Looking for ya fantasy standalones? Here are 10 amazing options I’m absolutely obsessed with right now
There is truly nothing better than a good ya fantasy book. But sometimes you don’t want to get started on a long ya fantasy book series. There is something so comforting and satisfying about a storyline finished in a single book. But, so many of the ya fantasy books I see recommended are part of a series. So, I got to thinking – what are the best ya fantasy standalones? Let’s find out.
I’ve included a description, readers ratings and a summary of my personal thoughts (positives and negatives) for each book on this list
This post isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list of every single ya fantasy standalone I’ve read. It’s a guide to the absolute best books like ya fantasy standalones. This post does contain affiliate links. That said, I won’t ever recommend a book I haven’t read and loved myself. You can rest assured every book has passed my scrutiny
This post is all about ya fantasy standalone
What are the best ya fantasy standalones?
1. Spellhacker by M.K. England
A fantasy heist with witty banter and a memorable friendship group
Spellhacker is one of the best YA Fantasy standalones I've read. It has so many great elements– a diverse cast of characters, a high stakes heist, criminal mastermind main character and plenty of banter. The characters were also really diverse – including non-binary, queer and POC characters.
It’s set in a world where magic ( known as maz) was once freely available. But an earthquake unleashed a deadly plague. And now maz is a tightly controlled and expensive commodity.
We follow Diz who runs an illegal maz siphoning business with her three best friends. They get offered one last massive heist that could change everything.
This was a well written standalone. The book opened with a bang and it was fairly fast-paced throughout. It felt like a cross between Ready, Player One and Six of Crows. The world-building around the magic was also really excellent. You can buy Spellhacker on Book Depository with free shipping worldwide.
Good Reads Rating: 3.59
2. Lore by Alexandra Bracken
For fans of Percy Jackson and Greek Mythology
Greek Mythology meets The Hunger games. Lore features Greek mythology, an urban setting and a strong female lead.
Every seven years Greek Gods are hunted by descendants of ancient bloodlines. If the hunters succeed they seize their immortality. It follows Lore Perseus who has turned her back on this world. But as the next hunt dawns, two participants seek out her help.
The plot of Lore is quite complex but it’s executed perfectly. Bracken did a great job of building the concept. I was intrigued and hooked from the first chapter.
It has a really great revenge storyline. So if you liked the revenge elements in Six of Crows then this is a great book to read.
Good Reads Rating: 3.84
3. Ash by Malinda Lo
If you’re looking for an LGBTQ+ Cinderella retelling
Ash is a book I’m always torn about. But I had to include it because I love the cottagey world-building in this Sapphic retelling.
Ash is a lesbian Cinderella retelling. It follows Ash who is dealing with the grief of losing her parents. She falls in love with the king’s huntress.
I loved the descriptions of the world such as the woods and the fae. And I instantly really loved the King’s Huntress. But, I wish that the romance had been a little better developed.
However, I love that it focuses on Ash recovering from grief. Mental health is a strong theme throughout and the romance feels secondary. This is a really cosy read and offers great escapism. It’s pretty short and you could easily read this in one sitting.
Good Reads Rating: 3.64
4. Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
If you’re looking for a Sapphic Cinderella retelling with a dystopian twist
A Cinderella retelling with a sapphic romance. This is another twist on the classic story that features BIPOC characters and a wlw romance.
The premise is that teen girls are now required to appear at an annual ball where men select wives. But Sophia wants to marry her childhood best friend Erin. And isn’t a fan of the whole parade in front of suitors thing.
She decides to flee and decided to take down the king once and for all.
The premise in this book is so unique. And I loved the dystopian twist on the classic Cinderella story. The romance is also adorable. It is a bit insta-lovey but it’s developed so well that I was really engaged.
The plot really kept me hooked. And I really enjoyed the concept of women overthrowing a dystopian patriarchy. There is also much cottagey and woodland imagery. And I think this is something Kalynn Bayron writes exceptionally well. And it made me want to live in the forest.
If you’re looking for LGBTQ+ books or fantasy romance books – then I highly recommend Cinderella is Dead
Good Reads Rating: 3.73
5. Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
If you’re looking for a fantasy with magic, curses and shape-shifting dragons.
Six Crimson Cranes isn’t necessarily the most obvious choice for a winter book. But the winter imagery later in the book is really beautiful.
It follows Shiori. She is the only princess in Kiata. Shiori lives in a land where magic is banned. And demons are locked away inside a mountain. But forbidden magic runs through her veins.
Shiori normally conceals it. But on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, she loses control. And she attracts the attention of her stepmother Raikama.
Raikama possesses dark magic. She banishes the young princess. And turns her brothers into cranes. Shiori must speak of it to no one. For with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.
The worldbuilding in this book is exquisite. Especially when Shiori is in Iro. The images of snow-capped mountains and eating hot buns in the snow is beautiful.
Good Reads Rating: 4.31
6. The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl
A queer YA retelling with dark academia vibes and a mystery to solve
The Grimrose Girls is a modern take on classic fairytales such as The Little Mermaid, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.
The heroines of the stories are re-imagined as friends attending an elite boarding school. After their friend dies, the police rule the death as suicide. But they decide to investigate to find out what really happened.
Grimrose Girls is a unique concept and fantasy retelling. The mystery was really gripping and well-paced. And the story kept mentioning tantalizing details that kept me engaged.
The story also uses the darker versions of the fairytales. And this added to the dark academia, mysterious tone of the book.
The book is also full of queer characters including lesbian, bi and transgender representation in the book. If you’re looking for a fantasy retelling or love the dark academia aesthetic then you should definitely pick this one up.
Good Reads Rating: 3.68
7. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
A YA Fantasy enemies to lovers book with Cottagecore vibes
An Enchantment of Ravens follows Isobel who creates stunning portraits for the dangerous fair folk. One day she creates a portrait of the Autumn Prince. But she makes a deadly mistake. And paints humanity in his eyes.
I loved the imagery in this. And the focus on art and crafts in the book. I instantly really loved Isobel. She’s down to earth, practical and incredibly kind. The world is also incredibly beautifully described with whimsical forest imagery.
If you love the romance in The Cruel Prince – I think you’ll enjoy this one. It has an enemies-to-lovers romance. And I also love how ruthless the fae are.
Good Reads Rating: 3.68
7. The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska
If you’re looking for a curse, witches and a doomed romance
The Dark Tide is a really underrated book. It’ features a wlw romance, witches and a curse on a town.
It follows Lina. She lives on a small island where the dark tide could cause it to sink. So, every year the Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace and sacrifices him on the full moon. And so keeps the island city from sinking.
Lina is convinced her brother is going to be taken. She asks Thomas Lin to help. Thomas is the only person to survive the sacrifice. But they draw the Queen’s attention. And instead, Thomas is taken.
Lina offers herself instead of Thomas. But the queen is nothing like Eva expected. And they must choose between saving the island or themselves.
This is such an angsty slow burn romance. Lina and Eva had an amazing grumpy/sunshine dynamic. The setup made this story so tragically romantic. It’s also beautifully written with atmospheric worldbuilding that gave it a dark tone.
Good Reads Rating: 3.51
8.The Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
If you’re looking for an atmospheric and spooky halloween read
Sawkill island has never been safe for young girls. There is a local legend about a paranormal beast who hunts young girls.
We are introduced to three girls: Zoey, Val and Marion. They have the power to save the island. If they are willing to come together and try.
Sawkill Girls is a really dark fantasy audiobook. And it’s definitely not for everyone. The world-building is dark, moody and atmospheric. I love the idea of sapphic girls coming together and using magical powers to conquer evil.
Good Reads Rating: 3.69
9. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
If you’re looking for a fantasy historical fiction
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there when yesterday it was not. But it’s only open at night.
And behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway between two rival magicians.
This book has everything I want in a fall read. The writing and prose are incredible. I love all books about magic and circuses.
Good Reads Rating: 4.03
10. Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker
An LGBTQ+ Graphic novel about a witch and a non-binary werewolf
If you're looking for LGBTQ+ YA Graphic novels with cute. light-hearted romance then you need to read Mooncakes. It's a YA Romance about a witch and a non-binary werewolf.
It follows teen witch Nova. She works at her Nana's magical bookshop. And she helps them loan out spell books. But she also investigates supernatural occurrences in her local town.
One day, she is tasked to investigate reports of a white wolf in a nearby forest. She then discovers her childhood best friend, Tam, fighting a demon werewolf. Together they investigate the demon and rekindle their feelings towards each other.
This is such a comfort read. The artwork is insanely beautiful. I really loved the illustrations of the magic and magical creatures living in the forest. The romance is also really adorable.
The story isn't fast-paced and action packed. We also don't find out much about the characters background. But it's such a quick, cute and light-hearted read that I don't think it matters. It also deals with serious topics like loss and difficult family relationships really well.
Good reads rating: 3.85
Those were my picks for the best ya fantasy standalones
Whether you’re looking for a dystopia or high fantasy– I hope you found some books for your tbr list.
What ya fantasystandalones have you read? Let me know your recommendations in the comments section below.