It feels like most of the YA Fantasy genre these days is sweeping three novel arcs, where you either have to wait a year plus between each book, or wait until they’re all out to binge them in a week. It’s fun, but sometimes you want to dip in and out of a world, a neatly tied narrative wrapped up in a single book parcel.
They feel increasingly rare, but they’re out there! Here are some of my favourite standalone authors writing Young Adult Fantasy.
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I love Erica’s books so much, I have her upcoming release on pre-order, I know it’s going to be a binge read! Erica’s speciality is books set in the real world US, with a twist of magic. They’re spellbindingly lyrical, steeped in magical settings AND queer, what more could you want?
A creepy southern spell of a book, head to the deep South where Shady Grove plays her fiddle to raise the dead. She’ll have to get the ghosts singing to clear her brother’s name when he’s accused of murder. A fast paced, magical realism treat of a novel that will creep you out and warm your soul in equal measure.
Two girls come together to solve the mystery of disappearing women in the creepy woods where they live. Yes please. Dark, emotional and deliciously creepy, this book has my dream combination of factors – a forest come alive, lesbian witches and badass feminist themes throughout.
Emily has spoken on Twitter about how her writing never really clicked until she stopped trying to write multi-book stories. Standalones are absolutely her thing, I even wrote about her work in my MA Dissertation as an example of excellent fantasy standalones.
A teenage girl who makes a deal with the devil, found family, what more could you want? This book is an epic show of character growth, MC Dee will not return to her abusive family, even if it means selling her heart to a demon. It’s gut-wrenchingly beautiful, and if you don’t cry it must be because you’ve sold your heart to a demon too…
A delicious folklore-inspired novel where our grumpy female lead and her cinnamon roll slow burn love interest go on a quest to save the village. Oh, and there’s an undead goat companion. Yep, you need to read it ASAP.
Okay this one isn’t *technically* out yet, but I managed to snag an ARC from the publishers, and it didn’t disappoint. Inspired by welsh folklore, this is the heist novel I’ve been waiting for since finishing Six Of Crows. Elemental magic, a villain to foil, a slow burn romance AND a Corgi with a magical sixth sense? Gah, I can’t wait to read this all over again when the hardback arrives.
I have no idea why I haven’t seen more English folk talking about Shea’s work, but I did pick up her first two books in Canada, so perhaps they haven’t been widely published here. Worth noting I also loved her Adult Fantasy Standalone too.
Every summer, the ghosts of drowned girls lure men to their deaths at sea. Yeah, I know, I don’t need to say any more.
If you’re looking for creepy forest based fairytales, look no further. Winterwood follows our MC, a rumoured witch, while she tries to uncover what happened to the boy who went missing in the woods years ago. Lyrical, magical, beautiful.
Ginny Myers Sain
Now, I’m including Ginny even though she only has one book out so far, because that one book is SO GOOD. Her upcoming release, a ghost story come alive, sounds right up my street and is top of my pre-order list.
An atmospheric thriller you’ll HAVE to binge in one sitting. Secrets and lies threaten to tear this bayou town apart when local teenagers start going missing. Oh, and did I mention, they live in a Psychic town of magical locals?
I’ve only read one of Tanya’s books, but you best believe the rest are on my TBR.
Afterlove came out last year and it BROKE me. I cried so much. It features a sapphic relationship but one of them dies, and becomes a grim reaper for young souls in Brighton. It’s beautiful and if you don’t cry you’re a monster to be honest.
Queen of the twisty folkloric style YA fantasy, I still think A Skinful of Shadows is one of the best fantasy books ever written.
The dark and creepy tale of Makepeace, a young girl with ghostly spirits living inside her. It’s almost hypnotic in its lyricism, so beautifully written you’ll want to pass this along to everyone you ever met when you’re done.
When Faith’s father is found dead, she tries to peace together the mystery of how he died, and the secret tree he harboured that is fed on lies. It’s a beautiful tale of a powerful girl finding her place in a world (Victorian England) that views her as inferior. Feminism, mystery, magical plants, what more could you want?
Hardinge’s special skill is building the most beautifully immersive worlds, and Deeplight’s Lady’s Crave is no different. I don’t want to give anything away here but the world of this book is so unique and imaginative, it makes for a wild read.
Got any YA Fantasy standalone recommendations I should add to my TBR?