The best books of action driven young adult fiction

C.J.R. Isely Author Of Ranger of Kings
By C.J.R. Isely

The Books I Picked & Why

Blood Red Horse

By K. M. Grant

Blood Red Horse

Why this book?

Though this book is historical fiction rather than fantasy, and I generally am a fantasy fan, K. M. Grant does wonders in this book. It takes place in King Richard’s crusades and, though the book spans several years, you never feel rushed or disconnected from the characters. It does not pick sides but rather has characters on both sides who come together, not in war, but in their love for a small blood-red stallion. As a huge history fan and an equestrian, this book combines medieval times and a knowledge of horses with a talent of weaving stories. It is superb! I cannot say enough about it.


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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

By J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Why this book?

J. K. Rowling’s books have always been some of my favorites. She brings the Hogwarts school to life, along with the fantasy characters! This book, though midway through the series, is probably my favorite because she can create villains you hate more than the villains you already thought you hated and she shows Harry’s inner battles vividly.


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Heir Apparent

By Vivian Vande Velde

Heir Apparent

Why this book?

Heir Apparent is the perfect mixture of fantasy taking place in the future! Some might argue that it being set in the future makes it more sci-fi but I would disagree as the majority of the story takes place in a medieval fantasy realm that the main character is not actually from. Highly entertaining, this first-person writing has high levels of sarcasm (which I enjoy as I, too, am sarcastic) and, even though it takes place in a video game, there is more than losing a game on the line.


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The Spirit of Things: A Gripping Young Adult Coming of Age Fantasy (Beyond Horizon)

By Ben McQueeney

The Spirit of Things: A Gripping Young Adult Coming of Age Fantasy (Beyond Horizon)

Why this book?

I won’t lie, I am an audiobook fan because I can listen to them as I work. The story in The Spirit of Things, combined with the excellence of Nigel Peever as a narrator, is seriously fantastic! A Human boy raised among elves wants to find his way to finally being accepted. After having a vision, Fulco realizes what just might be his answer – he needs to find a way to possess magic.


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First Test

By Tamora Pierce

First Test

Why this book?

Tamora Pierce can always write great female characters who are strong, compassionate, and all-around role models for young women. In First Test, she introduces Kel, and not only is she all of these things, but she is also more. She doesn’t fall into that perfect imperfect we always see in YA fiction. She is strong, independent (even through romances), and always stands for nobility and those smaller than herself.


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