I love Irish folklore. I mean, with the last name like Kennelly, how could I not? While my family is only Irish through association (we were the bad Irish, kicked out and sent down under to Australia for bank robbing. That’s not confirmed, but I like that story more than the alternative that the family just immigrated), I’ve always loved trying to connect with my deep Irish roots through story and folklore. And while I might not have realized it at the time, a lot of the YA I read has a lot of deeply set Irish roots. So here are some of my favorites most steeped in the legends of the Emerald Isle!
Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch—plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader.
And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester—an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer's motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don't stop the Butcher, one of them will be next.
Once upon a time, there was a boy with a wicked tongue.
Before he was a cruel prince or a wicked king, he was a faerie child with a heart of stone. #1 New York Times bestselling author, Holly Black reveals a deeper look into the dramatic life of Elfhame's enigmatic high king, Cardan. This tale includes delicious details of life before The Cruel Prince, an adventure beyond The Queen of Nothing, and familiar moments from The Folk of the Air trilogy, told wholly from Cardan's perspective.
This new installment in the Folk of the Air series is a return to the heart-racing romance, danger, humor, and drama that enchanted readers everywhere. Each chapter is paired with lavish and luminous full-color art, making this the perfect collector's item to be enjoyed by both new audiences and old.
Inspired by the star-crossed story of Tristan and Isolde, this book tells the story of Branwen, lady-in-waiting to the princess Isolde. The legend of Tristan and Isolde goes back to the age of King Arthur, and perhaps even earlier. And while there are many versions of the legend, Isolde is always an Irish princess who falls in love with the enemy. But rather than telling the tale of our mis-fated pair, Sweet Black Waves focuses upon Branwen, whose healing powers save her enemy and open her heart to peace. But the princess is not so easily convinced, and so begins a tragic spiral of love, heartbreak, and deception.
3 minutes and 4 seconds. The length of time every teenager is “Called,” from the moment they vanish to the moment they reappear. 9 out of 10 return dead. Nessa, Megan, and Anto are at a training school to give them some chance of fighting back, but once the Grey Land takes you, there’s no telling if you’ll survive it or the Sidhe, the most beautiful, terrible people you will ever see. Steeped in Irish lore and mythology, The Call is a horror guaranteed to keep you up at night. It leans into the terrifying side of the Sidhe, also known as the fey. If you’re looking for a book that will have you lining your windows with salt, this is it! (Author’s note: I’m not sure lining your windows with salt would actually keep the fey away from you. Seeing how they are creatures of folklore though, perhaps better safe than sorry.)
Yet another very dark, very twisted fey fantasy, Never Contented Things follows foster siblings Josh and Ksenia, trapped by Prince and his fairy courtiers. They are seductive, cruel, and bored of the tedium of the centuries. Drawn to the vivid, human emotions of Josh and Ksenia, their undying love for each other, and their passion for life, Prince will stop at nothing to possess them. And when the siblings learn that the fairies’ gifts come at a terrible price, they must risk everything to gain their freedom. I love a good, creepy fey book, and I love how this book along with The Call takes faeries back to their mysterious, very scary roots.