Goodreads is doing a YA week, and I’ve put off doing a blog post for it. I thought, “I’ll do a top 10 list. Easy peasy.” But then I started looking at my favorite YA novels, and I realized that I couldn’t just do a top 10 for all YA because there are way too many good YA books. Way too many. So here are my top 10 YA novels in the fantasy category.
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (and the series, which I know is cheating). There’s so much here: so much symbolism (I love the Christian theme), so much magic, so many layers of meaning. Completely unrelated, is it weird that an English writer didn’t include the Oxford comma in the title? Just sayin’.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (and the series). I just love the writing, the characters, the magic, the world-building. I love the fundamental themes of choice and bravery, of doing what’s right. It’s magnificent.
- The City of Bones (and other Cassandra Clare books, especially the Infernal Devices and Immortal Instruments series). The underworld of the Shadow Hunters, the complex mythology, and the angsty, complicated teenagers make these books great reads. Clare really plumbs the depths of her characters and gets into their heads (which can make for some long tomes, yes).
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This book was different, so lyrical and magical and heart-wrenching. It’s one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.
- The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. This book (and continuing series) is a recent favorite. It’s like a fairy tale wrapped in history swaddled in the winter snow. It’s lovely.
- The Scorpio Races (and all other books—all) by Maggie Stiefvater. Honestly, I wasn’t sure which of her books to pick. I choose all of them (the Shiver series is so good, as is the Raven Boys). The Scorpio Races is a particularly well-written stand-alone novel that’s unique and beautifully crafted—just like all of her work.
- Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (and the series; pretty much anything by Snyder). This book isn’t subtle and complex (or very subtle and complex) or deeply meaningful and symbolic, but it’s fun and sweet with a great love story and a kick-butt heroine. I make no apologies for loving it.
- The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (and the rest of the series). It’s been years since I’ve read this series, but it’s super clever and funny. I love it.
- Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt. This was a complex book with beautiful quotes about death. I read it just after my brother died, and I found it beautiful and moving.
- Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. This book is underrated by many, I think. It’s subtle and complex with a subtle and complex love story.
I cheated a bit by adding the series of my favorite books, but even then I have loads of honorable mentions:
- Renée Ahdieh’s Flame in the Mist series
- Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series
- Meagan Spooner’s Hunted
- Meg Cabot’s The Mediator series
- Garth Nix’s Abhorsen series
- Lisa McMann’s Wake series
- Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush series
- Shannon Hale’s Goose Girl or Princess Academy series
- Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series
- Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (and possibly the other series as well; I haven’t yet read them)
- Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven series
- Cornelia Funke’s The Thief Lord
I’m having trouble stopping, though a few of these might technically be considered in the children’s category. Regardless, there are so many good YA fantasy. So many. What are your favorite YA fantasy reads? What have I missed (and I very well could have missed some)?