Apocalyptic, Fantasy, Paranormal

10 YA Books Featuring Grim Reapers

Grim reapers are mysterious, scary, and ultimately fascinating figures. Different countries and cultures have their own versions of what the reaper looks like or acts like. While the most popular image of the reaper is that of a hooded figure carrying a scythe, ready to harvest souls, literature is rife with reapers of different types. Below is a list of some of the best YA books with reapers in them – from post-apocalyptic reapers, to those who start training to become reapers, and even those whose souls are accidentally harvested by reapers! There’s a lot to dig into, so when you’re ready, get comfortable in your black hoodie and pick out one of the books from this list!

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

What do the readers say?

It was an incredibly enjoyable and immersive reading experience. What becomes of humans and its society when others have been given too much power and aren’t scrutinised for it? What is the point of existence if one is immortal and/or has the ability to modify their age/youth?

There were so many questionable variables that were explored that are relevant to our current climate. It was absolutely thrilling to read and I cannot recommend this book enough.” – Warda (i reads), Amazon user ★★★★★


Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones

Ten years ago, Lorelei’s parents disappeared without a trace. Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home. For Lorelei, life goes on.

High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be. Until the day the school’s designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it, standing outside her house in the dark, night after night. Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school. Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity. What does Jared know about her parents? Why does Cameron tell Jared he can’t have Lorelei? And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real? Thrilling, sassy, sexy, and inventive, Darynda Jones’s first foray into the world of teens will leave readers eager for the next installment.

What do the readers say?

I have long been a fan of the Charley Davidson books written by this author, so I took a chance on this series as well. As expected, it was another outstanding offering that I absolutely loved! The author is all about relationships, and she does them so very well! The paranormal aspects give us lots of surprises as the reader learns of the abilities and identities of the main characters. It’s a fascinating journey and the backstory is revealed while the suspense carries the reader eagerly forward into the main story line.Emily Pennington, Amazon user ★★★★★

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

What do the readers say?

I think it’s extremely important that all generations read books like The Book Thief. This is part of history and, as poet and philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” This is a book that is emotionally draining, but very much worth the read!SEB, Amazon user ★★★★★

Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride

With the defeat of the evil Douglas behind him, Sam LaCroix is getting used to his new life. Okay, so he hadn’t exactly planned on being a powerful necromancer with a seat on the local magical council and a capricious werewolf sort-of-girlfriend, but things are going fine, right?

Well . . . not really. He’s pretty tired of getting beat up by everyone and their mother, for one thing, and he can’t help but feel that his new house hates him. His best friend is a werebear, someone is threatening his sister, and while Sam realizes that he himself has a lot of power at his fingertips, he’s not exactly sure how to use it. Which, he has to admit, is a bit disconcerting.

But when everything starts falling apart, he decides it’s time to step up and take control. His attempts to do so just bring up more questions, though, the most important of which is more than a little alarming: Is Douglas really dead?

What do the readers say?

This second book in the Necromancer series manages to do something few sequels do: surpass the original. Everything I loved in the first book (humor, friendships, world building, character development) is amped in just the right way. I finished the book with a serious book hangover and my only complaint is that there isn’t another book in the series to dive into.Bethany McPherson, Amazon user ★★★★★


It’s A Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt

Seventeen-year-old RJ always gets what she wants. So when her soul is accidentally collected by a distracted Grim Reaper, somebody in the afterlife better figure out a way to send her back from the dead or heads will roll. But in her quest for mortality, she becomes a pawn in a power struggle between an overzealous archangel and Death Himself. The tribunal presents her with two options: she can remain in the lobby, where souls wait to be processed, until her original lifeline expires, or she can replay three moments in her life in an effort to make choices that will result in a future deemed worthy of being saved. It sounds like a no-brainer. She’ll take a walk down memory lane. How hard can changing her future be?

But with each changing moment, RJ’s life begins to unravel, until this self-proclaimed queen bee is a social pariah. She begins to wonder if walking among the living is worth it if she has to spend the next sixty years as an outcast. Too quickly, RJ finds herself back in limbo, her time on Earth once again up for debate.

What do the readers say?

A glimpse of high school, relationships, mean girls and the afterlife. The high school scenes were accurate in my memory. Most every person’s relationships are an act of bumbling through the dark and this was no exception. I can imagine the depiction of the afterlife may or may not be accurate but it was certainly within the realm of possibilities. The emotions invoked by reading this story were all over the charts and I thought it was wonderful until it made me cry. Actually it was great!Gordon, Amazon user ★★★★★


Undeadly by Michele Vail

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper—and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she’s shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite boarding school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath.

Life at Nekyia has its pluses. Molly has her own personal ghoul, for one. Rick follows her there out of the blue, for another…except, there’s something a little off about him. When students at the academy start to die and Rath disappears, Molly starts to wonder if anything is as it seems. Only one thing is certain—Molly’s got an undeadly knack for finding trouble….

What do the readers say?

There are a lot of surprises that turn up and a sense of mystery because there is a lot about her family and destiny that Molly doesn’t know about. The end took quite a turn and the epilogue leaves you dying to know what happens. I’m excited to see where the next book takes Molly and what her relationship with Rath will evolve into. Not to mention the battles brewing between Anubis and Set. Overall it was a fantastic and exciting read that I highly recommend to fellow readers. SheWhoReads88, Amazon user ★★★★


Croak by Gina Damico

Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex’s parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach Lex the family business.

She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can’t stop her desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?

What do the readers say?

I haven’t read a funny book like this since a while and I was hooked. I really liked the main character Lex, at first a delinquent at school, then turning into a Killer when she got the business explained by her (cool) uncle in Croak and thrown right away in action. I also enjoyed the development with her partner, Driggs.Chris E., Amazon user ★★★★


Reapers by Bryan Davis

Reapers is a dystopian tale with a supernatural twist. Taking place in a futuristic, urban setting, this first book in a planned trilogy will appeal to readers of The Hunger Games and similar fast–paced stories for young adults. Along with a blend of real life and imagination, it delivers action, danger, and suspense through the adventures of three teenagers—Phoenix, Singapore, and Shanghai—Reapers who collect the souls of the dying or already dead and transport them to the Gateway where they will travel to their final destination … or so they are told.

What do the readers say?

A truly amazing book. As a fan of fiction books in general, as well as dystopian fiction, this set my bar to an all new high. With both a compelling cast of characters and a thrilling plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat, this has made it onto my bookshelf of absolute favorites. Definitely worth buying, and reading.” – Natasha, Amazon user ★★★★★



The Wrap-up List by Steve Arntson

In this modern-day suburban town, one percent of all fatalities come about in the most peculiar way. Deaths—eight-foot-tall, silver-gray creatures—send a letter (“Dear So-and-So, your days are numbered”) to whomever is chosen for a departure, telling them to wrap up their lives and do the things they always wanted to do before they have to “depart.” When sixteen-year-old Gabriela receives her notice, she is, of course devastated. Will she kiss her crush Sylvester before it’s too late? Friendship, first love, and fantasy artfully mesh in this magically realistic world that ultimately celebrates life.

What do the readers say?

Don’t let the simple cover and somewhat strange description put you off of The Wrap-Up List as it is an amazing book. The story is one that’s completely new and yet still conveys some of the struggles most of us go through in our lives whether it be in our teenage years or when we face death, that of a loved one or your own. I know this will end up being another book buried under all the shiny covers and trendy plotlines, but it’s a book that deserves to be read.Jasmine Baggenstos, Amazon user ★★★★★


Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

What do the readers say?

“Grave Mercy isn’t only about betrayal and intrigue and plotting. There is also a good amount of love – both romantic and platonic. You see examples of strong families and loving brothers that are juxtaposed against toxic family relationships and misplaced family ties. The duchess tries to find even a hint of romance in her arranged marriage and Ismae fights against her heart. There is a little bit of everything and I love it!” PerfectlyTolerable, Amazon user ★★★★★

Did we miss your favorite grim reaper book? Let us know in the comments!

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