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The Best YA Fantasy Novels To Help You Escape Reality

The Best YA Fantasy Novels To Help You Escape Reality

I’m a big reader. Big. Huge. Ginormous. So much so, that I’m aiming to read 100 books this year. So far I’m only up to Book #75, because I slacked off in the month of September and now I only have a month and a half left to read 25 books. Yikes!

I read both fiction, and non-fiction – sometimes even textbooks. Earlier this year I read a textbook about winemaking in Australasian regions. Yes, I almost fell asleep a few times, but I also know a lot more about wine than I ever did before – which is extremely helpful because now I don’t get judged for the amount of wine I drink… I can just say I’m a wine connoisseur, and hopefully people will take me seriously! “This wine has hints of old leather, spicy Malaysian food, and highlighter ink…” Yeah right.

Out of all of the genres I’ve read over the years, my favourite by far is fantasy – young/new adult fantasy in particular. I’m not sure whether I like the kickass female protagonists, their wide and long character arc about their coming of age, or coming into their own destiny; or whether it’s about the love interest that triggers my teenage sentiment of having a huge crush for the first time. Maybe it’s all of the above.

By some it’s seen a little strange that I still enjoy and pore over YA fiction when I’m well into my late twenties, but the fact is, the deeper I get into my twenties, the more I think: who the fuck cares? YA fantasy fiction brings me joy, and that’s why I love it. Full stop. Anyone who thinks differently can fuck right off, because I’m busy reading, and I don’t want to be disturbed – the main character is fighting for her life right now, and this fictional character’s mortality is more important than your shitty opinion.

It also makes the world around me more exciting, and in a weird way creates a character to look up to – one who’s more confident, braver, and more kickass than me, but a character’s whose shoes I can wear for a while when I need to get out of my life and try something new.

I thought why, as the sun sets earlier and earlier, would we not want to escape into a world where your childhood fairy tales come to life, and you be the hero? Where you deal with struggles different from your own, but are still filled with hopes and dreams and triumphs?

My favourite author of fantasy fiction, Sarah J. Maas, is in here three times, with her three different series – and for good reason. I read ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ first, and fell in love with her characters. Her series ‘Throne of Glass’ spans 9 books, each one of them amazing, and ends with an absolutely extraordinary finale that makes me sob every single time! I love these books so much, I usually read them all every one to two years – and they inspire me (and make my cry) every time, like it’s the very first time. I am hardly ever a re-reader, preferring to discover new stories, so the fact that I re-read 16 novels from this author every year should be a big, flashing sign telling you that you should READ THESE BOOKS.

I also had to include everybody’s old favourites in here, like ‘Twilight’, ‘Divergent’, ‘The Hunger Games’, because even though they’ve been made into movies (Where the hell have you been, loca?), the movies are mostly atrocious and the books are better, although I do have to say the ‘Twilight’ series is problematic in the light of being a real-life grown-up. (I’m Team Edward, but he is a stalker, and crazy, so there’s that. Ladies, don’t get yourself a man like Edward Cullen – but I do give you permission to fantasize about him in the book…)

I’ve included one of my favourite books of all time in here (apart from ACOTAR): ‘The Book Thief’ by Marcus Zusak – and if you decide to read any of the books on this list, I recommend this one be the first. A book that has stayed with me throughout my life since I first read it when I was 12, perhaps it’s not fantasy as such, but it’s a novel narrated by Death in the time of the Holocaust, and somehow is still a book filled with compassion and hope – and a love of reading, which of course I can relate to.

Without further ado, my favourite fantasy novels below – I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Image via @grimes