Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus If I Taught YA Fantasy 101

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

Okay, I admit it. I had way too much fun with this week's topic. *pushes glasses up my nose and clears throat* Now sit down, students, and prepare to be thrown a whole lot of fantastical awesomeness.

Magic, Magic, Magic

1. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab- THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN MAGIC. You know, when it's done in it has an origin story, it makes sense, it's not willy-nilly, rules, etc. But, oh gosh, magic is just so addicting. It's a guilty pleasure of mine.

Crazy Fantastical World-Building

2. Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore- Amazing world-building is a must in fantasy novels, but when they go above and beyond and create a world so vivid you almost thing it's real, than you know you've hit a jackpot series. Cashore's world is scary and mesmerizing and I have reread her books so many times because I simply cannot get enough of it. A world with holes means you don't have a solid novel on your hands because fantasy has to capture your attention and never let it go.

Incorporating Retellings and Re-imaginings

3. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer- When working with fantasy, it's totally fine (and completely encouraged by me) to borrow from classic fairytales. I am a sucker for a good retelling, so I always get excited when I find a good one. And when you borrow just enough but weave your own crazy tale like, I don't know, Cinderella cyborg in futuristic China when we are about to engage in a war with people who live on the moon and a crazy army of wolf men. Yeah, that sounds compelling doesn't it?

Swoony Men 101

4. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas- Human, fae, royal, warrior, magical, name it and Sarah J. Maas can make that man hot. And what is better than swoony men in world's that don't technically exist? Answer: nothing, except maybe real swoony men in our world that don't exist, wahhh

Strong, Intelligent Heroines (in Historical Times)

5. His Fair Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers- All 3 of the leading ladies in this series are strong for different reasons, and I love that about them. Plus, it helps that I am obsessed with these love matches. SYBEAST 5EVER!

6. Something Strange and Deadly series by Susan Dennard- I love nothing more than a smart heroine that does not allow society's expectations of women to effect what she thinks of herself and how she behaves. No corsets for you, girl!

Strong, intelligent female heroines found in the above series allow us to love our characters so much more <3

Dragons (and Kickbutt Gender-Bending (A++))

7. Eon duology by Alison Goodman- THIS DUOLOGY! HOLY COW! Firstly, dragons. Yes. I will read any fantasy series with dragons. But aside from that, the gender-bending in this is superb! I think fantasy is one of the genres that can literally throw sexuality, gender, and anything else right out the window. We have so many different creatures with different ways to live their lives (like fairies for instance) that there are no typical "rules" to anything. The gender-bending in this novel is one of my favorite parts of it, except, you know, it also has dragons.

Proper Villains (& YA Crossover Appeal)

8. Vicious by V.E. Schwab- I think fantasy is one of the few genres that allows readers to really love a villain done right. In some cases, the villains can even be the heroes of the text. There is nothing better than a conflicted villain that is evil to the core, but also has some streaks of goodness in them. It's a fascinating dynamic that I loved in this novel. Plus, this is a great example of an adult book with YA crossover appeal that expands audiences exponentially. I'm obsessed with this cover!

Inseparable Friendships 

9. Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan- I have reread this series countless times because Rick Riordan's a boss like that, but one thing that always stands out to me is the friendships Percy forges at Camp Half-Blood. There are certain friendships that will never end, and those are typically the ones forged through fantastical adventures. Every fantasy novel should have a great friendship dynamic!

Darkness Done Right

10. The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta- Darkness is so addicting to me. I love nothing more than a dark, gritty novel, and fantasy is the best genre to twist and turn and take readers down paths they've never been before. Darkness done right is so can make you cry so hard while you flip the pages faster out of a need to know what happens next. This series ripped my heart out, stomped on it, put it back in, ripped it out again, etc. and I loved every minute of it. A good fantasy novel twists your heart around every now and then (in a respectful manner of course!).

The most important thing this post has taught us is that fantasy novels have the most gorgeous covers ever.

What do you think of my syllabus? I think it rocks! Please share your TTT topics below and comment with your thoughts <3


  1. OOoh nice topic picks! I would have to add a few more titles to the retellings section! Marissa is great, but I've read sooo many other wonderful retellings that I could probably have done that as my topic instead of what I did do! LOL!

    Here's my Tuesday Post

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

    1. Well if I was doing retelling 101 it would be HUGE but I chose fantasy 101 so I chose the best written retelling I know of! ;)

  2. I've actually read nearly all of these books, with Bitterblue, A Darker Shade of Magic and Vicious being the only exceptions and I SWEAR they are on my list of books to read. I love that you've included so many of my personal favorites! Definitely strong examples of fantasy writing.


      Nah, I'm jk, but actually this worries me greatly for your sanity.

  3. I love this list and would love to enroll in this course!!
    There a quite a few that I've read but even more on my TBR list. I really should pick up the Something Strange and Deadly series... and Finnkin of the Rock.

    Emily @ Follow the Yellow Book Road

    1. Yes on both counts!!! You won't regret it.


    Haha. I love that you put the Graceling books on there! I've recently read Graceling and Fire and I LOVED them!

    Totally agree with Sarah's and the swoony men! <3 Chaol <3

    1. I would take my class, too! haha