We get it: you’ve been burned before. On a whim, you picked up a young adult book with a photo of a girl wearing a distressed period dress, thought “What the hell?” and took it home. You thought you were in for an exciting evening of plot twists and clever conversations, but found yourself less than satisfied. But just because you can’t shake a Ouija board without hitting a paranormal YA book, it doesn’t mean the genre isn’t bursting with gems worth finding. Here are four series that remind you why you fell in love with paranormal YA in the first place:
The Grisha Trilogy, by Leigh Bardugo
Shadow and Bone (book #1 in the Grisha series) falls between paranormal and fantasy on the map. In it, we meet Alina, a powerless orphan in a world whose war against darkness relies on the magical elite. But when Alina reveals an ability even she didn’t know she had, she just might be the only person capable of saving her nation.
Why you should read it: We never get tired of an orphan-turned-powerful-magician plot (Harry Potter, anyone?), and Bardugo’s writing is full of beautifully detailed descriptions and the perfect mix of action and romance.
The Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer
Like the Grisha trilogy, The Lunar Chronicles aren’t strictly paranormal—they’re a beautiful mix of paranormal, sci-fi, and fairy tales. Set on a future Earth rampant flush with cyborg technology, the series follows Cinder
ella as she attempts to stop the Lunar people from taking over her home (and killing her beloved Prince Kai).
Why you should read it: Meyer melds some of the world’s best-loved fairy tales together seamlessly, adding in some seriously creative twists. When believable werewolves meet hilarious robots, we just can’t resist.
The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, by Laini Taylor
Karou is an art student living in Prague, who has no sense of her past and no family…at least, no human family. She has naturally blue hair and draws demons in her sketchbooks—demons who are not a figment of her imagination, and who send her on strange errands involving magic portals and a fair bit of danger. Enter avenging angel Akiva, who may hold the key to Karou learning truths about herself she might prefer not to know.
Why you should read it: Laini Taylor’s trilogy is fast-paced and brilliant, and just haunting enough to hook us. And the love story at its hear is one for the ages.
The Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater
If you read just one series on this list, start with this one (you’ll want to read the rest after that, we’re sure of it). The Raven Cycle revolves around prickly Blue Sargent, a girl raised by psychics, who thinks she’s immune to weird. But when Richard Gansey and the other so-called “Raven Boys” of privileged Aglionby Prep enter her lives and bring her on their quest to wake an ancient Welsh king, Blue realizes her old life was comparatively normal.
Why you should read it: Stiefvater excels at building tension, with each book in the series becoming darker as the stakes of the quest grow higher and higher. The writing is sometimes funny, sometimes romantic, but always smart, and will definitely leave you wishing you had your own quartet of Raven Boys to explore caves and curses with.
What’s your favorite paranormal YA book?