Science Fiction/Fantasy

5 Standout YA Fabulism Books

Kiran Josen

Staff Writer

Kiran is a project manager by day and an aspiring writer (and amateur embroider) by night. She currently calls Astoria home, where she lives with, arguably, the best dog in the entire world. You can reach her at for questions, musings, or sci-fi/fantasy book recommendations. Follow along on twitter @writings_kiranj.

Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry, new from Algonquin Young Readers.

The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy father and their San Antonio neighborhood. After her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window. A year later, her three sisters are still consumed by grief and haunted by Ana’s memory. But then strange things start happening around the house. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana is trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say. Samantha Mabry weaves an aching, magical novel that is part family drama, part ghost story, and part love story.

I find myself drawn to stories that seem perfectly ordinary at first, with just a hint of something otherworldly. I am an escapist at heart. Like Ocean at the End of the Lane, where a small pond becomes a vast and otherworldly ocean, or The Weight of Feathers, where rival families are not wealthy aristocrats but circus performers. These reads give off the feel of a world like our own but, well, magical in some way.

song for ella grey book coverA Song for Ella Grey By David Almond

This story borrows from the classic Greek myth of Eurydice and Orpheus while still offering a fresh take by focusing on the relationship between dreamy Ella and lovelorn Claire.

Of Curses and Kisses Book CoverOf Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon

For fans of Beauty and the Beast, this retelling updates the setting to an elite boarding school adding families at war and two precocious teens. Also, the female lead is an Indian Princess, what else do you need?

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Jumping between reality and magic, this unique novel tackles grief, love, and family. When Leigh Chen Sanders mother dies by suicide, Leigh is convinced she’s turned into a bird. She travels to Taiwan after her mother’s death to meet her grandparents, and to search for her lost mother.

When the Moon Was Ours Book CoverWhen the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

A stunning, otherworldly and romantic tale that focuses on the friendship and love between two inseparable friends, Miel and Samir. What makes this book so special is how successfully McLemore weaves in Spanish legends and the sensitivity and realness they bring to Samir as a transgender boy.

The Weight of Feathers Book CoverThe Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

A second entry by Anna-Maria McLemore, because they’re so good at what they do. Think Romeo and Juliet but with a supernatural twist.  Think a touch of whimsy mixed in with a whole lot of mayhem.