YA 101: Urban Fantasy

Today I finish up my series, YA 101 with what may be one of the most popular genres among YA fiction – Urban Fantasy.

Urban fantasy in a nutshell is all about mythical, fantastical creatures living in our contemporary times.  Writing about a vampire/werewolf romance in Forks, WA?  Urban fantasy (though I’d check on this one.  I think it’s already been done :-))  Have you got a shapeshifter haunting the streets of NY?  Urban fantasy.  Does your protagonist in Savannah, Georgia have tons of demons living around her that are all about to go to war and she’s the only one that can stop it?  Urban fantasy.

Rules to writing urban fantasy?

  • almost always written in 1st person.
  • don’t use magic as an excuse for plots – big or small.
  • make your ‘monsters’ different.  Vampires and werewolves in YA is overdone.  They still have an audience but look at other creatures you can use:  leprechaun, pixies, gargoyles.  The list is vast.  Experiment.  Be different.
  • Protagonists/heroes/heroines are usually sexy and there is some romance.  There doesn’t have to be  a lot of romance but there should be some.  Romance sells to young female readers which make up the majority of books sales in the age group.  Remember, the romantic partner doesn’t have to be gorgeous, but the reader needs to fall in love with him/her.

What are some of my favorite YA urban fantasy novels?


13 thoughts on “YA 101: Urban Fantasy

  1. My family gave me City of Bones for my birthday a couple of years ago. I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but I did and now I’m happy to hear it’s going to be made into a movie. When I have the time, I’m sure I’ll check out your other recommendations. 🙂


  2. I really like urban fantasy. In fact I’m doing a book discussion and trivia group next week about City of Bones! Fun book and a great series! I’m glad to see it included in your examples.


  3. Vampires will never die!

    Actually, sadly, this is true. There are some people who are moreso vampire fans than fans of the urban fantasy genre itself.

    But, you are right when you say it’s time for some fresh beasts.


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