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7 Young Adult Books with the Best Banter Ever

Updated: Apr 5

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