Young Adult Genres 101

Young Adult Genres 101: Fantasy

Time for part two in my blog series: YA Genres 101! This week is all about fantasy. What makes a book a fantasy book? Find out right here!Last week I told you guys I started my first blog series; YA Genres 101! Basically, I just did some research on YA in general and the genres of YA and decided to share my findings with you! Last week, I talked about YA in general, this week it’s time for my favourite genre: Fantasy! 

The list of books in this genre is nearly endless. It’s probably the biggest YA genre out there. Books in this genre are Twilight, Harry Potter, The Mortal Instruments, Throne of Glass, The Raven Cycle… Goodreads has a nice list.

High Fantasy

High Fantasy takes place in a brand new, different, usually magical world. Throne of Glass, for example, takes place in Erilea, a made up world. Other examples of books with made up worlds are the Snow Like Ashes trilogy and the Orphan Queen duology. In these worlds, anything is possible. There could be kingdoms, there could be a dictatorship… Anything is possible!

Low/Contemporary Fantasy

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is the perfect example of Contemporary Fantasy. It takes place in the UK, the characters go to real cities, but they also have magic and go to this school for wizards/witches. (I think the author uses a real name/word for it, but I’ve read the Dutch translation so I have no idea.) Basically, it’s magic taking place in our modern day, mundane world. Harry Potter is a good example too, but it has much more fantasy and takes place mostly at Hogwarts.


Paranormal YA comes quite close to Urban Fantasy. It has supernatural creatures like vampires, werewolves and angels, and the stories usually have a dark vibe. The Fallen series is a good example of the Paranormal YA genre. Paranormal could be seen as a genre on its own, but I feel like it’s more like a subgenre.

Urban Fantasy

Urban Fantasy is a mix of low/contemporary fantasy and paranormal. The books usually have a dark vibe and are set in a city. The Mortal Instruments, for example, takes place in New York City. It has quite a dark vibe (to my opinion) and it features supernatural creatures like vampires and werewolves. And of course Shadowhunters, Angels and demons. (And let’s not forget about Warlocks! MAGNUS BANE, ANYONE? – Okay, enough with the fangirling, sorry!)

The different (sub)genres are usually overlapping. There’s Paranormal Romance (like Twilight) and Urban Fantasy could be “mixed” with Dystopia (like Angelfall). Books can usually be different genres. Goodreads lets its users tag books, which means some people might tag a certain book Genre A while another user would put it in Genre B. Nothing is wrong or right, it’s just the way people look at things.

What do you think about Fantasy? Do you read it often or like/love it? Or would you rather read something else? Do you have a favourite subgenre?

PS. Next week I’ll be talking about Science Fiction in YA!


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