Guest post: Crossover genres in YA fiction

Today I’d like to welcome Melody, a fellow book blogger, to my blog today. In today’s post, Melody chats about a topic that I myself have always wanted to see more of: genre bending in young adult fiction.

The thing about fiction, young adult fiction in particular, is that the more it changes, grows and makes space for new books, the more experimental and exciting novels there are on offer.

And right now, for me, one of the most interesting trends in YA, are novels that play and experiment with different genres all within the span of a standalone, trilogy or book series.

Melody chats about and highlights a few of the best series that she defines as cross genre fiction.


A Guide to Cross-Genre YA Books

Gone are the days when every book fell within a specific category. Nowadays, authors write books that involve elements from two or three different genres.
This is especially true for YA authors. If you are a fan of young adult fiction, it’s time to embrace cross-genre books for all of their glory.

Below is a guide to cross-genre YA books and series that you can check out from your local library today. Enjoy!

1. Once Upon a Time Cyborgs – The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Who isn’t a fan of fairy tales and cyborgs? Now you can enjoy your favorite fairy tales in a new light. This book is also a great starting point for those want to try out steampunk literature.

You will enjoy the combination of new and old elements that Marissa Meyer combines into one, seamless series.

Synopsis of Cinder (the first book in The Lunar Chronicles):

In the distant future, Cinder, a young girl who is a gifted mechanic, is forced into a second-class lifestyle.

Her stepmother and step sister do not value her or her skills. However, she has to use her skills in order to help the prince win an intergalactic war.

2. Chick Flick Alien Invasion - The Host by Stephanie Meyer

You don’t have to choose between love and aliens any longer. Alien invasions aren’t just marketed towards boys. This alien involves some laughs, a few kisses, and a group of people coming together in a dystopian reality.

Synopsis of The Host:

Melanie Stryder is determined to get her brother to safety after aliens steal the bodies of their parents. While making their way toward their uncle’s secret stronghold, Melanie is captured.

Instead of fading quietly, she decides to fight against Wanderer, the alien who tries to take over her life. Wanderer refuses to leave quietly, and soon Melanie and Wanderer are fighting for their survival together.

3. Adventurous Fantasy – Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan

Do you have a young man in your family who claims that he doesn’t like reading? This book is the perfect mixture between adventure and fantasy, and the protagonist is just the type of rambunctious character that your son or nephew, or whoever really, will love.

It’s the perfect blend of fantasy and adventure spread out through a twelve book series.

Synopsis of The Ruins of Gorlan (the first book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series):

15-year-old Will is chosen from among a group of teenagers to become the next Ranger’s apprentice. While Will and his friends always found the Rangers to be mysterious and frightening.

Needless to say, Will is surprised when he finds out the Rangers have taken an oath to protect the entire kingdom, and they need his help to fight against a powerful, exiled Lord who is bent on vengeance.   

4. Fantasy inspired Post-Techno Dystopian fiction – The Queen of the Tearling series by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling series is set in a dystopian world where everyone has fled modern technology. Fantasy and Dystopian lovers alike will identify with the protagonist’s struggle to live up to her royal blood.

Erika Johansen’s book will wet your appetite for a fantasy world and a dystopian society.

Synopsis of The Queen of the Tearling (the first book in The Queen of the Tearling series):

Kelsea Raleigh has been raised in secret. When she reaches the age of nineteen, she is called upon to take back her mother’s crown and her title as the Queen of the Tearling.

It is not an easy transition, however, as a crumbled kingdom and an evil queen stand in her path.

5. Steampunk Mystery - The Bookman Histories by Lavie Tidhar

The steampunk genre has stolen the hearts of the literary world for years now. Lavie Tidhar’s books are a perfect combination of steampunk and mystery.

This book is perfect for mystery lovers who want to enter the steampunk world or steampunk lovers who want a splash of mystery in their lives.

Synopsis of The Bookman (the first book in The Bookman Histories series):
A terrorist is taking lives by leaving bombs inside of books. The protagonist is the only one who can navigate a world of pirates and airships to discover the mystery behind the mass murders and bring the terrorist to his knees.

The question is: will the terrorist be found in time to save innocent lives?

6. The Paranormal and Fantasy Clash - The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Do you know the difference between Paranormal and Fantasy? It’s a fine line. Basically, most fantasy stories are set in other world or alternate realities.

Paranormal stories involve weird occurrences in a very real world.

As one of my friends says, if you can take away whatever makes the story “weird” and you are still in the real world, then you are probably reading a Paranormal novel…or a low fantasy.

So how can The Raven Cycle be a combination of both the Paranormal and Fantasy genres? The protagonist is planted firmly in one world, but she reaches across to another world.

Does that make sense? No? Well then you need to read this cross-genre book to understand this ingenious blend of genres.

Synopsis of The Raven Boys (the first book in The Raven Cycle):

Blue Sargent, whose mother is clairvoyant, gets into contact with a boy at the local private school. She is drawn into his quest for the truth.

The problem is that Blue knows that she was only able to contact her friend because he is able to die. She has been told that she will be the cause of her true love’s death, but now she has to find a way to stop fate.

7. Non-Steamy Alternate History Romance - The Selection series by Kierra Cass

The Selection series is an alternative for people who love alternate history romance novels, but who aren’t a fan of steampunk or romance novels.

It is a great take on modern reality competition and social class structures. Kiera Cass has created a smart alternate reality history story for girls and “cute romance” lovers of all ages that shows how a soon-to-be princess can do in a dystopian world without the help of engines, guns, or dragons.

Synopsis of The Selection (the first book in The Selection series):

In a future America ruled by a royal family, a group of girls are chosen from all over the kingdom, and from different castes, to vie for the prince’s hand in marriage. There are thrust into a battle that is part court intrigue and part reality television competition.

Musician America is forced into this competition and she fights against what is expected of her at first, until she realizes that this might be her one chance to make a better future for herself, her family, and her nation.

8. Fantastical Bildungsroman – the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Have you ever wondered why J.K. Rowling’s series has stayed so popular throughout the years? This seven book series is the quintessential YA Bildungsroman series.

Now you can follow the sorry of a young man as he grows up, learns who he really is, and takes responsibility in the world – and defeats a powerful wizard with the help of his friends and a magic wand.

This low fantasy story perfectly combines the real world with the Wizard World. It is well worth reading through all seven books and witness the protagonist’s entire magical journey.

Synopsis of The Sorcerer’s Stone (the first book in the Harry Potter series): 

For the first twelve years of his life, Harry believed that he was unwanted and unloved. When he finds out that he is actually a wizard and he is actually somewhat of a celebrity in the Wizarding World, he can’t wait to leave his aunt and uncle behind to attend wizarding school.

However, everything isn’t as easy as it appears. Harry and his friends must stand against an evil wizard who is bent on taking over the world.

9. Mythology and romance – The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Do you love mythology? Do you love horses? If you said yes to either of these questions, then this is the book for you.

Maggie Stiefvater’s book is the perfect fiction novel for anyone who loves racing, horses, mythology, romance, or anything inbetween.

The plucky heroine is instantly likable and instantly recognizable. Feel free to let go and find your wild side in this book.

Synopsis of The Scorpio Races:

Puck Connolly has been riding for a long time, but she never expected to be able to participate in the Scorpio Races.

No female has ever ridden a sea horse in the yearly contest before. However, this deadly competition may be her only chance to find a better life.

10. Time Traveling Fantasy - A Wrinkle in Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle

Don’t let the fact that this book is on the standardized school lists fool you. This classic fantasy series is actually one of the best pieces of YA time traveling literature that I have ever come across.

If you love time traveling literature, but you’re tired of non-magical historical stories, this is the book for you. There are so many alternate worlds and time lines in this series, your head will be spinning. Just make sure that you have your feet planted firmly on the ground before opening one of these books.

Synopsis of A Wrinkle in Time (the first book in the A Wrinkle in Time Quintet):

Meg Wallace’s father had been experimenting with a fifth dimension when he suddenly vanished. Now Meg, her younger brother, and her best friend have to go on an adventure through time and space to rescue him.

On the way, they met fantastical creatures and have to escape evil villains.

11. When Sci-Fi Fell in Love with Fantasy- Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi

Sci-Fi and fantasy lovers don’t have to fight any longer. This book is a masterpiece that meshes the sci-fi and fantasy world in a mixture of adventure, dystopian ideas, and, yes, romance.

Veronica Rossi’s series is a must read for anyone who loves both or either genre. Be warned, though, if you don’t love both genres, you may find yourself wanting to expand your reading list.

Synopsis of Under the Never Sky (the first book in the Under the Never Sky series):

Ari has lived her whole life in a protected world, safe within her room while she explored using holograms and other technology. She doesn’t believe that she can survive in the primal world outside.

Perry is a savage with the power of the Sight. These two characters are complete opposites, or so they think at first. They will have to work together to find what they are searching for.

12. A High Fantasy-Filled Dystopia – The Grisha series
Remember, high fantasy involves a story that is told on another world. These elements in a dystopian world create a future land filled with beautiful and dangerous magic.

The sugar on top that makes this book truly unique is that the inspiration of this fictional world is based in Russia.

If you pick up any book in The Grisha series, you will find a magical experience different than any YA you’ve ever read before.

Synopsis of Shadow and Bone (the first book in The Grisha series):

Orphan Alina Starkov has never been considered anything special, until she is plucked from the ranks of the royal cartographers and taken to Little Palace to live with the Grisha.

There, she learns that she is able to call on a strength and power that her world has never seen before. She is actually the Sun Summoner, the only person who has the ability to destroy the Fold and save Ravka.

Thanks to Melody for stopping by – you can check out her blog, The Golden Dragon’s Library, here.

What are some of your favourite genre crossover novels? Share your picks and recommendations below.


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