1. So You Want to be a Wizard by Diane Duane – I stumbled across this series in the library when I was in grade eight, and I devoured it. The first book was fun, interesting, had magic, great characters, adventure and everything I could have wanted in a book back then. Books 1 to 4 are my favourites, and I highly recommend the series.
2. Circle of Magic by Tamora Pierce – this series was actually the first I read by Tamora Pierce and holds a special place in my heart out of all her books. starting with Sandry’s Book the series follows four teen magic users as they learn how to use their gifts, what family and friendship means and how to survive the crazy adventures they find themselves in.
3. The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike – read in grade seven, Alisa/Sita is probably my original vampire (outside of Buffy vampires, of course). 5000 years old, she is such an awesome character. I love that Christopher Pike didn’t write traditional vampire books, but has Sita exploring religion, love, origins and even a bit of time travel. I cried at the end of the sixth book (and plan to ignore these new ones he wrote, since I thought the ending perfect for Sita and the series), and think these books should definitely get some love.
4. Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper – The Dark is Rising series is one I have fond memories of. Each book is so unique, but fits in to this overall plot that spans the five books and takes the reader on a wonderful journey through myth, legend and magic. A different sort of series, but I love it.
5. The Hollow Tree by Janet Lunn – this is actually the third book in a trilogy though it stands alone, and each book is often seen as singular. I have read the first one (The Root Cellar) but The Hollow Tree remains my favourite, and is much loved and read over and over again. The story takes place during the American Revolution and follows Phoebe, who is as brave, strong and kind of a character as I’ve ever met. It’s a wonderful book.
6. Awake and Dreaming by Kit Pearson – this book changed how I felt about books, honestly. Theo is a reader and a dreamer who finds herself the recipient of some wonderful magic that puts her into a whole new family. Her experiences her so heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. Great writing, Canadian landscape and a really neat ghost all help make this book one to cherish.
7. Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede – this series is hilarious. Following a princess who does not fit the stereotype, Cimorene has decided to run away to the dragons…and NOT be rescued! There are adventures, sarcasm, magic carpets, magical forests and kings, and the merits of a good cleaning solution. These books are just so much fun.
8. Winter of Fire by Sherryl Jordan – I remember loving this book when I was younger. It’s one not many people I meet have heard of, and it sadly seems to be out of print. Looking back on it now, I have to say this is probably the first dystopian I ever read – and didn’t know it. Back then, I thought this was just a good fantasy (and it is), but there’s so much more to it. If you can get your hands on a copy, I recommend doing so!
9. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – I don’t own this book. Why don’t I own this book?? One of my favourite fairy tale-esque books, Ella is a force to be reckoned with. I love her determination, wit and strength. While maybe not as unknown or old as some, I still never want to see this book disappear – I wish it many future reprints!
10. Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken – the one newer book on the list, I really hope people discover and read this book. It’s such a fantastic YA fantasy – it has a map in the front and everything! You know maps make books cooler.