The best YA fantasy books with magical heroines

Anne Mollova Author Of Keeper of Scales
By Anne Mollova

Who am I?

I have loved all things magical my entire life. I grew up leaving out food for the fairies and searching for gnomes in the woods, so it only follows that when I learned to read, I gravitated toward stories of fantasy and myth. I often felt that the worlds I read about matched my personality more accurately than the real world, and I longed to be one of the magically gifted heroines I encountered. I’m excited to share some of my very favorites with you, and hope they bring you as much joy as they did me!

I wrote...

Keeper of Scales

By Anne Mollova,

Book cover of Keeper of Scales

What is my book about?

A princess with a secret. An ancient evil rising. A kingdom caught in the balance.

Alyen, crown princess of Dúramair, has trained her whole life to be queen. She’s kept her Sight a secret, trusting that the Keeper of Scales will find an apprentice soon—for surely one other candidate can be found. But when news comes from the north of dark magic returning to Dúramair, Alyen is forced to make the hardest decision of her life. A decision that could determine the fate of her kingdom.

The books I picked & why

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By Adrienne Young,

Book cover of Fable

Why this book?

This book absolutely blew me away and completely redefined great storytelling! My editor recommended it when we were talking about great new young adult fantasy books, and I will be forever in her debt for introducing me to Adrienne Young’s work. I love this world and heroine so much—Fable is scrappy, raw, vulnerable, clever, and immensely strong with just the right touch of magic. I recommend this book to everyone I know!

The Black Witch

By Laurie Forest,

Book cover of The Black Witch

Why this book?

I think I’ve loved academic settings for fantasy ever since I read Harry Potter, and The Black Witch has one of the best I’ve come across since. Laurie Forrest completely captivated me with her world, her characters, a great underground rebellion, a romance to root for, and a heroine blind to her own immense power. Definitely a must-read on my list!


By Rachel Hartman,

Book cover of Seraphina

Why this book?

I’ve always had a thing for dragons and consider them a go-to for a good fantasy read. But Seraphina is one of the most inventive takes on the dragon trope I’ve ever seen, and it works so well! (Not to mention, the dragons in this book are incredible musicians, and being a musician myself, I found that very cool.)  I think I blasted through this entire book in a day or two, so be prepared to put life on hold when you pick this one up!

Air Awakens

By Elise Kova,

Book cover of Air Awakens

Why this book?

I always wanted to be the superhero with the elemental or weather powers. Thunderstorm brewing? I’m a happy girl. Favorite X-(wo)man? Definitely Storm. And the protagonist of Air Awakens falls right into that category of powerful women with elemental magic in their veins. This whole series was a great read, perfect for curling up when those storm clouds roll in.

Wild Magic: Volume 1

By Tamora Pierce,

Book cover of Wild Magic: Volume 1

Why this book?

Tamora Pierce was one of the authors that initially introduced me to my lifelong love of young adult fantasy, and all her books are wonderful. I picked Wild Magic because the protagonist has some really enviable magical abilities that I loved reading about and watching her develop. (True confession: I also may or may not have had a pretty tragic crush on the love interest in this book in high school...) This one will always be a favorite!

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in witches, magicians, and adventure?

5,716 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about witches, magicians, and adventure.

Witches Explore 85 books about witches
Magicians Explore 23 books about magicians
Adventure Explore 95 books about adventure

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Forgotten Garden, Red Queen, and Daughter of the Pirate King if you like this list.