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YA Books with Animal Sidekicks

Updated: May 30, 2022

I think I became hooked on books with animals when I was maybe seven or eight. My older brother had read Call of the Wild by Jack London, and he wouldn’t stop talking about it. Even at a young age, I always competed with my older brothers, so I had to read it myself. The story of Buck and his adventures totally sucked me in. I couldn’t get enough of it.

After finishing that book, I moved on to Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, and The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. I read others, but none fascinated me the same way as Call of the Wild. After reading The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, animal books fell by the wayside. It wasn’t until fairly recently that I started falling upon fantasy novels that included animal sidekicks. Outside of books with dragons, I really didn’t find many that had a hero and their animal companion.

About two years ago, I started writing my own novels. At the time, I had two golden retrievers, Buddy and Gizmo. Buddy was a mature dog when the puppy, Gizmo, joined the family. The boys, as we affectionately referred to them, provided me with an endless supply of behaviours and antics to fuel my imagination. Buddy was the inspiration behind Lump (a golden retriever wolfdog) and Gizmo is Runt, the dire wolf puppy.

As a writer, I love adding wolves and dogs to my stories. They get to bring their silly antics to the story, and they get to show how big their hearts are when they become the protectors. As much as those make the story fun, it’s the tender moments when the pups curl up with their people, lending them their warmth and their companionship. I’m sure, someday, I will write a tale that doesn’t include an animal companion of some sort, but that won’t be anytime soon. You can read all about their antics in my YA Fantasy Adventure series, Priest of Titan.

Animal Companion: Wolves 🐺

This is the first in a six book series that features animal companions of all varieties ranging from squirrels to dragons, but none of these outshine the boys, a golden retriever wolfdog named Lump and an oversized dire wolf puppy named Runt. Together they will help Kit battle her way across three kingdoms until she can restore peace to a doomed a world.

Titan called her. The Temple forged her. Evil will fear her.

Kit, at the tender age of eleven, leaves her home to join the Temple of the Fist, a group of austere warrior-priests dedicated to delivering justice and retribution to the kingdom of Arnnor.

After five cycles as an acolyte, during what should have been a simple protection mission, Kit uncovers a sinister plot to eradicate the wolves across the kingdom. But why?

With the help of her new friends, a young tracker named Indie and a dire wolf named Runt, can the young priest follow the trail to its grizzly conclusion?

Animal Companion: Raven, Wolf, Cat, Fox, Bear, Cougar, Badger, Dog 🐶

An immortal race needs her help ... if she believes they exist.

Cara thought she had finally learned to ignore the animals no one else sees. A new school in the fall is her dream come true ... Somewhere to start over, somewhere no one knows her. She should have known it was doomed the minute she heard the first voice.

Now there's a weird gleam in her dog's eye, two suspicious guys who keep turning up, and a voice in her head. While it tells her of a hidden race of immortal beings known as the Pyx, Cara does her best to ignore it and the others who join in. Fitting in is hard enough without the local fauna chatting in her head.

But the voices are insistent. Across Portland, Pyx are disappearing, and Cara is the only one who can help them. As bizarre encounters pile up, Cara begins to wonder if the only way to stop the voices, is to start listening.

The only problem is, if the Pyx are real, then so is the danger. So how exactly is Cara supposed to save them?

Animal Companion: Cat 🐈

When Ana flees across the stars to claim her crown, her tuxedo cat, Petrie, comes along for the ride. Along the way, he makes friends with lots of other unusual creatures.

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

Sixteen-year-old Ana is far from royalty. She’s a foster kid with a dead mom and a deadbeat dad. The only thing she wants is to escape—her hometown and her grief.

Ana’s plans are derailed when a dangerous family secret is revealed. She is the sole heir to a fallen dynasty on a world where seven families share the crown. Her family was murdered one by one, leaving six families to rule. Now, someone knows Ana’s location. With assassins closing in, Ana’s life and the crown are at stake.

With the help of a handsome hobo, she escapes to the place where it all began—a faraway world where magic and technology coexist. Ana must navigate a tangled web of friends and foes to unmask her would-be assassin before it's too late.

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

Animal Companion: Cat 🐈

The main character is given a sassy feline sidekick who journeys through a portal with her.

A trunk, a dagger, a map, and

When her aunt passes away, she leaves Kaidyn an old trunk of bizarre contents. After accidentally opening a portal, Kaidyn is thrown into a country divided by a massive wall and overwhelmed with ancient magic.

Thrust between two royal houses, both claiming rights to the throne, she isn't sure who or what to believe. One thing becomes clear, however, she is the next Keeper of the Keys. An ancient lineage of human women tasked with balancing the wild magic and serving the true monarch of Evirness.

Kaidyn will need to overcome the self-doubt that plagues her from a birth deformity with the help of a formidable guard captain and unlikely friends.

Kaidyn is the only one who can bring down the wall and stop the gateways from wreaking havoc. Will she fulfill her ancestral duties or run back to the safety of her own world?

Animal Companion: Gryphon ✨

MC teams up with a blind gryphon to survive in a highly competitive academy.

There’s never been a female gryphon rider. Until me.

I just wanted to ease the suffering of Arimus, a gryphon blinded in combat. He’d lost his first rider, and his will to live. But when he forges a new psychic link with me to be his replacement rider, it brands me as “an affront to the gods” for daring to ride an avatar of the God of Man.

We’re also at war and need every able-bodied fighter we can find, so I’m sent to the highly competitive Gryphon Rider Academy to train with the nation’s finest young men. Some love seeing a girl in uniform, but most hate me for standing out. Few of the boys here want to see me succeed.

The king makes it very clear. If I fail this year at the Academy, he will mercilessly order Arimus’s execution rather than suffer a female gryphon rider any longer.

I have to be the best to even have a chance here. They want courage, loyalty, discipline, and integrity? I’ll give them all that and more, for Arimus’s sake.

Animal Companion: Dragon 🐉

When fifteen-year-old Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

Overnight his simple life is shattered, and, gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire.

Features interlocking art that reveals an image across the spines of all four books! And don’t miss the most recent book set in Eragon's world, The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm: Tales from Alagaësia!

Animal Companion: Horse 🐎

Zoe crosses into the faery realm while riding her horse. She spends the rest of the book trying to get him home again.

A magical world. A bewitching fair. An impossible promise.

Zoe longs to escape her bullying foster brother, but when she takes her horse for a ride and accidentally crosses into faery, all she wants is to return home. That is until she is hailed as a long-lost princess.

But in faery, the forest is constantly changing and dangers lurk around every corner. When Zoe's curiosity leads to the capture of the one friend she has made—the enigmatic Guardian of the Gates—she becomes bound by an unwinnable bargain to the Queen of Dawnlight.

Then there's Prince Florian. Aloof and scornful, but irresistible, he knows more about Zoe's past than she does. He may be the only one who can help her fulfil her promise to the Queen—if she can persuade him to help.

The magical fair in the centre of the forest may hold the answers Zoe seeks. But as with everything in faery, the fair may not be quite all it seems...

Fae Fair is the first in a new clean series for lovers of fae, epic fantasy, and magical bargains.

Animal Companion: Bees 🐝

In a harsh future with no flying insects, a brother and sister discover the first bee seen in a century and must protect her.

When one tiny creature holds the fate of humanity, how do you stop it falling into the wrong hands?

Solma is a fighter. Trained by her Steward to guard their village from the predators of their harsh world, she is dedicated, fierce and loyal. But how can she protect her friends and family from crop failure and starvation? With flying insects extinct for over a century, nowhere on the forsaken continent of Alphor is safe and Solma is terrified her little brother, Warren, will be one of the next to die. The villagers cling to life, waiting for the Earth Whisperers—mysterious nomads with a strange magic that helps plants grow—to arrive.

But then Warren finds something. Something impossible.

When the first bee in a hundred years crawls out of the earth, Warren forms a strange bond with the creature and Solma fears this unique power will make him a target. One that leaders of Alphor would kill for. As she and Warren fight to keep the bee secret and safe, word of this miracle sweeps the continent. Allies and enemies alike descend on the village. Some demand the bees for themselves, others want to destroy the colony to level the odds. When words become threats and then violence, Solma and Warren are caught in the conflict, and now it isn’t just the bees in danger.

When whoever controls the bees controls the world, how will Solma and Warren know who to trust?

Animal Companion: Cat 🐈

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood -- to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know...

Animal Companion: Dog 🐶

Follow along with the Princess and her talking canine companion as they quest across the kingdom looking for a way to counter a vile curse.

I knew the sad man at the bar had a story he needed to tell. At the time, I didn’t realize that I needed to hear it just as much.

As he began, Daniel weaved a tale of a princess’s quest to counter a sorcerer’s vile curse. She traveled across the whole kingdom with her talking canine companion, making new friends and battling fearsome enemies the whole way. The stakes were high in the magical story he told, and it didn’t take long to realize, the stakes were higher in the real world his tale mirrored.

Hearing the story would change me forever…

Have you read any books with animal companions? Which was your favorite? Tell us in the comments below :)


This article was written by Paul Mouchet.

Paul Mouchet is a YA fantasy author who loves to tell feel-good tales filled with action, adventure, and animal companions.

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