Anyone looking for some awesome YA fantasy?

Despite my love of all things mysterious, many of my favorite books are young adult fantasy and I'm always on the lookout for good ones.

Here are some I've found:

Fairest (Hardcover) by Gail Carson Levine
Levine, Gail Carson

This may be blasphemy, but I wasn't super taken with Ella Enchanted.  It wasn't a bad book, it just didn't make me go "Wow".  Fairest was much more my speed.  I love retold fairy tales and Gail Carson Levine manages to be both true to the original and totally unique in this spin on "Snow White". The pacing is good throughout, and it takes place in a kingdom where everyone sings all the time.  What's not to love?  4 stars

Dead Is the New Black (Paperback) by Marlene Perez
Dead Is the New Black
Perez, Marlene

This book restored my faith well-done, shorter YA. I read it in one sitting, but the characters and the world were fleshed out enough to make me want to read more.  This isn't your typical vampire-high school book. 
The pyschic Giordano sisters, especially Daisy (whose powers have yet to show) have sass and humor to spare.  4 stars

Darkwood (Hardcover) by M.E. Breen
Breen, M.E.

This would probably come more under the heading of middle grade fiction, but I'm throwing it in anyway.  I can't tell you much about it without ruining the very well-done world building, but here is the first sentence:  "Darkness falls so quickly in Howland that the people there have no word for evening."

This is not just any darkness:  this is can't-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face darkness.  The only creatures out at night are the mysterious and deadly kinderstalk.  Oh, and a clever run-away named Annie.   3 stars

Eternal (Tantalize, #2) by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Eternal (Tantalize, #2)
Smith, Cynthia Leitich

PJ Hoover was nice enough to throw this into a package of books I won on one of her blog contests, and I was delighted.  Cynthia's blog, Cynsations, has been a fixture on my Google Reader for a long time and I've been wanting to read her books.  Especially Eternal.

Did it live up to my expectations?  Heck YES!

Forget forbidden romance between a plain-but-not-really human and a good-but-tormented vampire who wants to eat her.  Try a romance between a vampire princess (who regularly drinks the blood of kidnapped humans) and her disgraced guardian angel.

THAT'S a relationship with issues.  And both characters are completely believable: sympathetic enough so that we root for them, but flawed enough that you wonder how they're ever going to figure it out.

5 stars

And speaking of vampires, tune in on Saturday for...

 The Obligatory "Twilight" Post:  Part 2!!!!!!!

(If you want to read Part 1, click here.  But be warned, I liked some stuff about the books, but not everything.  So there is some ranting.)


  1. I saw the title of your post in my link list and said, "Um, yeah!" :)

    Great suggestions. I've had my eye on Eternal for a while now. And I've heard rave reviews of Fairest. Looks like I've got two more to add tothe list. :)

  2. It seems that many people like some things about Twilight, but find things they don't like too. I haven't read it, but my daughter tried it and didn't care for it.

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  4. When I as growing up I do not recall a lot of YA fiction. I jumped from say middle grade fiction (would that be the Hardy Boys for example?) to adult fiction. I am not sure there was a great deal of YA fiction being published in the early 70’s.

    So if I was interested reading some, can you give me a list of few to start with? As mentioned in response to one of your earlier posts my tastes in books is thrillers/mysteries/fantasy (pure fantasy has to really good since I tend to compare it to writers like Tolkien, Feist and Jordan) /alternate reality – horror (including preternatural beings such as vampires). What I am not interested in is works like Twilight. Vampires should not sparkle.

  5. Renee- I thought you'd like the title. :) And you should definitely add those to the list, they were well worth the read.

    Joanne- The most important thing I learned from Stephanie Meyer books was this: Story is the most important thing. Meyer does a lot of things I don't like, but she can sure tell a story.

    Marty- You're right, there wasn't a lot of YA around in the early 70's. As for recommendations, I'll have to think about that. But I do have one off the top of my head.

    Dan is currently reading The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud, and he really likes it. It reminds me a bit of the Dresden Files, if Harry Dresden were an ancient smart-aleck demon. :)

  6. I haven't read any of those, but I know my daughter has Fairest and loves it. Maybe I'll read it next.

  7. i'm so glad you liked Eternal! I thought it rocked, too!

  8. Rebecca- I hope you enjoy it! Your daughter clearly has great taste. :)

    PJ- Yah!! Now if I wasn't so sucked into my current series, I could read Tantalize... *grin*

  9. Fantasies to read, fantasies to read! Yay. Glad you liked Cynthia's. Haven't read it, but she's a (to me) local.

    Straight From Hel

  10. I LOVED Darkwood!! Great list of books!

  11. Helen- Gotta love those local authors! (Also, the writing community in Texas is the only thing that could ever persuade me to move there. *grin*)

    April- Thanks! Darkwood was great. It only missed being a four-star because the ending left me feeling a little unfinished. Which means I have to read the sequel, I guess!


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