4:45 pm EDT, March 31, 2020

Harry Potter and other YA fantasy comfort reads that bring solace

We gathered some of our favorite YA fantasy comfort reads for when we’re feeling stressed, sick, or merely wishing to revisit a cherished book.

It’s no secret that sometimes when deciding what to read next we reach for the known instead of something new. Comfort reads can be a balm for the soul in a time of turmoil and unrest, or when we are feeling sick. 

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There are many types of comfort reads, like romance books filled with happily ever afters. For some, it’s reading topical books about what stressors they’re going through, to either help not feel alone or to read about how others would react in similar circumstances. 

When seeking a comfort read for something that will help me escape the day-to-day, I reach for YA fantasy. Seeking a good conquering of evil and characters overcoming adversity is like a receiving a hug in book form. 

Knowing what’s going to happen during a time where everything is spiraling out of control is calming, soothing, and it’s that sort of self-care that we all deserve right now. 

 harry potter comfort reads

My YA fantasy comfort reads are entire series, mostly that I read as a teenager or in my early 20s. Harry Potter by JK Rowling, The Queen’s Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, and Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan are series that stand out to me the most, with worlds we can get lost in and lore that sucks the reader in.

These series allow us a short period of respite in our lives, where we aren’t thinking about our own troubles, but concentrating instead on fantasy characters standing up against evil, impending war, or battling mythical creatures. 

Who among us that has read the Harry Potter series hasn’t thought about re-reading it at one point or another. Back when the books were still being released, I used to re-read the entire series before each new book came out. 

There is something about Harry’s journey, the relationships, the school, the magic system and spells, as well as the underlying plots with each year’s antagonist with the overarching villain that remains with us years after the final book’s release. 

Characters are what make a story great, their relatability and relationships to one another is what tightens the bond not only between the characters themselves, but the bond the books themselves have with the readers as well. 

Harry Potter wouldn’t be a go-to series with re-readability if it wasn’t for Harry’s friendship dynamics and lengths they would go through for each other, no matter how difficult or dangerous the situation was. 

percy jackson comfort reads

Another series whose character bonds give it strong re-readability is the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. Both Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus are amazing series where good triumphs over evil, Greek and Roman gods style.

Not only has Rick Riordan perfected the formula for a captivating retellings of mythological stories, but his usage of humor mixed with danger is exactly what I’m looking for when it comes to picking out comfort reads. 

Even when things get tough, Percy’s sense of humor shines through, and it’s humor that can help us the most when we are stressed or sick. There’s nothing quite like a dire situation where it looks like the heroes are about to die and suddenly you’re laughing because of an off-hand remark. 

Percy Jackson and Leo Valdez are definitely needed right now, bringing levity to our lives when everything seems bleak. I’m reminded of the all consuming darkness I felt as I read The Mark of Athena, how it felt as though all hope was lost, but somehow the heroes made it out. 

Reading about fictional characters overcoming seemingly insurmountable trials gives me strength to do what needs to be done, even if it’s something as small as getting out of bed every morning. We are living through a time of uncertainty, so finding strength in the smallest of places is important to maintain.

the queen's thief comfort reads

Oddly enough, with everything going on, I’ve joined a book club with some online friends, and the first book we chose was The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. Not only is The Queen’s Thief my favorite book series, but it’s also my most re-read series, even beating out Harry Potter. 

Though I’ve talked about The Queen’s Thief series before, that doesn’t diminish its impact on my reading tastes and enjoyment. Comfort reads are important to me because they not only help recharge me when I have book burnout, but re-reading The Queen’s Thief every year is something to look forward to. 

No matter how many times I read about Eugenides, Sophos, and Costis’ journeys over the course of the books, I find something new that I never caught before.

The way that Megan Whalen Turner writes leaves certain things open to interpretation, a level of reading between the lines that catches the reader’s attention and doesn’t let go. 

I, for one, am excited to start my re-read of The Queen’s Thief to see what new details I pick up on this time. As comfort reads go, The Queen’s Thief is at the top of my list.

Perhaps now is the perfect time for a re-read of these comfort reads. From Harry defeating Voldemort and the Death Eaters to Percy Jackson and his friends repeatedly picking up after the gods’ messes time and time again, to Eugenides’ antics and sneaky ways of getting exactly what he wants, these YA fantasy book series are the perfect comfort reads we need right now. 

What are your go-to comfort reads?

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