Five Must-Read Young Adult Fantasy Books

BookSummaryClub Blog Five Must-Read Young Adult Fantasy Books

Typical day-to-day activities can seem redundant sometimes, so it’s no wonder that people (maybe even you) crave an escape from reality. 

Young adult fantasy books are a cheap (and high-quality) ticket into worlds beyond our own imaginations. 

Young adult fantasy books target readers between the ages 12 – 18 and usually features a young adult as the main character of the story. Because of the age of the protagonist, coming-of-age usually plays an important role in young adult fiction.

These novels have everything from clever, magic-wielding girls to snarky assassins. They explore different cultures and tackle real issues with strength, poise and subtlety that won’t leave you overwhelmed. Read on to see these must-read young adult fantasy books that will help you get away from your everyday life and into a world full of adventure, romance, and most importantly, magic. 

The Bone Charmer by Breeana Shields

young adult fantasy books

In this book, Shields tells the story of Saskia and her world in which bones are the source of all power. Bones can reveal the past, expose secrets in the present, and tell the future. Each village in Saskia’s town has a designated seer, known as the Bone Charmer who makes readings for the townsfolk. In Midwood, the Bone Charmer is Saskia’s mother. 

In Midwood, once a child turns seventeen years old, a special bone reading is done. This reading is called the kenning, which shows the vocation and possibly the life partner of the child. On the day of Saskia’s kenning, her mother, the Bone Charmer, sees multiple futures and chooses the one that promises greater happiness and fulfillment, despite knowing that Saskia would not want that life. 

Saskia knows what her mother did and an argument ensues. This argument results in the breaking of one of the bones. Broken bones always signified bad luck, but this particular set of bones had extra magic, so the fracture has worse consequences–Saskia’s future has split as well. 

In one future, Saskia is destined to become a Bone Charmer like her mother and marry a dark, brooding boy, Bram, who has tattoos that hint of violence. She does not want this future at all. In the other, she has the job (Tutor) and partner (the funny and charming Declan) that she’s always wanted. 

If Saskia and her mother can’t knit the broken bone together, both futures will vanish. In addition, Saskia’s life is in danger in both futures from a power-hungry Charmer who wields dark magic. 

In The Bone Charmer, Shields weaves an interesting world populated by recognizable characters, and her ultimate message is that one cannot successfully fight fate. 

Get the second installation of the book below:

The Bone Thief

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

This book tells the story of seventeen-year-old Zélie Adebola who journeys to a mysterious island to restore magic to the land of Orïsha, a fantasy world infused with elements peculiar to West Africa.

Zélie is a diviner–a person with latent magical abilities signified by the distinctive white hair that helps them stand out from their countrymen. 

She remembers the night everything changed and magic disappeared from the land. Zélie watched as a ruthless king–King Saran–ordered the deaths of her Reaper mother and all the other maji in a bid to rid the world of magic. 

Eleven years later, she saves the king’s daughter, Princess Amari, who is running from her father after stealing a scroll that can transform diviners into magic-wielding maji during the genocide. The king sends Amari’s brother, Prince Inan, in pursuit of the scroll and Amari.

Zélie and Amari flee along with Zélie’s brother. On their journey, the trio learns that the only chance they have to restore magic to Orïsha is with the impending solstice through a connection to their maternal creator deity, Nana Baruku.

Now Zélie has a chance to bring back monarchy and wage war against the monarchy. With the help of her brother and the rogue princess, Zélie must outrun and outwit the crown prince, Inan, before he manages to eradicate magic for good.

Throughout the book, allegiances shift and characters grow and confront traumas–all of which culminates in a cliffhanger end that will leave readers anxious to read the next installment. 

In this debut novel, Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi beautifully blends young adult fantasy, well-written characters, and an intense plot with Nigerian mythology and symbols from the Yoruba religion. 

Get the second installation of the book below:

Children of Virtue and Vengeance

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

From her youth, Princess Hesina of Yan was taught by her father, the king, to believe in the truth, the people, the courts and the new era. 

However, she has always been eager to abandon the responsibilities that come with the crown and dreams of a regular life. 

But when her father is found dead, she is inevitably thrust into power and becomes the queen of a very unstable kingdom. Worse still, Hesina believes her father was killed–and that the killer is someone that’s close to her. 

Hesina’s court is filled with deceivers and dissemblers who want to use the king’s demise for political gain. Her advisers try to convince Hesina to blame the king’s death on the neighboring kingdom of Kendi’a, whose ruler has been threatening war on Hesina’s kingdom. 

In a bid to find her father’s actually killer and enact justice, Hesina enlists the help of a soothsayer, a desperate and treasonous action, which was punishable by death since magic was forbidden centuries ago. 

Using the information and advice provided by the soothsayer, Hesina, who does not trust her family anymore, turns to Akira–a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with his own secrets. .

Soon, she finds hard truths and becomes embroiled in lies, some of her own doing. 

In Descendant of the Crane, Joan He creates an Asian-inspired YA fantasy where Queen Hesina evolves, and learns forgiveness and sympathy for people who do terrible things to survive. 

The Reader by Traci Chee 

In The Reader, Traci Chee tells the story of a brave girl named Sefia of Kelanna who knows what survival is. 

After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who, as the years go by, teaches her how to track, hunt and steal.

But then, Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia alone. And none of Sefia’s survival skills can help her identify where the kidnappers have taken her aunt, or if Nin is still alive.

However, she knows that the disappearance of her aunt has something to do with the mysterious rectangular object she salvaged from the wreckage of her home when her father was killed all those years ago. 

She later comes to realize that this object is a book–a wonderful item known only to a dangerous few in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was murdered. 

On her journey, she encounters a mute boy trained to kill, powers she wasn’t aware that she had, and terrible people who are willing to do terrible things to get their hands on the book. 

In The Reader, Chee spins Sefia’s story with exquisite storytelling and vivid details, bringing this East Asian-inspired story to life. 

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

In a kingdom ruled by a murderous king, a new family mourns every morning. Khalid ibn al-Rashid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Every night, he takes a new bride only to have her killed the next morning. 

When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s cousin falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad swears that she will avenge her and the other brides that the Caliph has killed. She does this by volunteering to be Khalid’s next bride. Not only is Shahrzad determined to stay alive, she also wants to put an end to the Caliph’s horrific reign. 

Smart and stubborn, Shahrzad enchants Khalid night after night with beguiling stories that pique his interest and ensures her survival, even though she knows that each dawn could be her last. 

But then, something strange began to happen. Shahrzad finds that Khalid is not the monster she imagined him to be. He was just a boy with a tormented heart. 

Before long, Shahrzad falls in love with Khalid. It’s an unforgivable betrayal but she has come to realize that, in this palace of marble and stone, all is not as it seems. She decides to unravel the secrets that lurk in the palace and, despite her feelings, be ready to kill Khalid as punishment for the many lives he’s taken. 

Filled with jewels and silks, luxuriant with perfumes and spices, this debut novel pulls authentic elements from different cultures and centuries and blends them with mysticism and magic to create an exotic world sprinkled with violence and sensuality. 

Get the second installation of the book below:

The Rose and the Dagger

Wrapping It Up

There are so many great young adult fantasy books floating around in bookstores and libraries today, but the ones highlighted above are some of the best ones you’ll find. They’re also perfect if you’re new to the world of fantasy novels.

If you liked this list, you can check out our other book recommendations as you see fit:

5 Book Series To Read If You Love Percy Jackson

Four Must-Read Non-Fiction Books to Spark Discussion in your Book Club

The 5 Best Agatha Christie Novels You Should Read

Four Must Read Books on How To Become a Millionaire

Four Bestselling Books That Will Help You Become Successful

The Best Autobiography Books You Should Definitely Read

🤙 Your Next Step… 🤙

Head across to one of the following pages for more goodies

🍕 Read our Blinkist review and become a member of Blinkist. Read or listen to 3000+ full version quality summaries!

🍕 Read our list of the best business books of all time

🍕 Read some more of our book summaries

🍕 See our top book summary apps