We live in a world with ugly politics, destruction, and so much hate that losing oneself in an imaginative world feels like the best bet.
YA fantasy novels have gotten really popular in the last decade and authors have given us a whole new world of imagination, fairy tales, and magic.
Where reality ruins our lives, fantasy makes them a whole lot better.
1. Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Well before Game of Thrones hit screens, dragons were a big part of the YA fantasy world. Eragon is the story of a poor farm boy who finds himself in the possession of a glittering blue stone which turns out to be a dragon egg.
His simple life changes overnight as he is thrust into a dangerous world with only an ancient sword, his dragon Saphira and an old storyteller for a mentor. I remember reading this one when I was 12-13 and praying to God and beyond for my own personal dragon.
Not just because it would be cool to have one, but more because I genuinely wanted a badass, fire-breathing 12-foot lady dragon as a best friend.
Unfortunately, I still haven’t found a glittering stone/egg of my own.
2. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
When Silvertongue Mortimer reads aloud from a book to his daughter Meggie, he releases an evil ruler of the book called Inkheart into the real world. When said-ruler lands smack dab in the middle of her living room, Meggie finds herself in the epicenter of a storm, the kind she has only read in books.
A unique aspect of this book was that of being a Silvertongue – a person who is able to read a character into real life. Imagine the number of characters I’d have in my living room if that was the case.
Well, except for the number of people who’d have to go back into the book in that barter system.
3. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
The plot of Delirium was not something that sat well with me at first. In the AU United States, love is a disease and the government makes the people undergo a procedure called the Cure on the day of their 18th birthday.
Lena Haloway is looking forward to her cure, but cue the entrance of the charming and enigmatic Alex who makes her question all her decisions.
I mean if, in a world where emotions are forbidden, isn’t it worth taking a risk to fall for Amor Deliria Nervosa and see what’s on the other side?
4. The Selection by Kiera Cass
A lot can happen when you sign up for the Selection, where young girls compete to win the heart of the Prince and become the next Queen. Thirty-five girls are selected and one of them is America Singer.
So, basically, America could have it all, but she makes it her mission to do something right for the people.
America not only defies all laws of the palace, trips on the enormous gowns and makes the stupidest of mistakes, she eventually becomes the star that the common people appreciate, love and relate to. Not all Queens are perfect and their essence is what makes them the best.
5. Throne of Glass by Sarah. J. Maas
A young lady of the court by day and professional assassin by night.
After one year of punitive slavery, Calaena Sardothien finds herself in the midst of a competition to be the King’s new royal assassin. Calaena struggles with her training sessions with Captain Westfall, whilst she enjoys the freedom that the competition gives her. This series with its distinct storyline and empowering female characters is a must read.
And if you think the story of a competition is boring, know that it’s only the first volume… you have no idea what happens next.
6. Red Queen by Victoria Avegard
Red Queen is similar to Cinderella and can be a re-telling of the book if not for the clever Mare Barrow. Where Cinderella needs a fairy Godmother, Mare decides to become her own Godmother and takes on challenges in spite of the foreboding mind-reader Queen. Her powers make her more deadly than she knows, and little by little she learns to train and practice with them. Mare never forgets the color of her blood and her roots. In a place full of lies and betrayal, she chooses to keep up with the false charade and fight her own heart’s desires while secretly working to overthrow the Crown.
7. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Scarlett Dragna has always dreamt of going to the renowned performance of Caraval, but that dream vanishes when her father arranges a marriage for her. With a rogue sailor, her sister Donatella whisks her away to this faraway show, only to disappear on their arrival.
It’s not just the book that’s enthralling but also the clues that Scarlett has to solve to find her sister. It’s a game of life and death and if Scarlett cannot find Tella, she will be lost forever. The mystery played a key role in why I devoured the book in a day and had to buy the sequel ASAP. The cliff-hanger at the end is probably the best I’ve read in a while. Kudos to the author for this book!
Looking for more books to read? Check out these debut novels from young and rising female writers!