YA Top 10

Again, not in any particular order:

1)      The Looking Glass Wars-series, Frank Beddor

A new take on the Alice in Wonderland story. Mostly follows Alyss, Queen of Wonderland, as she goes into exile on Earth and fights alongside the Hatter and others to reclaim her throne from the Red Queen (Redd, her aunt) with her assassin (Cheshire Cat).

2)      Artemis Fowl-series, Eoin Colfer

Fun series following the title character as he tries to find his lost father and maintain a criminal empire with the help of a captive fairy and his manservant Butler (from a long line of Butlers). Features the fairy Captain Holly as an increasingly major character and eventually involves time travel. Also has techno-magical fairies. (Irish author)

3)      Harry Potter-series, J.K. Rowling

Again, if you haven’t heard of this, what rock have you been living under?

4)      Tiffany Aching-series, Terry Pratchett

An excellent introduction to Discworld for younger readers. The series follows Tiffany Aching from the age of nine when she first starts to become a witch and work with the Nac Mac Feegle (Wee Free Men, or pictsies).

5)      The Giver, Lois Lowry

Great dystopian, likely post-apocalyptic, novel that deals with issues of eugenics and euthanasia in a future context. Inspired a movie due out soon, though previews indicate that a lot was changed. Don’t expect a happy, or even neatly tied up ending.

6)      Kane Chronicles-series, Rick Riordan

In some ways a companion to Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, this series comes from an Egyptian magic tradition. It chronicles the lives of Carter and Sadie Kane as they discover their lineage (with ties to ancient pharaohs), magic, and ability to channel Egyptian gods while trying to save the world from chaos.

7)      Percy Jackson and the Olympians-series, Rick Riordan

Excellent series about Greek (and eventually Roman) demigods in America. Follows the adventures of the title character, a satyr (Grover), and a daughter of Athena (Annabeth) along with their fellow demigods as they fight Greek monsters, Titans, and Giants to protect the gods and save the world.

8)      Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel-series, Michael Scott

The series follows Josh and Sophie Newman as they learn about the legendary (and still very much alive) Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel. As they are awakened to magic, they meet other immortals (basically anyone who uses magic, since we’re not shown any non-immortal magic wielders) in the modern world including John Dee, Niccolo Machiavelli, Billy the Kid, Gilgamesh, and Joan of Arc. (Irish author)

9)      Narnia-series, CS Lewis

Classic fantasy series and Christian allegory; like Potter, if you haven’t heard of it, what rock have you been living under?

10)  The Golden Compass, Phillip Pullman

I’m purposely leaving the other two books of the trilogy out here because I didn’t find them nearly as impressive as the first. Follows Lyra as she tries to find and rescue both her father and lost barge gypsy friend, in the process uncovering a major conspiracy and horrific experimental facility.

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