Queen Me

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Queen Me

YA Royal Reads with Female Leads

Whether you grew up in Disney princess costumes or reading the Princess Diaries series, many of us have been fascinated by royalty since a young age. Especially in America, where we must look to distant lands and books to find kings, queens, crowns and thrones. There is never a dearth of royal literature though--from historical fiction about everyone who held a throne, to roaring romances about fiction kingdoms, to young adults mysteries, romances and riveting reads about princes and princesses. As a lifelong reader of anything that promises a royal subplot, I have been drawn in recent years to some of the best of young adult fiction that features queens, princesses, fights for power and curses on the crown. 

Here are five must-reads for fans of young adult literature, all featuring royalty and female leads. 

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Triplets raised to fight for the throne come of age in this dark, thrilling book by Kendare Blake. Each sister is born with a unique gift they will use to try and become queen, but when allegiances shift, Mirabella, Arinsoe and Katharine end up in a fight for their life, and their kingdom, like never seen before. This book is perfect for fans of magic, mysterious forces and stories of sisters. Plus, there are four total books in the series. 

American Royals by Katharine McGee
In this first book in a new trilogy, Thousandth Floor author Katharine McGee imagines what would have happened if instead of becoming president George Washington had become king. Princess Beatrice is being groomed for the throne, the first queen of the country, but as she faces marriage prospects, things get complicated. There’s also her sister, Samantha, who often feels like the “spare,” and as is the case in so many palaces, there are always people looking to get ahead however they can. 

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
While the protagonist of this book is not a royal herself, she ends up involved in quite a lot of palace intrigue when she sees the death of the four queens of Quadra and must work to solve them and catch the murderer, before some of the murders have even taken place. If you like fantasy worlds, intriguing governmental systems, and a protagonist who keeps you on your toes, this is the book for you. 

Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
Though this is the second book in a series, it can be enjoyed on its own. The Royals go to boarding school in this book by Rachel Hawkins, and when American Millie ends up at a Scottish boarding school with a princess, things are going to get interesting fast. Roommates that hate each other become friends that lean on each other in this contemporary royal romance that deals with paparazzi, parental expectations and finding love where you least expect it. 

Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon
Beauty and the Beast gets a remix in this contemporary royal novel set in a boarding school in Colorado. Royals, rogues and princesses-in-training come together at this elite boarding school, but for Jaya, this school year is about one thing: getting revenge on Grey, the British royal who ruined her sister’s reputation. Grey’s more focused on breaking the family curse that’s spelling out his imminent death though, but in the mountains of Colorado they may find more than they bargained for. This is the first in a new series that will retell several beloved fairy tales.