The young adult fantasy romance genre is massively popular among readers of all ages. It satisfies the need for a central love story, whether there is a triangle or one love interest. In addition, it’s set in a world entirely unlike our own, with fantastical creatures and often magical elements.
The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller displays all these elements while adding in court intrigue. With the protagonist embarking on a mission to marry the king, kill him, and take the kingdom for her own, it’s an excellent twist for her to begin losing her heart to him instead.
If you’ve read this book or enjoy fantasy romance, we’ve got an awesome list of 20 similar young adult books. There’s something on this list for everyone, with several different fantasy elements but never short on romance.
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Princess Lira is the fiercest siren of the seas, known among her people for her extensive collection of princes’ hearts. Her mother, the Sea Queen, harshly punishes her with a challenge attached. Lira must take the heart of the prince feared for his siren-killing abilities, but she must do it as a human.
Prince Elian feels his calling is to rid the world of every siren to make the seas safe once again. When he pulls Lira from the ocean in her human form, he must decide whether to trust her story that she has the key to ending siren-kind forever or remain suspicious.
To Kill a Kingdom is not your average retelling of The Little Mermaid; however, it is captivating from the start.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
It’s been ten years since Jude and her sisters were stolen away to live in Faerie following the murder of her parents. She’s come to love the High Court and wants nothing more than to belong fully, but many of the Fae cannot stand humankind, especially the youngest prince, Cardan.
In The Cruel Prince, you’ll experience everything from castle intrigues to dangerous alliances. There’s also a heavy dose of slow-burn romance that will keep you up late into the night, turning the pages.
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
The Wrath and the Dawn follows the story of Shahrzad as she attempts to take revenge on the young ruler of her people. Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan, marries a new girl each night. The problem? She’s executed the next morning. Shahrzad’s best friend was one of those unfortunate girls.
She concocts a plan to take revenge for her friend and all the other girls by volunteering to be a bride. She never expects she’ll fall in love with Khalid in the process. Shahrzad quickly finds that he’s not quite what he seems, and neither are all the deaths.
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Pirate Captain Alosa is on a mission to retrieve something of great value. To accomplish this feat, she allows herself to be captured to infiltrate the ranks of her enemies. The hapless crew is no match for her superior skills, and she easily makes her way through their ship.
However, she faces one difficulty: the attractive first mate, Riden. But even he will find he can’t outwit Alosa. Daughter of the Pirate King blends a little bit of everything into the story, including romance and magic.
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
The Darkest Part of the Forest is the tale of Hazel and her brother Ben. The pair live in Fairfold side by side with the Fae, and within the forest lies a coffin that entombs a boy with horns. Hazel and Ben have told each other thousands of stories about the boy waking up and how they would be his knights.
While Hazel grew up and put the stories of her childhood behind her, she gave up all expectations that the boy would ever wake. Then one day, he did, and she became the knight she always pretended she was.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
A story of star-crossed lovers, Daughter of Smoke and Bone will give you a taste of hope, joy, and gut-wrenching sorrow. It begins with Karou in Prague, where she lives as normally as possible with half a memory of her identity.
Then one night, in a dark alley, she meets Akiva, and it all comes rushing back to her. With the knowledge soon comes an incredible betrayal that will knock Karou off her feet. This first installment of a powerful trilogy introduces the concept of uniting in love to change the world.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Laia lives in a brutal world very similar to ancient Rome. She and her family struggle to make a living in the impoverished streets of the Empire, following all the rules in fear of what could happen if they step out of line.
Her brother is arrested for treason one day, and her life is turned upside down. She becomes a spy for a group of rebels in exchange for their help. She meets the Empire’s finest soldier, Elias, on her mission to infiltrate the military academy ranks.
With their destinies intertwined, the two realize their choices can impact the fate of the entire Empire in An Ember in the Ashes.
Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Eelyn is a warrior devoted to her tribe’s never-ending battle against the Riki tribe. She lives a simple life of battling for survival. One day, amid one of these skirmishes, she observes the unthinkable – her brother fighting alongside the Riki. The most confusing part of this betrayal is that she watched him die five years ago.
Forced into spending the winter with the Riki, she’s thrust into a situation where she must trust her brother’s friend, Fiske. However, he sees her as nothing but a threat, making their interactions uncomfortable at best.
The two must face the challenge of uniting the clans against a threat once considered a mere legend. Sky in the Deep delivers a gripping story and an unexpected love story.
Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber
Evangeline is desperate. Her happily ever after is slipping away as her true love prepares to marry another. She strikes a bargain with the charismatic and wicked Prince of Hearts. It seems simple enough. All he wants in return for his assistance is three kisses that will be collected when and where he chooses.
Once she delivers the first promised kiss, Evangeline realizes that dealing with an immortal can be much more than one bargains for. The Prince of Hearts wants significantly more from her than what she’s pledged. Will Evangeline get her happily ever after in Once Upon a Broken Heart?
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
A fantastic retelling of the traditional Beauty and the Beast story in modern times, A Curse So Dark and Lonely tells the tale of Prince Rhen, cursed to repeat autumn in his eighteenth year forever. The only way to break the curse is for a girl to fall in love with him.
All Harper has left is her brother. Her father left them, and her mother passed away, leaving them to fend for themselves. One day she attempts to help someone on the street and is sucked into Rhen’s world.
Rhen and Harper’s fates become intertwined, and it will take more than simply breaking the curse to save the pair and Rhen’s suffering kingdom.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Caraval begins the adventure of Scarlett, a girl who has never before left the tiny island where she was raised. She has always lived with her sister Tella and their cruel father. Upon learning of her arranged marriage, she becomes distraught, fearing she will never get to attend the Caraval. That is until her invitation arrives.
Tella helps Scarlett get to the Caraval, only to be kidnapped by the organizer, Legend. She is to be the show’s central figure this year, with the audience trying to find her. Scarlett has been led to believe that what happens at Caraval is simply fantasy but embarks on a quest to find her sister before she disappears, never to be seen again.
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Elisabeth has been brought up with the belief that all sorcerers are innately evil. As a foundling in a Great Library, she’s been around sorcery tools for as long as she can remember.
Someone releases the most dangerous grimoire, and Elisabeth is connected to the crime. She has no one else to turn to besides her sworn enemy, Nathaniel Thorn, the sorcerer.
Elisabeth begins questioning every belief she has held about sorcerers and herself as their alliance evolves. As time passes, she realizes she holds a great power within herself and will discover a truth about herself that she never expected in Sorcery of Thorns.
Kingdom of the Wicked by Keri Maniscalco
In Kingdom of the Wicked, Emilia has sworn to find and seek vengeance on her sister Vittoria’s killer. As a witch, she has untold powers at her disposal, including the dark magic forbidden from use.
Wrath, a Wicked-prince of Hell, appears and says their goals are the same. He claims he is on a mission to find the killer of the women on the island. Emilia has long been warned against these princes, and nothing is as it seems when it comes to dealing with them.
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
In a stunning tale of forbidden love, a witch and witch hunter are bound in marriage. Louise le Blanc fled from her coven, taking shelter in Cesarine. She has forsaken all magic and hides who she is, as witches are hunted and burned within the city.
Reid Diggory is a huntsman for the Church, and he proudly believes that all witches must die. Through a stunt pulled by Lou, the two end up married, and she begins developing feelings she cannot ignore.
Serpent & Dove is the start of a stunning fantasy trilogy that encompasses everything from an intricate magic system to a searing romance.
Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
Jase has just become the new leader of the Ballenger empire following his father’s death. Nearby kingdoms have, as a rule, bowed to this outlaw family. However, there’s a new queen in town, and she’s become the target of the dynasty’s resentment and anger.
Kazi, a former street thief, has been sent by the new queen to investigate transgressions against new settlements. When she arrives in the Ballenger lands, she slowly learns there’s more to Jase than what appears on the outside.
Through a series of unexpected events in Dance of Thieves, Jase and Kazi are thrust together. However, they continue to play a game of cat and mouse with one another, set on achieving their own secret agendas.
From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Poppy is the Maiden, selected at birth. Her life is solitary and never to be touched. She can never know pleasure. However, she would rather spend her days fighting alongside the guards, repelling the evil that destroyed her family.
Hawke joins her guard to ensure her Ascension and the worthiness of the Gods. However, she begins to have feelings for him that could mean the exact opposite.
In the distance, a forsaken kingdom is on the rise to reclaim what they believe is theirs. Poppy may lose more than her worthiness in From Blood and Ash; she may lose her entire world.
These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan
Brie cannot stand the Fae and avoids them at all costs to the point of being willing to starve. But one day, her sister was used to pay a debt to the Unseelie king. She jumps immediately into action, ready to do whatever it takes to get her back. The bargain is high – steal three relics from the Seelie court.
To enter the Seelie court, Brie pretends to be one of Prince Ronan’s potential brides. The only problem? She begins to fall for him. She seeks help from a band of Unseelie misfits to stop these feelings but again falls victim to another Fae’s charms. Their leader Finn is charismatic and challenging for her to resist.
In These Hollow Vows, Brie faces a difficult choice of who to trust with her important quest and, perhaps more importantly, her heart.
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Zafira does everything she can to help her people, including dressing as a man known as the Hunter to endure the cursed forest of the Arz. On the other hand, Nasir is known as the Prince of Death, killing all who would defy his father, the sultan. While they are both legends, neither wants to be.
Zafira sets out to recover a lost artifact to restore magic to her people and stop the spreading of the Arz. Nasir is tasked with a similar mission – he must find the artifact and destroy the Hunter.
The two soon find that the prize they seek in We Hunt the Flame may be more dangerous than anything they could have imagined.
A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair
The Goddess of Spring can’t make life grow. In fact, flowers wither at her touch. Persephone moved to New Athens to start a new life undercover as a human. It’s all going as planned until the night she chooses to play a game of cards in a nightclub.
The God of the Dead is the mastermind behind an empire of gambling. While Hades loves an exciting bet, none have caught his attention more than the one Persephone offered.
Following their game, Persephone finds herself in an impossible situation where she must bring life to the Underworld or lose her freedom. A Touch of Darkness reveals the story of a captivating and forbidden love that reimagines the original Greek myth.
Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
Wicked Saints tells a tale of forbidden romance that has the power to ultimately tip the balance between darkness and light. It revolves around a girl who speaks to the gods, a prince in danger, and a boy with something catastrophic to hide.
The three must come together to assassinate and bring about the end of a war. Their paths intertwine in a world enshrouded in a centuries-long war full of spilled blood and mysterious saints.
If you loved The Shadows Between Us, this list has several excellent options for continuing your reading journey. With all the fantasy romance available, there’s plenty of enjoyment to be had, regardless of which book you choose.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is The Shadows Between Us appropriate for a 12-year-old?
Due to the amount of violence in the book, it is better suited for readers older than 12. Parents should determine whether their child is ready for the content before they read it.
What is the genre of The Shadows Between Us?
This book falls solidly within the fantasy romance genre. It also possesses elements of court intrigue.
Does The Cruel Prince have spicy scenes?
While this book has lovely romance, there are only some passionate kissing scenes, making it a good read for the young adult audience.
Is there a love triangle in These Hollow Vows?
There is a love triangle that takes center stage in this book. It is an essential part of the story.
What is the suggested age rating for These Hollow Vows?
It is recommended that readers be at least 13 before reading this book.
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