Top 10 YA Fantasy Novels & Series
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
Script written by Laura Keating
If you haven't read the YA Fantasy Novels and series you should add these to your list! We've included novels like the “Inheritance Cycle” series, “The Mortal Instruments” series, “Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children”, “The Hunger Games” trilogy, “Divergent” trilogy and more!
Top 10 YA Fantasy Novels & Series
Whether you’re young or young at heart, these books are sure to give you the perfect escape. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 YA Fantasy Novels & Series.
For this list, we’re counting down the most beloved fantasy and sci-fi books in the history of children’s and young adult writing, and we’re including series’ as one entry.
#10: “Inheritance Cycle” series (2003-11)
Perhaps better known by the title of the first book in the series, “Eragon”, the “Inheritance Cycle” immediately drew attention to itself when it was published due to the age of the author. Christopher Paolini was just a teenager when he penned the story, which is a classic fantasy about a boy and a dragon. Though the reviews for the books may not laud it as great literature, the series gained a serious following and appeared on many bestseller lists. Well over a decade has passed since the first book was published and the series is still beloved by many young readers.
#9: “The Mortal Instruments” series (2007-14)
For newcomers, it can be tough to wrap your head around “The Shadowhunter Chronicles”, which is a sprawling multi-platform media series created by Cassandra Clare. It includes not only traditional novels, but also graphic novels and short stories. At the heart of it all though is “The Mortal Instruments,” a series of novels that starts with the book “City of Bones” and focuses on the character Clary Fray - who finds herself embroiled in the world of the Shadowhunters. The series is geared towards teens, and luckily there’s no shortage of content set in this world - meaning you can feel free to get hooked!
#8: “Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children” (2011)
This novel combines elements of magical realism with a contemporary edge, incorporating time travel for a perfect blend of fantasy and sci-fi. Protagonist Jacob has spent his life listening to his grandfather’s farfetched tales about growing up during the Second World War, and when tragedy strikes, he embarks on a quest to find out what was fact and what was fiction. We don’t want to spoil too much about the story, but we can guarantee that no matter how old you are, there’s something to enjoy in this charming debut novel by Ransom Riggs. If you do happen to love it, you can take comfort in knowing that Riggs has written two sequels.
#7: “A Wrinkle in Time” (1962)
Because of the major live-action Disney adaptation being released in 2018, “A Wrinkle in Time” has found itself on the cultural radar again decades after its initial release. Of course, the book never really went out of style, with generation after generation enjoying the quirky characters, simple yet elegant writing style and compelling story. The novel delves into deeper and more technically complicated themes than many others on our list, which makes it the perfect pick for the precocious young reader. There are four other books in the “Time Quintet”, but the original is really the best.
#6: “Divergent” trilogy (2011-13)
While it may feel as if we’ve reached a point of cultural fatigue when it comes to dystopian stories, back in 2011 this series by Veronica Roth was among the first to gain serious traction. “Divergent” tells the story of Beatrice Prior, who lives in a futuristic world where everyone is separated into one of five factions based on their personality traits. When it comes time for her aptitude test though, it turns out that she doesn’t easily fall into one of the categories like most others do. The rest of the book and the sequels that follow bring readers on a thrilling ride that is not to be missed.
#5: “The Hunger Games” trilogy (2008-10)
Speaking of dystopias, maybe you’ve heard of a little series called “The Hunger Games”? Because the books were turned into blockbuster films starring Jennifer Lawrence, they have become widely known in the 2010s. The concept behind the story is a dark one: that selected children of a futuristic world must fight to the death in a grand display that is televised for all to see. But once you read the first few pages, you won’t be able to put the books down until they’re done. The writing is concise and unemotional, and the story powers along at a breakneck pace that will at times leave you breathless.
#4: “His Dark Materials” trilogy (1995-2000)
An alternate reality version of Exeter College, unique animal companions, armored bears and so much more - “The Golden Compass” and the books that follow in this series are a step above when it comes to children's literature. The reading level is higher than most books published for this age group, with some of the heavier themes likely to go over young readers’ heads. For adults though, it’s a great series to pick up if you want something with depth to it. The movie adaptation didn’t receive a positive critical response and definitely doesn’t do the novels justice, so hopefully you can separate the two if you’ve already seen the film.
#3: “The Chronicles of Narnia” series (1950-56)
C. S. Lewis
When you think of classic children’s books, this series is very likely among the first to come to mind. C.S. Lewis’ beautifully written collection offers up just about everything a reader could want from a fantasy story. There are talking animals, epic sword fights, dragons, forgotten princes and oh so much more. Above all, Lewis managed to create a world that readers felt a deep connection with, one that felt just enough like our own to seem familiar, but one different enough to ignite our childlike sense of wonder.
#2: “The Hobbit” (1937)
J. R. R. Tolkien
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” So begins one of the most beloved stories of our age, one that spawned the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy as well as hugely successful film franchises set in Middle-earth. “The Hobbit” tells a simple story of Bilbo Baggins, and the adventure he finds himself on when his world is turned upside down by a group of dwarves. The novel has a certain old-timey coziness to it that just can’t be replicated in modern literature. The oldest book on our list today, there’s a reason it has endured throughout the decades to remain such a popular story.
Before we unveil our top picks, here are a few honorable mentions.
“Throne of Glass” series (2012-)
Sarah J. Maas
“Percy Jackson & the Olympians” series (2005-09)
“The Girl of Fire and Thorns” trilogy (2011-13)
#1: “Harry Potter” series (1997-2007)
J. K. Rowling
What else could our number one pick have been? And moreover, what can be said about the “Harry Potter” series that hasn’t been said already? That it’s the best selling book series of all time? That it reinvigorated an entire generation’s love of reading? That it brought a sense of magic to our world that will never again be replicated? You probably know all this already, but if you have somehow managed to miss out on reading these wonderful books, do yourself a favor and go out and get them all immediately. Your inner child will thank you for the rest of your life.