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WHAT IS PORTAL FANTASY?
I’m so glad you asked. In portal fantasy, a person is transported from one world to another by some sort of magic, usually (but not always!) through a specific place or object such as a wardrobe, rabbit hole, or mirror. Most often, a child or children travel from our world to another, magical world…but sometimes the travel is between dimensions, sometimes the traveler(s) are adults, and sometimes time travel looks a lot like portal fantasy. I have used a fairly broad definition of portal fantasy here, and divided portal fantasy books by age range as well as including a few classic titles to help you get an idea of what we’re talking about when we say must-read portal fantasy.
I have only included one title per series and one series (or stand-alone) per author, so be sure to check out additional portal fantasy books by the authors on this list!
PORTAL FANTASY BOOKS FOR YOUNG ADULTS
These portal fantasy novels are written for—and about—teens.
Sunny Nwazue lives in Nigeria, but she was born in New York City. Her features are West African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent” with latent magical power. And she has a lot of catching up to do.
Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But as she’s finding her footin g, Sunny and her friends are asked by the magical authorities to help track down a career criminal who knows magic, too. Will their training be enough to help them combat a threat whose powers greatly outnumber theirs? Read More.
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Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.
Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life. Read More.
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The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.
Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally. Read More.
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