Fantasy and Fiction

Some of the best young adult novels to read


graphic by Sydney Rowe

Story by Sydney Rowe, Staff writer

Young adult books are becoming increasingly popular among teens and people that enjoy reading stories with young adults as the main characters. Commonly having romance, dystopian or fantasy themes, these books are fun and imaginative. The fictional side of the genre contains many mind blowing stories that leave you wondering how someone’s mind can come up with such an entertaining plot. While the majority of YA books are fiction, there are some that have very nonfictional aspects to them, which can make them feel real while reading them.

In honor of all the YA books that have been written and appreciated, here’s a list of some popular YA or fantasy books.

“Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen takes place in the kingdom of Norta in a time where when a child is born, they either have red or silver blood. Those who have red blood are the ordinary, low class people, while those with silver blood have special powers and are at the top of the hierarchy. The series follows Mare Barrow, a peasant born Red with the powers of a Silver on her journey to change the country and figure out where she belongs.

“A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas

In this retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast tale, the main character and huntress Fayre unknowingly kills a fairy in the shape of a wolf and soon after finds herself associated with them to pay her debt. She is taken to the world of the fairies and soon finds out that her captor is not an animal but a boy named Tamlin. As her stay with Tamlin grows longer, her feelings toward him begin shifting from cold to loving. As her passion for him grows, so do the dangers that await them both. If you’re a fan of romance and fantasy, you will love this twist on the well known fairytale.

“Divergent” by Veronica Roth

In a future dystopian Chicago, all of society is classified as one of the five factions of people: Abnegation, Erudite, Dauntless, Amity and Candor. However, at the choosing ceremony that is held every year, all the 16 year olds from each faction take an aptitude test and choose to either stay in their born faction or leave to join another. As the time approaches for Abnegation born 16-year-old girl, Beatrice Prior, to take her aptitude test and choose her future, she wonders whether or not Abnegation is the right place for her. Knowing that choosing another faction means leaving your family behind forever, Beatrice has a huge decision to make but it becomes even more confusing when she gets some unexpected results from her test. 

“Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games books take place in dystopian North America where rather than having states, the land is divided in 12, formally 13, districts. Each year, as punishment for the previous, unsuccessful rebellion in what used to be District 13, the Capitol chooses two kids from each district as tribute to fight in the televised Hunger Games. The 24 total tributes are then taken to the Capitol to train in preparation for the games where they fight to the death until there is only one Victor standing. The protagonist in the story, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, has a different experience than she has before which sets the entire story into motion. The Hunger Games books combine some very realistic parts of life with fiction to create an amazing story.

“Three Dark Crowns” by Kendare Blake

In every generation, a set of triplets are born to the queen on the island of Fennbirn. Each sister has different power and is equally an heir to the throne. They are each raised to become stronger with their unique power in preparation for the day that all three sisters fight to the death to establish the one true queen of the kingdom. However, in this generation, something isn’t quite right with the sisters. The triplets meet for the first time to sort out what’s happened to them. This series provides some of the most unexpected twists and turns I’ve ever read. 

“Seraphina” by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina takes place in a time when humans and dragons co-exist with a fragile truce between the two. A young girl by the name of Seraphina is a musical prodigy and also half-human half-dragon. Considering that being the offspring of a human and a dragon is not something that should be possible, Seraphina is forced to hide her scales and herself from the world. On the anniversary of the peace treaty between the two groups, another dragon begins causing trouble, and it’s up to her to figure out how to fix it. 

“Dealing with Dragons” by Patricia Wrede

Another dragon-oriented book series, “Dealing with Dragons,” is the first YA book series I read. Although I read these at a young age, no matter what age you are you can enjoy the humor and storyline in this series. The books focus on Cimorene, a young princess considered to be improper because of her love for adventure, who leaves her boring family to find something more interesting in life. Cimorene finds a group of dragons and volunteers to be the princess of dragon King Kazul, who is actually a female. Kazul takes her in and they begin to develop a friendship. This book has a lot of female empowerment and shows a different side to the traditional fairytale plots we know and see constantly.

“The School for Good and Evil” by Soman Chainani

Sophie and Agatha both live in the town of Gavaldon, where every four years two kids are kidnapped by the School Master of The School for Good and Evil, a school that trains villains, heroes and sidekicks for their own fairytales. The girls are complete opposites but are best friends. Sophie has always wanted to be kidnapped by the School Master so she can leave Gavaldon and train to become a hero whereas Agatha is content with her life and is not ready to part with her only friend Sophie. Because of this, when Sophie is being taken to the school, Agatha decides to try to stop her, which turns into both girls being taken to the fairytale world. However, upon entrance to the school, the girls’ fates prove to be completely different from what they thought. They soon realize that the only way for the girls to escape their new futures is through their very own fairytale story. 

“Harry Potter” by J.K. Rowling

I don’t think I could make this list without Harry Potter being in it somewhere. The Harry Potter books follow an orphaned Harry on his journeys as a wizard along with his friends and foes. Harry meets his best friends at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and fights his enemy, Voldemort. Author J.K. Rowling knows how to write plot twists like no one else and the Wizarding World will have you constantly captivated through all seven books. If you’re someone who is interested in magic, I would highly recommend reading this series. 

“Heist Society” by Ally Carter 

Katarina Bishop has been a part of her family’s business of stealing her entire life. Finally getting tired of her involvement, she decides to enroll herself in a boarding school. After only a few months of attendance, her sixteen year old billionaire friend Hale arranges for her to get kicked out. He then informs her that her father is the prime suspect in a case involving the theft of five paintings. In an attempt to save him, Kat puts together a team of thieves to steal the paintings back from the real thief before the two week deadline is over. However, while attempting to complete her mission, Kat runs into some big obstacles.

“I’d Tell You I Love You, but then I’d Have To Kill You” by Ally Carter

Sophomore Cammie attends a boarding school called the Gallagher Academy, a school for spies disguised as a snobby school for the rich. She is excited for her tenth grade year because she gets to take a peer run covert ops class which is the closest thing she can experience to real spy missions at her age. One day on a routine mission, Cammie meets Josh, a normal boy who notices her. Cammie tells him she is homeschooled because Gallagher girls are generally disliked by the locals. Having to balance two different worlds proves to be hard for Cammie, and she has to decide whether her loyalty is with the school and her peers or if she wants to be with Josh. 

“Vampire Academy” by Richelle Mead

I’m not generally a vampire book person but I couldn’t put this series down. In the Vampire Academy series there are three different types of vampires: the Moroi who are pureblood mortal vampires who have magic, the Dhampir who are half human and half Moroi and live to protect the Moroi and the Strigoi who are the evil, undead vampires that are out to kill the Moroi. The series follows best friends Rose, a Dhampir, and Lissa, a Moroi, on their adventures. Vampire Academy has romance, action and suspense and overall will have you on the edge of your seat.

“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green 

If you want to cry your eyes out, this is the book for you. The Fault in Our Stars is about Hazel Lancaster, a sixteen year old girl with stage 4 thyroid cancer, who meets Augustus Waters, a similarly affected teen boy, at a cancer support group her parents make her attend. Hazel quickly befriends Gus and they become close. Hazel feels as though Gus is one of the only people who truly understands her as they are both alike in many ways and the two begin falling in love. This love story is one of the most simultaneously tragic and beautiful out there.

“Uprooted” by Naomi Novik

Agnieszka is a young girl that lives in the village of Dvernik. Every ten years in Dvernik the wizard that lives on the edge of the village, known as the Dragon, takes one teenage girl as his payment for spending his time protecting the village. When the Dragon shows up, his choice of girl surprises everyone in the village. The relationship between the two begins to shift from one of fear and distance to more of a romantic one with a subtle love story in the mix of all the magic. Find out who the Dragon takes by reading the novel.

“Cinder” by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is loosely based on the classic story of Cinderella. The story is set in a futuristic city after the moon has been colonized by what are known as the Lunars. Many of the countries have formed various new empires all around the world and letumosis, a disease started by the Lunars, is ravaging the world without a cure known. Linh Cinder is a cyborg girl with a gift for mechanics who lives with her cruel stepmother and her two daughters, Linh Peony and Linh Pearl. Soon, Peony contracts letumosis and Cinder is blamed for her illness. Angry at Cinder for Peony’s sickness, her adoptive mother volunteers Cinder for research of the disease but gets some unexpected results. Cinder goes on to learn things about herself that she never thought possible and tries to uncover what exactly is happening in the world around her. 

New YA books are constantly being released and loved by those who read them and although the selection keeps growing, these books will always have a special place in my heart and I believe that almost anyone who reads them will agree.