe in magic at all. But he thinks Kate is cute and interesting, if a little eccentric, which gives her the opening she needs to convince him—and he’ll need to be well and truly convinced in order to make the trip back in time to end his family’s curse before their lives fall apart—or worse.
A fantasy world, full of wizards, demons, dragons, and magic, is being exploited by a callous man who is forcing the wizards to destroy their homes and lives by running guided group tours for rich tourists from our world. The wizard Derk, a homebody who would much rather spend his time creating new species of magical beasts (like his five gryphon children), has been chosen as this year’s Dark Lord for the tourists to “defeat.” Meanwhile, an ancient dragon awakens and becomes offended by the lack of a true dark lord, Derk’s wife has, perhaps, too much of a grand old time playing the “Glamorous Enchantress,” kidnappings abound, and a few characters fall into unwanted romances. This fantasy book tells a funny but nerve-wracking tale of people trying desperately to live up to impossible expectations while remaining true to themselves.
Hannah lives in the Tanglewood; a dark forest full of mystery and danger. It seems she has lived there forever—indeed, she cannot remember a time before the wood, and she has no friends but a few woodland creatures. Once a month the wizard comes, and she makes him tea from the herbs and flowers that grow in her hair. Occasionally a knight or treasure-seeker will venture into the Tanglewood to find the elusive golden boar and a treasure worth dying for. But Hannah has walked the length and breadth of the wood and has never seen either one. When a wounded knight makes it to her cottage, her choices will change her life and the entire Tanglewood.
Here are some other fabulous young adult fantasy books you should check out if you haven’t already:
And for more fantasy books, see our complete book review list here.
And read this: Top YA Adventure Books