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7 YA Princesses That Aren't Damsels in Distress

Princesses get a bad rap. Too often the word “princess” conjures up the mental image of a simpering, vapid and dainty little flower in constant need of hand-holding and rescue. But princesses can slay dragons too, both literally and metaphorically. Here’s a list of seven of my recent favorite YA princesses who prove they’ll make a Damn Fine Queen someday. These ladies would never dramatically fling themselves onto their bedspread to sob about the unfairness of it all, but would instead straighten their shoulders and get to work.

the great hunt coverAerity – The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

Princess-ing isn’t all just pretty dresses and woodland creatures. Especially when one of said woodland creatures is a massive beast terrorizing/murdering the kingdom after dark. Aerity is refined, fiercely intelligent, and 110% devoted to the safety of her people, willing to go to any lengths to slay the monster… regardless of what it would mean for her own future.

empress of a thousand skies coverRhee – Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Plenty of us would consider seeing our whole royal family killed (in what was definitely NOT an accident) as an excellent excuse to hide forever. Not Rhee. She is single-mindedly determined to avenge her family and reclaim the throne that is rightfully hers, even if she has to do it all on her own. Rhee is the very definition of FEARLESS.

ttaheaAlyssa – The Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo

Fairytale-themed amusement park princesses totally count. Alyssa is such an intriguing example because she actually does start off seeming like a bit of a princess stereotype, but her evolution is the best part of this novel. When her fairytale ending implodes before her eyes, Alyssa learns to listen to her own heart and forge her own path.

daughter of the pirate king coverAlosa – Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

One might think that getting captured by the enemy would be a sign of incompetence in a pirate captain, but not in this case. Rather, being captured is an integral first step in Alosa’s brilliant plan to search the enemy ship for a piece of a legendary (and legendarily elusive) treasure map. They had no idea what they were getting into when they brought her aboard!

the valiantFallon – The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

The daughter of a strong Celtic king doesn’t exactly sit around tatting lace all day. Fallon deftly wields a sword rather than an embroidery needle, intent on following in her older sister’s footsteps to become a legendary warrior. But Fallon’s aspirations take a detour after she is captured by the enemy and sold to an elite gladiatrix training school, where she’ll first have to survive if she’s to have any hope of regaining her freedom. 

asadDelaney – Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener

Delaney is just a normal girl from Earth, but after a fateful encounter in a nightclub and subsequent kidnapping by a frustratingly hot alien, she has to impersonate a wayward alien princess in order to not be executed. But Delaney doesn’t allow her outrageous circumstance to intimidate her, and instead proves herself to be a way better friggin’ princess than the real Lissa Olena ever was.

nemesis coverSepora – Nemesis by Anna Banks

Sepora is the last Forger, able to create invaluable spectorium to provide energy for the realm. But when she discovers that her father intends to weaponize her powers and use them against other nations, she is just not having it and gets right the hell out of Dodge. Her escape doesn’t exactly go as planned, however, and she finds herself torn between helping a rival kingdom and keeping her formidable powers safely secret.

How about you, Swooners? Who are some of your favorite badass YA princesses?

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Emily S.

Swoon editor, IT girl, customer service representative, Small Council member, the-one-who-makes-the-coffee-but-mostly-just-on-Monday-and-sometimes-Thursday, etc.

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