top of page

Discover hidden heroes with these 12 fantastic young adult books

Take another look. These "weaklings" are not what they appear to be.

Many young adult books and series start off with the warrior heroes - the Feyre's, the Katnisses(?), you know which ones I mean. Those "underdog" characters who are already actually the strongest characters right from Chapter 1.

But what about that orphaned mapmaker from the Royal Corps of Surveyors in the First Army (Shadow and Bone)? Sure, she could throw a decent punch but then Alina turns out to be the rarest Grisha with the ability to control light.

Or that reluctant-human-turned-elf named Nesta (A Court of Silver Flames). Well, because--go and find out what she's capable of right at the end! (Not saying for spoilers!)

Or that innocent star from the other side of Wall (Stardust) who was minding her own business when some necklace knocked her out of the sky. What does she do best again?

And yes, that brooding teenaged girl who moves to Seattle to live with her dad and then makes friends with a pale vegetarian vampire? (Twilight) Talk about starting weak and finishing strong.

Besides, what's more awesome than a training montage?

Are you feeling it? Check out these fantastic sci-fi & fantasy young adult books where these heroes are hidden at first, until they discover their true, inner, awesome power.

Seven Crowns (Shadows & Starlight Book 1) by E. V. Everest

Foster kid, Ana, may or may not have the ability to heal. If she can't prove her gift, she risks being labeled an imposter and executed.

A crown is dangerous. A crown split seven ways is deadly.

Travel to a glittering, dangerous world with political alliances and ballgowns, perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and Cinder.

Saving Eden: A YA Dystopian / Post-Apocalyptic Adventure (The Eden Saga Book 1) by K. R. S. McEntire

Angela is unaware that she has mutant powers or that mutants even exist until she leaves her garden paradise home for the first time and discovers that the world is not what she thought.

A jaded resistance fighter. A magical mutant girl. A quest to save the last beacon of hope in a deadly, dystopian world.

The Curse of the Arcadian Stone: Nameless Fay (Volumes 1-3) by S. R. Breaker

A simple forest fairy guarding a legendary stone. She doesn't even really have a name. So when someone steals the mythical stone and she loses her powers, she's helpless...right?

Or does this set off a chain reaction of events that lead to uncovering the mysteries behind the curse, the secret nature of her being, and the inevitable fate of the world?

If you like Neil Gaiman's "Stardust" and "The Chronicles of Narnia" with a twist, you’ll enjoy this fast-paced YA fantasy adventure.

Viridia: A science fantasy YA adventure (with dragons) (Dragontek Lore Book 1) by Tim Frankovich

Beryl knows he has a minor cybernetic implant, but discovers it’s far, far more than he understood.

When Beryl uses his cybernetic implant to help a mysterious refugee escape the police, he finds himself leading a revolution.

Finding Me: Young Adult Urban Fantasy (Magic, Action, Romance) by Dawn Brazil

Chloe, doesn’t know who she is. She has to be taught everything about her life, even her real name.

Little does she know, she holds great power on the other five universes.

Chimera Skies by Sharlene Healy

Sam is an ordinary high school girl on summer vacation with her family when her parents are abducted. She and her siblings escape and end up in an underground bunker where their lives are turned upside down.

Sam starts out physically "weak" but trains her body and learns to fight. Little by little, she uncovers the truth: monsters aren't the only things lurking in the dark.

The Lament of Death: Children of Chaos Series by Maria Vermisoglou

Kyara is preparing to be a healer at the Choice but becomes a banshee instead. She has to come in terms with her gift first, train and save the world. Piece of cake.

She has many powers but doesn't know how to use them. She thinks they're useless but by the end, will she be a master of her fate and power?

The Fair Queen: A Young Adult Fantasy (The Fair Chronicles Book 1) by Lyndsey Hall

Aria thinks she's a normal girl until she discovers the Fair Realm and realizes she's Fair and has certain abilities, gradually she learns to use them and new powers reveal themselves. Will she fulfil the prophecy and grow into the role that people expect of her as the legendary Fair Queen?

For fans of Holly Black's Folk of the Air comes a gripping new story that will lure you into a world of magic and monsters, and never let you go.

Secrets of Green & Gold: YA contemporary fantasy (The Immortal Voices: Green & Gold, book 1) by Jo Holloway

Cara discovers her own ability and a whole fantasy race, then later trains both physically to fight and mentally to use her extra ability to its full potential. Will she overcome self-doubt and transform herself to gain the confidence to lead others?

Perfect for fans of modern young adult fantasy, hidden worlds, and unexpected friendships, filled with whimsy and mystery.

Stella Daniels & The Guardians of Light by Jennifer Cross

Stella discovers that the magic or light she needs has been inside of her all along and that it has all the power she needs to heal others and save the world from total darkness.

This is an audiobook in podcast format based on the full length fantasy novel.

The Secret of the Phoenix (The Phoenix Series) by S. R. Breaker

Sarah Peters is your average girl from Earth. Until she she gets magically sent to a medieval fantasy world and suddenly she's their prophesied savior.

Growing up on Earth certainly doesn't prepare one's self for perilous combat or facing mortal danger in another land's heavy mech war. But perhaps that's exactly what makes her so powerful and exactly what they need to save the world.

Blood of Beasts: Geneshifters Book 1 by Rebecca Lemke

Titania has been in hiding since she escaped the program. She's been spliced with unknown DNA in order to make her into a super soldier. However, things go awry and she becomes weak and lethargic. Boy, are you in for a surprise with this transformation!

Geneshifters is perfect for science fantasy and dystopian lovers.

In many instances, it's also a case of "they've always had the power" but they just had to believe in themselves.

Characters are supposed to grow and change. In film and literature, a character arc is the transformation or inner journey of a character over the course of a story.

So don't diss the damsel in distress. She might just turn into the most powerful being in the whole entire realm who holds your puny life in their hands.

And hey, nobody really expected much of what fate awaited that orphaned boy from a desert world of two suns and see how that turned out! Lol.

Know of any more awesome books where the main character undergoes an epic transformation? Let us know in the comments!


This article was written by S. R. Breaker.

S. R. Breaker writes offbeat, easy reading young adult science fiction and fantasy books. She often writes stories about these hidden heroes, through whom she loves to live vicariously. 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. Visit her epic worlds in books.

Occasionally, YA SFF and our bloggers will suggest books and other products we think you might enjoy! To do so, we often use Amazon Affiliate links. What does this mean? It means we get a small percentage of any purchases made through our site links. This is at NO COST to you. Proceeds go toward site costs and promotions. Thank you for supporting us!

bottom of page