Teen

Fit for a King, Queen, or Teen:
9 Royalty-Inspired Books for YA Readers

by Iva-Marie Palmer

Photo credit: Euge de la Peña, Moment Open/Getty Images

When Prince Harry of Wales and Meghan Markle, an American actress, announced their engagement in November 2017, it was the kind of news event on which many could agree: No matter your level of interest in nuptials or the royal family separately, there’s something about a royal wedding that’s at least a little exciting. And for those who found the prospect really exciting, or who’ve found themselves binge-watching “The Crown” or captivated by the court dramas of Marie Antoinette, there’s so much in the literary world to explore. (There’s even a book of Harry & Meghan Paper Dolls!)

These teen books centered on royalty — some pegged to real-life kingdoms and others to crowns of the writers’ inventions — will keep YA readers riveted.

  • Royals

    by Rachel Hawkins

    Oddball Floridian Daisy Winters is about to become royalty … well, her perfect older sister who’s dating the Crown Prince of Scotland is. But Daisy is still stuck undergoing a crash course in how to be regal from Miles, a friend to the royal family. To readers’ delight, Daisy doesn’t filter what she says and therefore doesn’t exactly make a perfect pupil. Throw in the prince’s younger brother Sebastian (a real piece of work) and the stage is set for a royal romantic comedy that will sate anyone craving a lighthearted but high-stakes romp.

  • Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All

    by M. T. Anderson, Candace Fleming, Stephanie Hemphill, Lisa Ann Sandell, Jennifer Donnelly, Linda Sue Park, and Deborah Hopkinson, concept by Candace Fleming

    In this novel, conceptualized by Candace Fleming and written by a group of bestselling authors, the lives of Henry VIII and his six wives are reimagined in a gripping way. Told in the first person, each author takes on a character — from Henry himself to strong-willed Anne Boleyn to one-bullied, later-beloved Jane Seymour — and together build a gripping story about one of the most compelling and treacherous periods of English history.

  • The Dark Days Club

    by Alison Goodman

    Who says that ladies have to be in-waiting? In 1812, on the night before her presentation to the queen, 18-year-old Lady Helen goes in search of her family’s missing servants and finds herself deep in the shadows of Regency London. She must decide if she wants the help of Lord Carlton, whose shady reputation precedes him, and soon finds herself not aswirl with petticoats but in demon-hunting.

  • Ash Princess

    by Laura Sebastian

    While the current royal wedding is a happy and buoyant affair, many crowns come at a price, and such is the case for Theo, who was given the shameful title of Ash Princess after her mother’s murder and made a prisoner in her own palace. After years of abuse from the Kaiser and his court, Theo does the unthinkable and ends up with blood on her hands. With intrigue, treachery, and the marks of an epic, Sebastian’s new series is for those seeking a royal heroine who upends the traditional happily-ever-after stories.

  • Glitter

    by Aprilynne Pike

    Described as “‘Breaking Bad’ meets Marie Antoinette,” Pike’s Glitter envisions a not-too-distant world where royals live in the palace of Versailles and act like it’s still the 18th century, with all the lavishness and privilege of royalty topped with the convenience of modern technology. Danica’s mother works a power play to marry her off to the cruel king and Dani realizes that the palace is a prison. Her ticket out is selling Glitter, a highly addictive drug worth a fortune. But in working her scheme to make the money she’ll need to escape, Dani starts to fall for the last person she’d expect.

  • Mary, Bloody Mary

    by Carolyn Meyer

    For readers just discovering the legacy of drama that swirls around IRL royals, Meyer’s Young Royals series, which begins with this novel told from the perspective of Mary Tudor, the first-born daughter of Henry VIII, as her father divorced her mother to marry the bewitching Ann Boleyn (a none-too-kind stepmother). Meyer’s other Young Royals titles include books from the perspective of a young Queen Elizabeth, Ann Boleyn as an awkward middle child, maligned Marie Antoinette, and others. Meyer’s sympathetic portrayals are great jumping-off points for any reader enamored or obsessed with these historical figures.

  • The Heir and the Spare

    by Emily Albright

    A “spare” is English slang for whoever is second in line for the throne, and that’s exactly who Evie falls for upon first arriving at Oxford University. Life in the royal spotlight with Prince Edmund is dreamy yet has its share of headaches — from his family’s expectations to an unpleasant competition with the snobby aristocrat who thinks she’s more deserving of the prince’s affections. More than a pure royal soap opera, The Heir and the Spare gets really intriguing when a secret about Evie’s past surfaces.

  • One Blood Ruby

    by Melissa Marr

    Marr, author of the Wicked Lovely series, crafts a story about conflict between human and fae (or faeries) worlds that centers on Lilywhite Abernathy, heir to the throne in the Hidden Lands, but half-human: a problem in the faery world. Lily finds herself in the position of trying to broker peace between the realms, all while someone wages violent attacks on humans. This magical saga, the sequel to Marr’s Seven Black Diamonds, packs plenty of palace intrigue.

  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

    by Mackenzi Lee

    While not taking place inside any palace walls or bound by any kingdom, The Gentleman’s Guide is an 18th century romp with a kingly hero — if you like your royalty decadent, scandalous, and clever as all get-out. Monty is on a grand tour of Europe and milking the most from every second of it because he’s expected to take over the family estate when he returns. Besides enjoying every hedonistic desire, he also wants to make the most of his time with Percy, his best friend on whom he has an impossible crush. This globetrotting LBGTQ story was a Stonewall Honor book for 2017.

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