What YA Fantasy Standalone Should You Read? (Flow Chart)

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A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

This is the story of a bear-hearted girl . . .

Sometimes, when a person dies, their spirit goes looking for somewhere to hide.
Some people have space within them, perfect for hiding.

Twelve-year-old Makepeace has learned to defend herself from the ghosts which try to possess her in the night, desperate for refuge, but one day a dreadful event causes her to drop her guard.

And now there’s a spirit inside her.

The spirit is wild, brutish and strong, and it may be her only defence when she is sent to live with her father’s rich and powerful ancestors. There is talk of civil war, and they need people like her to protect their dark and terrible family secret.

But as she plans her escape and heads out into a country torn apart by war, Makepeace must decide which is worse: possession – or death.”

A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.

While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of a revolution looming, Thea is sent to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists.

But there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.

Into the Heartless Wood by Joanna Ruth Meyer

The forest is a dangerous place, where siren song lures men and women to their deaths. For centuries, a witch has harvested souls to feed the heartless tree, using its power to grow her domain.

When Owen Merrick is lured into the witch’s wood, one of her tree-siren daughters, Seren, saves his life instead of ending it. Every night, he climbs over the garden wall to see her, and every night her longing to become human deepens. But a shift in the stars foretells a dangerous curse, and Seren’s quest to become human will lead them into an ancient war raging between the witch and the king who is trying to stop her.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Hazel Evans and her brother Ben live in the town of Fairfold, where the locals know that Fae inhabit the forest and that if you are smart you leave out milk to appease them and go indoors after dark.  Tourists come each year to view the prince in the glass coffin, the boy with horns on his head.  And Hazel and Ben dream that he is their prince and they can set him free.  But when he finally awakes, he is  not the prince they were expecting.

Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley

Charlotte and Branwell Brontë possess the secret of literally jumping into their imaginary world of Verdopolis, and their sister Emily is tired of being left behind.  Once all three of them, along with Anne, travelled there together as the all-powerful Genii, but now the elder Brontës keep that power to themselves.  Charlotte and Branwell, however, pay a price the others do not see.  Will the four of them ever be able to escape the mysterious hold that Verdopolis has on them?

Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.

As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

17 YA Fantasy Standalones

YA Fantasy Standalones

Looking for a young adult fantasy novel but don’t want to get caught up in reading a series? Check out our list of YA fantasy standalones!


The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Hazel Evans and her brother Ben live in the town of Fairfold, where the locals know that Fae inhabit the forest and that if you are smart you leave out milk to appease them and go indoors after dark. Tourists come each year to view the prince in the glass coffin, the boy with horns on his head. And Hazel and Ben dream that he is their prince and they can set him free. But when he finally awakes, he is not the prince they were expecting

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Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley

Worlds of ink and shadow

Charlotte and Branwell Brontë possess the secret of literally jumping into their imaginary world of Verdopolis, and their sister Emily is tired of being left behind. Once all three of them, along with Anne, travelled there together as the all-powerful Genii, but now the elder Brontës keep that power to themselves. Charlotte and Branwell, however, pay a price the others do not see. Will the four of them ever be able to escape the mysterious hold that Verdopolis has on them?

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Entwined by Heather Dixon

Entwined

After the death of their mother, Princess Azalea and her eleven sisters find themselves confined to the castle in mourning, forbidden even to visit the gardens. Their father in his grief begins to ignore them, leaving the girls even more desolate. When they find a secret passageway to an underground world, they grasp the opportunity to dance there each night, forgetting their troubles. There in the darkness, however, lurks a man known as the Keeper, who longs for the power to free himself and visit the land above. The princesses soon realize they have placed themselves in extreme danger, but, unless they can learn to forgive their father and place their trust in him again, everything may be lost. A retelling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.”

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Illusionarium by Heather Dixon

A disease with no cure, that only targets women, has taken the queen.  Now Jonathan Gouden, scientist apprentice, is tasked with finding the cure.  His only lead is a substance that allows people to create life-like illusions.  But he is playing with forces he does not understand.

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Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

Isabelle has never been able to please her mother. She’s too wild. Too ugly. Too opinionated. That hasn’t kept her from trying, though. She’ll cut off her own toes to try to make her mother happy. But the prince isn’t fooled. As blood pools in Cinderella’s glass slipper, Isabelle is sent away in disgrace. And now everyone knows just how terrible she really is. Then chance gives her the opportunity to change her fate, to reclaim the pieces of her heart she’s lost. Isabelle yearns to try. But maybe she’s too bitter and broken to get her own happily-ever-after.  A fierce, feminist retelling.

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The Book of Pearl by Timothée de Fombelle

Joshua Pearl was once a prince in love with a fairy. But a jealous and wicked king sundered the two. Now Joshua is exiled to our world, grief his only link back to his home. As he endures WWII and the loss of his only home, he begins to collect the pieces that might break the spell. But time is running out and he worries he will never see his love again.  A beautiful, evocative fantasy that has a classic feel.

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The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

Faith Sunderly and her family move to a small island in the wake of scandal; her father has been accused of forging fossils. When he dies, Faith believes it is murder and set out to find the killer by using the legendary Lie Tree–a tree that feeds on falsehoods and provides secrets in return A gripping story about a science-loving teenager trying to survive in a man’s world.

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A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

A Skinful of Shadows

Twelve-year-old Makepeace has long managed to fend off the spirits who would possess her. But then once sneaks past her guard. Can her terrible secret save–or destroy– her family in a nation about to be torn apart by civil war?  A highly original YA fantasy set during the English Civil War.

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Spinning Starlight by R. C. Lewis

Liddi Jantzen is the heiress to the most influential tech company in the Seven Points; she only wishes she were as clever at inventing tech as her older brothers are, so she can earn the role. But when all of her brothers go missing at the same time, trapped in the conduits between the seven planets, it is up to her–the girl with the “checked genes”–to find a way to save them. The final catch: the person who imprisoned them placed a vocal imprint in Liddi’s throat and if she speaks about the plan to anyone, her whole family will die.  A retelling of “The Wild Swans.”

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Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

The del Cisne sisters are cursed.  One day the swans will take one of them, transforming them into a swan, and leave the other behind.  But their fate becomes even more complicated when two boys become involved.

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Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Wild Beauty

The Nomeolvides women have spent generations caring for an enchanted garden.  But they can never fall in love.  If they do, their lover vanishes.  Then a boy named Fel appears in the garden, lacking his memories.  And Estrella, one of the Nomeolvides girls, wants to help.  But what they can uncover could be more dangerous than they imagined.

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Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Catherine is favored by the King of Hearts, but her true dream is to open a bakery, not to rule a country.  Then she falls in love with the court jester and begins a secret courtship.  But her destiny may not be in her hands at all.

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Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Scarred by a wolf when she is seven years old, Echo Alkaev leads a lonely existence, shunned by the villagers who think she is cursed. Years later, she meets the wolf again and he strikes a bargain: he will save her father’s life is she agrees to live with him for one year. In his house under the mountain, Echo finds an enchanted library and begins to fall in love with Hal, who seems trapped in the books. But an evil force is growing and the wolf, Echo, and Hal will all be lost at the end of the year, unless Echo can find a way to break the curse.

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Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Orphaned at a young age, Elisabeth was raised in one Austermeer’s Great Libraries.  So she knows how important it is for the libraries to contain the magic of the evil grimoires they house.  She even hopes to become a warden herself so she can protect her country.  But then a grimoire escapes and Elisabeth is blamed.  And only by allying herself with her enemy can she save Austermeer.

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The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors

When Emmeline Thistle discovers she has the ability to turn milk into chocolate, she’s suddenly desired across the land.  But all she wants is the dairyman’s son.  Can love really conquer all?  or will Emmeline be controlled by those who seek her power?

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Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

As twenty-third in line to the throne, Freya never expected to be queen. But someone poisons nearly the entire court at a banquet and suddenly the reclusive teen is expected to rule a nation. Unfortunately, Freya never paid much attention to the court or to the country. She imagines she can leave the ruling to the council but, with a murderer still at large, trusting others may cost Freya her life.

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The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

Five years ago, Evelyn Hapwell, her brother Jamie, and her sister Phillipa found themselves transported to the magical world of the Woodlands while hiding during an air raid. Then, after fighting a war there over the course of five years, they were sent back to London at the very moment they had departed. Evelyn would do anything to return to the tree spirits and the mighty elk Cervus. But Philippa, concerned with nylons and boys, is convinced they must make a life where they are. When Evelyn goes missing, however, Philippa must confront her past.

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