The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo, illsutrated by Sara Kipin
A collection of short stories is not something teens usually choose, but short texts are actually a great recommendation. Especially when written by terrific YA author Leigh Bardugo. Bardugo is well-known as a best-seller of superbly written fantasy novels for teen-aged readers (and older adults as well). Her short stories are in multiple anthologies, too, so this a a terrific collection to use as a springboard for other short texts, as well as for YA fantasy series.
This collection is a special treat, though. The stories have an air of fantasy, but more in the realm of myth and folklore. Some familiar tales are present, but with such a different tone that they are at first unrecognizable (think a very dark version of Clara and the Nutcracker). There is an air, too, of traditional fairy tale worlds, beautifully rendered and gorgeously illustrated, with full spreads and borders. Haunted town and talking beasts; bargains made, twisted, and even broken;love sought, betrayed; dangerous magic and moonlight nights. Highly recommend!