YA Fantasy Book Recommendations With Help From Josh Peck
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YA Fantasy Book Recommendations With Help From Josh Peck

YA Fantasy Book Recommendations With Help From Josh Peck

Just in case you missed it, the hipster craze has swept through the nation. Young adults everywhere are ingesting more caffeinated beverages than their bladders can handle, purchasing more flannel than clothing stores can provide, and putting thrift stores in a real bind since they have no more merchandise left to sell to these long haired, un-showered hooligans.

So, why do we think hipsters are the cooliest?

We think they're the absolute cooliest because they always seem to be one step ahead. Whether they've heard about some unknown indie band, been to a concert in an arcade for a band that eventually hit it big, heard about a documentary that comes out in a year, or found a hidden gem of an article that speaks to the souls of the rest of us mainstreamers, they constantly have us in awe of their awesomeness.

While I do have a friend or two who can claim the hipster sobriquet, the rest of us have only sporadic moments of hipster enlightenment. Me? I cannot claim to be a hipster. I enjoy Disney movies, Hannah Montana and Taylor Swift, I own one flannel, and I drink sweet tea or juice.

However, if there is one thing I can claim to know the circuit on, it's books.

Before you tell me I don't know the most about books, let me just start off and say, I don't know the most about books. I would never claim to know about every book or even every genre out there. Some genres speak to me more than others, but I do not know everything. If I tried to tell you I did, I'd just embarrass myself.

I haven't been able to cruise the circuit as much since I started college, but I still spend way too many hours on YA blogs, review lists, and my ever-faithful Kindle (thoughts on digital versus print versions of books to come in a later article).

After all the hours of reading that I probably should have spent learning valuable social skills, I have more recommendations than most of my friends could possible read in a lifetime. I have recommendations in most every genre, of varying lengths, for most every type of reader.

My first set of recommendations should probably be all-inclusive and broad, but that's just not my style. Instead, below you will find my list of Young Adult Fantasy/Science-Fiction Series and Stand-Alones that you should check out if you feel so inclined.

While this may be one of my only hipster moments ever, in no way do I guarantee you haven't heard of nor read any of these awesome works before.

Obviously, this list isn't going to include the already-known excellent works. J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, Rick Riordan, and many other well-known and loved authors aren't going to be mentioned. It's not that they're too mainstream, except they are.

You've already heard of them, so you already know how awesome Harry and the gang turned out. You agree that Katniss is the YA dystopian version of Beyonce (probably). You're still quite a bit irritated about the ending of Allegiant (because we all saw it coming but are still so ticked off #IstillloveyouVeronica.) You too are waiting to see if you're secretly a demigod or a magician. Since we already share those thoughts, there's no need to sing the praises of those books.

If you haven't read them yet, just stop whatever you're doing and improve your pathetic life by curling up with the 20+ books casually referenced above. I promise I'm only judging you slightly.

You'll probably have heard of a few of these authors, maybe for other series or, if you're really cool, this one.

Some authors/books on here are more mainstream but I don't think they've had the appropriate recognition, so I went ahead and brought them to your attention once more.

Unless specified, each book has already been released. I wouldn't make you guys have to *gasp* wait for these fantastic stories. The waiting was excruciating for me, so I wouldn't put you through that.

Now, without further ado or failed attempts to be humorous, my list of recommendations.

Fantasy Series Recommendations

1. Scarlett Dawn's Forever Evermore Series.

-King Hall

-King Cave

-King Tomb

-Chosen Thief

-Chosen Fool (Publication Date TBA)

Scarlett Dawn's Forever Evermore Series drew me in as quickly as a series ever has. The characters are enchanting with their sharp tongues, intriguing mystical powers, and their oh-so-precious secrets. Each book has a distinct tone to it, and they are one-sitting reads since you just can't put the book down. You'll carry the book with you to the bathroom, dinner table, and maybe hide it under the table's edge during a bad date. It's just that enthralling.

Ms. Dawn has written one full series in the world she built and is currently writing the second installment of the second series.

If you're looking for amusing dialogue and a fantasy world that doesn't remind you of anything else you've ever read, this is the series for you.

Warning: this series is not for young readers. Young Adult specifies that pesky adulthood for a reason, so I'd recommend at least being in high school.

Find out more at: www.scarlettdawn.net

2. Maria V. Snyder's Study Series

-Poison Study

-Magic Study

-Fire Study

-Shadow Study

Oh, the Study Series. The first installment, Poison Study, was amazing. I fell in love with the characters and couldn't bear to put the book down. I had to uncover all of Yelena's secrets and backstory. Snyder really roped me in with her debut of this series. The next books were less of an immediate lure. Instead, my love for the characters slowly but surely had me immersing myself in the rest of her world. It was slower than the first book, but I'm very happy I finished the series. I'm currently in the middle of Shadow Study (all that college stuff got in the way of my reading, ugh) and am enjoying it quite a bit so far.

I would recommend this series if you are looking for a slow, relaxing read that will keep you turning the page, just not with whiplash pace.

Follow this link to find out more info and read sneak peaks of her books! http://www.mariavsnyder.com

3. Elizabeth Vaughn's Chronicles of the Warlands

courtesy of https://www.overdrive.com/series/chronicles-of-the...





If you like daring sword fights, horse stunts, sassy healers, and a softie-on-the-inside warlord, then you'll love the Chronicles of the Warlands as much as I did. The main trilogy built on itself in an impressive show of what happens when an author plans out their work ahead of time. Each character is so unique and the heroine is a woman you can cheer for without a single shred of doubt. The 4th installment is from different points of view, and while set in the same world, does not continue from the heroine's viewpoint.

No website to share here, but they're still so darn good.

4. Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms Series

-The Demon King

-The Exiled Queen

-The Gray Wolf Throne

-The Crimson Crown

I wish I had the spare hours/days to reread this series for the 5th time. It's that good. I honestly miss spending time with Hanson, Raisa, Amon, Dancer, and all the other fantastic characters this series brought into my life. The magic was breathtaking and the cultural aspects of the different people were politically intriguing and overall enjoyable to read. Each installment just got better and better. When I finished The Crimson Crown I was both extremely satisfied and sorely disappointed that their stories had ended. You'll never regret diving headfirst into the Seven Realms.

Website for all you would want to know: http://www.cindachima.com

This author has another series I have not ventured into yet (The Heir series), but I have no doubt it is as breathtaking as the seven realms series was. She recently announced that she will be writing a new series set in the Seven Realms called the Shattered Realms series. The first installment, Flamecaster, debuts April 19th, 2016. Looks like I may get to revisit my old friends again!

5. Josephine Angelini's Starcrossed Trilogy and Worldwalker Trilogy




If you love anything and everything Greek mythology, here is a series that doesn't even come close to any other Greek series you've read. Join Helen Hamilton as she realizes her life is never going to be the same again. Sounds like every other book you've ever read, right? WRONG. I've never read a take on Greek mythology like this. The myths are not so much the typical myths of the gods, rather Angelini bases her story on the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Agamemnon/Orestes tragic cycle. Her twists on the old stories will not only make you want to keep reading her stunning series, they'll also make you want to go back and read the original myths themselves, if you haven't already. Get settled in, because once you meet Helen and Lucas, there's no going back.

-Trial By Fire

-Fire Walker (Not yet released)

I hesitated at first before starting Angelini's second series. The Starcrossed characters had put me through enough already, and I wasn't sure if she could live up to her previous work. Oh how naive I was. Trial by Fire blew me out of the water. It was so good that once I ended I immediately started the book over again. I don't know if I had ever done that before. The characters and dialogue were just as rich as her previous series. Add in even more mystery than before and some out-there abilities for her characters, and I've been hooked even more so than before.

Per usual, you can find out more here: http://josephineangelini.com

Retelling Recommendations

1. and 2. Stacey Jay's Of Beauty and Beast, and Princess of Thorns

Both of Stacey Jay's fairytale adaptations are stand-alone novels, but each of the stories was filled with incredible richness of detail. She builds the personalities of her characters in a satisfying way. For me, the satisfaction comes with the knowledge that none of the characters are in any way close to perfect. Their faults play as large a role as their strengths, which I find makes a story strong in comparison to overly perfect heroines or heroes. Neither story comes moderately close to the fairytale hinted at in the titles. If you're looking for a new spin on Belle, Of Beauty and Beast isn't your book. If you're looking for an Aurora who patiently waits to be saved, put Princess of Thorns back on the shelf immediately.

What I got from each:

Of Beast and Beauty left me thinking about self-value and the importance of appearance. Obviously these themes come up every time there is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but something about Stacey Jay's version kept me staring at the ceiling after I had turned the last page. Other interesting themes that are ever-present in the work are the questions of duty versus freedom and how far either truly go.

Princess of Thorns brings forth the idea of anger, mercy, and greed. While this story was easier to fly through, I was not left pondering my own life the way I did with Of Beauty and Beast. However, the importance of trade-offs does come through in this book. While it didn't make me question my own existence, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

Go find stuff about her and her books: http://staceyjay.com

3. A.C. Gaughen's Scarlet Series


-Lady Thief

-Lion Heart

A.C. Gaughen brings forth a fascinating retelling of the Robin Hood legends in her Scarlet series. Let's just say Will Scarlet is an alias for a kick-ass heroine who refuses to put up with anyone's crap. If you're looking for strong male supporting characters, some great fight scenes, and novels that make you think long and hard before you try and guess the outcome, this series will work for you.

Do some looking into the series here: http://www.acgaughen.com/scarlet/

My Two More Well Known Recommendations

1. Stephenie Meyer's The Host

This book doesn't need any more recognition, especially after the movie. However, it's one of my favorite YA fantasy novels ever. The world-building is fantastic, the emotions are expertly portrayed, and insta-love doesn't make a true appearance. I find it to be very under-appreciated. The movie was a fine movie, but it can't even hold a candle to the written excellence that is The Host.

You can find any info you could possibly want on any of Stephenie Meyer's projects here: http://stepheniemeyer.com

2. Cassandra Clare's The Infernal Devices Series

-Clockwork Angel

-Clockwork Prince

-Clockwork Princess

Ms. Clare's popularity has skyrocketed over the past few years, which was great to see. I stumbled across her writing on a recommendation from a family friend. I started following her Mortal Instruments series soon after the publication of City of Ashes. Her tumblr is full of snippets and extras that true fans gobble up like it's Thanksgiving dinner. While The Mortal Instruments were good and the world of the Shadowhunters is thrilling, I overwhelmingly prefer the Infernal Devices series and characters to its counterpart. While set in the same world, the time period of Victorian London is so rich in the hands of Ms. Clare. The characters draw you in and wrap you around their fingers easier than most others. I've rarely loved male characters the way I love Will and Jem. The storyline has one of the most satisfying endings in YA literature (in my opinion.) If you fall in love with Ms. Clare's writing, not only has she written 6 Mortal Instruments installments, but she also has 2 mini-series that follow minor characters and 2 more trilogies set in the same world. She also co-writes The Magisterium Series with Holly Black.

Enjoy her tumblr here: http://cassandraclare.tumblr.com

My Standalone Recommendations

Sherwood Smith's Crown Duel

I loved this book with my whole heart. To be clear, if you buy this book on the Kindle, then you have purchased Crown Duel and Court Duel together in one book. If you look for it in print, you might find them together or separately. Either way, you need to read both. Crown Duel was an incredible story about two siblings trying to naively right the wrongs that have been accumulating in their country for years, and their journey towards justice. Court Duel focused on their adjustments to their completely new lives. I'm terrible with synopses, so I'd recommend looking those up at the website below. However, I will say, this is another page turner that kept me up until much too later (or early depending on how you look at it). The banter is witty and the plot intriguing. I personally preferred Court Duel to Crown Duel, but you should make up your own mind once you read them.

Check out those synopses: http://www.sherwoodsmith.net

Hailey Edwards' A Hint of Frost

This is definitely one of my more unknown recommendations. It's a very weird book as is the world the story is set in. There are 7 other books staring other characters that were introduced in this first novel and others that you would meet along the way, but I don't feel the need to read those as of yet. However, the main characters of A Hint of Frost drew me in when I did not think I would be interested. Edwards slowly reeled me in as I was introduced to the customs and different cultures within the book. If you are a fan of intricate worlds and complex divides between cultures, you'll enjoy the world she has created.

Check them all out: http://haileyedwards.net

Cristin Terrill's All Our Yesterdays

Out of everything I have recommended on this list, please please please attempt to read this gem by Cristin Terrill. It was a page turner the first time I read it, and each time I picked it back up I was still as enthralled as when I originally bought it. I love to guess the plot twists and endings while I read books, and this was very pleasing because I could guess the insignificant twists but was still surprised during the really shocking reveals. The character interactions are complex, because of the double-set of characters that Terrill has woven into the story. She handles important topics with ease while making her readers put down the novel to think about their lives. After each reading, I have found myself needing to reexamine many questions that I thought I knew the answers to. If you are looking for an interesting, thought provoking, page turner, you need to go pick up a copy of All Our Yesterdays right now.

You know the drill: http://cristinterrill.com

Alas, my slightly hipster moment has drawn to a close. I hope you've found some new reading material. Thanks for sharing my brief period of hipster-ish-ness. I think this calls for a high-five.

courtesy of http://fuckyeahdrakeandjosh.tumblr.com/post/555647...

Or if you're not into high-fives, how about a hug

courtesy of http://rebloggy.com/post/gifs-drake-bell-s1-josh-p...

*or sister. I don't gender discriminate.
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