Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

3 Great Western-Inspired YA Fantasy Novels

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.

Tundra Books

When Lucy Crisp accepts a place at mysterious arts college Ladywyck Lodge, she has no idea what's in store: magical desserts, moving furniture, spooky neighbors and a house that seems to have a mind of its own. Including 51 of Janet Hill's whimsical, vintage-style oil paintings, Lucy Crisp and the Vanishing House is an inventive, witchy fairy-tale perfect for fans of The Hazel Wood and Gregory Maguire. Not since Ransom Riggs' Peculiar series has a YA book had such a gorgeous and deluxe blend of story, magic, and art. Lucy Crisp and the Vanishing House is available now!

I love books that take two different genres and mash them together to create something new and unique—like how Marissa Meyer took fairytales and sci-fi and combined them for a fun series in the Lunar Chronicles. My latest obsession has been Western and fantasy mash ups. There have been some really good releases that fit this particular cross section beautifully, and I’m so excited to share a few of them with you this week!

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Set in 1850s United States, Rae Carson spins an intriguing Gold Rush tale infused with magic. Lee Westfall lives with her parents on a small farm in Georgia, where they pan for gold on their land and lead a quiet life. Lee knows not to tell anyone about her secret talent for sensing gold in the ground, but when she comes home one day to find her parents murdered, she knows someone has discovered her secret—and that they’re coming for her next. She goes on the run with her best friend, and together they head West, joining a group of hopeful people who have no idea just how arduous the journey to California will be—especially when Lee’s parents’ murderer is pursuing them. This is the first in the Gold Seer trilogy that brings the West to life with all of its accompanying hardship, adventure, and danger, and cruelty.

Elysium GirlsElysium Girls by Kate Pentecost

This spring 2020 debut novel is a an epic fantasy set against the backdrop of a fictional town during the Dust Bowl. The people of Elysium, Oklahoma, are hoping to survive the Dust Bowl, just like everyone else in the country, when they’re chosen by two all powerful sisters, Life and Death, in a cruel game. They have ten years to prove themselves worthy before the sisters return, and just as their time is up, 17-year-old Sal is ready to lead her people through the end of the game. Then a newcomer arrives in Elysium with a huge secret that will throw off the careful balance in their small town. This is a magical read, perfect for fans who love strong heroines, witches, and high-stakes magic.

The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

Five girls who are alone in the world are sold into a “welcome house” in the fantasy world Arketta, but this welcome house is anything but home for them. When one inadvertently kills a man, all five of them must go on the run from the only home they know and into the dangers of the countryside, where they’re pursued by captors and ghosts, and dark magic lurks. All they have are rumors of a refuge that might not exist, and each other to rely on. This is a magical take on sisterhood, survival, and hope that you definitely do not want to miss.

And if you like books in this genre mash up, I recommend picking up Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey. It’s not technically a YA book, but it’s an adult novella that YA readers will definitely enjoy!

Want more “3 On A YA Theme” posts? Gotcha covered.