Romantic fiction and historical fantasy for teens

There’s the phenomenally successful Twilight Saga series

With The Girl of Fire and Thorns” by Rae Carson “Carson debuts with a smart, complex fantasy with stellar characters, first in a planned trilogy. Even though she bears the mysterious and rare Godstone, 16-year-old Princess Elisa has been a disappointment to her family and country. Plain, overweight, and unmotivated, she is content to wed a handsome neighboring king to cement an alliance. After an arduous journey to her new home, Elisa arrives to find that her husband wants to keep their status hidden. But there are more pressing concerns—the enemy is preparing to invade, and Elisa is kidnapped. As she is thrust into a fight for survival on the borders of her new kingdom, Elisa is hunted by dark magicians and must piece together clues to fulfill her divine decree. Elisa is a sensational heroine, striving to fulfill her potential under perilous circumstances, while realistically growing in resourcefulness, inner strength, and intelligence. The odd nature of the Godstone (which is embedded in Elisa’s stomach) may occasionally pull some readers out of the story, but Carson’s mature writing style, thoughtful storytelling, appealing characters, and surprising twists add up to a page-turner with broad appeal. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)

“With The Girl of Fire and Thorns”, Carson joins the ranks of writers like Kristin Cashore, Megan Whalen Turner, and Tamora Pierce as one of YA’s best writers of high fantasy.”” 

Poison Diaries” and the sequel “Poison Diaries: Nightshade” by Mary Rose Wood, are among the most inventive books I have ever read. Romance and coming-of-age fiction set in a high-fantasy Gothic setting with shades of Wuthering Heights where the protagonist can hear the voices of the plant world.


Cassandra Clare has two intertwined series, The Mortal Instruments and the Clockwork series. The Mortal Instruments is set in modern times and is more like Twilight than Clockwork, with a girl mooning over a boy.

Both stories are about the Nephilim, who are charged with the blood of angels to fight evil beings. Of course there is political intrigue within them.

The Clockwork series is more baby-steampunk and although there are a couple of kisses in the series and as in The Mortal Instruments there is a love triangle but overall it is much more chaste. There are some adults who engage in off-page sexual behaviour but they get punished for their sins.

It’s a personal decision of course, but I would rather my imaginary teen read Clockwork than Twilight!


PS. If you are looking for an engaging, slightly romantic but chaste YA series in a dystopian world with an awesome strong heroine, Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules comes out next week. Best YA book I’ve read since Divergent by Veronica Roth.

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