24 Best Fantasy Books for Teens to Read Now
Fantasy books for teens have quickly become some of my favorite books to read. Diving into a new world is magical and the angst of young adulthood adds a whole new dimension to the storyline.
We tried to include as many different genres of fantasy as we could while still including only our favorite books on the list. It was not easy! The fantasy books for teens we included on this list are the books we consider to be the very best.
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Best Fantasy Books for Teens
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
I absolutely loved this book about Sunny, a twelve-year-old girl who lives with her parents and two brothers in Nigeria. Sunny is albino and teased for her looks.
When Sunny discovers that she is a “free agent”, someone with magical abilities whose parents are not magic, she enters a world she didn’t know existed. Sunny and her three fellow magical students must study and learn their abilities in order to stop the Black Hat Killer before he brings about complete destruction.
Unlike anything that I have read before, the story is woven beautifully and is one of the best fantasy books for teens.
Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha, #1) by Tomi Adeyemi
I really enjoyed this book and the original story within the pages. I listened to the amazing audiobook and I loved listening to the story the way that the story was intended to sound.
When magic disappeared from Orisha, Zelie’s world changed forever. When the king ordered all the Maji killed, Zelie was left without a mother or magic. She is on a quest to find revenge and bring magic back to Orisha. This is one of the fantasy books for teens that builds a whole new world and brings fantasy to a whole new level.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Why did I not read this book before now? In a way, I’m glad I just read this because I only have to wait a few more months for the sequel. If you love YA fantasy books, this King Arthur re-imagining is a must-read in our list of fantasy books for teens!
Bree Matthews’s mother died in a tragic accident and she cannot seem to recover. When she has a chance to attend a special program for bright high school students at UNC-Chapel Hill, she jumps at the chance.
When Bree witnesses a magical attack on her first night there, her world is thrown upside down as she enters the world of the Legendborn. It is a secret society of students with powerful magic who are also descendants of King Arthur! This is my favorite read from our list of books about secret societies and is a perfect dark academia novel to delve into that genre.
Fae Fantasy Books for Teens
The Cruel Prince (The Folk of Air #1) by Holly Black
I am not sure why it took me so long to finally read this book that has been on my TBR list since it came out. I loved it and couldn’t put it down. This is one of the fantasy books for teens with all the angst, treachery, and drama that makes it completely addicting.
As a matter of fact, I ordered the sequel the minute that I was done with this book, which is the first in a trilogy. This book is a must-read YA fantasy book.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
This book has a cult-like following for a reason. The first book in the series is a loose fairy tale retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in the world of Prythian. Magical creatures, humans, and fae are all prominent in the book.
This is a fast-paced, addicting, fantasy romance series. A love triangle develops by the end of the story and book two is jaw-dropping! This is on its way to becoming a classic from the list of enemies-to-lovers books. You will want to binge this series in one week. We could not leave this epic romance off a list of the best romance novels of all time.
If you loved ACOTAR, check out this list of books just like it. Or head over to our guide on all of Sarah J. Maas’s books.
Fallen by Lauren Kate
I picked up the first two books in this series after turning in a few books and quickly fell in love with the first book and the story of Daniel and Luce’s love.
Luce has been sent to Sword and Cross boarding school, a place for other troubled kids like her. The minute she gets to the school, Daniel catches her eye but he will not give her the time of day. But there is definitely more to Daniel and Luce will discover his secrets no matter what the cost.
This Fae series needed to be included in the best fantasy books for teens
Pirate Fantasy Books for Teens
Fable (Fable #1) by Adrienne Young
I’m not the resident fantasy girl, but HOLY YES BATMAN. This story of a bad-ass female pirate was incredible. Normally, I only like fantasies if they have a strong romantic element. But in Fable, I found myself drawn in by our namesake character and the vivid world description.
Well done, Reese with this pick
Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas
I loved this unique Peter Pan story that had me thinking about the true meaning of Neverland and the stories of the lost boys. Wendy Darling and her parents have never been able to move on after her brothers disappeared mysteriously five years ago.
Wendy has no memories of the 6 months she was gone and no explanation for why she came home and her brothers didn’t. Now, as children start to go missing again, it feels too similar to be a coincidence. This is a smart, well-written, well-thought-out, twisted Peter Pan story. This pick is perfect for a list of the best fantasy books for teens.
Paranormal Fantasy Books for Teens
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Twilight started a phenomenon and obsession with vampires in the same way that Harry Potter created an obsession with magic. This is obviously my opinion but I am sticking with it which is why this book needed to be on our list of best romances of all time.
This vampire trilogy is definitely lacking the gore and fear factor and makes up for it with an amazing romance. I mean, I think there are people who still have their “Team Jacob” and “Team Edward” shirts. For the record, I was always on team Edward.
If you have not read this iconic series yet, what are you waiting for? This love story definitely qualifies as one of the best romance novels of all time. If you love vampire books, check out our post: 13 Thrilling Vampire Books to Die For
The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould
Something is dark and scary in Snakebite, Oregon where teenagers go missing and the weather is wonky. When Logan Ortiz-Woodley travels to her father’s hometown to film their ghost hunters television show, her dad becomes a suspect and is certainly acting strange.
This YA paranormal fiction was a really different read than anything I had read before and is one of our favorite fantasy books for teens.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
I had heard so much about this book that is considered one of the 100 best YA books of all time and could not wait to read it. very often, I find that books do not live up to the hype and this is NOT the case with this book.
Laia is a scholar who witnesses her grandparents’ murder and the capture of her brother at the hands of the Masks, a brutal army of the Empire. Laia makes a deal with the rebels to spy in exchange for rescuing her brother.
Elias is a Mask, the commandant’s son and soon to be in a competition to become the Emporer himself. All he wants is to be free of the death and tyranny that the Empire’s military academy has drilled into him for the last 15 years.
Elias and Laia find their paths colliding and must learn to depend on each other. Set on opposite sides of a conflict, these two have a lot to overcome and find trust, friendship and love? This is the first book in the series and I cannot wait to read the next book.
YA Magical Fantasy Books
Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
Thank goodness Hogwarts is nothing like this school. There is not a single first year that would survive. This school for magic, The Scholomance, is bursting with magic that is very dark and unforgiving.
Losing a few classmates is nothing surprising. You either graduate or die. If you love the dark side of Harry Potter, you will love this YA fantasy book. The books from this series are some of my favorite fantasy books for teens and you should add them to your TBR if you have not read them yet.
If you love books like this, check out our list of Dark Academia books.
Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo
I was so excited when I learned that Netflix was making this into a series. I think it will be amazing on screen and I am so curious to see if they keep to the book or change things, which is so often the case.
Alina Starkov is an orphan who has never excelled in anything. When her regiment is sent into the fold and her best friend is in danger of being killed, she unleashes a power, unlike anything anyone has seen. It may be the answer to the wars that have ravaged her nation.
If you love this book, be sure to check out our post Books Like Shadow and Bone or Leigh Bardugo Books in Order: Complete Guide to 18 Amazing Books. It’s one of the most popular Netflix book adaptations.
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
I loved the first book. I finished it and immediately rushed into book 2. The people in the world of Orleans are devoid of natural beauty and need The Belles to use their magical treatments to be beautiful. The most powerful of the Belles is known as the favorite and works for the royal family to set trends and perform beauty treatments.
But what happens when a sick queen and a greedy princess have differing views on ruling the people of Orléans and The Belles of the world? The world-building in this YA Fantasy was wonderful and the descriptions of the elaborate beauty treatments painted a vivid picture. The characters were flawed but wonderfully constructed and the teacup pets were adorable.
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
This YA historical fantasy takes place in Paris in 1889 where coercion, magic, betrayal, and murder are the norm. At the Exposition Universelle World Fair is an artifact that will give the owner magical Forging abilities.
Severin and his fiercely loyal friends come together to take the artifact in the hope of also obtaining Serverin’s inheritance. Severin finds himself torn between his loyalty to his friends and his desire for revenge.
Twisted Fairy Tales for Teens
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
This is such an original book that is a fairy tale (think original Grimm’s tales as opposed to Disney) that meets the modern day. Alice is 17 when she learns about the existence of magic and that the bad luck that has been following her may not be luck at all.
I kept thinking about what would have happened to Harry Potter if he did not know about magic until he was 17. This YA fantasy book is so original and fun, I knew I had to include it in this list.
Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber
Just when I thought that nothing could top the Caraval series, Stephanie Garber writes this book. This YA fantasy will not disappoint her die-hard fans and for those that have never read Caraval, you can fall in love for the first time. I absolutely loved this book.
Evangeline Fox was raised in her father’s curiosity shop where she grew up learning about the legends. When Evangeline learns that the love of her life is about to marry her stepsister, she offers the prince of hearts anything in exchange for stopping the wedding. This deal takes Evangeline to the North where the real adventure begins.
Cinder by Melissa Meyer
This 4 book series is set in the future in a time of disease and war. This series is part twisted fairy tale, part dystopia, and part sci-fi fantasy.
Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel are re-imagined as you have never seen them before. All of them are smart and strong women far from the helpless damsels in distress we know them to be.
The first book introduces us to Cinder. She is a cyborg (part human, part machine) who lives with her……..you guessed it….. two step-sisters and stepmother.
If you’ve read and loved Cinder, check out this list of books just like it!
Dystopian Fantasy Books for Teens
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
I have been on some weird dystopian kick recently – which is funny because I had to be forced to read the Hunger Games. Now I can’t seem to stop! I’m sure I’ll switch gears this summer but right now I’m loving this story.
In this world, those with red blood are common and those with silver blood are elite with superhuman abilities. In the war against Silvers and Reds, Mare Barrow is special and so is this book. The ending was a total shock! I couldn’t put it down. This epic series was a must for books like ACOTAR.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This is the first book in the Hunger Games series and it is epic! In the aftermath of what was once North America, there are 12 Districts surrounding the capital.
Each year, each district sends one boy and one girl to fight to the death in a competition called “The Hunger Games”. Katniss Everdeen volunteers as a tribute to save her younger sister from the certain death of the games. This book has everything but at its heart, it is a perfect pick for books about sisters.
If you love the Hunger Games, check out these 24 books just like it!
Divergent by Veronica Roth
In this trilogy, Chicago society is divided into factions that are each dedicated to a certain virtue. Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. On a selected day, all 16-year-olds gather to choose their faction.
Beatrice must make the choice between staying with her family and becoming who she was meant to be. This first book in the trilogy is unlike anything that I had read before. It drew me in and kept me turning the pages until the end. Of course, nothing is really as it seems in this dystopian YA Fantasy.
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
I had heard so much about this book and was so excited to read it. I have a hard time not comparing this book to the Divergent Series and The Hunger Games which were both amazing.
This book is part fantasy and part sci-fi in a world of predator cities. Giant cities chase small towns and devour them in an effort to survive.
Dragon Fantasy Books for Teens
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) by J.K Rowling
Although the order changes sometimes, this is my second favorite Harry Potter book in the series. In my opinion, it was the first book that really showed Rowling’s potential for great storytelling.
Harry Potter finds himself participating in the Triwizard Tournament when someone tricked the Goblet of Fire and put in Harry’s name. He finds himself competing against much more experienced wizards in tasks that will bring him glory or death.
Harry faces dragons, dark wizards, and mermaids while performing magic he never thought possible. He faces the Deatheaters for the first time which is how Harry found himself on our list of books about secret societies.
Don’t forget to check out our list of 21 Adult Books Similar to Harry Potter for Fans of Magic.
Eragon Christopher Paolini
Eragon, a 15-year-old boy, believes that he is merely a farm boy until one day, he discovers a polished blue stone in the forest. When the stone hatches and a dragon emerges, Eragon enters a world full of magic and power that he never knew existed.
Eragon discovers that he is a dragon rider, one of few left. This middle-school fantasy series is a world of dragons, magic, and power. Almost a “Dragon Masters” for the more mature reader, this series will take you into a world of fantasy you won’t forget. This is another pick on our list of YA fantasy books that are technically middle-grade but worth the read.