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The Best YA Fantasy Books (Part 1)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

After all the requests following my last book review, I thought I'd start a series of book recommendations for you fellow YA fiction fans. As I mentioned before, YA fantasy is my genre of choice, so today's will all be of that specific niche. And because I have a lot of favorites, I'll be keeping this post to five titles. Everything I list here is one of my all-time favorites, so I really can't recommend them highly enough.

So, in no particular order, here we go!

Howl's Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones

"Enthralling" is the best word I can find to describe this book. It's not often you find a YA novel written from the perspective of an old woman! It has that magical, fairy tale quality that will stick with you for a long time - plus a big, big heart.

The Hollow Kingdom by Clare Dunkle

Don't let the lackluster cover fool you - this book (and series) packs a serious literary punch. By turns disturbing and heartwarming, it spits in the eye of traditional teen romances and embraces a form of Beauty and the Beast where the beast stays a beast. Refreshingly different and hauntingly beautiful.

Sabriel, by Garth Nix

Nix's Abhorsen trilogy is what the word "epic" was invented to describe. Set in a world split into a "modern" half (roughly our 1940s) and one evocative of Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings, it will draw you in with hair-raising suspense, battles, and a heroine you can't stop cheering for. Also, as a quick reader I especially love this book's heft - although even at 336 pages, I promise you'll be left wanting more. (Good thing there are more books in the series!)

The Lightning Thief , by Rick Riordin

My strongest memory of this book is laughing in bed, trying in vain not to wake John. It brings the Greek gods up-to-date in modern times, and, well, hilarity ensures. It's also a ripping good adventure, and pure fun through and through.

Trickster's Choice , by Tamora Pierce

It was hard to choose which Pierce book to mention here, since I own and love so many of them. The only trouble with her books is that almost all of them are part of intertwining series, so if you don't start at the the beginning, you might feel a smidge left out. (If you want a completely stand-alone story, try Terrier, a kick-ass story of a female guard.) (Edited to add: As mentioned in the comments, there are sequels to Terrier, but I still think the story stands alone well for new readers.)

This series picks up where the tales of Alanna the Lioness leave off - with Alanna's daughter. Fortunately, reading the previous books isn't necessary to thoroughly enjoy this one - and at nearly 450 pages, there's enough intrigue, romance, and adventure to keep you busy for at least a few nights. ;)

Keep your own book recommendations coming, guys; I've already started two titles from your lists, and I'll keep you updated with reviews as I finish them! (And if you missed it, check the comments here for your fellow readers' recommendations.)

Posted by Jen at 2:31 PM Labels:


  1. Hey Jen,

    Love the list (these are all my favourites too) but I do have to correct you on the Terrier novel by Tamora Pierce. It isn't a stand alone, and recently Bloodhound was published that follows Beka Cooper. In October the last of the trilogy, Mastiff, will be published. :)

  2. I love your choices. Some more for you to consider:

    White Cat by Holly Black (modern setting, grifters, cons, and magic)
    Steampunky series:

    Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
    Larklight by Philip Reeve
    Flora Segunda by Ysabeau Wilce
    Incarceron Catherine Fisher

  3. Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain are one of the few books of my youth that I made it a point to track down in hardcover years later. Do *not* base your view of the series on Disney's The Black Cauldron...it's a pretty horrid retelling of the book.

  4. It makes me happy that I have read (and loved!) three of these five.

    The Hollow Kingdom is the only title I don't recognize, so I'll have to check it out.

    I've don't know that I've left you a comment before, but you should know that while I am not really into blogs/blogging lately, I keep coming back here! I'm here for nerdy news, great projects and your awesome humor.

    From one geeky girl to another, thanks!!

  5. I too love YA fantasy and I am waaayyy past being a YA ;-). Maybe I like them because they didn't have much when I was a kid. Anywho...I love the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan, they are fantastic! I also have enjoyed the Heck series by Dale E. Basye. Very funny and action packed. Give them a try!

  6. Have you ever tried the Gregor the Overlander Series by Suzanne Collins?

  7. The Attolia series by Megan Whalen Turner is great - mostly loose historical fiction, but with a bit of magical mystery tossed in. I really love them - reading them makes me feel like I've just had a holiday to Greece.

    The Dragon series by Patricia C. Wrede is a summer classic - there are four of them, and I've re-read them every summer since I was about 14. They're a fairy tale meets fantasy series about a princess who's tired of being 'proper' and runs away to live with a dragon. SO GOOD!

    I added your suggestions to my list...the only ones I've read are everything by Tamora Pierce. There's a sequel to Terrier out now, you know! :)It's called Bloodhound, and it's just as good as Terrier.

  8. Oo, I haven't read any of those, though Lighting Thief keeps getting recommended by all my friends.

    My top top are pretty standard but I still adore them: Wrinkle in Time & The Giver.

    And of course Harry Potter and Redwall and.... the list goes on. :)

  9. Lightning Thief is one of my favorite books too! Did you know that the author released a new series? It's Called "The Heroes Of Olympus," and the first book is "The Lost Hero" You should read it!

  10. Oh, I absolutely LOVE Howl's Moving Castle, and Diana Wynne Jones' other books. I'm so sad that she passed away this spring, and that there's only one book of hers left to be published.

    If you liked Howl, you might like Jones' A Tale of Time City. It's a little more sci-fi than her other works, which is really cool. My sister reviewed the book for my blog if you'd like to check it out.

  11. Robin McKinley is one of my favorite YA authors. The Blue Sword, Sunshine, The Hero and the Crown and Beauty are all fantastic.

    I also very much enjoyed the Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine.

  12. Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I don't usually care for YA, but I could not put these books down.

  13. I loved that you mentioned Tamora Pierce becuase I love her books! She is seriously one of my favorite authors and the Trickster books really are great. You mentioned that Terrier was a stand alone book and while it doesnt intertwine heavily with the rest of the Tortall books, did you know it was part of a triliogy? Bloodhound, the second book is out and Mastiff, the third, comes out at the end of the year.

  14. I love love love the Sabriel series by Garth Nix and the Percy Jackson series. You should also check out another series by Garth Nix. It's the days of week and starts with Mr. Monday and finishes with Superior Sunday. It has to do with a world under this one that can influence this one. The main character is a boy from the present day and the other world includes magic, mystery, and the Pied Piper of Hamlin! I seriously loved this series!

  15. I would recommend Ender's Game and The Hunger Games. Hmmm. Seems like I have a game theme going here.

  16. My favorites are

    The Help (new favorite, just read)
    The Mists of Avalon
    Inkheart series
    Dreamfever Series, Karen Marie Moning (OMG awesome!)
    Night World Series
    Eragon Series

  17. I am SO GLAD that someone finally recognized The Hollow Kingdom. It is seriously one of my favorite books, but whenever I talk about it, no one has ever heard of it!! So frustrating. I can't help be compare it to Twilight and see how it succeeded in all the ways that twilight failed.

  18. Oh, someone else who's read The Hollow Kingdom! I have the entire trilogy, but it's so rare to meet someone else who knows about them!

    I love Tammy Pierce, and besides the Terrier series, I think the Protector of the Small quartet is separate enough from the Alanna/Daine books (references made, but everything understandable without background knowledge).

    Also, if you like those, you'd probably like the Avatars trilogy by Tui T. Sutherland. It's got strong characters, action/adventure/mythology/fantasy, and some sarcasm thrown in for good measure. It lines up perfectly with the books you like, but no one has every heard of it!

    Also, I don't know if you've heard of it, but have you thought about using Goodreads? It's an easy way to keep a to-read list and review books. The link below links to my profile, only because it'd be weird to use someone else's.

  19. Hey Jen,
    I was going to point out that Terrier is part of a trilogy, but someone beat me to it...

    And, Tamora Pierce is one of my absolute favorite authors! I think the best are the Lioness Quartet.

  20. I can't tell you how happy I am to know there are other *cough* seasoned YA Fantasy/SciFi readers out there! I'm ONLY 36 - hardly old. Right? Right??? Sigh.

    The City of Ember series - Jeanne DuPrau
    Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
    Pendragon Series - DJ MacHale
    Inkheart Trilogy - Cornelia Funke
    Keys to the Kingdom Series - Garth Nix

    I could go on, but those are some I've truly enjoyed.

    I tend to use the excuse that "I'm pre-reading these for my son," but usually it's all about me. :)

  21. Everlost by Neal Shusterman is one of my new 'classics', sitting alongside The Giver and The Girl Who Owned A City and A Wrinkle In Time. It's absolutely incredible. It's about how sometimes when kids die, they get stuck in an in-between world with its own set of rules and no adults. It's dark but wonderful at the same time.

    And in writing this, I discovered that there's a sequel, which I just purchased for my Kindle. Awesome.

  22. i whole heartedly second the robin mckinley recommendation. (and i squeed a little to see that someone else loves my favorite books too!)

  23. Rick Riordan has another series out that incorporates Egyptian mythology--the first book is The Red Pyramid, and the second was released this past spring. I bought the first three Percy Jackson books through my son's book order several years ago because *I* was interested in reading them. He ended up reading and loving them--he's particular about what he reads--so I gave them to him, as well as the rest of Riordan's books.

    When I finish my stack of Tess Gerritsen mysteries, I'm going to check into some of these.

  24. It's great that I've read three of these series within the past year - I've never been much of a YA junkie, but friends keep reccomending series, and passing the e-books my way.

    That said, have you read "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins? It's a trilogy set in a dystopic future "Panem" (formerly, middle America, between the mountains). In a weird way, it reminds me of "The Giver", but with a greater action component.

    It's not really traditional fantasy... it's more like future-fantasy, light sci-fi. And really, really good.

  25. Oh! Yay, yay, yay for book recommendations!

    I'm still regretting the fact that I didn't discover Diana Wynn Jones until college; Howl's Moving Castle is definitely one of my all-time favoritest favorites. I just indoctrinated my 8-year-old daughter, too. A further reason to be such a great fan, as my daughter's reading skills level is high, so it's hard to find books that are age/subject-appropriate at her level.

    Which brings me to... His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman. So good, but they get a little too too by the end there... At least for the pre-teen set, imho.

    I second the Robin McKinley rec, too, Anon. The Outlaws of Sherwood, a retelling of Robin Hood, is excellent. As are The Blue Sword and the Hero and the Crown.

    I'm taking notes, here, for sure. This is one of my go-to genres, and I'm always happy to top up my reading list.

  26. Great choices! I love anything by DWJ but my favorites are The Chronicles of Chrestomanci and Deep Secret. I also second the Attolia series; it is probably my most favorite YA series ever! I recently read Hold Me Closer, Necromancer which is the first in a series and it was A LOT of fun: sweet, snarky, and hilarious all rolled into one amazing book!

  27. When I read fiction, I almost always read YA fiction. I have a lot I could nominate, but I'll try to be brief and avoid things people have already mentioned.

    I recently read and intensely loved The Seer and the Sword by Victoria Hanley. Once I finished it, I wanted to forget it so that I could reread it all over again on the spot. THAT'S how good it was.

    Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L.A. Meyer was grossly absorbing. I read through the entire series in record time.

    Crown Duel/Court Duel by Sherwood Smith is phenomenal. The first book centers around fighting and conquering, and the second around court intrigue. In my opinion, the best of both worlds.

    Also, to everyone out there, if you haven't watched Hayao Miyazaki's film based on Howl's Moving Castle (and with the same title), YOU ARE MISSING OUT!

  28. A few posts already mentioned these, but maybe the more who say it the better it sounds... ? I LOOOVED the Nicolas Flammel Series. I just finished the 5th one and have to wait almost a year before the final book! The Hunger Games was also awesome. I have a few books in my wish list based on one of your other posts, so thanks for talking about books! Did you really like the Percy Jackson series? I was behind on that and saw the movie first and was so turned off...

  29. GAH! you like sabriel?! AND tamora pierce?! i KNEW we were long-lost friends. :P howl's moving castle was already on my goodreads list, and now so are your others. thanks! oh, and my suggestion is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. actually, i've loved pretty much everything i've read of her's. :)

  30. There are a lot of great books on the list, but don't forget the extra Disney punch it needs. Dave Berry and Ridley Pearson created a fantastic Peter Pan adventure series. [Click away matie!] Ridley Pearson is also writing The Kingdom Keepers series. [Check me out!]

    Good reading to all!

  31. I third (at least) Robin McKinley!! Even though I've only been able to read Deerskin once (so very good, but SOOOOO disturbing) my copies of her other books are falling to pieces. If you enjoyed the Hero and the Crown/Blue Sword duo, make sure to check out her short story anthologies for more Luthe goodness. *squee*

    Also, her first Beauty is fabulous. I've often wondered just how heavily influenced the Disney folks were by her retelling of the story.

    wv: dediming. I'm so glad we're dediming YA, and bringing it out into the light!

  32. I recently read "The Sky Inside" by Clare Dunkle, and really enjoyed it, so I might have to give hers a try, despite the lackluster cover. :)

    Have you tried "The Giver", "Gathering Blue", and "Messenger" by Lois Lowry? They aren't quite fantasy, but they do have some fantasy elements like special gifts (not super powers thought), but they take place in a post-apocalyptic America, and I like those sorts of stories a lot.

  33. SWEET! I just added the ones I haven't read to my list. I haven't read a ton of YA fantasy, but my intro to fantasy was the Soprano Sorceress series by Modesitt. Still the best easy read fantasy series in my oh-so-humble opinion.

  34. Have you ever read The Book of Lost Things? It's a really interesting adventure read that puts a few twists on classic fairytales. It's also pretty freaking horrifying in places!
    Check it out! 8D

  35. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart is super clever and charming! And I'll third the Robin Mckinely recommendation!

  36. You might like the Mode series by Piers Anthony. And the Xanth series (same author). Both series build upon earlier books so if you've never read any you should start with the first (Virtual Mode and A Spell for Chameleon respectively) but you probably could read any of them and understand what's going on. :D

  37. Almost all of those, if not all of them, are on my wife's list of favorites. I haven't read them yet, but I'm sure to one of these days.

  38. You have such good reading taste! I added "The Hollow Kingdom" to my reading list, it sounds like my kind of book! Now for my recommendations:

    Shannon Hale's books are breathtaking and magical. My favorite is "The Goose Girl" which starts off the Bayern series (though each stands well on its own), and I'm also a big fan of "Book of a Thousand Days." Both are re-tellings of obscure fairy tales.

    A few other fairy tale re-tellings that are good are "Princess of the Midnight Ball," "Wildwood Dancing" and "Entwined" which are all re-tellings of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, actually, but are all quite different from one another.

    I'd also try "Dragon Slippers," "Savvy," "Crown Duel," "The Search for WondLa" and "When You Reach Me" (if you've read A Wrinkle in Time, for that last one).

    Oh, and you must read everything by Laini Taylor. She has a new book coming out this year called "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" that's getting a lot of attention, but her previous three books were amazing as well.

    Eep, that was a lot! I could honestly go on and on. I love fantasy for kids and teens!

  39. I ADORE Howl's Moving Castle and its sequel, Castle in the Air. And Tamora Pierce is one of my favorite authors. I've read all of her Tortall books and she's on the "buy in hardcover" list.

    Just last night I started a new YA book, The Magnolia League (since Borders is going out of business we made a last visit and I also bought something from your last post of recommendations, The Iron Duke). So far, The Magnolia League has been interesting, but I'm just over halfway through, so I don't know if I'd recommend it yet.

  40. I would also recommend anything by Robin McKinley, although Beauty is my favorite book of all time.

    I also think that you would like The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (part of the Kingkiller series). It just came out a few years ago, and the third book is going to be released next year!

  41. omg i'm so glad you mentioned the lightning thief from the percy jackson series! it's one of my favorite books of all time! i picked it up from my teachers bookshelf and ended up finishing it in one night. it really captures your attention by combining humor with greek mythology. it really was a great series. rick riordan also wrote two more series called the heroes of olympus which focuses more on roman mythology and the kane chronicles which is about egyptian mythology. both are just as good as percy jackson. i just wish they hadn't made a movie about the lightning thief because it was nothing like the book at all!
    the first book in heroes of olympus is called the lost hero and the second, son of neptune, is coming out this fall. and the first 2 books of kane chronicles are the red pyramid and throne of fire. sorry about the ridiculously long rant :P
    -your gloriously geeky tween reader kate

  42. I just finished the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr. (Modern setting, Faeries among us). They were fabulous! (They succeeded where Twilight failed for me)Can't wait to read them again! And read all of these great recommendations as well!

  43. I love the Patricia Briggs Dragon Bones/Dragon Blood books (actually, all her fantasy books), and a pretty good YA fantasy book is Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman. There is a sequel, Eona: The Last Dragoneye, but I haven't read it yet.

  44. If you like urban fantasy, I suggest Sarah Rees Brennan's Demon Trilogy (Demon's Lexicon, Demon's Covenant, and Demon's Surrender). The books are written in a serial form, but each one has a different narrator, but I promise she makes it work. She also has a very clever way with words, particularly dialogue, which makes her books fun to read.

  45. Anything and everything by Robin McKinley, but start with the Blue Sword and follow it with the Hero and the Crown (it's prequal).

    For an amazing but edgy for many YA readers fairy tale retelling, her Deerskin is just stunningly good.

  46. After I read the Hunger Games I wanted more of Suzanne Collins so I read her other series, Gregor the Overlander and I really enjoyed it too. I'm surprised it hasn't gotten more attention. I also recently read The Graceling (I may have heard about that here, I can't remember) and I thought it was great too.

    I wish Garth Nix would write about that world endlessly.

  48. The Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner is the best ever. If you haven't read it, go get it right now. As much as I love Tamora Pierce, I love Turner more. Her books are more complicated and adult (but still YA) than Trickster's Choice/Trickster's Queen.

    Also, check out Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I can guarantee that you would love it. Take the word of an absolute stranger (who is a YA librarian)!

  49. I see that is has already been recommended, but I must second it. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner is amazing - as is the rest of the series.

    The other book I would recommend is Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin. I haven't read the rest of the series yet because the local library doesn't have it, but rumor has that they are all good. Although I'm tempted to actually buy these because the author has an entire section of her site dedicated to adoption of racing greyhounds.

    I don't think it is usually considered YA (how do they determine that anyway) but Deborah Chester's Ruby Throne trilogy is pretty awesome as is the The Sword, The Ring, and The Chalice.

    Now I'd best stop before this gets completely out of hand.

  50. I don't remember if I recommended them to you or to someone else, but Jessica Day George's princess books (Princes of the Midnight Ball & Princess of Glass) are two of my new favorite books. :)

  51. Three of my favorites: Garth Nix, Rick Riordin, and Tamora Pierce made your list. Awesome!

  52. I'm so glad you included Sabriel and The Lightening Thief. Both of those are two of my favourites (and favourite series'). If you haven't all ready, I strongly suggest trying G W Dhalquist's Glass Books of the Dream Eaters.

    I don't think it's classed as YA, at least, at my local Waterstones it's not in the YA, it's in General Fiction, but I still really recommend it.

  53. I have to look for the top three you listed. I love Tamora Pierce and LIghtning Thief. Apparently Riordan has a new ebook out. My librarian is a scifi geek and has really widened my reading tastes.

    I love YA, as a busy mom who doesn't have time to remember intricate details and plot twists, YA gives me just enough to chew on ;). Also, I have noticed some YA books really touch on current political themes. These aren't all fantasy, but that's ok ;)

    Margaret Peterson Haddix Among the Hidden (juvenile) This book starts the series about "forbidden" third children in a country where you are only allowed two kids.

    Fablehaven Brandon Mull (juvenile) Love these books!! About a game reserve for magical creatures

    The Mysterious Benedict Society Trenton Lee Stewart

    Gunnerkrigg Court Thomas Siddell This is a graphic series found online. You can also buy his books. About a mysterious city populated by a handful of people and an equally mysterious forest divided by a river. It's better than I make it sound, promise! LOL

    Also, The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan (sp) My hubby is HOOKED on this series. The second of three books recently came out.

  54. The Kane Chronicles, if you haven't gotten to them yet, are by Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson series), and take on Egyptian mythology. I love Greek myth, but I think I liked the Kane Chronicles better!

    Also, Graceling by Kristin Cashore is great. It's sequel, Fire, is arguably even better, and I can't wait for the rest of the series. It takes place in a fantasy setting, and focus on strong female main characters.

  55. I loved the Percy Jackson series so much that I named my dachshund Percy!

  56. I hadn't heard of any of those and was thrilled to be able to order most of them from paperbackswap.com! (I usually have to wait at least a few weeks.) Always good to bring in some new reads and recycle out a few others. Thanks for the list!

    wv:gerewbac. I got rid of a few books off my overstuffed shelves, but it seems they gerewbac.

  57. The Hollow Kingdom series is one of my top three favorite series, and unlike Howl's Moving Castle or The Lightning Thief (I totally approve of your taste in books, by the way ^__^) barely anyone has heard of it. It's a spectacular series with sequels that live up to and enhance the original, and it definitely needs more love. Lots of it.
    Thanks for including it!

  58. I can pretty much second most of the recommendations already made. So many books I've already enjoyed, and a few new ones, too. Yeah! It's also nice to know that I'm not the only one my age who reads YA stuff! I get grief from some of my "serious reader" friends for it. For a few more years, though, I can continue to claim I'm looking for new books for my kids.

    That said, about the only series I could think of that hasn't been mentioned is the Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. The first book is Beyond the Deepwoods.

  59. For Linda who mentioned Patricia Briggs. Her Mercedes Thompson series is excellent if you haven't read it.

  60. Does the Michael Ende "Neverending Story" count as YA? It's one of those books that send tingles down my spine as I pick it up. Especially worth tracking down the hardcover version with purple and green text!

  61. @ Jennifer - I had no idea the same person who wrote Gregor wrote the Hunger Games! You just blew my mind! (And I love - and own - both of the first books in those series.)

  62. I did a blog with five of my favorite fantasy series just last week:

    I didn't put Howl on the list, but I do like it, and I did have Sabriel.

  63. Some of my favorites are The Giver and The Hunger Games. I read the Lightning Thief too, I loved it, but the movie does it no justice.

  64. Garth Nix's series that starts with Mister Monday is super fun.

  65. I haven't seen her mentioned yet (although she could be on the other list) but I have to recommend Diana Peterfreund (outstanding author) and her two YA books, Rampant and Ascendant (I think she's working on a third but I'm not sure.) Kickass female protagonist fights killer unicorns (I can't even tell you how well this is done. I was skeptical - killer unicorns? But it's awesome) and of course, wrestles with inner demons as well. These books are remarkably well-written - you will not be disappointed.

    She has another series that is not YA, but I highly recommend: her "Secret Society Girl" series.

    Love your list and this topic! I'm always on the lookout for new books to read.

  66. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me that you love Tamora Pierce. I started reading that series about 5 years ago and I am still hooked. Daine is DEFINITELY my favorite

  67. I loved seeing this post, because I just did a similar one. We even have some of the same books! If you want to see my list, here's the link to my recent post (but I really don't want to seem like I'm pimping out my blog, so don't check it if you don't want to.)

  68. I adore Howl's Moving Castle!

    Sorry if these have been mentioned already, but I also like the Daughters of the Moon series by Lynne Ewing (at least the first five I've read...) and Both Sides of Time by Caroline Cooney. There are more books that go with that one, but I've only read the one.

  69. Philip Pullman author of the Golden Compass also wrote a great series called the Sally Lockhart Mysteries, starting with The Ruby in the Smoke. A girl in the 1870's trying to solve the mystery of her father's death. There are four books in the series and a couple were even used for the PBS Mystery series.

  70. Oh, what wonderful recommendations, both in the original post and in the comments! I saw many that I already love and snagged some new titles for my wish list. I'd add Francis Hardinge (Verdigris Deep and Gullstruck Island are the two I've read) and Charles de Lint--Drink Down the Moon and Jack the Giant-Killer--to this list.

  71. The Hunf=ger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins is really good. I am not too fond of the last book, but believe me, your nose will be stuck in the books until you finish them. I am not sure if others have recommended this, but they are really good.

  72. Wow, I'm surprised I haven't read a lot of the books on your list! I devoured all the YA fantasy in my library and local bookstore as a teen and I'll always have a soft spot for the genre. This thread just exploded my list of books to re-read!

    Some more recommendations:

    A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle (all her fiction, really)

    Alanna series, Tamora Pierce

    The Hounds of the Morrigan, Pat O'Shea

    The Dark is Rising series, Susan Cooper

    Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card - more sci fi than fantasy, but it's a wonderful book, and if you appreciate YA fantasy I think you'll love it.

    And I second so many of the other recommendations by other commenters...including Lloyd Alexander, Robin McKinley, and Patricia C. Wrede. And I'm another loyal user of Goodreads.

  73. Tamora Pierce is my favorite YA Author. Everyone should read the entire Song of the Lioness quartet, the Wild Magic quartet and the Protector of the Small quartet. You will NOT be disappointed! Alanna the Lioness is one of my all-time favorite heroines. Daine is pretty awesome, too!

  74. I'm so glad you included Percy Jackson on your list as that is my main book obsession. I love the series and the newest spin-off series that Rick Riordan is doing as well. The movie was not so good though. As for a book that I might recommend in the same genre, the Heir Chronicles (trilogy) by Cinda Williams Chima is pretty wonderful and I think will give you the satisfaction of crossing modern day teenagers with magics that give it a kind of LOTR feel.

  75. I'm a big YA reader, and was thrilled with your list. Tamora Pierce is one of my all time favorite authors and it's nice seeing her get recognition.
    The suggestions given by others have been incredibly helpful, too. Definitely have to agree that "Graceling" and "Fire" are wonderful. I'd also suggest the "Mortal Instruments" series by Classandre Clare. And even though I'm guessing you've read them, the "Inheritance Cycle" by Christopher Paolini have been great.

  76. Jen, it would be totally awesome (if you have time between your very many other pursuits) if you could consolidate all the book and author recommendations into one or two (your recs and readers' recs) booklists that could be easily accessed by your readers either printed or by smart phone at the library or bookstore. Maybe a note on Facebook or public shelf in GoodReads? I think this list combined with my local Half Price could be a FANTASTIC (and financially disastrous) combination! ;-) Or, maybe one of your readers might be off for the summer with time on her hands to compile the list for you? Anyone? Sadly, I'm well beyond the years of summer vacation, or I'd do it myself for you!

  77. Ooh, thanks! Can't wait to add most of these to my list. (Except Percy Jackson - LOVED them! I wish Riordan's new series were as good.)

    Not YA, but my latest fantasy read: The Singer's Crown. I wrote about it here - http://aimeewrites.com/aimee-reads-the-singers-crown/

  78. I don't know if they count as YA (I'm way past YA age), but the Pern series by Anne McCaffery are great!

  79. Meredith Ann Pierce has a GREAT "Dark Angel" series that I think you would love! It's got a forgotten civilization (descended from 'ancients' who came across the heavens), magic, vampires (of a sort), gargoyles, a prophecy, a love story and an unusual ending that I won't spoil.

    Her "Firebringer" series is very well-written too. It's about unicorns. I got hooked on it as a horse-crazy kid :)

    James A Owen with his "Here There Be Dragons" (it's a trilogy) incorporates all kinds of myths, fables, classic tales and history into the fictional ;) adventures of what turn out to be several well-known individuals (again, I won't spoil it)

    My favourite Tamora Pierce novels were the ones about Daine (again, mostly because of the horses), but I started with the Lioness Quartet and thus began my love affair with fantasy.

  80. james rollins - jake ransom and the skull kings shadow
    rick riordan - the red pyramid, the throne of fire

  81. I LOVE YA Fantasy and I'm not shy about admitting it. Gotta rec some of my favorites.

    Kristin Cashore's "Graceling" and "Fire" are set in the same world, but are stand alone stories. "Graceling" was released first, but I prefer "Fire". Both are very good, though, and she's working on a third that is a sequel to "Graceling" called "Bitterblue".

    Next is Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus trilogy. These books are FUNNY! Like making me laugh out loud, but they are also dark, engaging, intense and emotional. And, there's a fourth one. Jonathan Stroud wrote a prequel that happens centuries before the original series.

    I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned Lybba Bray's "A Great and Terrible Beauty" trilogy. It's set in the late 19th century and is beautifully written. She really takes you on a roller coaster ride with her characters! A great fantasy series!

    That's all I can think of for now, but I highly recommend these books.

  82. I'm going to second the recommendation for the Xanth series by Piers Anthony. I read many of them in my early teens and loved them (so much so that I occasionally make references to them in day to day conversation). I need to read them all again now!

  83. I don't know why I'm surprised, but I am. Our family have been watching the anime version of 'Howls Moving Castle' for years. It was one of the first movies that has consistently settled our Autistic son, as well as entertaining the rest of the brood. I just never even considered it to have been a book (first I assume)! I'm a big fan of reading the book before seeing the movie, normally. But this time I'll have to make an exception :) Thanks for bringing this to my attention, my older kids will love reading it - after I get to finish it!
    Oh and as suggested by another very cool person in your comments, the Xanth series is a seriously pun-filled fun read, with action, adventure, twists and mysteries that can be read in any order (there are a million books) but fantastic to read in sequence.
    *note, writer not to be held accountable for exaggerations made which may disappoint Xanth fans. :P

  84. For something fairly light, I'd also add the series that starts with "So you want to be a wizard" by Diane Duane.

    For younger readers who aren't quite ready for Harry Potter, the Charlie Bone series is good.

  85. I've read all of the books on there and completely agree with them all (and thanks for reminding me about The Hollow Kingdom). I have to say that my favorite DWJ books are the Dalemark Quartet, even though the Castle series is excellent. Another excellent YA series is The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susane Cooper.

  86. I read tons of YA fiction (hey 51 is the new 16, right?). Behind HP my favorite is "Summerland" by Michael Chabon (who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction). I believe it is his only YA novel, and it combines mythologies of all types with baseball. A truly awesome, must read book. (And a nod to Xanth and Mode books by Piers Anthony...the first Xanth novel won numerous awards).

  87. I bet you would love Phillip Reeves' books - very steampunky.

  88. terry pratchet's tiffany aching series (start with the wee free men) is really god. actually i adore anything by terry pratchet, ya or otherwise. neil gaiman, too.

  89. In case no one has mentioned it, the Dark Angel trilogy by Merdith Anne Pierce is AMAZING. Recommended by a coworker that never steered me wrong when I worked at a bookstore, and SO much more than I was expecting. It starts out seeming like a teen fantasy vampire romance, but it is deep and gorgeous and triumphant and vibrant and shattering and oh so good.

  90. for YA novels my all time favorite is anything by William Sleator. You will love him, I promise. I doesn't appear that anyone else has mentioned him. It is more sci-fi than fantasy though.

  91. Terry Pratchett's Bromeliad trilogy- Truckers, Diggers, and Wings. SO funny and clever. Nomes live in the floorboards of a department store and have to escape before the building is demolished.

    Not quite YA but still awesome- Anonymous Rex by Eric Garcia. It's the first in a series that posits dinosaurs still among us, dressed and prostheticked to appear human. (Trust me- it's worth suspending your disbelief!)

    The Nursery Crime series by Jasper Fforde, starting with The Big Over Easy- picture nursery rhymes set in a police procedural/noir.

    wv hootyhi- 'nuff said!

  92. Patricia C. Wrede's A Matter of Magice is adorable.. Funny and quirky in the best ways. I'm not sure if it was 2 separate books joined into one for a reprint, but this had me laughing outright. The protaganist is spunky and mouthy, which I happen to love. I only just discovered this writer, her Snow White/Rose Red book wasn't my favorite, but this one is terrific!

  93. I never knew that Howl's Moving Castle was a book before it was a film! Thanks for letting me know. The film was fantastic, if anyone decides to watch it. Best Anime film I've ever seen!

  94. I haven't seen anyone else mention this one yet. At least I don't think anyone has. If you liked Hunger Games you might like Divergent by Veronica Roth. I am a fan!!

  95. Katie Maxwell is a great YA author who does paranormal and regular romance from a teen perspective and if you want some more "adult" romance, read her as Katie MacAllister. Her Aisling Grey novels had me laughing out loud. She also did a steampunk-type novel, appropriately titled Steamed.

  96. Oh! I nearly forgot - Terry Pratchett's Discworld series includes a YA piece - the Wee Free Men and subsequent books featuring Tiffany Aching are meant to be YA. They are totally fun, as are all the Discworld novels.

  97. I'm supposed to be working right now so I will have to try to make it back to look at the other comments, always after new ideas. You've now added to the list of books I have to find to read! As for my recommendation, anything by Cecilia Dart-Thornton - loved them.

  98. wow..so many great suggestions...but I have to add to the list anything by Guy Gavriel Kay especialy his Fionivar Trilogy, and I second the Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradly as well as her Firebrand.

  99. Have you started the other Rick Riordan series...the one that starts with The Red Pyramid? It is outstanding.

  100. That's a fantastic list, and I'm so happy you added Trickster's Choice! I love the sequel, and I have to say those two books are my favorite of Tamora Pierce's. You've probably already read them, but I'd recommend including Harry Potter and the Eragon series on this list, both are exemplary YA fantasy books.

    Also, these two books are not traditionally placed in the YA genre, but I'd recommend Frankenstein and Dracula. Both are great sci-fi and fantasy books and I found them to be great reads. And we shouldn't assume YA won't read them, I read both when I was in high school and loved them! Keep the book reviews coming, I always love finding new reads!

  101. I literally just finished A series that you must check out I'd you haven't already. "Rampant" and "Ascendant" by Diana Peterfreund. Amazing books about unicorns Equally mythologically accurate and startling modern.

  102. I LOVE the Abhorsen trilogy. They made a 4th book that is a short epilogue and a bunch of short stories by the author.

    For modern fae stories the author Holly Black does a pretty good job. She uses traditional fae from European folklore.

  103. I'm not sure this *necessarily* falls into the ya genre. However, Audrey Niffenger's The Time Travelers Wife is absolutely worth the read.

  104. I love love LOVE Poison Study, Magic Study and Fire Study by Maria V Snyder. Sometimes they are located in YA and sometimes I find them under Fantasy, but I've loved them for a long time and now my stepdaughter is reading them too.

    I'm also a Tamora Pierce fan and have been since middle school. I initially picked up Wild Magic because it had ponies on the front, and I was hooked. Earlier this year I went to the library and took out everything she's released in the last 5 years and got all caught up on what I'd missed.

  105. READ CIRQUE DU FREAK!!!! Or ANYTHING by Darren Shan...(The Demonata, The Thin Executioner, The City trilogy, and The Saga of Larten Crepsley) All of his books are unique, and he has incredible plot twists that you never see coming. Plus, he creates the most amazing characters-- you genuinely feel for them, and can visualize them almost as if they were real.

    Anyway... Start with CDF. It's the story of a young boy who receives tickets to a freak show, but ends up getting more than he bargained for... a brush with DESTINY, and an entanglement in the world of vampires. (and no, NOTHING like Twilight and the like, it's a completely different take!)

    Please check this series out, you won't regret it! :)

  106. Yippee! YA Fantasy is absolutely my favorite genre. Glad to see someone else publicly admit that. ;) I lovelovelove Pierce's Alanna series, so I'll definitely have to check out that followup. I've tried getting into another of the series that surround the Alanna series but wasn't that into it. Some are hit-or-miss, I guess.

    I also love me some Robin McKinley and (sometimes) Mercedes Lackey. Hero & The Crown/The Blue Sword for McKinley and The Lark & The Wren for Lackey are my favorites. :)

  107. I can't believe Poison Study by Maria V Snyder is not up there.

    GO READ IT. It's fantastic.

  108. I love your list, I just reserved the first two books from the library because they sounded enchanting.

    If you like laughing, you may want to consider the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. It's more for children than YA, but I loved it anyway and I own the full series so far (7 books).

    Also, The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket is hilarious and has big heart. I hope to own the full set of 13 books soon :)

  109. Kenneth Oppel/Airborne, Skybreaker
    Larklight series

  110. I love the Abhorsen trilogy. Have you read any other Garth Nix - Shade's Children isn't bad.

    Havn't read all the comments, but I'm gonna guess someone has mentioned Philip Pulman's Northern Lights trilogy by now (don't let the rubbish movie put you off)

  111. Oooh, girl!! You've gotta try Wither by Lauren DeStefano! It's really awesome, a very different kind of YA novel. X3

    There's also Patrick Carman's Land of Elyon series, which starts with The Dark Hills Divide.

    And how can you forget Anne of Green Gables?! <3

  112. Can I leave a recommendation for a YA Science Fiction book? The book is called "The Adoration of Jenna Fox" by Mary Pearson. It's a well written novel which draws the reader in.

  113. Love all your choices! You should also check out "A Matter of Magic" by Patricia Wrede. It is two books in one! It's a fantasy set in Regency England (era of Jane Austen!), but with the addition of magical history and a Society of Wizards.

  114. You've just expanded the list of things I ought to read. Dang.

    I love YA, but one of my favorites recently is Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (and the rest of the series) by Brandon Sanderson. It's a bit tricky to track down unless you order it online, but sooooo worth it.

  115. I whole heartedly agree with anastassia and Brigette. Terry Pratchett's series about Tiffany is amazing.

    It starts with Tiffany deciding to become a witch because of a book of fairy tales and what happened to an old woman, but before she get to learn much she has to go rescue her little brother from the fairy queen. While she's there she might as well rescue the kings son as well.

    The series takes place on Discworld, but can easily be enjoyed without knowledge of the rest of the books.

  116. When I was in 8th grade I found two YA authors I'm still reading more than 20 years later: Pierce as you mentioned and Mercedes Lackey. Lackey's stuff is mostly sets of trilogies as well so it's hard to recommend one but I've read the "Last Herald Mage" series to tatters. Literally. "Arrows of the Queen" is a good starting place though.

    Now I read a lot of John Green (who is a friend of Ramsom Riggs who wrote Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children), Maureen Johnson, and Libba Bray.

    I've just come across the name Garth Nix recently in the Zombies Vs Unicorns anthology I've just started.

  117. I adore Rick Riodan's books. My friend recently gave me the first in the Kane Chronicles. She is also suggested I pick up the new Lost Hero series. It fills my HP void nicely.

  118. I would highly recommend "Wildwood Dancing" and it's sequel, "Cybele's Gift," both by Juliet Marillier. The first one is set in Transylvania, and the second is in Constantinople(NOT Istanbul), and both draw heavily on the mythology found in each regions. I wish she would right more in this series. She has other books, but I haven't read any of them yet.

  119. I'm also on GoodReads. An author I forgot to mention: Anne Ursu. If you liked Rick Riordon's greek myths, you're going to love her Cronus Chronicles, that start with The Shadow Thieves.

  120. Some more good ones (as lots of my recommendations have already been mentioned!):
    Holly Black's Tithe, Ironside and Valiant- somewhat dark urban fantasy- modern teenagers and street kids colliding with the world of Faerie

    A College of Magics and Scholar of Magics by Caroline Stevermer: set in an alternate Edwardian era, where there are colleges and universities for studying magic (and no- it's nothing like Harry Potter!)

  121. There's a quartet by Julia Golding that's very good. It goes with the premise that mythological creatures exist and need to be protected from humans. Awesome books!

  122. Yes! I have read most of those and love them! My favorite is the Percy Jackson series, being a Classicist myself. The best part about those books is that they are true to the Greek myths. Rick Riordan clearly did a lot of research in writing them. Unfortunately, the movie was awful, and they changed things that contradicted the myths. I mean, they had Persephone in Hades on the summer solstice, when everyone knows that she's in Hades during the winter, and it's winter because her mother Demeter is mourning her and won't let any plants grow. I was really upset about that movie because the books are soo great!!

    Also, his second series, the one set in Egypt, is sadly not as good.

  123. Hi Jen!
    I highly recommend A Matter of Magic by Patricia C Wrede, and I really loved The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan. I'm intrigued by The Hollow Kingdom, but it is not available in Kindle version...I'm going to have to buy a real book! ;-)

    A favorite from my childhood is The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Pope. Set in pre-Elizabethan England. Fabulous!


    I *loved* Howl's Moving Castle, but have you read the sequel? "Castle In The Air" is definitely my favorite of the two, which is saying quite a lot since I feel the same way about Howl's as you do :3 "Castle In The Air" is funny, clumsy, whimsical, and really, just super, super fun. Magic carpets! Day dreams! Genies! Yay!

    Also, Francesca Lia Block is another favorite author. I love her collection of short stories called "Girl Goddess #9", which is probably my favorite thing she's done. She also did a collection of retold fairy tales "The Rose And The Beast." It was like my bible in high school. Her most popular series is the Wheetzie Bat series, though, which is also excellent. I don't think I've ever read a more whimsical body of work than what Francesca writes. She's fabulous and girly and sweet and magical, and I imagine she smells like cupcakes, glitter, and bubblegum.

    But my VERY VERY favorite YA author is DEFINITELY Tanith Lee. The woman doesn't get nearly enough attention and praise for her work. I loved her Claidi Books series, the Unicorn series, but my favorite book of hers, and definitely one of my all-time favorite books ever ever ever ever EVER is "Silver Metal Lover" (WOW EMBARRASSING TITLE) but it's so good! Tanith Lee does Strong Female Character like it's nobody's business. Jane, in this book, is a little dear. I love her so much x3 The sequel was disappointing, but SML is just magnificent.

    Anyway, I'm going to pick up a few of your books, and maybe you'll try a couple of mine :D if you do, I hope you enjoy them!

  125. Wonderful list. Several of these were already on my shelf or to-read list. Though if you like the twist of beauty and the beast you should try Beauty by Robin Mckinley. She's one of my favorite authors and it has a similar ending, I'm not sure which was written first though =P

  126. I LOVED the Abhorsen series, terrifying and entrancing and so romantic (not necessarily the lovey-dovey type romantic. And I agree with your Tamora Pierce comment, for most if you don't start from the beginning you can get a little lost. But one recommendation I have to make if you haven't read them already are the Fablehaven books by Brandon Mull. They were refreshing and yet so fantastical in a classic sort of way. And all the twists and turns . . . I just can't recommend them enough.

  127. i am a huge fan of Here, There Be Dragons by James A Owen. it is the first of a 4(?) book series. each book draws upon history and literature in a way i have have never read before. plus everyone travels around in "living" Dragonships!

  128. I love reading young adult books! (Fitting, since I'm actually a young adult.) I'll have to check out all the ones you reccomended.

    My favorites would have to be Leviathan by Scott Westerfield (Steampunk WW1- Need I say more?)
    The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices is also Steampunk-ish)
    Cat Royal by Julia Golding
    and of course, Harry Potter :)

  129. Yay! A couple people mentioned The Demon's Lexicon series. Fabulous books, but I'm not sure if anyone pointed you to her blog. It follows her on the many adventures of researching and writing her novels and gives you some insight into her brilliant sense of humour.

  130. I've seen the animated version of Howl's Moving Castle, & I bet the book is even better. Howl is voiced by none other than Christian Bale :)

  131. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede

    YA, so they were a fast read for me. But so, so much fun. :)

  132. The Wizard Children of Finn by Mary Tannen! My sister and I LOVE the book, we've read it to bits between us :)

  133. Cannot recommend Robin McKinley enough! Deerskin is dark and disturbing, but such a wonderful story that you really shouldn't miss it. It is, to use an overused word, truly haunting. I agree with other commenters that I have often wondered how much Disney stole their version of Beauty and the Beast from her Beauty, but her retelling some 20 years later in Rose Daughter is almost as good! Finally, don't miss Sunshine, which is what Twilight would be if it were better written!

  134. I love YA fantasy, these are my books of choice - Potter not only got the kids reading, but it got the adults reading fun books, too. :-)

    I love everything by DWJ - Howl is a huge fave, along with the Chrestomanci series and Deep Secrets.

    I'll put in another vote for Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series (and yes, don't judge it by the lousy Disney movie). And another vote for Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus books - really funny. And yes, Terry Pratchett reads like YA in many ways.

    A few others, off the top of my head:

    The original Oz books are pre-YA, but worth reading as an adult.

    John Bellairs "Face in the Frost" and "The House with the Clock in its Walls"

    Peter Beagle's "Last Unicorn" - more all ages than strictly YA

    George MacDonald's "The Light Princess " - you can be funny and touching at the same time.


  135. 132 comments is a lot to read, so I don't know if this one has been recommended -- but I recently read "The Girl Who Circumvented Fairyland in a Boat of Her Own Making" and it is *wonderful*. I am also a huge fan of YA fantasy books -- I'm so glad to see I'm not the only one. :) If you're not already a reader, you need to check out Gunnerkrigg Court -- start at the beginning (he's currently putting up pages from book 4), or see if your local library has copies of his books. It's full of robots and magic! :)

  136. You must read the Fionavar Triology, by Guy Gaveriel Kay. First one is The Summer Tree. Amazing books by one of my favorite authors ever.

  137. I disagree with Lydia. The Artemis Fowl series is not just "kids" books. It has underlying adult content that I think is more mature than the books by Cornelia Funke. I love both series, but wait for the new Fowl books like others wait for Harry Potter. I absolutely devour the Fowl books.

  138. After a scan thru the comments, I think I can add a couple more series:

    David Eddings' The Belgariad (Pawn of Prophecy is first)
    Dave Duncan's A Man of His Word (The Magic Casement is the first)

    You've got quite a list :) Good luck!

  139. I can't believe that in all these comments only one other person mentioned Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series. It has to be one of the best kept book secrets of all time. So fun, such great stories. Please, please read it, so that you can help spread the word!
    Also, the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis are profoundly wonderful, and his Perelandra trilogy (which is geared more towards adults, but my 13 year old read and loved it)is simply amazing!

  140. I was always more of a Castle in the Air person as far as D. Wynne Jones goes. Okay so anyway.... "Silver Pheonix" by Cindy Pon is fantastic and amazing and I think you will love it! Librarian in the house, what what!

  141. What a great list! I haven't read a couple of those so I've added them to my "to be read" list. Some of the suggestions in the comments look great, too. I have to second the recommendations for some of my favorite YA books: The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper is wonderful, and so is the Yound Wizards series by Diane Duane. I read both series over and over again as I was growing up. (And Duane is still writing the Young Wizards books.) Also, The Wizard Children of Finn and The Lost Legend of Finn by Mary Tannen are great. They tend to read a little bit younger than some of the other books mentioned, but are still great stories.

  142. All those books sound good! I love the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage.

  143. I can't find it now but I know I heard of "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" on your blog somewhere. Well, they've made it into a movie! http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/paramount/hugo/

  144. Great list! And I am amazed by all the great titles in the comments! what a fantastic community you have!!!!!!!
    Scott Westerfeild was mentioned for his steampunk series, but he also wrote an AMAZING futuristic fantasy series. It starts with Uglies. (Pretties, Specials and Extras are the other three in the set.)
    I am currently reading The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen, they aren't exactly fantasy, they are set in high society New York in the late 1800/early 1900s.After I finished the first one I drove 45 minutes to the nearest book store and stood in the cold waiting for them to open so I could get the second one.
    The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley are really great stories,they are in the kids section but they are definitely an all ages read.
    I know it has been mentioned but I wanted to second Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, because it is also in the kids section, not young adult, so I lot of people are missing it.

  145. Hmmm,

    Alot of good books mentioned on here. Afew I didn't see but really loved-

    The Princess and the Goblin - George Macdonald (and its sequel The Princess and Curdie)

    The Abarat series - Clive Barker

    I wasn't going to mention this series, because I thought the last book would never come out, but your post inspired me to look and it is coming out this Septmeber YAY! I'm not sure if it's your style, but it is excellent YA fantasy and the paintings he's created to go along with the story are incredible. They sell a paperback version without the pictures, but I can't imagine reading it without the artwork, it really makes the books.

  146. Here are a few recommendations:
    Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
    Young Merlin by Jane Yolen
    Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
    The Well-Favored Man by Elizabeth Willey (although I can't recommend the rest of the series without warning of bizzare sexual content, this book stands alone as an excellent read)

  147. Although it's not technically YA, there's not really anything in the series to keep it from being YA, so I would strongly recommend Jane Lindskold's Firekeeper Saga, which starts with Through Wolf's Eyes. Also, the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine starting with Glass Houses.

    A couple of great fantasy series that are definitely not YA, but ones I love dearly are:

    --Bitten (Book 1 in the Women of the Otherworld series) by Kelley Armstrong

    --The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

  148. I love all of the Tamora Pierce books. While it is not strictly a standalone book (there are 8 books before it), Will of the Empress is pretty good at being read with only a passing knowledge of the characters.

    Also in the excellent category is A College of Magics. I love the coming of age genre!

  149. Love this list!! I've read Trickster, and the last Olympian. I added the others to my GoodReads list!

    I ADORE nearly everything from Patricia McKillip (RIP), but have especially enjoyed Od Magic, The Riddle Master trilogy and (most recently) Song for the Basilisk and Alphabet of Thorn.

  150. Try 'The Red King' by Victor Kelleher - I loved this book when I fit into the 'YA' age group and when I found it recently and re-read it - loved it again.

  151. Hey Jen,

    I am not sure if anyone has recommended this series, but if you liked Percy Jackson, I would recommend the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. It is geared slightly younger than the Olympians series, but it has the same witty tone and theme of legends mixing with the modern day. Plus, the synopsis is a killer:

    Twelve-year-old criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl discovers technologically advanced fairies (elves, dwarves, sprites) hiding underground, in what they call the Lower Elements. Artemis tries to exploit them, and both sides find out that they have a lot to learn.

    Prominent awesome characters are Holly Short, a LEPrecon officer (Lower Elements Police Reconnaissance) and Butler, Artemis' faithful bodyguard, among others.

    I've also just started Gregor the Overlander the first book in a series by Suzanne Collins, and I'm loving it so far.

  152. Okay so this is my second comment, after I read through them all adding new things to my GoodReads list. :) I realized no one mentioned Ella Enchanted! (Now I might have to go reread that since it's been years.) If you have seen the movie, I hated it for being nothing like the book. Does anyone know how to add a group for us Epbot readers on GoodReads? I couldn't figure it out. Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!

  153. I have to recommend C. M. Keller's new book Screwing Up Time. She is a fantastic YA author and just e-published her work on Amazon!

  154. Can't believe how long it took someone to mention Diane Duane's Young Wizards series. Phenomenal.

  155. YES! to Robin McKinley
    YES! to Shannon Hale

    I have reread most of their books. Not only do they write satisfying, beautiful stories, they create believable characters, and particularly Shannon Hale, portray emotion honestly. I heartily agree with those who have recommended these to you.

    Oh...and Artemis Fowl is great too. Not quite so poetic as the other two, but hilarious.

  156. I must recommend the Moral Instruments by Cassie Clare. Angels, demons, vampires and girls who kick butt. Plus a swoon-worthy boy. It's amazing.

    I also loved Robin McKinley's Beauty. Great version of the story.

  157. Although the chances are you've heard of them and read them here are some to try (some may stray into more adult fantasy or even SciFi, but I think they're worth looking into)

    Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series, starting with The Wee Free Men (the rest of Discworld is good too). There's also his standalone book Nation.

    His Dark Materials trilogy, starting with The Golden Compass. Good good good.

    Artemis Fowl series by Garth Nix

    Charles De Lint has some lovely short stories- I loved his book Dreams Underfoot. adultish.

    Neil Gaiman, Stardust (at least)

    Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus trilogy (I can't spell it or his name though)

    Um, have you read The Hobbit yet? We've just started reading it to our 5-year-old daughter.

    The Phantom Tollbooth is more kiddy than YA but a must-read on my list

    Roald Dahl - all of the children's books if you haven't read them

    Have you tried reading Ender's Game yet? Orson Scott Card has written Fantasy too - try Pastwatch

    I really must recommend you try some Lois McMaster Bujold - she's written SF and Fantasy, not quite YA but YA friendly.

    The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, like duh

    A Wizard from Earthsea + sequels. Classic.

    You could try David Brin, starting with Glory Season as the least SF

    Oh, of course Anne McCaffery's Dragons of Pern series could be great.

    I'm quite sure I've forgotten boatloads... oh well, such is life. I'm sure I can find more to recommend :-)

  158. @ Jessica the fellow Tanith Lee fan - I assume you've read Biting the Sun? If not, go check it out now!

    After reading all 158 comments, I think I only saw one other mention of Patricia McKillip! She is one of my faves, and I love Alphabet of Thorn the best. Or maybe The Forgotten Beasts of Eld - I can't decide!

    Robin McKinley is always excellent, but my most recent favorite of hers is Chalice. On the adult end, I also prefer Rose Daughter over Beauty.

    Jane Yolen's The Pit Dragon Chronicles is a favorite of mine from when I was still in the YA age bracket! As a bonus, when I was looking for the titles I found out she just released a fourth one this year!

    Dingo by Charles de Lint is also quite good, and focuses on Aboriginal mythology versus the usually European.

    And finally, not YA, but you should read the Keeper series by Tanya Huff if you haven't already. In the first book, Summon the Keeper, some elderly Greek gods come to stay at a B&B the heroine has been called in to run, and it is hilarious!!

  159. That is so frickin awesome! It is amazing how many people have never herd of the Abhorsen trilogy and you have it here in the list!

  160. gah, I love this blog!! I have so much reading to do now... How about The Deryni Chronicles by Katherine Kurtz, Chronicles of the Shadow War by Chris Claremont(a continuation of Willow!!, Beast by Donna Jo Napoli, Birdwing by Rafe Martin, and TigerHeart by Peter David

  161. Dreamhunter and Dreamquake

    Towards the older end of Young Adult but some of my favourite books of recent years and quite different to other Elizabeth Knox books

  162. wow! in all the 160+ comments here, I am surprised that nobody has mentioned Anne Bishop- her dark jewels trilogy/verse is phenomenal... "Daughter of the blood" is the first in the series, and manages to be at once captivating, enjoyable and deliciously sexy. If anyone hasn't read the series, I cannot recommend it highly enough!

  163. You should check out T.A. Barron's lost years of Merlin series. I believe it's 5 or 6 books, I absolutely fell in love with then!

    His Tree of Avalon series that intertwines is wonderful as well :-)

  164. I'm about to be a senior in college and I still reread Nix's Abhorsen trilogy yearly. Though it's the longest, Lirael is my favorite. I also have Howl's Moving Castle and the sequel, Castle in the Sky, among my "must take to college" section (think only enough to fill one shelf). If you haven't seen the Miyazaki adaptation of the first book I highly recommend it - it's different, but I still enjoyed it.

    I'm genre jumping here, but I also liked His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, etc) by Philip Pullman, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. That entire series is exceptional, though for young adults I'd suggest if they want to continue the story they go the parallel route with Ender's Shadow and such as Speaker for the Dead and the rest might go slightly above their heads for a few more years.

    For a bit younger crowd, Gail Carson Levine has some awesome books (though you can skip the movie version of Ella Enchanted).

  165. Jen,

    Excellent choices on the list. I was thrilled to see you included Tamora Pierce's works as I think they're awesome, all of them. Her Circle of Magic series is my favorite, but they're all great. :)

    There's a new YA fantasy out by fantasy artist, Selina Fenech called "Memory's Wake". It's really great. It's available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I really enjoyed it.

    There's also a new series by author Richard Paul Evans that is a fiction/science fiction series for YA. The first book, "Michael Vey: Prisoner of Cell 25" will be out on August 9th. I had the opportunity to read an advanced copy and I thought it was really good (though I did like Memory's Wake a bit better).

  166. I loved C.S. Lewis as a kid and I didn't realize he wrote any fantasy for adults until I read 'Til We have Faces. LOVE IT! His wife (who was just "a friend" at the time) had a huge influence on him and it shows.

    Gotta love His majesty's Dragon, by Naomi Novak. Horatio Hornblower meets dragons!

    Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman. This book makes medieval times feel very real while still making you laugh and snort all the way through.

    Keep recommending books. I love finding new things to read:)

  167. Wow, I agree totally. But have you heard of the Books of Pellinor by Alison Croggon? They are wonderful. And of course, though they are far from YA, there is A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin.

  168. I *HIGHLY* recommend Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series!!! I've been told it's much like the Wheel of Time series, which I haven't yet read, but I've gotten a bunch of friends hooked on the SoT series. There was actually a short lived TV show based on the series called Legend of the Seeker. LOVE LOVE LOVE this series.

  169. AGGHHH! I blame you. Howl's Moving Castle is one of my favorite movies of all time, I've been meaning to read it but I was afraid to because the books are usually waaaayyy better than the movie, after your post I decided to read it and I stayed up until 3:30 in the morning last night doing so. I'll never be able to watch the movie the same way again. T.T

  170. Okay, I forgive you, because I read the first book I realized I could read the second book and now I'm happy again. :) At least until the next time I decide I want to watch Howl's Moving Castle again. ;P

  171. The Fablehaven Series by Brandon Mull is really good. I also recommend Reckless by Cornelia Funke,The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Eon by Allison Goodmand, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage and Graceling by Kristin Cashore! Happy Reading!

  172. This is why I love this blog... If I went through and mentioned everything I've read that's been on here, it would be longer than the original post... and I can't think of many others...
    Stargirl and Love, Stargirl
    Firegirl (seeing a theme here?)
    the Warriors/Warrior Cats series by Erin Hunter
    Dragaera series by Steven Brust- maybe a little older, but I read for first time in middle school
    Little Blog on the Prairie
    Deltora universe by Emily Rodda
    Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede

    (WV:borucori. ????)

  173. Thanks for this list! I found it a few weeks ago and have read Sabriel (and it's sequels) now, and loved them!

    The Hollow Kingdom is currently sitting in my To Read pile waiting... :)

  174. Lots of favorites in all of the comments, including some pretty obscure titles. I would like to add one I didn't see, _The Forgotten Beasts of Eld_ by Patricia A. McKillip. I have read this book many, many times over the past 35+ years since it was published, and I still love it.

  175. While not YA, I have to recommend a favorite of mine by Orson Scott Card (author of the Ender series). It is called Enchantment, and it is an amazing twist on the Russian version of the Sleeping Beauty tale. I absolutely LOVE this book, and have literally gone through 3 copies of it (wore one out, and gave another to a friend). My current copy is getting a little ragged along the edges, seeing as how I have read it at least three times!

    Another book I absolutely love is the The Princess Bride, by S. Morgenstern.

  176. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson is wonderful, as well. I almost mentioned this on the entry you made about Hunger Games-type books, but it fits in with these books much better. And of course there is anything by Robin McKinley, especially Beauty and The Hero and the Crown/The Blue Sword.

    And not YA but very popular with YA readers and with adult-novel-readers is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It's transcendent. I have no other way to describe it. Plot and language are both beautifully constructed without being flowery.

  177. Has anyone her ever read any books by Maria V Snyder?
    She has 3 complete series out and also the first book for a new series.

    She writes for a teen romance novel publisher (that I cant currently remember the name of) and her writing is fantastic. Its mature but not too heavy, with strong female leads and compelling stories.

    The first trilogy is Poison study, Magic study and Fire study.

    The second which follows on from the first is storm glass, sea glass and spy glass.

    The third series is post apocalyptic with a few good twists those two are Outside in and Inside out

    the most recent release which I believe is the first in a trilogy is called A touch of power.

    her books are some of my favourite YA fiction and I happily recomend them. Give them a try and see what you think :)
    (Sorry for the lack of book reviews I suck at them completely >.<)

  178. I really like Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' books, especially Hawksong, which is a beginning of a series on it's own, Demon in My View is another great book of hers as well.

  179. I really like Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' books, especially Hawksong, which is a beginning of a series on it's own, Demon in My View is another great book of hers as well.

  180. Please, please, please read "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss (Kingkiller Chronicles). It is one of the best written fantasy novels I've read... for lighter fare, check out David Eddings "The Belgariad" series- 5 books of no mental nutritional value, but delicious all the same. Also, for a ass-kicking lady, "Mistborn" is pretty cool. Love the lists :)

  181. I recommend the Chronicles of Pellinor by Alison Croggon (first book: The Naming). They're in the epic fantasy genre, with a believably out-of-her-depth heroine and very lyrical writing. Another one of my favorite series is the Singer of All Songs trilogy (first book: The Singer of All Songs) by Kate Constable.


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