It must be a great time to be a reader of Young Adult fiction. YA is one of the most vibrant fiction markets still going strong, and is consequently drawing a much higher cadre of author than before. This is especially true for fantasy series. Harry Potter, The Dark is Rising, His Dark Materials and Twilight have all been huge cross-market sellers and have managed to garner a degree of critical attention.
One of the newer kids on the YA Fantasy block is Derek Landy, whose Skulduggery Pleasant books have begun to accumulate a following stateside after appearing in their country of origin, Ireland.
The premise is simple: When Stephanie Edgely's uncle, renowned horror writer Gordon Edgely, dies, Stephanie suddenly finds out that Gordon's stories were real, and a world of magic and intrigue lies just outside of our everyday reality. Her guide through this world of enchantment and horrors is Skulduggery Pleasant, a living skeleton who also happens to be a class A gumshoe.
The world of the books is fairly standard for fantasy novels. There are the good guys, largely affiliated with The Sanctuary, the ruling body of the magical world. There are the bad guys, a shifting cadre of villains seeking to do what villains do, upset the balances, horde the power, subjugate the weak, slaughter the innocent, etc. etc. Most of their plans revolve around bringing back ancient evil beings called The Faceless Ones who were banished to another dimension many years ago.
There were also ancient good being called, conveniently, The Ancients. If you're thinking a certain young female protagonist might just have a connection with these beings, you may be on to something.
The novels are greatly enriched with a cast of colorful side characters. There are some typical fantasy creatures, vampires, wizards, trolls, but there are also some more unusual touches, such as an appearance by English folklore character Spring Heeled Jack or an eyeless good old boy from Texas who can travel through the ground and has a nasty affection for a straight razor.