The best young adult fantasy novels to stoke the fires of your imagination

Who am I?

A profound love for fantasy took hold of me at a young age, the inception being when my mother scattered a rotating collection of books around our house for me to find and devour. Several of the novels leaned against the walls of my childhood home ended up on this list, and inspired me to craft my own stories. My writing has appeared across many different mediums such as comics, trading cards, and video games. Currently working as a Lead Narrative Designer, I have the pleasure of directing narratives for several exciting video games while also continuing to pen fantasy novels and original TV pilot scripts in my spare time.


I wrote...

Aether Warriors: The Hidden War Series Book 1

By Dean Ravenola,

Book cover of Aether Warriors: The Hidden War Series Book 1

What is my book about?

In this riveting urban fantasy novel, young orphan Chase’s life is abruptly turned upside-down as he discovers that he is an Aether Warrior, a small group of magically gifted children fated to continue fighting a war that has been ongoing secretly for centuries. Each of these young warriors draws power from a unique Aether animal, which grants them astonishing abilities such as flight and invisibility. Fantastical creatures inspired by mythical beasts and cryptids, powerful ancient artifacts, and deadly deceptions await Chase as he rushes headlong towards his destiny. 

The books I picked & why

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The Golden Compass (Northern Lights)

By Philip Pullman,

Book cover of The Golden Compass (Northern Lights)

Why this book?

The first of the His Dark Materials Trilogy, Northern Lights kicks off the series with a bang. We are thrust into the shoes of young Lyra as she journeys to the Arctic in search of her missing friend and uncle. Along the way, she must navigate through an engaging cast of characters ranging from ruthless sophisticates to metalsmith polar bear-esque creatures. Besides being wonderfully descriptive, the book delves deep into intriguing themes such as childhood, humanity, morality, identity, religion, and science. Inside the fantastic world Pullman has created, the most captivating part for me personally was the concept of daemons, physical manifestations of a person’s inner-self, which start as shapeshifters but take on the form of a certain animal as the person matures.

The Golden Compass (Northern Lights)

By Philip Pullman,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Golden Compass (Northern Lights) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first volume in Philip Pullman's groundbreaking
HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy, now a thrilling, critically
acclaimed BBC/HBO television series. First published
in 1995, and acclaimed as a modern masterpiece, this first
book in the series won the UK's top awards for children's literature.

"Without this child, we shall all
die."

Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live
half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford.

The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands
of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight.

Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences
far beyond her own world...



This…


The Amulet of Samarkand

By Jonathan Stroud,

Book cover of The Amulet of Samarkand

Why this book?

Set in an alternate version of London where a ruling class of magicians lord over nonmagical commoners, The Amulet of Samarkand follows jaded young magician Nathaniel and the djinn named Bartimaeus he summons to enact his revenge on a powerful government magician who slighted him. An egotistical and sarcastic spirit who truly stole the show for me, Bartimaeus possesses a quick wit that shines not only through quips but also through hilarious footnotes littering his chapters. This novel explores the ethics of the magician class and the spirits they enslave as Stroud masterfully weaves this tale from two different perspectives, following Nathaniel in third person while Bartimaeus’ chapters utilize first person.

The Amulet of Samarkand

By Jonathan Stroud,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Amulet of Samarkand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first volume in the brilliant, bestselling Bartimaeus sequence.

When the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus is summoned by Nathaniel, a young magician's apprentice, he expects to have to do nothing more taxing than a little levitation or a few simple illusions. But Nathaniel is a precocious talent and has something rather more dangerous in mind: revenge. Against his will, Bartimaeus is packed off to steal the powerful Amulet of Samarkand from Simon Lovelace, a master magician of unrivalled ruthlessness and ambition. Before long, both djinni and apprentice are caught up in a terrifying flood of magical intrigue, murder and rebellion.

Set…


The Sea of Trolls

By Nancy Farmer,

Book cover of The Sea of Trolls

Why this book?

The Sea of Trolls is a gripping fantasy novel that fuses together history and Norse epics into a sprawling adventure teeming with magic, Viking raiders, and mythical creatures. Even with all of these fantastical elements in the mix, what hooked me the most about Sea of Trolls was the incredibly well-written cast of characters. Reading about intriguing figures such as the famed skald Dragon Tongue mentoring young Jack on the art of magical bards and the fiery but complex young berserker in training Thorgil under the wing of raider leader One-Brow Olaf, I found myself utterly engrossed in the narrative Farmer wove between the pages of The Sea of Trolls

The Sea of Trolls

By Nancy Farmer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sea of Trolls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jack is an apprentice bard and just beginning to learn the secrets of his mysterious master, when he and his little sister are captured by Viking chief, Olaf One-Brow, and taken to the court of Ivar the Boneless. Ivar is married to a half-troll named Frith, an evil and unpredictable queen with a strange power over her husband's court. Jack is sent on to the kingdom of the trolls, where he has to find the magical well and undo the charm he has cast on Frith. He is accompanied by Thorgill, a shield maiden, aged 12, who wants to be…


Fablehaven: Volume 1

By Brandon Mull,

Book cover of Fablehaven: Volume 1

Why this book?

Fablehaven is a book stuffed to the brim with magical creatures and artifacts, and the sheer number of peculiar creatures featured, such as the wooden puppet Mendigo, is enough to catch the attention of any fantasy fan. However, what I found most compelling about this book was the structure of the enchanted world hiding in plain sight that Mull constructed. The many mythical creatures that call Fablehaven home can only be seen by drinking the milk of a special cow, and otherwise appear to those without this magical vision as mundane sights such as rocks or animals. Moreover, the creatures residing in Fablehaven must all abide by a treaty protecting humans and magical creatures alike, which leads to some interesting developments as the series continues… 

Fablehaven: Volume 1

By Brandon Mull,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fablehaven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The dialogue snaps and sizzles. . . like Harry Potter, Fablehaven can be read aloud in a family with as much pleasure for grownups as for children. . . Do yourself a favor, and don't miss the first novel by a writer who is clearly going to be a major figure in popular fantasy." — Orson Scott Card, New York Times Bestselling Author

"Imagination runs wild in Fablehaven. It is a lucky book that can hold this kind of story." — Obert Skye, Author of Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo

For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were…


The Forests of Silence

By Emily Rodda,

Book cover of The Forests of Silence

Why this book?

An astoundingly creative world fashioned by Australian author Emily Rodda, the unique and thrilling creatures roaming the land of Deltora quickly captured my imagination as a young reader. From the fearsome vulture-like Ak-Baba carrying out the Shadow Lord’s will to the tyrannical lizard-esque Wennbar demanding food offerings from the Wenn, Rodda has a talent for conceiving creatures that both excite and terrify readers. These creatures are further brought to life by the vivid illustrations from the talented Marc McBride, and an anime series that I only just learned the existence of while writing this article, but am now thrilled to check out! 

The Forests of Silence

By Emily Rodda,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Forests of Silence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The international bestselling series returns for a new generation with a fresh look and bonus content from the legends of Deltora.The evil Shadow Lord is plotting to invade the land of Deltora and enslave its people. All that stands against him is the magic Belt of Deltora with its seven stones of great and mysterious power.In secrecy, with only a hand-drawn map to guide them, two unlikely companions set out on a dangerous quest. Determined to find the lost stones and rid their land of the Shadow Lord, they struggle toward their first goal--the sinister Forests of Silence.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in good and evil, vikings, and wizards?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about good and evil, vikings, and wizards.

Good And Evil Explore 90 books about good and evil
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Wizards Explore 73 books about wizards

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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