83 books like A Great and Terrible Beauty

By Libba Bray,

Here are 83 books that A Great and Terrible Beauty fans have personally recommended if you like A Great and Terrible Beauty. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Discovery of Witches

Kay Kenyon Author Of The Girl Who Fell Into Myth

From my list on fantasy that twist stories you thought you knew.

Who am I?

Here are words I like for their feel, especially when they describe fantasy: surprise; twist; subvert. I am generally a mild-mannered writer, but I do love the passing strange. By that I mean, twisty, not shocking. Surprising and intriguing, but grounded in a relatable story. A story with something wondrous and unexpected but also deeply human. I’ve written eighteen fantasy and science fiction novels, and each time, though I am creating a strange—hopefully wondrous, place—central in the story are people who desire, fear, love, and strive.

Kay's book list on fantasy that twist stories you thought you knew

Kay Kenyon Why did Kay love this book?

Romance, exotic settings, mystery. A summer read? Yes, but with great “extras.” Some surprises: The lovers are mature, even wise.

So much for the swept-away falling for the demon bad boy! Then, altering the usual clash-of-supernatural-beings fantasy trope, they possess complex histories singly and among themselves. I especially noted, and took away a keen perception, that if a story has an extremely powerful man (vampire), then for the romance to work, the woman must be equally strong.

A great challenge for authors like me who usually include a romantic interest.

By Deborah Harkness,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked A Discovery of Witches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.


Book cover of Inkheart

Jacey K. Dew Author Of Three Souls

From my list on fantasy to bring magic to familiar worlds.

Who am I?

As a kid, I was consistently described as one who had her head in the clouds. I was far away imagining all sorts of fantastical things; dragons soaring in the sky, a witch blasting a fireball in the grocery store, a werewolf coming to eat the gym teacher, the coffee barista is actually a vampire, etc. There is something alluring about supernatural beings existing in our often mundane world; whether they are being subjected to the same life we are or are wreaking havoc for any reason.

Jacey's book list on fantasy to bring magic to familiar worlds

Jacey K. Dew Why did Jacey love this book?

A book about books.

Who hasn’t imagined the books they read coming to life in their living room or being able to dive into the fictional world? A father and daughter have a magical ability to do just that.

Unfortunately, the villain of one story was released and this sets them off on an adventure typically only available in books.

Meggie and Mo are an endearing father/daughter team while they navigate the consequences and reaches of their magic.

By Cornelia Funke, Anthea Bell (translator),

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Inkheart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

The first book in Cornelia Funke's internationally celebrated
trilogy - magical, thrilling and mesmerising.

'I
don't think I've ever read anything that conveys so well the
joys, terrors and pitfalls of reading' Diana Wynne Jones

Meggie
loves books. So does her father, Mo, a bookbinder,
although he has never read aloud to her since her mother mysteriously
disappeared. They live quietly until the night a stranger
knocks at their door. He has come with a warning that forces
Mo to reveal an extraordinary secret - a storytelling secret that
will change their lives for ever.

Also a major film starring…


Book cover of The Selection

Derek Murphy Author Of Taste of Vampire

From my list on YA dystopian to prepare you for the coming apocalypse.

Who am I?

I love YA dystopian as a genre because the stakes are always high, and we get more action and tragedy in a survivalist, future-fantasy setting. There are usually mutants, zombies, or even superhuman powers involved, which raises the tension and keeps things moving. The subtle social commentary and epic, poignant twists make them much more than simple teenage novels. My own dystopian series explores these themes, but with aliens, time travel, vampires, floating kingdoms, or technology. As an adventure junkie from Oregon, I love the rich, ruined dystopian landscapes of decay and natural overgrowth; and as a philosophy major I enjoy stories that grapple with humanity’s purpose. 

Derek's book list on YA dystopian to prepare you for the coming apocalypse

Derek Murphy Why did Derek love this book?

The Selection is based on reality TV shows like The Bachelor – only he’s a prince and girls compete to be selected into a life of royal privilege.

Just one problem for America Singer, she’s already in love with someone from a lower class and isn’t interested in crowns or jewels…until she meets the prince and realizes not everything is as it appears.

Fated or chosen mate relationships aren’t just a YA dystopian trope; finding the perfect partner is something most of us aspire to, and it’s always thrilling to read about a heroine who refuses her destined path and challenges the social status quo; throwing away a happily ever after in favor of freedom and adventure strikes a chord I can relate to.

By Kiera Cass,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Selection as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Thirty-five beautiful girls. Thirty-five beautiful rivals...

It's the chance of a lifetime and 17-year-old America Singer should feel lucky. She has been chosen for The Selection, a reality TV lottery in which the special few compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon's love.

Swept up in a world of elaborate gowns, glittering jewels and decadent feasts, America is living a new and glamorous life. And the prince takes a special interest in her, much to the outrage of the others.

Rivalry within The Selection is fierce and not all of the girls are prepared to play by the rules. But what they…


Book cover of Roses and Rot

Kay Kenyon Author Of The Girl Who Fell Into Myth

From my list on fantasy that twist stories you thought you knew.

Who am I?

Here are words I like for their feel, especially when they describe fantasy: surprise; twist; subvert. I am generally a mild-mannered writer, but I do love the passing strange. By that I mean, twisty, not shocking. Surprising and intriguing, but grounded in a relatable story. A story with something wondrous and unexpected but also deeply human. I’ve written eighteen fantasy and science fiction novels, and each time, though I am creating a strange—hopefully wondrous, place—central in the story are people who desire, fear, love, and strive.

Kay's book list on fantasy that twist stories you thought you knew

Kay Kenyon Why did Kay love this book?

I love stories set in modern times, with the fae living—secretlyin the local woods. It reminds me of the uncanny in real life, and the possibility of adventure.

The pleasure of this rendition of the fae-next-door is that the human realm is brought fully to life and slowly entwines with the fantastical. Also: It gradually dawned on me that the human thread of the story is a fairy tale in its own right. That really twisted my expectations.

By Kat Howard,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Roses and Rot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Imogen and her sister Marin escape their cruel mother to attend a prestigious artists' retreat, but soon learn that living in a fairy tale requires sacrifices, whether it be art or love in this critically acclaimed debut novel from "a remarkable young writer" (Neil Gaiman, American Gods).

Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn't imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now. As…


Book cover of The Lost Girl

Jennifer J. Lacelle Author Of Birdwhistle Estate

From my list on with emotions and colliding worlds.

Who am I?

I’ve always been in love with books and writing, but in high school I realized I wanted to touch people’s lives on an emotional level. A friend told me my writing had changed their perspective about an incident where their brother almost died. It made me think that if I could positively impact one person with a play, what else could I do (even for complete strangers). We all struggle with emotions, and it’s okay! We should be allowed to feel our emotions—regardless of our age or gender identity. Everyone should know that they’re not alone; emotions are universal. They are part of what connects us to each other. 

Jennifer's book list on with emotions and colliding worlds

Jennifer J. Lacelle Why did Jennifer love this book?

As you can probably see, I like books that are emotionally provocative. This book does just that! It’s just such a different kind of story where the protagonist was built to be exactly like someone else, including memories and life, just in case something happens to the original. It’s a raw look at who someone really is and how they become that person. 

By Sangu Mandanna,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lost Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Eva's life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination - an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her 'other', if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it's like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything she's ever known - the guardians who raised her, the boy she's forbidden to love -…


Book cover of Eve

Jennifer J. Lacelle Author Of Birdwhistle Estate

From my list on with emotions and colliding worlds.

Who am I?

I’ve always been in love with books and writing, but in high school I realized I wanted to touch people’s lives on an emotional level. A friend told me my writing had changed their perspective about an incident where their brother almost died. It made me think that if I could positively impact one person with a play, what else could I do (even for complete strangers). We all struggle with emotions, and it’s okay! We should be allowed to feel our emotions—regardless of our age or gender identity. Everyone should know that they’re not alone; emotions are universal. They are part of what connects us to each other. 

Jennifer's book list on with emotions and colliding worlds

Jennifer J. Lacelle Why did Jennifer love this book?

This one is a dystopian novel (again) but another that’s all about survival and emotions. Making decisions isn’t always easy and sometimes we have to overcome a lot and that’s precisely what the protagonist has to do. Surviving in the new world isn’t easy and she’s got some tough, emotional changes to endure in this read. 

By Anna Carey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first book in Anna Carey's chilling Eve trilogy, Eve is perfect for fans of The Handmaiden's Tale. After a deadly virus wiped out most of Earth's population, the world is a terrifying place. Eighteen-year-old Eve has grown up isolated from the rest of the destroyed world in an all-girls school. But it isn't until the night before her graduation that she discovers what her duties will be once she graduates. To avoid the horrifying fate that awaits her, Eve flees the only home she's ever known. On the run, she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the…


Book cover of Faery Tale: One Woman's Search for Enchantment in a Modern World

K.T. Anglehart Author Of The Wise One

From my list on making magic feel just within reach.

Who am I?

Since reading the Harry Potter series (I know, how original! But bear with me), I’d been searching for books that awoke the same feelings of awe, curiosity, and inspiration in me. It’s been my mission—to be on the dramatic side—to find books that make magic feel just within reach of our world, which is why I set out to write my own urban fantasy story, The Wise One. My creation process involved years of extensive research on esoteric topics and Celtic folklore, including visiting most of my story’s locations during my travels across Ireland and Scotland. What I can boldly say after immersing myself in the landscape and culture is this: magic totally does exist. 

K.T.'s book list on making magic feel just within reach

K.T. Anglehart Why did K.T. love this book?

When I was recommended this book, I was in the midst of my own journey of self-discovery, like the author was in writing it. I was just starting to embrace who I wanted to be: someone who could open people’s imaginations to the magic that is already all around us. Faery Tale is the story that prompted me to book that trip to Ireland and Scotland and experience the mysticism of the lands for myself. I’m not a memoir enthusiast normally, but Pike’s (at first) skeptical POV,  detailed research into Celtic folklore, and real-life magical encounters inspired much of my debut novel. 

By Signe Pike,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In search of something to believe in once more, Signe Pike left behind a career in Manhattan to undertake a magical journey - literally. In a sweeping tour of Mexico, England, Ireland, Scotland and beyond, she takes readers to dark glens and abandoned forests, ancient sacred sites and local pubs, seeking people who might still believe in the elusive beings we call faeries. As Pike attempts to connect with the spirit world - and reconnect with her sense of wonder and purpose - she comes to view both herself and the world around her in a profoundly new light.

Captivating,…


Book cover of Earth, Air, Fire & Water: More Techniques of Natural Magic

K.T. Anglehart Author Of The Wise One

From my list on making magic feel just within reach.

Who am I?

Since reading the Harry Potter series (I know, how original! But bear with me), I’d been searching for books that awoke the same feelings of awe, curiosity, and inspiration in me. It’s been my mission—to be on the dramatic side—to find books that make magic feel just within reach of our world, which is why I set out to write my own urban fantasy story, The Wise One. My creation process involved years of extensive research on esoteric topics and Celtic folklore, including visiting most of my story’s locations during my travels across Ireland and Scotland. What I can boldly say after immersing myself in the landscape and culture is this: magic totally does exist. 

K.T.'s book list on making magic feel just within reach

K.T. Anglehart Why did K.T. love this book?

I'm always reluctant to recommend occult books (there's definitely a weirdness factor that will turn some off), but this isn't like any other. Don't worry: you don't have to purchase a wand, crystals, salts, oils, or herbs. Scott Cunningham was a widely respected practitioner that always advocated for age-old tools of natural magiclike water from a spring. For those interested in exploring the Craft, this is the perfect starting point because it reminds us of the fundamentals: nature is magic. It doesn't get more complicated than that.

By Scott Cunningham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Earth, Air, Fire & Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A treasure trove of practical magic for both novices and more experienced practitioners...beautifully crafted spells that invoke the alchemy of possibility."—PanGaia

A leaf from an oak tree...a wildflower...water from a sparkling stream...dirt from a cool dark cave—these are the age-old tools of natural magic. Born of the earth, possessing inherent power, they await only our touch and intention to bring their magical qualities to life.

The four elements are powerful magical tools. Using their energies, we can transform ourselves, our lives, and our world. This much-loved, classic guide offers more than seventy-five spells, rites, and simple rituals you can perform…


Book cover of Carry On

Terry Bartley Author Of Tyranny of the Fey

From my list on casually queer sci-fi fantasy.

Who am I?

I’ve always been a big fan of sci-fi and fantasy, especially anything involving superheroes or D&D-style adventure. For the longest time, I had to find queer representation through subtle glances and creative readings of characters. I loved these stories for the sci-fi and fantasy elements, but it was frustrating that every love story that came up was straight. It didn’t feel possible for queer love to be a part of a plot, and even when there was a queer character it had a “very special episode” vibe to it. Finally, queer characters are becoming part of the story, and it doesn’t have to be a “big deal.”

Terry's book list on casually queer sci-fi fantasy

Terry Bartley Why did Terry love this book?

It took me months to pick up Carry On after it initially caught my eye on the bookshelf. It was everything I could have wanted.

It is a less problematic Harry Potter, if Harry and Draco ended up getting together. It shows a really authentic representation of unrequited queer love and recognizing one’s own queer identity. It is character-driven, but also full of fun magic adventure. I love a book that knows how to give you exactly what you want.

By Rainbow Rowell,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Carry On as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times best seller!
Booklist Editors’ Choice 2015 - Youth!
Named a "Best Book of 2015" by Time Magazine, School Library Journal, Barnes & Noble, NPR, PopSugar, The Millions, and The News & Observer!

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen.

That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right.

Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's…


Book cover of Jennings Goes To School

Debbie Young Author Of Dastardly Deeds at St Bride's

From my list on fiction set in boarding schools.

Who am I?

As the author of comedy cosy mystery novels, including a series set in an eccentric boarding school for girls, I’m always attracted by the notion of closed, clearly-defined worlds as colourful settings for stories of crimes and misdemeanours. Having worked for 13 years in a girls’ boarding school, where I loved being part of its lively and spirited community, I am very familiar with the quirks and foibles, as well as the practicalities, of boarding school life, and I really enjoy reading other people’s impressions and interpretations of boarding schools of all kinds. 

Debbie's book list on fiction set in boarding schools

Debbie Young Why did Debbie love this book?

This was one of my favourite books when I was a child, and it still makes me laugh even now. On first reading, I was immediately captivated by the witty depiction of the closed world of Linbury Court Preparatory School, a traditional boys’ boarding school inspired by the school at which the author had taught. The endearing central character of Jennings is well-meaning and spirited, but his mad-cap schemes, in which he is aided by his chum Darbishire, inevitably backfire with hilarious results. I especially loved the language of their schoolboy banter, eg “what a wizard wheeze!” for “what a great idea”. Although first published in 1950, it’s still a very entertaining read.

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