With more and more must-reads coming from the YA shelves of late, the H&H Team knows you want to dive into YA. But after reading the dark and sexy adult books, it can be hard to know where to start.
This is where I come in. I read a lot of YA intermittent with the hot stuff. As such, I’m starting a little paranormal big sister program. I’ve paired up five of my favorite adult urban fantasy authors with YA counterparts. So, if you like the adult UF series, it’s a safe bet to add the related YA series to your to-read list.
Chloe Neill/Cassandra Clare
Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series ripples with tension. There’s sexual attraction from the first book (with both Ethan and Morgan), but Merit’s story is about a woman accepting her new role in the supernatural world.
Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series has the kind of “oh no, what’s next” tone that prickles your skin. Tessa is pulled into a world with shadowhunters (part angel), vampires and steampunk automatons. Attraction to two complicated guys (Jem and Will) adds to the energy of the first book, Clockwork Angel.
If you want simmering sensuality alongside strong paranormal urban fantasy—we’re talking a parasol used as a weapon—try the Infernal Devices series.
Nalini Singh/Andrea Cremer
In both Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series and Andrea Cremer’s Nightshade series, heroines are loyal to their origins even as dirty secrets are revealed. Just as Elena sticks with the Guild even as her relationship with archangel Raphael develops, Cremer’s protagonist Calla refuses to give up on the wolf pack that tried to choose her destiny and subjugate her.
Calla is an alpha. She has mixed feelings about Ren, the other wolf her pack has determined she will mate. And the human boy Shay is more than happy to remind her that she can choose who to be with and how to live her own life.
Action, great world-building and very hot romance overflow in Cremer’s writing, much like Singh’s. The sexuality isn’t graphic in the YA, but Nightshade was one of the sexiest books I read last year. Kid you not.
Stacia Kane/Jackie Morse Kessler
There are a lot of things to love about Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts novels, but its gritty honesty tops the list. If the truthful reflection of a heroine in pain, not ready to give up on her vices, connects with you, it’s time to try Jackie Morse Kessler’s Riders of the Apocalypse series.
When it comes to dark realism coupled with a paranormal setting, Kessler’s YA series packs a punch. Each novel finds a teen taking on the role of the horseman exemplifying her vice. In the second novel, Rage, cutter Melissa must take up the sword of War, and in doing so deal with why she self-injures. It’s heavy, gripping and powerful.
Jeaniene Frost/Veronica Roth
Fell in love with Bones early on in Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series? Try reading Divergent by Veronica Roth.
When Bones first trains Cat to fight, it’s bloody, cruel and he has to be vicious or she won’t survive real fights. In Divergent, Four helps to keep Tris alive in her new role as one of the Dauntless. He has to let her get beaten down, has to aid her subtly, or they both die. Tris and Four fight the man, fight fear and eventually fall in love. (No vampires, though; this is a straight dystopian.)
If you come to this series as an urban fantasy fan, Divergent is going to work for you. There won’t be anything like Chapter 32, but there is a kissing scene that made me clutch at my chest. Limited romantic action, but tons of tension.
Karen Marie Moning/Julie Kagawa
Now, there isn’t going to be another Jericho Z. Barrons. And there definitely isn’t a YA version of him. But those who read Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series know you never knew for sure which characters you could trust. Machinations of war brought people together with a truce that may or may not be legit.
Julie Kawaga’s Iron Fey series gives us an epic tale of a war within the faerie realm. A half-human, half-fae girl is brought into this world, much like Mac, naïve and hopeful for answers. Meghan has to grow up, become Meghan 2.0 to help save lives. Her love interest is snarky with an evil past, and, oh yeah, he’s a faerie prince.
Family drama, political drama, boy drama and that whole world’s going to end thing make the Iron Fey series a sure win. The first book is The Iron King.
While Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club, she won’t turn down a sexy werewolf, demon or faerie. (Her husband often reminds her that she’s taken.)