The Best YA Books Mixing Genres


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Genre is a tricky thing – we all know the big categories like fantasy, historical fiction, and mystery, but there are also so many subgenres within those categories, and often they can blend into each other and turn into their own thing. Genre is useful for classifying books, but I don’t think it should ever be used as a box we stuff books into. I like to think of gender as a fun entry point, not a barrier. Personally, I find the possibilities of genre-mixing books extremely exciting, and I’m a big fan when a writer can seamlessly tell a story that incorporates characteristics of two or more genres. and satisfied readers.

Now, I firmly believe that YA is not a genre, although many people often refer to it as such. YA is a marketing term and an age category that includes many different genres and subgenres of writing, and as YA has grown, so have the different genre offerings and creative mixing of said genres. . It’s a great time to be a reader, because now, if you like historical fiction and mystery, sci-fi and romance, or paranormal and mystery, you don’t have to choose! To celebrate the ingenuity of so much genre-blending, we’ve put together a small selection of some of the best and most interesting genre-blending YA books that incorporate more than one genre to create extremely interesting and clever reads!

Great YA books mixing genres

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Zombies! Historical fiction! Mystery! nation of terror he has everything. In an alternate history where the Civil War has been interrupted by the zombie apocalypse, Jane grew up knowing that a black girl like her must work as an assistant, trained in combat skills to protect wealthier white people. She’s determined to get out of this life, but when a series of disappearances puts everyone on edge, Jane finds herself in the middle of a plot that could prove more dangerous than the zombies she must fight.

Jane, unlimited coverage

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

I don’t want to say too much about this book because the fun of reading it is finding out what exactly is going on, but it is a fantasy novel about Jane, a young woman who was orphaned as a child and who comes to lose his aunt, the only family he has left. When an acquaintance from college invites her to her family’s lavish estate for a legendary party, Jane accepts on a whim. But once there, she discovers art and treasures beyond her imagination, and is presented with a choice that will take her life in a few very different directions. Combining mystery, fantasy and horror in a clever way, this is truly a unique book that you have to experience for yourself.

the opposite of always cover

The Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

I appreciate a good time loop story, which falls somewhere in the realm of speculative fiction, and this one combines time loop and romance! The story begins with Jack and Kate, two teenagers who meet at a party and fall head over heels in love. Everything is fine…until Kate dies. And when that happens, Jack is inexplicably sent back to when they first met, where Kate is alive and well. Determined to save her, Jack tries to do things differently, but when you play with time, there are unintended consequences.

cover of Ellie Marney's None Shall Sleep, featuring a cartoon of a blond person and his eyes reflected in a bloody butcher knife

Nobody Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney

If you like historical fiction and serial killer thrillers, then this YA version of Spirit hunters is the perfect read! Set in 1982, it follows Emma, ​​the survivor of a serial killer kidnapping, and Travis, a young US Marshal candidate, who are recruited by the FBI to help in their behavioral science division. These two 18-year-olds have had strange encounters with death and serial killers, and now the FBI thinks they might be useful in tracking down a serial killer they suspect is a teenager himself. But what is supposed to be purely a desk job becomes much more dangerous when the killer sets his sights on Emma and Travis.

Cover image of The Silence of the Bones

The Silence of the Bones by June Hur

Historical fiction and detective mystery form a unique blend in June Hur’s debut novel. Set in Joseon (Korea) in 1800, Seol is an indentured servant of the police bureau. During this period, it is illegal for men to touch women, even in death, so Seol helps with all investigations involving women. She is drawn into the puzzling death of a noblewoman, and when her own curiosity is piqued, she soon finds herself taking more and more risks as she searches for answers on her own, and is shocked when certain of these answers bring her back to her own dark past. .

The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor cover art

The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity and Christopher Baldwin

I loved the clever way this graphic novel blended gothic romance and speculative elements! Haley loves all things goth and doesn’t care what other people think. But she lives in the modern world, which is kind of boring. Until the day she sees a young man drowning in the river and tries to save him… it’s not until she gets out of the water that she finds herself at Willowweep Manor, which comes straight out of his gothic reveries. There’s a maid full of secrets, a haunted mansion, and three wealthy brothers who have a mystery to solve. Haley is in heaven! She never wants to leave! But if she doesn’t solve this mystery, she may never be able to escape.

Cover of All These Bodies by Kendare Blake

All These Bodies by Kendare Blake

Some genre blends are more subtle than others, and I really loved that on the surface it looks like a historical detective story, but it quickly veers into horror and paranormal intrigue. It’s the 1950s and Michael’s dad is the sheriff of their small town when a serial killer strikes. The only one left alive at the scene is a mysterious girl covered in blood, who seems to come from nowhere. She is taken into custody but when she refuses to speak, not even to name a killer, the authorities are perplexed. Eventually, she agrees to only talk to Michael, but she won’t tell him what he wants to know. She’s going to tell him her story… as impossible as it may seem.

the lucky girls cover

Girls of Good Luck by Charlotte Nicole Davis

Most people tend to think of westerns as the old mass-market paperbacks your grandfather reads, but Davis puts a diverse and magical spin on the western genre in this story of five girls who come out of the brothel who has enslaved since they were children, fleeing a crime committed by one of them and seeking a better future. Marked by magical tattoos that could betray them at any moment, they begin the difficult journey to freedom, but they will be tested every step of the way.

Cover of the book Burning by Patrick Ness

Burn by Patrick Ness

Mystery, historical fiction, and dragons collide in this creative book about Sarah, who lives in an alternate year of 1957 where she and her farmer father must hire a dragon to help them work on the farm. Sarah is curious about the dragon, despite the fact that the hiring appeal indicates how poor she and her father truly are, and she has no idea he came to their farm because he has first-hand knowledge of a prophecy that involves Sarah, a fanatical cult, and the FBI.

My Lady Jane Blanket

My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand and Jodi Meadows

It’s definitely a fantastic (and hilarious) take on royal history for comedy fans! Lady Jane Gray is horrified to find herself caught up in a plot to overthrow the King of England, who happens to be her friend. She is even more shocked when it turns out that her arranged marriage is with a man who is a shapeshifter. As the plot unfolds and Jane finds herself searching for her freedom while King Edward must dodge a coup, the two find themselves on a tumultuous adventure through the kingdom that will go down in the history books. .. or maybe not!


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