9 of the best YA magical realism books that you NEED on your Christmas list

Magical realism: when fantasy blends into reality in a dreamlike, magical way without anyone ever noticing that all is not as it seems.


Yep. We love magical realism and some of the most beautifully written books EVER fall into this genre. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, anyone?

We’ve seen the genre trickle in to YA over the past couple of years and some serious stunners have come out of it. Like, seriously beautiful books. These are some of our favourites.

bone-gap‘Bone Gap’ by Laura Ruby

The small Illinois farming town of Bone Gap is used to seeing people fall through the gaps, but Finn knows that’s not what happened to Roza – he might not be able to describe the person who took her, but he knows they did. The truth about Roza’s disappearance is stranger than you could ever have imagined.

This book has a slice of everything: beautiful writing, romance, mystery and a setting that’s so alive you can almost feel it.

the-bone-gap‘The Bone Dragon’ by Alexia Casale

When the signs of Evie’s past are finally removed by the fixing of her shattered ribs, her uncle Ben carves her a dragon from a shard of bone. The dragon soon begins to come to life, offering Evie encouragement and words of wisdom, all leading to a revenge that must be taken…

‘The Bone Dragon’ is a gorgeous mix of thriller and fairytale – not to be missed.

hour-of-the-bees‘Hour of the Bees’ by Lindsay Eagar

When Carol and her family move to her grandfather’s ranch to help prepare him for the move to a care home, she must unravel the stories he tells her which her parents see as madness. Everything Serge tells Carol about his past begins to merge with her present and it’ll change the way she thinks about herself and her roots.

Haunting, beautiful and bittersweet, this is a stunning debut.

strange-and-beautiful‘The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender’ by Leslye Walton

Ava Lavender was born with the wings of bird, an ominous thing for someone part of a family doomed with foolish love. When Ava becomes desperate to learn more about herself and her world, she discovers it’s a dangerous world for a girl who can also be seen as an angel.

Beautiful, sad and sweet – one to devour on a chilly, cosy night.

the-accident-season‘The Accident Season’ by Moira Fowley-Doyle

Every October, Cara’s family become inexplicably accident-prone. Cuts, bruises, broken bones and even the occasional death. This year is said to be the worst yet. Everything sharp is locked away, everything dangerous covered, and the accident season starts to become a dark, all-consuming obsession.

Dreamy, haunting and totally beautiful – we are so excited to see what comes from Moira’s wonderful imagination next.

belzhar‘Belzhar’ by Meg Wolitzer

A group of troubled, damaged teens are sent to a boarding school where they are picked for ‘Special Topics in English’. They are given a journal and begin studying ‘The Bell Jar’. When they write in their journals they begin to tell their stories and are transported to a world called Belzhar where they aren’t haunted by their problems any more.

This one took us completely by surprise. Magical, dark and totally surprising. You won’t expect this twist!

the-love-that-split-the-world‘The Love That Split the World’ by Emily Henry

Natalie’s final summer in her small Kentucky town is off to a wonderful start, until she begins to see the wrong things. A door the wrong colour, a pre-school where the garden centre should be and then she receives a message from an apparition telling her, “You have three months to save him.”

Time travel meets heady romance meets gorgeous writing. Sold yet?

ask-the-passengers‘Ask the Passengers’ by AS King

Astrid sends her love to the passengers flying far above her in the hopes that they’ll take it. After all, her family don’t want it and the people in her small town won’t let her give it to who she wants. There’s no way she could know the power of the love she’s sending up to those passengers, and just how much they need it.

AS King is a total master of magical realism and this LGBT coming-of-age story is one of our favourites. Beautiful!

we-were-liars‘We Were Liars’ by E Lockhart

We can’t really tell you much about this one as we don’t want to spoil anything. Just know that ‘We Were Liars’ contains: rich kids on an island, a hot summer, secrets and a twist that you will never get over.

Trust us, if you haven’t read this yet, what are you doing?! You won’t regret it, we promise.

Tell us about your favourite magical realism books in the comments below. 

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Written by Sophie Waters

Sophie is the Head of Commercial at Maximum Pop! Having studied English Lit and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, she came to MP! to satisfy her passion for books. Sophie is a diehard Hufflepuff and feminist. She's also a huge cat lover, and can often be found rocking her socks off at a gig.

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