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    Updated on Aug 9, 2020. Posted on Aug 9, 2020

    12 Incredible YA Fantasy Books That Aren't Part Of A Series

    Nothing says instant reader gratification like getting the whole story in one shot.

    1. Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust (2017)

    Flatiron Books / Via us.macmillan.com, Teresa Marie Photography / Via melissabashardoust.com

    This nuanced and touching reimagining of Snow White puts the relationship between stepmother Mina and stepdaughter Lynet at its heart, showing their struggles to thrive and relate to each other in a world where men have controlled far too much — right down to their appearances, lives, and roles in the kingdom. When the two are pitted against each other, Lynet has to choose between fighting her way back into Mina's loving embrace, or burying her completely. (For another masterful standalone YA fantasy, check out Bashardoust's newest, the stunning Persian mythology–based Girl, Serpent, Thorn.)

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookseller via Indiebound.

    2. The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta (2019)

    Candlewick / Via penguinrandomhouse.com, Cory McCarthy / Via amyrosecapetta.com

    If you love your fantasy contemporary, friendship-centric, and drenched in atmosphere, look no further than Capetta's singular standalone, set in the redwoods of Northern California. It follows Danny, a queer witch who finds a likeminded group of friends for the first time, and learns she may be the key to tracking down the missing member of their group. Between their mystery and the one revolving around a boy found dead in the trees, Danny knows something isn't right about her new home, and yet, it's somehow the most fitting place she's ever lived. (For another contemporary fantasy revolving around magic and friendship, check out When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey!)

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookseller via Indiebound.

    3. Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria (2018)

    Amulet Books / Via abramsbooks.com, Via goodreads.com

    If "friends on a quest" is your kind of fantasy, you're definitely going to want to check out Soria's sophomore novel about a foursome (including siblings, exes, and a budding romance) who embark on a journey against the high council governing their city. Until now, a series of supposedly infallible prophecies have been the law of Eldra, but after one tears the country apart and leaves their loved ones dead, orphaned Cassa and her friends are determined to get to the truth and save themselves and their city once and for all. (If you're also a fan of historical paranormal, you'll definitely want to check out Soria's historical debut, Iron Cast, set during Prohibition.)

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookseller via Indiebound.

    4. Ash by Malinda Lo (2009)

    Little, Brown Young Readers / Via lbyr.com, Sharona Jacobs / Via malindalo.com

    This seminal work of YA fiction gave us a Cinderella like we'd never seen: queer and living among the fae. In Lo's debut, Cinderella takes the form of Ash, a girl who'd love to be kidnapped by the fairies of legend if it means getting away from her cruel stepmother. But when the same fateful day brings her both a dangerous fairy and the compelling King's huntress, Ash realizes there may be a better path for her — if only she can free herself to take it.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookseller via Indiebound.

    5. Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton (2018)

    Simon & Schuster / Via simonandschuster.com, Natalie C. Parker / Via tessagratton.com

    Witch Mairwen, the saintly Rhun, and the outcast Arthur live in Three Graces, a town that would seem to be blessed but for the fact that a pact with the devil keeps it running smoothly. Every seven years, the Slaughter Moon claims a boy as its sacrifice — but when it comes early and the devil demands his due, these three will have to work together to save those they love. (And if you're reading this thinking, "Hey, it'd be cool if this was actually polyamorous," boy, is there good news in store for you!)

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookseller via Indiebound.

    6. The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury (2016)

    Razorbill / Via penguinrandomhouse.com, Susan Yang / Via penguinrandomhouse.com

    The legend of Aladdin gets a wildly fun, romantic makeover in this fantasy about the resident of the lamp — in this case a jinni named Zahra, who's just been thrust back into a world in which her very existence is illegal. Though Aladdin is the one who unintentionally put her in this position, Zahra's falling for him, even at the price of her own freedom. A great girl gang makes this one particularly enjoyable, though if you find yourself dreaming of standalone sci-fi instead, Khoury can help you out there, too.

    Get it from Bookshop, Barnes and Noble, or your local bookseller via Indiebound.

    7. The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen (2018)

    Balzer + Bray, meganbannen.com

    This heartbreaking powerhouse debut is set in the Mongol Empire and stars Jinghua, an enslaved woman whose life is turned around when she helps save the prince and his father during an attack. Jinghua's ultimate plan is to return home, but that plan is thwarted by her own heart when she develops feelings for Prince Khalaf — who's already been targeted for a strategic marriage with the Great Khan's daughter, Turandokht. But that plan, too, hits a bump, when the wily Turandokht insists on putting potential suitors through a series of riddles whose wrong answers lead to their deaths. Jinghua knows that whether she helps the prince or not, she will lose him — but she will have to decide whether she would sooner give him up to another woman or to his death. (Want more from Bannen? Good news: She has another standalone fantasy, Soulswift, coming November 17th!)

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookseller via Indiebound.

    8. Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron (2020)

    Bloomsbury, Black Forest Photography / Via kalynnbayron.com

    If you like your fantasy with a side of dystopia and a heavy heaping of marginalized girls overthrowing the patriarchy, you cannot miss Bayron's Cinderella–inspired debut, about a girl named Sophia who will do anything to avoid the ball where she'll be forced to marry a man instead of the girl she loves. Her escape takes her to the mausoleum of Cinderella, who lived two hundred years earlier and is revered by society as the woman to emulate. But the memorial also hides dark secrets — and an ally Sophia never expected to find. (For more fairytale magic in a standalone fantasy, check out Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao!)

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookseller via Indiebound.

    9. Reverie by Ryan La Sala (2019)

    Sourcebooks Fire, ryanlasala.com

    When Kane wakes up by a river, with no memory of how he got there, it's only the beginning of a dizzying and dazzling mystery that has him struggling to figure out who he is and where his memories have gone. With the help of friends he barely remembers, he learns about his experience with reveries ― dream worlds within daydreams that could cause serious danger if they're not stopped. Add a drag queen sorceress you'll have to meet to believe and you have one of the queerest fantasies YA has to offer.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookseller via Indiebound.

    10. The Afterward by E.K. Johnston (2019)

    Penguin Books / Via penguinrandomhouse.com, Sarah Oughton / Via penguinrandomhouse.com

    Adventurous quests are only part of the journey. What comes afterward? That's the question at the heart of this epic fantasy set a year after the heroic team that brought home the godsgem returns — and it's an especially important question for knight Kalanthe and thief Olsa, who connected on the journey but are having a hard time settling into their new famous roles, especially since it's made Olsa's occupation quite a bit more difficult. When it turns out their mission isn't quite complete, they'll have to work up the nerve to fight once again, and find their way back to each other.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookseller via Indiebound.

    11. The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (2020)

    Candlewick Press, Red Scott / Via prettyokmaggie.com

    Pirates, betrayal, romance, gender feels, and more come together to make this fantasy a glorious nonstop adventure. Born Flora but going by Florian to survive life on the high seas, our hero has always done whatever it takes to get by, even if it means taking entire passenger crews hostage. But her newest victims include Evelyn — who's been nothing but lovely and disarming — Flora takes a stand and escapes with her new love in tow, leaving both her remaining family and her dangerous life behind. To start fresh, Flora and Evelyn will have to make some terrifying choices and trust an even more terrifying witch — and that's only the beginning.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookseller via Indiebound.

    12. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (2019)

    Margaret K. McElderry Books, Alice Stallcup Photography

    Elisabeth knows sorcerers are evil. Raised as a foundling in a great library among dangerous magical grimoires, she certainly has more knowledge on the subject than most. When one of the grimoires is set free and she's targeted as the main suspect, Elisabeth has no choice but to seek out the assistance of a sorcerer she despises to help clear her name. But what they find goes far deeper than one girl's innocence, and it may just destroy the world as they know it. (For another great library-centric standalone YA fantasy, check out The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana!)

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookseller via Indiebound here.

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