Reading die-hards will tell you there is something about fantasy books, but there is something even better about YA urban fantasy books. These books fuse fantastical contemporary worldbuilding and develop their characters with concepts in an urban setting or of the present day.

They also typically tend to have fantastical elements like magic and mythical creatures. The books make excellent reads, so many authors write them.

Below is a list of great reads young audiences won’t go wrong with.

What Are Some Exciting Urban Fantasy Books that Worth a Read?

Room Reader, by Cassidy Forest (2024)

Room Reader takes readers in an urban fantasy world that blends elements of mystery and magic creating a compelling mix of genres. This novel takes us into a world where every room holds secrets akin to books written in an enigmatic language, and the city itself exerts a force that induces forgetfulness in its inhabitants.

Centered around a young detective distinguished by his unique ability—a lock-shaped eye that enables him to perceive the unrecorded truths of the past—this story unfolds. Having lived a year devoid of his own memories, he claims his role as a detective determined to uncover what has been lost. His journey of self-discovery evolves dramatically when he start on a peculiar mission. Locating a vanished girl whom no one else appears to be seeking.

This quest steers him into the city's shadowed and neglected realms, where the narrative emerges like the space between the lines on a page—those empty yet meaningful gaps that are crucial for grasping the full story. Stepping further into the story he encounters a formidable adversary and stumbles upon a secret both perilous and forgotten, a secret fiercely guarded by the city without justification.

The Invocations, by Krystal Sutherland (2024)

The Invocations is a dark and gripping tale where magic is a double-edged sword for Zara Jones, who refuses to accept her sister's death, and Jude Wolf, cursed after a demonic deal gone wrong. Their last hope lies in Emer Byrne, a witch with the power to help them, but who is also tangled in a mystery as her clients start dying.

As Zara and Jude seek out Emer for salvation, they uncover a killer targeting those touched by magic. Together, they must navigate a path of danger and desperation, where their deepest wishes come with the highest stakes.

With each step closer to the truth, they must navigate their fragile alliance, confront their deepest fears, and face the harsh realities of their desires.

Hezekiah, by Corvin Runda (2023)

Hezekiah is Corvin Runda’s first entry, and he has delivered an excellent thrilling story to leave you engrossed.

All his life, Hezekiah has been abused and lived under intense control. He was brought up in a destructive religion, and his family also played a part in his miserable life. What’s worse, his mother has concluded that Hez is the one who brings about worldly evil. All the adults have also refused to recognize his situation and keep turning their eyes away.

As time passes, Hez discovers that he has unique abilities that no one else has. Gradually, he starts to experience free will and decides to learn and delve into seeing what he is capable of.

Hez starts visiting various realms where he can call on powerful beings for friendship and protection. What’s more, he can push to the future, but he can’t seem to make out what he sees.

He will follow a disastrous experiment that will almost equalize his town, and the Gods Own will capture him, only to discover that he is not the only one with unique abilities.

He will have to decide whether the people he meets are trustworthy and if he can help them in a war that he wasn’t aware of, or if he should stay in isolation and hidden.

Urban Witch, by Eve Langlais (2022)

Urban Witch is an engaging read about Faye, who is trying to conquer her negative life habits and getting into a life of witchcraft.

Faye was an alcoholic and a drug addict all her life until one fateful night. Her mother also told her that she couldn’t return home after being expelled from college. She never knew that drinking could be a probable cause of death up until when she finds herself in a hospital bed.

The nurse tells her that she has been legally dead for several minutes. That is not even shocking; she has woken up in a different form. Faye can see things. However, what draws people’s interest in her is the things she can do.

Faye meets Sonja, a mysterious woman with powers, and Sonja settles on being Faye’s teacher. Sonja is an Urban Witch, and she casts a spell when hunting for a new witch, only to cross paths with Faye.

Faye’s only friend is Leslie and a coworker. Then there are bad guys set to get their hands on Faye. She never wanted to be a witch, but at least it is a job that has magical perks. She is not unique, and her only strife is trying to clean up the messed-up life she has brought upon herself and make a plan.

As a witch, can she have time to atone for her sins before time is up?

Chosen Guardian, by Courtney Pearson (2021)

This young adult urban fantasy book is a magical delight for those who love bold twists, some bit of romance, rising tyranny, and riveting worldbuilding. It is set up in an unusual land in which emotions vanish once someone obtains their magic.

Tears steal magic which, once stolen, results in slavery. Tears are so precious that they are sold on the black market.

But, Ambry must take up the fight. When Ambry finds a sealable vessel of these charmed tears, it paints a picture. The cruel Arcaian soldiers are now after her. She can’t safeguard herself against the army. To survive, her only chance is to align herself with a villain soldier, Talon.

He has many battle scars, is rugged, and has many guarded secrets that will endanger them. However, Ambry cannot avoid being drawn to Talon.

She will later discover one of his greatest and darkest secrets. When Talon’s allegiance begins to waver, Ambry will not have anyone else to trust. The tears will choose her as their guardian, and she must prevent them from landing in the wrong hands.

If she fails, her people and all their magic will become slaves of the Arcaians soldiers forever.

Elementals Academy, by Michelle Maddow (2022)

In Elementals Academy, magic is what gives residents the hope to survive, outlawed romance beckons, and there’s a long-lived secret that threatens to finish off everything.

Meanwhile, Summer Donovan thinks she has one big problem- paying for her pricey college. She is about to discover she is very wrong. When the most exclusive campus sorority leader bullies her, she protects herself with magic, something she wasn’t aware she possessed.

This is just the beginning of more surprises for Summer.

After her magical discovery, she finds out that she will be going to Elementals Academy. The school is dedicated to Greek gods witch descendants. Summer will find what she hoped for her entire life, somewhere she fits in. But, this will not work in her favor when her magic fails to work as it should, and nobody knows why.

Magic and schoolwork will get overwhelming, but her biggest challenge will be Zane Caldwell. The most mysterious and handsome student Summer can’t resist, despite how he treats her. As she struggles to understand her feelings, she finds secrets lurking in the hallowed halls.

Summer may be the one with the key to unraveling them, assuming she survives long enough and figures out who she can trust.

The Mark of Cain, by Theophillus Monroe (2022)

The Mark of Cain is a humorous, action-packed, and fast-paced two-in-one book that talks about Cain’s growing problems.

The setup is in Vilokan Asylum of the Magically and Mentally Deranged, and Cain is the Doctor there. He supervises treatment plans and has been on a journey since he was declared the world’s first murderer.

Cain has evolved and can now convert infernal magic into the celestial type using the love within him. He now works as a licensed psychiatrist. He is also cursed and the first werewolf. Cain thinks he has everything under control and that his issues won’t affect the patients’ progress.

Little does he know that his tribulations are about to increase as he tries to juggle his personal life while being challenged by his job as a psychoanalyst to supernatural beings.

Lord Ruthven brings his associates and a big problem to New Orleans to seek Cain’s help. As if that’s not enough, one of his dead wives comes back with an infernal object and the Witch of Endor. How can Cain and his Supes take care of all they face?

If you are into YA urban fantasy books this story will definitely capture your heart!

Her Fated Alpha, by Robert Warden (2022)

Her Fated Alpha is the first book of the Chelsea’s Alpha trilogy. The book is a must-read for lovers of books about vampires, werewolf shifters, and paranormal romance.

Chelsea is a vampire huntress who comes from a large family packed with vampire hunters. She was trained together with her sister Hailee.

Chelsea is forced to move to Harrisonburg to look after Hailee, who is under cancer treatment. However, trouble will come knocking when Chelsea finds out there are town murders that fall under the responsibility of a vampire.

But this vampire plays with dark magic, something Chelsea has never previously dealt with. What’s more, the town has a wolf pack, and Tyler Perkins is their alpha. Tyler has completely fallen for Chelsea. Things will get worse when Hailee dies under the vampire’s hands. Can Chelsea’s life become any more messed up?

While pursuing justice, Chelsea begins to warm up to Tyler, and they start to get steamy. Tyler helps her to deal with the vampire and his nest. However, they will become a threat to Tyler’s pack.

Chelsea will begin questioning whether she was destined to meet with Tyler, but as their passion and fire keeps burning more than before, she gets her answer; Tyler is her fated alpha.

Shade War, by M.D. Massey (2022)

This is the last book of the Shadow Changeling trilogy.

When Crowley was a child, he was kidnapped by goddess Fuamnach. She taught him about magic, enslaved him, and made him an assassin. He would have escaped and made all that slide if these were the only things she did to him. However, she changed him in various ways that he can’t seem to make out.

There is something inside of him, and even worse, it hungers. Crowley’s shade is both a blessing and a curse. It gives him the magic he needs to evade goddess Fuamnach but gradually gnaws away his life’s force. His entity is also rebelling against him. Crowley is now not only under goddess hunt but also in the middle of his soul’s war.

If Crowley’s shade wins by any chance, he will be trapped inside his own body with no way to resist as it feeds on everybody around him, including Belladonna, the one he loves.

He must figure out how to control the wraith of his shadow to stop being hunted and get peace. His answers are Underhill, where he was reborn and a slave. If he gets caught, his former master will be delighted to torture him. One slip, maybe his last.

Shadow Angel, by Leia Stone & Julie Hall (2022)

When Tatum saw shadows come alive, she knew her world would take a different turn.

Just recently, Tatum was an ordinary waiter trying to earn a little something to take care of her Gran. Then she started seeing demons. Now, she can see monsters and has come to terms with their existence.

Overnight she is thrown into the Watchers realm- an organization of earthbound angels divided into two groups; The Shades and the Lumens. The former faction has powerful dark magic fallen angels granted them, while the latter has abilities bestowed upon them by the Avalon archangels.

The two factions are on opposing sides of an ongoing brutal war, and Tupan only has days to pick a side to join. She is ready to choose, but something unanticipated happens; the Shades force her to join them by cursing her lover.

Her only hope to save them is in Gage Alston’s hands. He is the most perverse Shade alive. He is arrogant and cold but still possibly the most good-looking guy Tupan has ever seen. She shouldn’t trust him but needs him. Or should she choose darkness?

Get Smoked or Go Home, by Martha Carr & Michael Anderle (2021)

Get Smoked or Go Home is a book about a girl who grew up with something hidden from her by her parents and everyone else. The story follows her journey from coming out of her compliance state to her emergence as somebody who no longer wants to remain under family manipulation.

Idina Moorfield is not regarded as a true Moorfield, and everyone thinks she will never be a good fit for the family business. Her dream is to be an artist, but her family will have none of that.

But sometimes, what appears like the worst moment ever is usually the start of someone’s adventure. Idina decides to take on a new life and goes away to start forging her future.

She has been called to do the exact thing everybody is primarily against. Like her uncle Rick, she gets into the military. Rick is another family outcast.

But what is this particular thing every Moorfield family member fears? Has long-lived magic found its origin? Everything is about to change. A new warrior is starting to find out the actual sources of the Moorfield name.

Voodooville, by Nova Chimera (2021)

The story begins with a weird morning that no one can really explain. Spex is 17 years old. The young boy suffers from a harsh form of amnesia, so he forgets things in no time. One day, he wakes up in a completely unusual world that no one can really explain.

Things around him are quite unusual. Cats can talk and there are plenty of them. Doctors are actual witches, while slushies cause addiction. Everything is different, including the crime underworld. Nothing seems to make sense.

Spex desperately aims to find answers to his questions. He wants to get back to his old life. He goes through a unique adventure, makes new friends and finds out that anyone could be dangerous in this new world. Furthermore, he discovers love as well.

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments Book 1), by Cassandra Clare (2007)

This is the first book in a long series and the one that introduces you to an unusual world. Clary Fray ends up in a club from New York City and the last thing she expects is witnessing a murder. The bizarre murder is committed by three guys with unusual tattoos and weapons. The body then disappears.

Calling the cops is difficult because there are no bodies, blood or criminals around. This was actually Clary’s first actual meeting with the so called Shadowhunters – a group of hunters aiming to eradicate all demons walking freely on the planet.

Clary also meets Jace, a Shadowhunter with an angelic appearance and a terrible behavior. One thing leads to another and Clary’s mother disappears. Meanwhile, she is also attacked by a demon. This is when she ends up in Jace’s world, trying to find some answers.

Vampire Academy, by Richelle Mead (2007)

The first book in the series is one of the most inciting YA urban fantasy books out there and introduces the audience to Lissa Dragomir. She is a Moroi princess. In other words, she is a vampire, but she is also mortal. She needs protection against the Strigoi species – some fierce vampires who never seem to die.

Then, the reader meets Rose – Lissa’s best friend – a mix of vampire and human. Rose’s mission is clear – protecting Lisa. Things do not always go according to the plan and the two are caught and brought to the St. Vladimir’s Academy for further training.

Once behind the gates, things are not as safe as they may seem. The academy is like a magnet for Strigoi vampires, so there is danger everywhere. The two must never let the guard down, not even when they experience forbidden love.

Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman (2021)

This is the first book in the London Below series and brings access to the world below the streets of London. This is the type of place that no one wants to deal with – angels and demons hang out together. There are murderers, knights, girls and anything else you can think about.

Richard Mayhew is a young businessman. He minds his own business, not knowing that he will experience an unusual adventure in this bottom London. A basic act of kindness sends him in the middle of nowhere – he ends up underground and he has no clue what is going on.

This world is scary and unusual – nothing makes sense. But at the same time, it does feel a bit familiar. He embarks upon an adventure to escape and get back to his old life, but he soon realizes that a weird destiny is set for him in this creepy world.

Bloodlines, by Richelle Mead (2012)

Sydney has a different type of blood. She is an alchemist and deals with both vampires and humans. She protects everyone and everything – secrets associated with vampires, as well as people’s lives. Her last experience with a vampire got her in trouble, so her job is at risk now.

She gets dragged from her bed one night and her first thought is it might be related to her alliance with Rose – a dhampir. However, the issue goes further than that. Jill – Lissa’s sister – is in danger and needs to hide. A civil war is about to start and Sydney needs to protect those around her.

She ends up posing as her roommate and ends up living with a vampire, yet she tries to avoid such an association. The two end up at the Amberwood Prep, but the threat is just round the corner – not to mention forbidden love.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor (2020)

A series of black hand prints are spread all over the world. Meanwhile, in an old fashioned shop, the supply of human teeth is quite low. Things move on to Prague, where a young student ends up in an unexpected situation and a war that has nothing to do with her – at least in the beginning.

The story follows Karou’s adventure. She likes to draw monsters. She ends up disappearing every now and then and she speaks a bunch of languages. She has blue hair – naturally. Nothing is common about her, yet she has no idea where she comes from or who she really is.

She is about to find out that her destiny needs to be fulfilled and it is far from the quiet life she has expected. Karou ends up traveling to Marrakesh, where she makes eye contact with Akiva. Akiva is beautiful, but haunted. Love kicks in and the truth is about to unveil.

Midnight Sun (Twilight Book 5), by Stephenie Meyer (2020)

The fifth book in the series does not necessarily require you to read the first ones, but it would definitely help. Edward is in love with Bella and the iconic love has made everyone sigh. Fans have always been given Bella’s version of the story, while Edward has always been the mysterious one. Things are about to change now.

The story is given from Edward’s point of view. Everyone knows he has a dark side, but no one knows anything about it. The story takes a dark twist now. By far, meeting Bella is the most intriguing thing he has ever experienced as a vampire. Prior to that, his life was all about darkness and mystery.

The reader gets to discover more details about Edward’s life in one of the most interesting YA urban fantasy books out there. Discover details about his past, his inner thoughts and how he justified his love for Bella to himself.

Wolfish: Moonborne (Wolfish Book 1), by G. K. DeRosa (2021)

Fate’s sense of humor is different from what you might expect. The story is given from a personal point of view. She was only 17 years old and she met the love of her life while attending a magic school. He showed up about a year after the yearly ball, but he disappeared out of nowhere.

Things move on to the present. She finds out that she is a werewolf. She turns into a hairy beast at night. Instead of being back to human once she graduates, she is dragged into a different world to learn how to control herself. Someone also wants her dead because of it.

Things change when she meets her soulmate werewolf. He is different from the boy she loved back then. He is cold and a jerk, yet he is beautiful. She feels an attraction for him, but she also hates him. She even gets rejected a few times – how is this story going to end?

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements Book 1), by Jennifer L. Armentrout (2019)

Layla wants a simple life. She wants to be popular in school, but she also wants to date her crush Zayne. The problem is Zayne has put her in the friend zone already and he treats her like a sister. She is not the average girl though – half gargoyle, half demon. Meanwhile, Zayne is a warden.

Both races have different roles in life and most of them are related to protecting the world. Things change when Layla meets Roth. Roth is a demon and he aims to get into her heart by claiming that he knows every secret she has.

Layla knows that dating Roth could ruin her chances with Zayna. One thing leads to another and a violent demon uprising shakes the world. The looming end of the world will make her realize that she must act on her beliefs and passions before it is too late.

Final Thoughts on Urban Fantasy Books

If you are a young adult who enjoys fantasy stories, it is time you grabbed the YA contemporary fantasy books we have recommended above if you haven’t yet. They are also excellent choices for those who want to try out the genre.

If you are looking for more engaging stories for youngsters check our favorite YA book series.

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