The Many Worlds of Young Adult Fiction

In the last decade, young adult fiction has transformed. Authors are pushing the envelope, creating fantastical stories, unearthly characters and, of course, magical worlds. What began with Narnia, a world within a wardrobe, has now become a universe of countless lands. Here are just a few of the wonderful lands born from some of the world’s most creative minds:

Rondo by Emily Rodda

The Key to Rondo (Scholastic Press, 2008)
While Narnia has its wardrobe, Rondo has its music box. But entering the music box you’ll find a beautiful world containing a quaint village, a lush forest, a magical castle and more. Rondo is filled with magical creatures, many of which you’ll recognize from fairytales, like the troll who guards the bridge, or the three little pigs.

Deltora By Emily Rodda

The Deltora Quest series (Scholastic Press, 2001)
Deltora is a land of dragons. It is divided into territories, each named after a different gemstone (amethyst, moonstone, etc.). Each territory is home to its own unique creatures, cities, dangers and of course dragons, making every step of your journey through Deltora very different from the last.

Middlemost by Chris McCoy

Scurvy Goonda (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2009)
Debut author Chris McCoy brought an entirely new concept to the traditional “other word” story. What we believe to be the middle star of orion’s belt is actually Middlemost, the world where imaginary friends are born. Entering Middlemost, you’ll find a motley crew of creatures-everything from vampires and ballerinas to plandas (half panda, half bonsai tree and swamsters (half hamster, half professional swimmer).

Inkworld By Cornelia Funke

Inkheart (Scholastic Press, 2003)
We’ve all wished we could dive into the pages of our favorite storybook and live in that world-at least for just one day. In the Inkheart trilogy, Meggie gets to do just that. Her father’s “silver tongue” has brought the world inside Inkheart to life. While some characters emerge from its pages, others jump right in.

Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember (Random House, 2003)
Ember is an underground city built before the apocalypse over 200 years ago. It is home to many citizens who have no clue that blue skies exist. They live in a world of darkness, lit in the daytime by lamps. But things are changing. Food is running out. And the electricity is on the fritz. If they don’t discover the way out of Ember soon, they’ll be plunged in darkness forever.

Luster by Bruce Coville

The Unicorn Chronicles (Scholastic Press, 2005)
Luster is the land of unicorns. At one time, the unicorns lived on Earth. But everything changed when a group of hunters tried to kill their entire race. So they created Luster, a beautiful world that could act as their safe haven. Luster is also home to other creatures such as dwarves, dragons and squijims, along with the occasional human.

The Edge by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

The Edge Chronicles (Transwood, 2000)
Much like the film Avatar, the world inside The Edge Chronicles contains magnificently creative creatures, unique trees and floating mountains. The Edge and its residents are so fabulously bizarre, that without the illustrations, the book would be hard to visualize.

The list of magical worlds doesn’t end there. Also check out:

Archipelago of Dreams
From Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen (Simon & Schuster, 2006)

From Lyonesse by Sam Llewellyn (Scholastic Inc, 2009)

From Bridge to Terabithia by Kathrine Patterson (HarperCollins Publishers, 1977)

From The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (Doubleday, 1983)

The Realms
From A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (Random House, 2003)

From A Hole in the Sky by Barbara A. Mahler (Turtle Sea Publishing, 2009)

From The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Inc, 2008)

From Malice by Chris Wooding (Scholastic Inc, 2009)

From the Atherton series by Patrick Carmen (Little, Brown, 2008)

The Land of Faerie
From Stardust by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins, 2001)

From Pendragon by D.J. MacHale (Simon & Schuster, 2002)

From Fablehaven by Brandon Mull (Simon & Schuster, 2007)

From Cyberia by Chris Lynch (Scholastic Inc, 2008)

From the Alcatraz series By Brandon Sanderson (Scholastic Inc, 2008)