Librarians Love: Fantasy & Sci-Fi Without Romance

by Stephen Poff
by Stephen Poff

YALSA-bk is a listserv with lively discussions among librarians, educators, and beyond about all things YA lit. Sometimes one listserv member will ask for help finding books around a certain theme or readalikes for a particular title. This post is a compilation of responses for one such request.

The original request
I’m looking for fantasy and science fiction books that have little to no romance. I know this was discussed recently, but I’m having trouble searching the archive.

Suggested titles

  • Pure by Julianna Baggott (but not the rest of the series)
  • The Thief of Always by Clive Barker
  • Exodus by Julie Bertagna (but not the rest of the series)
  • White Cat by Holly Black
  • The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
  • The Sword Shannara series by Terry Brooks
  • Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac
  • Eye of Minds by James Dashner
  • The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
  • Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
  • Dangerous by Shannon Hale
  • The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Thief’s Covenant by ari Marmell
  • Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
  • The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness
  • The Wind on Fire trilogy by William Nicholson
  • Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien
  • Sandry’s Book by Tamora Pierce
  • Terrier by Tamora Pierce
  • Tris’s Book by Tamora Pierce
  • The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
  • Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
  • Unwind by Neal Shusterman
  • The Bartimeous Sequence by Jonathon Stroud
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Suggested authors

  • Isaac Asimov
  • Ray Bradbury
  • Terry Pratchett

Have more titles you think should belong on these lists? Add them on the YALSA wiki or leave a comment! Looking for more compiled booklists? Check out the YALSA wiki or other booklists here at The Hub.

— Gretchen Kolderup, currently reading The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

3 thoughts on “Librarians Love: Fantasy & Sci-Fi Without Romance”

  1. How about “Plain Kate” by Erin Bow?

    I picked it up after reading a review saying that it contained the following: A talking cat, and no romance, but a love story. That last bit sounds contradicting, but it isn’t. (Incidentally, I am disappointed that Taggle from “Plain Kate” didn’t make the “coolest pet in YA lit” poll.)

    I’m glad you have this list. I tend to avoid YA fantasy/sci-fi because of my dislike of the smoopy romances that seem to come with the genre.

  2. Sounds like a good addition to the list! And I’m glad that the compilation will be useful to you — I’m not much into romance in my reading, either, especially when it’s a love triangle.

  3. This is great! I was talking with some of my teens about YA titles without a romance or love triangle the other night at our book club. They were voicing their frustration at the fact that they seem to be in any given YA book. They don’t feel like it represents their reality and have a hard time getting into it. I’ll pass this list along to them as well!

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