With Spring Break approaching fast, it’s time to stock up on some books to last you the week. Whether you’re spending your time at home or on a beach, a good read is essential for any successful break from school. The books that become popular in the Young Adult genre of literature range from a valiant vampire craze to a wistful werewolf obsession, and on to the daring dystopia, but there always seems to be a trend. This year, it appears that YA is currently interested in fantasy, but a bizarre, magical, semi-historical fantasy with faeries and royal courts abound. Keeping this in mind, I’ve selected a number of excellent novels for you if YA trends are your guilty pleasure.
The Iron King (Iron Fey Series #1) by Julie Kagawa
An oldie, but a goodie, this series by Julie Kagawa was started in 2011 and ended with its last book, The Iron Warrior, in 2015, which is part of a spinoff trilogy of the original series. However, Kagawa’s NYT Bestselling series has stood the test of time and is continuously getting rave reviews. The Iron King tells the story of Megan Chase, your average girl who is sucked into the world of magic and faeries when she learns that her brother has been kidnapped and replaced by a changeling. She realizes that her average life is not all that it appears to be, discovering that she is secretly the daughter of the faery King Oberon who is in the middle of a great and terrible faery war. Alongside her best friend, Robbie Goodfellow, Megan must do all she can to learn about her faery brethren and help defeat the evil Iron King. This novel brings for the old-time feel of the faery myth, hearkening back to Shakespeare’s own characters of Robin Goodfellow (Puck) and King Oberon. With a classic love triangle and bounty of faerie lore and courtly intrigue, this series is sure to satisfy those lusting for a good, old-fashioned faery tale.
A Court of Thorns and Roses (Court of Thorns and Roses Series #1) by Sarah J. Maas
Released in 2015, those of us who finally got around to reading it (me) are smitten by this series. The first, and only, in the series so far, by Sarah J. Maas, known for her other NYT Bestselling series, Throne of Glass, leaves readers anticipating what’s to come next. The novel centers on a poor human huntress, Fayre, who mistakenly kills a faerie disguised as a wolf in the woods. In atonement for her crimes, Fayre agrees to replace the life she took with her own, and is dragged into the faerie world by a great beast who turns out to be a handsome High Lord. Fayre learns that the faerie world is under peril from a great, unknown evil and it’s up to her to help her new faerie friends defeat it. As expected, Maas delivers to her audience a superb novel that teaches her readers that love conquers all, even those who hold their prejudices too blindly. The next novel, A Court of Mist and Fury arrives May 3, 2016.
The Selection (Selection Series #1) by Kiera Cass
Steering away from the faeries, this NYT Bestseller, The Selection, combines all of our favorite genres into one. A dystopia, the series depicts the United States post-WWIII in a world that is ruled by a caste system. Our heroine, America Singer, is of a lower caste made up of artists and musicians. However, once she is chosen for the Selection, she has the chance to change her fate. Competing for the heart of Prince Maxon, thirty-five girls must make it through a series of contests in order to remain in the royal court. Filled with courtly drama and another dystopian love triangle, this fast-paced read will leave you aching to pick up the next book and wondering how well you’d fit in at a royal court. There are three novels that detail America’s journey, and one currently about America’s daughter, Eadlyn. Cass plans on releasing the final novel, The Crown, sometime in May 2016.
Red Queen (Red Queen Series #1) by Victoria Aveyard
Its sequel currently #1 on the NYT Bestsellers list—with this novel following close behind at #2—the Red Queen has been a sweeping success for Victoria Aveyard. In this magical world, blood-status is everything. Mare Barrow is a common Red blood, a lesser class than those of Silver blood who possess superhuman abilities (you might as well call them faeries). Mare finds herself before the Silver Court possessing abilities that should only belong to those with Silver blood. In an attempt to cover up Mare’s new-found abilities, the King of the Silver Court claims her as a lost princess and she becomes betrothed to the king’s son, Prince Maven. The novel echoes a dystopia as Mare attempts to navigate the new world of the Silver Court while rebellion echoes among the Red bloods. There is no news on any more books from Aveyard, as the sequel Glass Sword, was released February 9 of this year.
The Glittering Court (Glittering Court Series #1) by Richelle Mead
As a long-time fan of Richelle Mead’s YA and adult novels, I am anxiously awaiting the release of the first book of her new series, The Glittering Court. The novel won’t be released until May 3, 2016, but I figured I’d include it in here because I know that Mead, another NYT Bestselling Author, will not disappoint with this novel. This fantasy series echoes back to early American History, when the English began to settle in the American Colonies, but instead, the main character Adelaide, a Countess in Osfrid, escapes her homeland to journey to the New World of Adoria. Adelaide enters the Glittering Court, a school for low-class women to learn how to be upper-class ladies in the new lands of Adoria. Adelaide blends in seamlessly with the other students, but Cedric Thorn, son of the proprietor of the Glittering Court, quickly discovers her secret. Having read the first few chapters of the highly anticipated novel, I can tell you this: I’ve already preordered my copy.
If YA literature that depicts a poor girl with court life thrust upon her is your cup of tea, these novels are for you. Whether you’re into faeries and magic or you’re clinging to your love of dystopias, there’s a novel here to match your tastes. So put on your best dress and be wary of the princes you encounter because you’re headed on a journey though the ups and downs of the royal court.
Theresa Kurzawa is a senior English major at the University of Connecticut. She is managing editor for the Long River Review and is on the fiction panel.