My Favorite YA Fantasy and Dystopian Books I’ve Recently Read, Loved, and Highly Recommend. Put these on your to-read list!

All of these books are new favorites of mine; they completely sucked me into their worlds, made me love their characters and root for them. All of them immediately made me want to pick up their sequels or other books by the same author. I highly recommend them all!

Insignia by SJ Kincaid

Acne-ridden Tom moves from casino to casino with his gambling father where he excels at virtual-reality gaming, but rarely goes to school…until a general recruits him for the army in WWIII. It’s his chance to “be” somebody…but it means letting them implant a computer into his brain. I rooted from Tom right from the beginning, though sometimes I wanted to shake him. I loved the details, the virtual reality and the corporation-run world; it all felt frighteningly real and believable. A thrilling dystopian/sci-fi novel that made me think of the Ender Games, I was so drawn into this book I didn’t want to put it down, but didn’t want to finish it because then it would be over. 🙂

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Sunday is the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, and what she writes in her diary often comes true. When she befriends an enchanted frog in the wood, eventually her kiss turns him back into a man… This is a feel-good, fairy tale fantasy with a strong-girl character who has magic in a world where fairy tales keep blending together and magic happens, including fairy godmothers, magic beanstalks, bewitched frogs, and more. There is so much good feeling in this book; it’s a comforting, enjoyable read, while still giving a lot of depth. I cared a lot about Sunday and her happiness, and was happy that she found love and strength. Enchanted is beautifully written and pulled me completely into the story as I rooted for Sunday and Grumbold. Some triggers for RA survivors but a lot of good feeling, too. I couldn’t stop reading. 🙂

Blackbringer by Laini Taylor

Magpie WindWitch, a faerie who’s also the granddaughter of the West Wind, tracks down demons and recaptures them, along with her faithful band of crow friends. When one of the most powerful devils is unleashed on the world, Magpie needs all her skills, talents, and friends to put the world back to right and keep it from unravelling. I LOVED this book–loved Magpie’s strength and courage and tenacity and goodness, loved the other characters, too, and the way they interacted, loved the richness of the story and the unique forms of magic such as the way Magpie and others can weave things into being and help keep the world together. Though it started slowly for me, once I got into it I couldn’t put it down, and I cared intensely about Magpie and her happiness. I loved this book so much that I immediately wanted the sequel, and was so disappointed to find that it’s not only not available in ebook (I love instant purchases when I’m into an author), but it’s also out of print and expensive to buy used. I will be buying the sequel any way. I could NOT put BlackBringer down, and I loved it so much I didn’t want the book to end.

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Tamsin’s family are all powerful witches, and though it was foretold that Tamsin would be the most powerful among them, she is the only one without powers. Tamsin feels out of place in her family, and out of place with regular people–always an outsider. But when a stranger mistakes her for her powerful sister Rowena and asks her to magically find something, everything changes. Suspenseful, intriguing, emotional, and full of magic, this story completely sucked me in and wouldn’t let me go. I rooted for Tamsin throughout, loved Tamsin embracing her talent and strength and the relationship that blossomed, and thrilled at her being the hero.

Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

I love ghost stories when they’re well done, and this one totally drew me in and had me wanting more! When Jeff attends a new school, he quickly discovers that he’s the only one who can see Kimberlee–a selfish girl who died the year before. Kimberlee has been hanging around the school, bored, unable to interact with anyone or move on because she has so much to put right. So many people she hurt by stealing so much from them. Jeff agrees to help–and it changes them both. This was an intriguing, compelling story that pulled me in and wouldn’t let me go. I loved Jeff, and loved his interactions with annoying Kimberlee who I came to like more as she changed. I rooted for both of them–and I didn’t want to put the book down until I was done.

Erasing Time by CJ Hill

Twins Sheridan and Taylor are transported four hundred years into the future–a future where people live in domed cities where people wear their popularity ratings and the government keeps track of their every move–and the twins can’t see a way back. The twins, along with a young scientist Echo, have to work together to find a way to outwit the government and make things better. This was a suspenseful, compelling read. I loved the relationships, the revelations, the writing. I cared so much about the characters and wanted everything to work out. Highly recommended.

Storm (Elemental) by Brigid Kemmerer

This book made me gobble up the entire Elemental series. Becca’s ex is spreading horrible rumours about her, and it’s affecting her happiness and her relationships. Then she intervenes when Chris Merrick is being attacked in the school parking lot–and suddenly she’s involved in something a lot bigger; Chris and his brothers are targeted because they not only have paranormal powers–being able to control the elements–they are some of the most powerful. Becca has to figure out who to trust and what is going on. I loved Becca immediately, and I loved Chris over time. I worried for both characters and was completely sucked into the suspenseful, thrilling story and the entire series.

If you haven’t read any of these books yet and you love fantasy or magic or dystopian, go check them out! Seriously–do not miss these. I LOVED them all.

About Cheryl Rainfield

I write the books I needed and couldn't find as a teen. I write teen fiction--paranormal fantasy and gritty realistic fiction. I'm the author of SCARS (WestSide Books, 2010) #1 ALA QuickPicks, and Governor General Literary Award Finalist, HUNTED (WestSide Books, Oct 2011), STAINED (Harcourt, 2013), The Last Dragon (HIP Books, Sept 2009), and Walking Both Sides (HIP Books, 2011). I also enjoy drawing, surfing the web, connecting with people I like, doing crafts, and being with my dog.
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