Looking to shake up your reading list with some YA books that are surprising and unexpected? We’ve made a list of genre-breaking YA books that offer a unique reading experience!
Do you love a twisty YA thriller, or a swoony YA romance, or a mind-bending YA sci-fi story? Us too. But what we also love are books that take multiple genres and combine them into unique literary remixes. Check out our list of genre-breaking YA books and find some new titles to add to your list.
A high-fantasy royal romance that’s also a political thriller and a time-loop sci-fi story? Yes, please! Midnight Strikes by Zeba Shahnaz starts out in a familiar place, with main character, Anaïs, is reluctantly attending a royal ball. But then Midnight Strikes takes off in unexpected directions when an explosion rips through the ballroom. Anaïs is determined to find out who’s responsible, but she’s stuck in a time loop that has her repeatedly waking up the morning of the ball. Anaïs must team up with a roguishly attractive prince to try to figure out who was responsible for the tragedy and how to stop it from happening.
We love a clever retelling, and The Count of Monte Cristo, a story of injustice and revenge, is juicy source material. Besides being a retelling, Queen Bee by Amalie Howard is also a YA romance that the author describes as “anti-historical,” that is, it’s a story that imagines a more inclusive and diverse version of history. Queen Bee is set during the Regency period, a time when one social misstep could ruin a woman’s reputation forever. That’s what happened to Lady Ela at age fifteen, when she was wronged by a former friend and sent away in disgrace. At eighteen, Ela has plotted her revenge and is ready to re-enter society in disguise and take back what she has lost.
Who doesn’t swoon over a Cinderella story? And love a great murder mystery? And enjoy a bit of alt-history? Royal Blood by Aimée Carter combines genres in a story that’s fascinating and suspenseful. Royal Blood creates an alt-British royal family who live in a version of history in which Edward VII did not abdicate his throne. Evangeline, the main character, is the current king’s illegitimate daughter. After being kicked out of boarding school, she is forced to spend a summer in London with the royal family. If that isn’t awkward enough, Evan finds herself the prime suspect in the murder of the son of a tabloid mogul.
Grave Things Like Love is a contemporary YA coming-of-age story that incorporates elements of romance and the paranormal. Elaine lives in a funeral home, which isn’t great for her social life, until a cute ghost hunter shows up in town. Xander isn’t creeped out by Elaine’s very spooky house, which is awesome, except that Elaine is also starting to have feelings for her friend Miles. On top of that, the ghost of a young girl starts haunting Elaine. Will she ever be able to figure out her love life, calm the ghosts, and muster up the courage to follow her dreams? You’ll have to read Grave Things Like Love to find out!
Are you thrilled by the idea of a book that combines royal romance, political intrigue, and high fantasy? Then you should read Stardust in Their Veins by Laura Sebastian, the second book in the Castles in Their Bones series. You’ve read stories about royal women looking to make a match, but these royal triplets are no passive princesses. From childhood, they’ve been trained by their mother to be secret agents, with their goal to bring down the monarchies they marry into. The series also has an element of magic, as each princess has a special skill and a single wish. If you love books that are a perfect blend of romance, action, and intrigue, this is the series for you!
Before Takeoff by Adi Alsaid is a sweet love-at-first-sight YA romance. It’s set in the real world but contains fantasy elements, and it’s full of suspense. Main characters James and Michelle bond over their annoyance at being stuck in the Atlanta airport after their flights are delayed. They find a mysterious flashing green button, which Michelle pushes, sending the terminal into chaos and forcing them to navigate blizzards, earthquakes, and even a jungle. Part of the fun of this unique book is watching the characters react to increasingly unlikely scenarios in their quest to reach their intended destinations.