Book Recs for All Ages | How to Recommend Books When You Only Read Fantasy

Book Recs for All Ages | How to Recommend Books When You Only Read Fantasy

Are you looking for book recs…

Or are you a fantasy reader who freezes up when people ask you for book recommendations?

Because how do you recommend Fourth Wing to your older - or younger - family members? How do you explain to someone that if they want to borrow the book you’re reading, that they’ll need to have read fourteen other books across three different series to understand everything that’s going on?

Sarah J Maas books

This happened to me recently when my husband said, “Oh Katelyn reads tons of books, she’ll have good recommendations” 


It was like I’d forgotten every book I ever read outside of Sarah J Maas and Tessa Bailey, which wasn’t the right audience at the moment. 

And I know this isn’t a unique experience. So, I sat down with my bookshelf recently to find some solid book recs for people who aren’t ten books deep into a fantasy series - and aren’t looking to be - but without being super generic. 

These recs are good for all ages, but I will be breaking them down into general age groups. 

There’s a good chance you’ve read a lot of these and forgot, or you’ve seen them floating around out there. And if you haven’t read them, then consider these book recs because they’re great stories that might be outside of your normal genre. I know that going outside of the thick fantasy novels every once in a while is really refreshing and sort of shows me other writing styles that I really like.

And of course, if you’re just here trying ot find a good book to check out, this list is for you too.

So let’s get into it.



First up, recs for adults who might not be into fantasy series or be looking for cutesy romance.

Dan Brown Books

Dan Brown. Particularly The Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons.

Dan Brown usually blends history, art, suspense, and mystery to create really engaging page-turners that are super fun and a little educational? But they’re also super accessible, you don’t have to be a history buff to be able to follow the stories.

Rainbow Rowell Books


Next is Rainbow Rowell. You might have read Eleanor and Park, which really had its moment in YA literature.

BUT you maybe haven’t read Landline or Attachments. These books have slightly older characters.

In Landline, a 36-year old woman finds a phone that allows her to talk to her husband in the past, back when he is 22. Attachments is about a man whose job is to monitor email correspondence and how he starts to fall for one of the women he’s supposed to be monitoring. 

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth is great if they’re sort of into Sci-Fi or dystopian movies.

In 2015, all the big books were about teens who save the world. But in Chosen Ones, we get a look at what happens to these people when they grow up and how they have to deal with the fame, the leftover nightmares of facing a villain, stuff like that.

There’s magical elements to it, but it’s super great. If you think you’ve heard Veronica Roth’s name before, it’s because she was the author of the Divergent Series. And I just want people to give her books a shot!

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing Duology by Hank Green

Now, these are all standalones. But if someone’s open to reading two books, I’d recommend giving them Hank Green’s An Absolutely Remarkable Thing and A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor.

These books take place in our current day, following a young woman who makes a YouTube video about a mysterious sculpture that lands in NYC. She goes viral and soon finds out that the same statue has shown up in major cities all around the world.

Right after, she - and tons of other people - start to have a dream-sharing experience and we try to figure out the connection and whether we’re dealing with aliens. The books also have a lot of commentary on AI, what life would be like if the metaverse becomes a big thing in our lives - it’s so, so good. 


The Scythe Trilogy by Neal Shusterman

Scythe Trilogy

The Scythe trilogy is amazing, I’d say it’s perfect for anyone - you follow a dystopian society where AI has become our god/government, but humanity is still in charge of death and population growth.

Scythes are the designated killers and they are chosen - you can’t try to be one. The trilogy explores themes of power, morality, and the consequences of immortality in a society where death is no longer natural.  

We follow a few young scythes throughout the trilogy who are trying to make change in the structure of the scythedom as they become entangled in the politics and ethics of gleaning. It’s really thought-provoking and so well written that it would be my go-to if they’ve already read the Hunger Games.

Rebel Belle Trilogy by Rachel Hawkins

For something a little more cutesy, I’d go with the Rebel Belle Trilogy - where a teenage southern belle suddenly gets crazy fighting powers and is tasked to safeguard her biggest enemy and academic rival. They are a little girly, as you can see by the covers, so keep that in mind.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Or I’d also recommend the The Lunar Chronicles, which are fairytale retellings that take place in the way off future and in space. They’re super fun and the characters are really memorable and unique.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

For a standalone, We Were Liars. It had its moment again last year when it got popular for the second time. The story revolves around Cadence Sinclair, a teenager from a wealthy family who spends her summers on her family's private island. She has a close-knit group of friends known as "The Liars," and they share a strong bond.

The novel is a suspenseful and mysterious tale, and it mainly focuses on Cadence's struggle to remember a tragic event that occurred on the island two years prior. She suffers from amnesia due to a head injury sustained during that summer, and as she tries to piece together what happened, the secrets, lies, and hidden truths of her family. It’s exciting without being scary - and the ending is a little open ended where you’re trying to figure out if the narrator was reliable the whole time or not. 


Now, I’m not a mom, but at one point I was a certified Child, and I’ve loved reading pretty much my whole life. So, these are my top recommendations for lil kids.

Angelina Ballerina

Angelina Ballerina

Gorgeous illustrations and fun stories about a mouse ballerina for little ones who are still focused more on picture books.

Geronimo Stilton

Geronimo Stilton is great for new readers because of how the words and fonts are used to help them along, and there's still plenty of pictures.

Cam Jansen

For stronger readers, I love the Cam Jansen detective series. She uses her photographic memory and curious mind to solve mysteries.

PRETEEN - Harry Potter or Palace of Mirrors

Palace of Mirrors

Of course, I always recommend the Harry Potter series for tweens, as it's a classic and Harry is exactly their age at the start of the story.

However, if you're looking for a standalone, I love Palace of Mirrors. It's about an undercover princess who has to go back to the palace and declare that she’s the princess…but there’s a bunch of other girls claiming the same thing. 

Alright, those are my recommendations! I hope they gave you some great ideas, and happy reading!


Please note: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. 

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