I was checking my bookshelf earlier and it suddenly hit me. I have tons of books coming from the YA genre and as I was browsing, I realized that I am not only into a particular sub-genre of Young Adult, but I got a LOT coming from different kinds… from contemporary to fantasy to paranormal and the list goes on and on. Anyway, so I looked the different sub-genres of YA and found this very helpful article at… http://www.yafantasyguide.com/for-writers/identifying-your-fantasy-novels-genre.htm which was written by Stacey O’Neale.
High Fantasy :
If your novel takes place on any other planet other than Earth then it is ALWAYS high fantasy. There is no wiggle room here. You could have elements of other subgenres, but the location of the novel always overrules everything else. Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis is a great example because most of the story takes place in a different or parallel world.
Epic Fantasy :
Typically a series of books that revolve around a quest. Think sword fights, medieval weapons, and damsels in distress. Some people have coined Epic fantasy as Sword and Sorcery. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini is a very well known epic fantasy series.
Dark Fantasy :
This is usually when monstrous creatures play the heroes and the romantic element is small. Think vampires, werewolves, dragons, etc. Tithe by Holly Black is considered a dark fantasy because her faeries play good and evil roles.
Urban Fantasy :
The setting is an urban city and the story is taking place right now. The city is usually well known like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC, London, etc. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare is considered an urban fantasy because it takes place in New York.
The story takes place in the future and the society is usually controlled and/or repressed in some way. Great examples of this subgenre include The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld.
A popular setting for this subgenre is Victorian London in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. The technology is steam or spring powered and made mostly of brass and copper. Think science and futuristic inventions. A great example for this subgenre is Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld.
Paranormal Romance :
This is simply a romance with fantasy elements. They mostly take place in our modern day world and usually involve humans encountering other fantasy species. Think romance with vampires, werewolves, faeries, angels, etc. They also tend to feature human characters with some sort of psychic special ability. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White and The Immortals series by Alyson Noel are two great examples of this sub-genre.