With the stress of school and overbearing parents, every teenager has one moment where they want to escape to a different world. Luckily, fantasy fiction offers such escapes—from epic battles and quests in magical lands to new, exciting friendships. More than once, our teenage selves found some comfort in the genre—and occasionally learned lessons we could apply to our real, everyday lives.
Below is a selection of fantasy books for teens that you (probably) haven't read yet. Whether you’re a teenager yourself—or you just want to reconnect with your younger self—they're here to take you on heart-stopping adventures full of magic and wonder.
Chloe’s sophomore year isn’t going as planned. First, she’s bullied by the most popular girls in school. Then she’s struck by lightning. In the aftermath of the accident, she also becomes the center of a series of bizarre events, which herald the reawakening of a terrifying subterranean creature. With the help of three very different friends, Chloe must face the world-shattering fact that dragons exist—and that she’s the only thing standing between them and the rest of humanity. The Elementalists is a thrilling fantasy novel with a conscience, as it weaves “a cautionary modern tale about climate change and pollution.”
Buffy and Sookie Stackhouse fans will love McKinley’s no-nonsense heroine and interpretation of the classic vampire tale: Rae Seddon, called “Sunshine” by her friends, heads to the lake for some much-needed space and quiet. But though the place has been deserted since the deadly vampire war, Rae quickly sees that the long-kept silence means nothing. When she’s kidnapped by an unexpected brood of bloodsuckers—and then chained to one of their own—her sweet escape becomes a crazy race for survival. Keep in mind that these vamps are definitely not of the Cullen family variety…
Related: 17 Bloody Good Vampire Books
The Great Alta Saga
In a world without men, Jenna is a girl foretold by legend—possibly even the reincarnate of the Great Alta goddess. Though she’s been trained to become a formidable warrior, her greatest power may very well be her invisible twin, Skada, who only emerges in the dark. Together, will these two gifted sisters lead their people to peace—or to a violent downfall? A genre-blending epic fronted by two unique heroines, The Great Alta Saga proves why Jane Yolen has been hailed as "the Hans Christian Andersen of America" (Newsweek).
Related: 10 Must-Read Jane Yolen Books
Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
High school senior Jessica Packwood is determined to make this year her best one yet. But an eccentric new exchange student, Lucius, brings her some startling (and life-changing) news: She isn't an average teenage girl, but a Romanian vampire princess who was once Lucius' fiancée. With the threat of a global vampire war looming just ahead, Jessica must quickly become the person she was born to be if she hopes to save the world—and Lucius’ soul—from annihilation. College applications never looked so easy...
For his entire life, Eon has focused on studying swords and sorcery, hoping to become an apprentice to one of the 12 dragon gods. But Eon also has a secret—he is actually a she, 16-year-old Eona. Girls are forbidden to practice Dragon magic, and the discovery of her deception will lead to a certain death. As she inches closer to her goal, she’ll find that her rise to success comes with people who'd kill to see her fall...
Thirteen-year-old Daine has a natural ease with animals, but her talent goes much deeper than simple camaraderie. Animals don’t just obey Daine’s orders, they listen—in a way that can’t be anything but magical. She discovers the extent of her powers when she's hired as a horse handler for the Queen's Riders, a job that exposes her to bizarre birds, monstrous spiders, and creatures unlike any she’s ever known.
The avian and serpiente shapeshifters have been at war for thousands of years. As the last heirs to their respective thrones, the hawkish Danica and cobra-like Zane must get married for the sake of ending the bitter feud between their people. But even their union cannot heal old wounds, and the dangers of the newlyweds’ united courts become greater than those of the battlefield…Hawksong is the first in a five-book series about the avian and serpiente shapeshifters, which expands to include the stories of Dancia and Zane’s heirs.
Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse
Bran Hambric has no memory of his life before he was found in a vault at age six. Now 14, he lives with his adoptive family in the city of Dunce, a place where magic is feared and illegal. When Bran learns that he's a powerful mage—and that he likely inherited his gifts from his biological parents—he becomes embroiled in a plot to save the endangered Mages Council, only to amass a host of enemies. Kaleb Nation’s delightful fantasy read is a must-have for Potterheads.
Related: 8 Books Like Harry Potter
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