I didn’t get my first tattoo until I was in my 30s, and now I’m sporting four of them. My most recent one might be my favorite: it’s an ocotillo cactus inside my left foot, done stick-and-poke style while in the desert. The artist called it a souvenir tattoo, and it is, but I also think of it as the tattoo which reminds me of what my dreams are: buying land and living in the desert. Although I’m a book lover, author, and reader, I’ve only got one tattoo that mays any homage to these things, and that’s my ampersand. But despite my lack of bookish ink, I love to drool over other people’s book ink for inspiration for what might come next. Enter: YA book tattoos.
We’ve highlighted some awesome Harry Potter tattoos before, as well as awesome bookish ink in general. But YA book tattoos have been sorely missing from the spotlight. Part of it might be that YA books reach teenagers not yet ready for ink and part of it might be that it’s easy to forget just how vast the category of literature is and the incredible possibilities there are for tattoos.
Let’s take a peek at some rad as hell YA book tattoos. I’ve also included a few other tattoos that aren’t YA books but fall either in the middle grade or children’s literature categories because they’re too good not to. It’s really interesting to see the books that are inspiring permanent skin commitments—you’ll see a few series repeat themselves below but in unique ways.
Note that because we’v highlighted so many awesome Harry Potter tattoos before, I’ve limited their appearance here.
It’s a little Six of Crows ink.
In honor of Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me.
Another Tahereh Mafi–inspired tattoo, this time from Ignite Me.
This We Hunt The Flame tattoo is gorgeous.
How clever is this tattoo? Cann you name all of the YA book series (and non-YA books!) represented here?
This full color Caraval series tattoo is downright magical.
This seer tattoo inspired by Children of Blood and Bone is beautiful and I love how easily it’ll start a bookish conversation.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer inspired this tattoo—and according to the reader, it’s their second inspired by the series.
Knowing how magical and lush Laini Taylor’s books are, it’s not a surprise they have inspired a ton of tattoos. Let’s start with this one, inspired by Strange The Dreamer.
Though not in color like the last, the black and grey Strange The Dreamer tattoo here is intricate and perfect.
As is this take!
This homage to Strange The Dreamer includes a fabulous quote.
How fantastic is this tattoo of Howl’s Moving Castle?
A mix tape is totally appropriate for The Perks of Being A Wallflower.
“Claim yourself,” inspired by Beautiful Creatures.
How beautiful this Speak cover tattoo is!
A tattoo that honors the OG YA book, The Outsiders.
From E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars.
From His Dark Materials.
I’m obsessed with watercolor tattoos (I have one myself!) so I’m really taken with this His Dark Materials ink.
One more from Pullman’s series.
There’s no surprise given the fandom around Maggie Stiefvater’s books that there are a ton of tattoos in honor of them. First up, The Scorpio Races.
A gorgeous tattoo from The Raven Cycle series.
This is a clever take on The Raven Cycle via a tarot card.
There just aren’t enough trash polka tattoos out there and certainly not for kid lit–inspired ink. So this The Little Prince tattoo is everything.
This Stargirl tattoo is simple but not boring.
Wow, wow, wow. This tattoo looks just like the cover for Escape From Furnace.
Aristotle and Dante in the desert! But wait. This book lover has a second gay couple from YA books tattoo…
It’s Jonathan and Web from Ziggy, Stardust and Me.
The Hunger Games will never not be a powerful tattoo inspiration.
Katniss can attest.
Speaking of symbols, here’s one inspired by Percy Jackson.
Inspired by Cassandra Clare’s books.
From Clockwork Angel.
Not only is the tattoo cool, but the photo with the collector’s edition of the book with the symbol is great.
Buckle in: we’re going to see a lot of Sarah J. Maas–inspired tattoos. This watercolor one is just beautiful.
Inspired by Heir of Fire.
Another take on the one above.
From Kingdom of Ash.
Some more Throne of Glass ink.
This is one badass Sarah J. Maas–inspired sleeve.
“Let’s go rattle the stars” with a bright watercolor book.
“Don’t let the hard days win” is such a powerful quote.
From Holly Black’s The Wicked King.
Inspired by Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse.
This is such an eye-catching tattoo and it marries so many YA books in one place.
This more minimalist tattoo (comparatively, at least!) marries a bunch of YA books together, too.
“It kills me sometimes how people die” from The Book Thief.
Another tattoo inspired by The Book Thief.
The symbol inspired by Marie Lu’s Legend series.
Until perusing YA book tattoos, I hadn’t realized the level of fandom there was for Jay Kristoff’s “Nevernight” series. There are so many tattoos inspired by it!
“You’ve got words in your soul” is a nice line.
“Never flinch, never fear, never forget.”
Here’s Hogwarts, take one.
Take two: a beautiful watercolor Hogwarts.
Last, but not least, I just love this simple line from The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue as a tattoo.