Young Adult Literature

100 Must-Read YA Historical Fantasy Novels

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Tirzah Price

Senior Contributing Editor

Most of Tirzah Price's life decisions have been motivated by a desire to read as many books as humanly possible. Tirzah holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has worked as an independent bookseller and librarian. She’s also the author of the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries, published by HarperTeen, and Bibliologist at TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. Follow her on Twitter @TirzahPrice.

When I sat down to compile the list of 100 Must-Read YA Historical Novels, I was faced with a dilemma: to include fantasy or not to include fantasy? I’ve loved YA fantasy ever since my middle school self stumbled upon A Great and Terrible Beauty, but being in the mood for good historical realistic fiction is a very different thing from being in the mood for good historical fiction with magic.

Beyond that, historical speculative fiction encompasses many sub-genres! Time travel, steampunk, fantasy, alternate history, historical ghost stories–it’s a lot. It really deserved a 100 Must-Read list of its very own, which many of you were quick to ask about when the YA Historical Novels list went live. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

Books that are the first in a series are denoted with +.

  1. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
  2. A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood
  3. A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliot
  4. Along the River by Adeline Yen Mah
  5. An Earthly Knight by Janet McNaughton
  6. And I Darken by Kierstin White
  7. An Architect of Song by A.G. Howard
  8. The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan+
  9. The Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle+
  10. Blythewood by Carol Goodman+
  11. Born of Illusion by Teri Brown +
  12. Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood+
  13. Both Sides of Time by Caroline B. Cooney+
  14. A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey+
  15. The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni
  16. City of Fire by Laurence Yep*
  17. Copper Magic by Julia Mary Gibson
  18. Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
  19. Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
  20. The Dark Between by Sonia Gensler
  21. The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
  22. Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney
  23. Delusion by Laura L. Sullivan
  24. Distant Waves by Suzanne Weyn
  25. The Diviners by Libba Bray+
  26. Door at the Crossroads by Zetta Elliot
  27. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (not out until 2018, but sure to be a must-read when it hits shelves!)
  28. Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel+
  29. Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire
  30. Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger+
  31. Everlasting by Angie Frazier +
  32. The Falconer by Elizabeth May
  33. Fateful by Claudia Gray
  34. Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh
  35. The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress
  36. Forbidden Tale: Sword by Da Chen
  37. The Game of Love & Death by Martha Brockenbrough
  38. The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges+
  39. The Ghost in the Glass House by Carey Wallace
  40. The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig+
  41. The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross+
  42. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time by Yasutaka Tsutsui
  43. Golden Hour by Maiya Williams+
  44. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers+
  45. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray+
  46. The Heavenward Path by Kara Dalkey
  47. In the Serpent’s Coils by Tiffany Trent+
  48. In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
  49. The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare+
  50. Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor
  51. Iron Cast by Destiny Soria
  52. Jackaby by William Ritter+
  53. Legacy by Ravin Tija Maurice
  54. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld +
  55. Little Sister by Kara Dalkey+
  56. A Matter of Magic by Patricia C. Wrede
  57. The Mirk and Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson
  58. Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey +
  59. My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows
  60. Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix
  61. Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown
  62. Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink +
  63. Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier
  64. Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson
  65. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
  66. Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier +
  67. Sekret by Lindsay Smith+
  68. Serpentine by Cindy Pon+
  69. A Shadow Bright & Burning by Jessica Cluess
  70. Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
  71. Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon+
  72. Something Strange & Deadly by Susan Dennard+
  73. Sorcery & Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede +
  74. Spirit’s Princess by Esther Friesner+
  75. Steel by Carrie Vaughn
  76. The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters
  77. Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
  78. The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe+
  79. The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye+
  80. The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
  81. The Explosionist by Jenny Davidson
  82. The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope
  83. The Shadows by Megan Chance
  84. These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
  85. This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel+
  86. This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee
  87. Ticker by Lisa Mantchev
  88. Timebound by Rysa Walker
  89. Timekeeper by Tara Sim
  90. Timespell by Diana Paz
  91. Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick
  92. Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent +
  93. Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell+
  94. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson+
  95. Wildwing by Emily Whitman
  96. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
  97. Winterspell by Claire Legrand
  98. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
  99. Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
  100. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Adieh+

What are your favorite YA historical fantasy novels?