Top Ten Tuesday: Frequently Used Words in YA SFF Titles

I read a lot of YA science-fiction/fantasy and sometimes I get a little mixed up with the titles because of how similar they sound. Here are ten words and/or wordings that are found an awful lot in YA SFF titles.

(This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is Frequently Used Words In [Insert Genre/Age Group] Titles.)

Bone: I’ve seen the word “bone” (or its derivatives) in quite a few titles recently, usually paired with another word like: Shadow and Bone, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Ink and BoneCity of Bones, Mapping the Bones, Children of Blood and Bone.

Crown: Just like with bone, I’ve seen the word “crown” cropping up in several places. It’s so frequent that I can’t keep straight which book is which. Think titles like Crown of Midnight, Three Dark Crowns, The Crown’s Game, The Crown of Embers.

Glass: Glass is another word I’ve seen in multiple titles, usually paired with another word that has an significant connotation: Throne of Glass, Glass Sword, City of Glass.

Dark: A lot of YA fantasy books have a darker side and they like to reflect it in the title. I’ve also seen titles with the words shadow, grave, and black used frequently too. Titles with dark (and its derivatives): The Dark Prophecy, Our Dark Duet, Three Dark Crowns, And I Darken.

Heart: The word heart appears within titles (and within words within titles) of YA fantasy books a lot more often than I expected. I guess sometimes authors do have hearts after all? Titles like: The Hearts We Sold, Heart of Iron, Heartless, Inkheart

The [Something]: Some titles vary a lot more but still have the same structure such as the word “the” followed by another word (or two), usually a noun like The Disappearances, The Raven Boys, The Lightning Thief, The Selection.

Names: A lot of YA titles are also sometimes one-word titles of the character names, such as: Cinder, Bitterblue, Eragon, Eon.

One word titles referencing something in the novel [person, place, thing]: Sometimes one-word titles are just a reference to a type of person, place, or thing in the novel. Such as Renegades or Graceling referencing a specific type of person or Warcross referencing a game and Caraval referencing a place.

[Something] of/the/and [Something]: Many titles are a combination of words with an article in between. Whether it’s “of” or “the” or “and” or something else, these titles are usually long and even sometimes include multiple of/the/and combinations. Titles like: Strange the Dreamer, Six of Crows, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, The Mark of Athena, Throne of Glass, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Days of Blood and Starlight.

Reference to Royalty: Quite a few YA fantasy books reference royalty in some manner. Whether it’s just a royal title or the word kingdom, there are a lot of books that fall under this trope. Titles include: Clockwork Prince, The Cruel Prince, Falling Kingdoms, Red Queen, The Demon King, The Star-Touched Queen, Clockwork Princess, King’s Cage. Crooked Kingdom.

What are some frequently used words or phrases used in your favorite genre? Don’t forget to join the link-up!




2 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Frequently Used Words in YA SFF Titles

  1. I chose romance titles for this topic (it was the first genre I thought of, not necessarily my favorite, but once I started thinking of the words I couldn’t stop) and there’s a bit of overlap. The royalty thing, for one. There’s a lot of Prince/Princess/Duke/etc in romance titles, too. This is a fun list, though, and I especially like how you reference naming conventions and not just words!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Romance novels is a good one. I’ve seen a LOT of people doing YA titles, so I feel like the romance one will be more unique.

      Thank you!


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