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7 Young Adult Books with the Best Banter Ever

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

young adult sci-fi and fantasy books with the best banter

How do I despise thee? Let me count the ways.

I don't know about you but the main reason I love enemies-to-lovers books is the delightful, irreverent, and often relentless snarky banter between two sides of a couple.

Recently inspired by this meme from the animated film Anastasia, I went on the hunt for young adult sci-fi and fantasy books with the bestest, snarkiest banter ever.

I thought this trope was already called enemies-to-lovers. But maybe we need to coin a new one.

A couple of my friends from our fabulous YA SFF fan/reader group suggested "Slow-roasted (slow-burn + roasting combo)" or "Roasted at first sight." Thus, I hereby humbly propose we dub this new trope: "roasters-to-lovers." 😂 👌 ❤️

Check out these fantastic roasters-to-lovers young adult sci-fi & fantasy books with the most fantastic banter ever.

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

This was such an entertaining, feel-good fantasy adventure read, and so much more playful than the movie version. I absolutely adored the push-and-pull relationship of the two main characters and how their couple dynamic develops into that sweet, perfect ending.

Here are a couple of my favorite banter excerpts:

“Really, these wizards! You'd think no one had ever had a cold before! Well, what is it?" she asked, hobbling through the bedroom door onto the filthy carpet.

"I'm dying of boredom," Howl said pathetically. "Or maybe just dying.”

“I think we ought to live happily ever after," and she thought he meant it. Sophie knew that living happily ever after with Howl would be a good deal more hair-raising than any storybook made it sound, though she was determined to try. "It should be hair-raising," added Howl.

"And you'll exploit me," Sophie said.

"And then you'll cut up all my suits to teach me.”

A Forest of Stolen Memories by Callie Thomas

A royal wedding turns to disaster when a sinister curse goes awry. A victim of the Sorcerer’s prophecy, Roselyn’s memories are instantly erased, leaving her panicked at the altar. Unwilling to marry a stranger, she flees to the place her prince fears most—the enchanted Mistbrooke Forest.

Here's one memorable banter excerpt from the book:

“Think you can make it on your own?” Cedrick leaned against a pine tree. “If nothing else, this should be entertaining.”

“You’re impossible!” I shouted, stomping off to the left.

He made a noise in the back of his throat. “I wouldn’t go that way.”

“Fine,” I hissed and marched back in the other direction.

He made another noise. “That way is even worse. You’ll be dead before nightfall.”

I stormed up to him, my face heated. I poked him in the chest. “You! You are-are-are—“ I tried to think of one word to sum up my thoughts.

“Are what?”

“Exhausting!” I shouted and added another poke to emphasize.

He scowled down at me, his dark eyes almost glowing. “I should have left you to deal with your prince.”

“Just take me to the nearest town. I’ve obviously made a mistake asking you for help.”

“A deal is a deal. You’ll be at Windcrest before nightfall tomorrow.”

“Wait.” My breath left in rush. “We aren’t arriving at town tonight?”

Cedrick crossed his arms. “Nope.”

“An inn somewhere?”

“No, again.”

“Then . . . where are you taking me?” I hadn’t thought this through at all. My hand rested on my racing heart.

“To my cottage.”

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester and, to win her love, vows to bring her a star they see fall from the night sky. It is an oath that sends him over the town's ancient wall and into the mysterious land of Faerie - a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining . . .

Tristan and Yvaine have such an adorable arrangement with an almost Cyrano de Bergerac dynamic. Here's a cute little banter excerpt:

“So, having found a lady, could you not have come to her aid, or left her alone? Why drag her into your foolishness?'

'Love,' he explained.

She looked at him with eyes the blue of the sky. 'I hope you choke on it,' she said, flatly.”

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

William Goldman’s beloved story of Buttercup, Westley, and their fellow adventurers. is a tale of true love, high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts.

What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be...well...a lot less than the man of her dreams?

Here's Buttercup being the best Buttercup:

“You were already more beautiful than anything I dared to dream. In our years apart, my imaginings did their best to improve on you perfection. At night, your face was forever behind my eyes. And now I see that that vision who kept me company in my loneliness was a hag compared to the beauty now before me.” –Westley

Enough about my beauty.” Buttercup said. “Everybody always talks about how beautiful I am. I’ve got a mind, Westley. Talk about that.”

Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

Princess Anastacya Mikhailov of Cyrilia has lived her life in safety, hidden behind palace walls. But when she is framed for her father’s brutal murder, she must leave behind everything she has ever known to find his killer and prove her innocence. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help her – Ramson Quicktongue.

The sharp wit of this banter is so fantastic:

“Is that hood always part of your outfit?”

“Is ignorance always part of your outfit?”

Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

Emily Wilde is good at many things: she is the foremost expert on the study of faeries; she is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world's first encylopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people

So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby.

Omg, I so can't wait to dive into this book. Check out these funny-as-heck banter excerpts I found:

“Get inside! You're bleeding!"

"I will not bleed any less indoors, you utter madwoman.”

“Were you expecting me to throw myself at you? Would you have then said a dozen pretty things about my eyes or hair?"

"No, it would have been, 'Get off me, you imposter, and tell me what you did with Emily.”

Note: This book is a teen-friendly New Adult fantasy

Curse of the Dragon Heir by S. R. Breaker

A headstrong Fae mage accidentally sets a mysterious evil demon free but he may be the key to unlocking her powers. . .

Second-born of the High Fae mage family of the Priori clan of Arcadia, Soleia was only expected to do certain things. Mind her dull familial duties. Undergo training to master portal summoning, the rarest form of casting among her people. Free a dangerous demon from a fifty-year-old curse and release him into their village--well, that was an accident!

A thrilling, slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers, closed-door fantasy romance. Perfect for fans of "Throne of Glass" and "Shadow and Bone."

This book 🐉👑 is chock-full of snarky banter. 😏 But short of copying and pasting the entire novel, here's one of my favorite banter excerpts:

Setting the scene, the (hot! 🔥) evil demon that Fae mage FMC Soleia has just accidentally released from a fifty-year-old curse is offering to save her village under threat from a monstrous wraith. Naturally, she has suspicions. 😅

He glanced away for a second. “Give me your sword.”

Hurriedly leading Boots toward the door, she shot him an incredulous look. “Like hell I’ll trust you with a weapon.”

He tugged on the horse’s reins to stop her. “My claws will be less than useless with a wraith this size. I’m going to need a blade. You have an extra one anyway.”

“It’s not an extra one. I happen to need two.”

“A strong fighter would only need one,” he asserted.

She shot him an annoyed look. “It’s a style. Shut up!”

Note: This book is a teen-friendly Upper YA/New Adult fantasy

I'm 100% sure I haven't found all the best enemies-to-lovers banter out there, so I'm going to do a follow-up article, Roaster-to-Lovers: Part 2! What's your favorite young adult sci-fi & fantasy roasters-to-lovers book?

Any of these perhaps?

Drop your own book recs in the comments below and you might just be featured for next time!


This article was written by S. R. Breaker.

S. R. Breaker is a USA Today Bestselling Author of non-stop action adventure, offbeat YA/NA fantasy romance books. She lives in New Zealand with her husband and two kids. Suburban mum by day and author by night, she loves to live vicariously through her characters. They don’t have to vacuum all day long and are almost always guaranteed to survive any fantastical or thrilling incidents, no matter how treacherous she writes them.


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