Many books, movies, and TV shows take us to worlds we could never have imagined, filled with everything from dangerous creatures to helpful friends. Consider Aladdin and the iconic genie in the lamp who befriends the young man as he attempts to woo the Sultan’s daughter (at least, in the Disney version). Genies are often portrayed in Western media as abstract shapeshifters who grant wishes and live inside objects until summoned. However, the history of genies is actually quite different. The word “genie” is derived from the Arabic word “Jinn” (or “djinn”), which means “to hide,” and refers to shapeshifting beings capable of assuming a variety of objects, creatures, and even human forms. In the Qur’an, they are described as beings created by “smokeless fire” by Allah, although their origins are a bit unclear and belief in them predates Islam. Among other abilities, they are described as having shapeshifting, invisibility, and teleportation. They are neither considered good nor evil (though they have free will to choose either), and are frequently portrayed as tricksters who are equally likely to torment or aid humans. This differs from Westernized conceptions of genies, especially in popular culture, in which they are frequently portrayed as wish-granters and bumbling comic relief, and are frequently more on the friendly side. Nevertheless, this is why diverse perspectives are important, particularly in YA literature: While genies may appear to have a life of their own, distinguishing between jinni and djinn characters (and including accurate versions) can make all the difference. Below, we’ve compiled some of our favorite young adult novels that feature various jinni/djinn depictions. If you’re looking for a quiet place to sink into your books in, look no further than for serene places in magical Whales, UK.

1. This Woven Kingdom & These Infinite Threads by Tahereh Mafi

New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller! The first novel in Tahereh Mafi’s epic, romantic trilogy inspired by Persian mythology, featuring clashing empires, forbidden love, and a long-forgotten queen destined to save her people. Alizeh is a disposable servant to the entire world, not the long-lost heir to an ancient Jinn kingdom forced to hide in plain sight. The crown prince, Kamran, has heard the prophecies that foretell his king’s death. He could never have imagined, however, that the servant girl with the strange eyes, whom he cannot get out of his mind, would one day soon destabilize his kingdom and the world.

2. The Daevbod Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty

In S. A. Chakraborty’s spellbinding first book, The City of Brass, which is perfect for fans of The Golem and the Jinni, The Grace of Kings, and Uprooted, the fate of a magical Middle Eastern kingdom lies in the hands of a smart, defiant young con artist with healing powers. On the streets of Cairo in the eighteenth century, Nahri is an expert con artist. She makes her living swindling Ottoman nobles, hoping to one day earn enough to change her fortunes. But when Nahri inadvertently summons Dara, an equally sly and darkly mysterious djinn warrior, during one of her cons, she discovers that even the most cunning schemes can have fatal consequences. Dara and Nahri are forced to flee Cairo and make their way to Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, by traversing sands teeming with fire creatures, rivers where the mythical marid rest, ruins of once-grand human metropolises, and mountains where circling birds of prey are more than they appear. It’s a city steeped in magic and fire, where blood can be as dangerous as any spell; a city where old resentments run deep and the royal court rules with a tenuous grip; a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound—and where her very presence threatens to ignite a war that has been simmering for centuries.

3. The Candle and The Flame by Nafiza Azad

Fatima calls the prosperous Silk Road city of Noor, where she was born, home. There, people of all religions live in harmony, and the air is filled with the sounds of a plethora of different languages. The city still shows signs of its recent history, when the Shayateen djinn tribe committed mass murder, leaving only Fatima and two other humans alive. Now controlled by a new maharajah, Noor is defended from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their leader, Zulfikar. Fatima is altered in ways she cannot understand, ways that worry even those who love her, after the death of one of the most powerful of the Ifrit. Fatima, armed with an oud, finds herself embroiled in the politics of a maharajah and his sister, the conflicts between Zulfikar and the djinn, and the perils of a magical battlefield. Nafiza Azad weaves an immersive tale of magic and the importance of names; fiercely independent women; and, perhaps most importantly, the work for harmony within a city of a thousand cultures and cadences.

4. The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

When Aladdin finds Zahra’s jinni lamp, he brings her back to a world where magic is illegal and her whole existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, utilizing ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new owner has decided his three desires. Zahra takes the King of the Jinn up on his offer to permanently remove the lamp from her possession, only to later realize that she has developed romantic feelings for Aladdin. As the only way Zahra can save herself is by betraying him, she must make a final choice: is gaining her freedom worth sacrificing her heart? In this stunning retelling of Aladdin by award-winning author Jessica Khoury, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire as time unravels and her enemies close in.

5. An Ember in the Ashes Series by Sabaa Tahir

This is Laia, a slave. Elias is in the military. Both are not costless. Disobedience to the Martial Empire is punishable by death. Those who refuse to pledge their lives to the Emperor might see their families killed or lose all they care about. Laia and her grandfather and brother are living in this harsh, Roman-inspired environment. The family scrapes by in the poor neighborhoods of the Empire. They don’t bother to oppose the Empire. The consequences for those who do are clear in their eyes. Yet when Laia’s brother is taken into custody for alleged treachery, she must make a choice. She’ll put her life on the line to spy for the rebels at the Empire’s finest military college if they’ll help her free her brother. Elias, the best soldier in the academy and, secretly, its most hesitant, is the person Laia meets there. Elias merely wants to be released from the oppression he is being taught to uphold. It won’t be long until he and Laia figure out how intricately their futures are entwined, and how their decisions will affect not only themselves, but the Empire as a whole.

6. Crowning Soul by Sahira Javaid

Nezha Zaman feels unsafe keeping the secret of her ability to control fire to herself. A secret that comes to light when she confronts a shadow jinni that has been haunting her family and is aware of her abilities in a labyrinth garden. Shortly after encountering the demonic figure, Nezha is taken from her reality through her garden pond and brought to another dimension where sought for the light inside her heart. Two unicorns tell Nezha that the realm is where her family came from, and that the light represents a piece of an angel’s broken soul. In a world full of shapeshifting jinn, the trio must work together to recover the soul’s fragments. If Nezha fails to halt the corrupted Iron Prince, the malicious jinn at his side will destroy her soul next.


7. The Jinni Wars Series by Amber Lough

Jinni, in Arabic. Princess status. And just one wish can alter the course of history. Najwa is a jinni in this lyrical and evocative tale who is learning to be a spy in the conflict between her people and the humans. Zayele is a human who is being forced to marry the prince of Baghdad. To grant her dream, she kidnaps Najwa. In an explosion of flame and smoke, they disintegrate and reform into themselves. Exchanging lives with a jinni. The young men Najwa and Zayele are just getting to know might love them are among the enemies who would kill them if they were caught in the lie.

8. The Art of Wishing & The Fourth Wish by Lindsay Ribar

From getting the lead in the school musical to dealing with her increasingly absent parents, Margo McKenna is prepared for anything. Yet, she is at a loss for what to do when presented with a genie’s ring and the ability to grant three wishes. Especially since Oliver, who is not blue nor confined to a bottle, but is nonetheless a genie, can see further than she is. With only a glance into her thoughts, he can see the desires that Margo has but is unaware that she has. Yet Oliver brings more to the table than simply mind-reading skills, a knack for magic, and the most beautiful eyes Margo has ever laid eyes on. For reasons of honor, someone from his past is now on the search for him and every other genie in the globe. Yet as Margo quickly learns, even three wishes won’t be enough to rescue him.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here