Book List

The 15 Secret Princesses of YA

April 25, 2017
Amy Beaudoin
Riveted Editorial Board

Have you ever been minding your own business when suddenly an extremely handsome but incredibly brusque man comes up to you and says “you’re the lost princess of Awesomelandia, and I, as captain of the royal guard, must keep you safe from your enemies?” No?

Well, obviously it happens because there are TONS of wait-what-do-you-mean-I’m-the-lost-princess stories out there, especially in YA books. Sometimes the protagonist knows she’s a princess and she’s hiding out for her own safety, sometimes she has no idea she’s had a great secret her whole life, but almost always she ends up in that palace with that crown on her head! And what better time to celebrate these secret princesses than during Princess Week?

Since I’ve yet to get the news that I’m a secret princess, I’m ok with living vicariously through these lucky heroines. Check out this list and let me know if you like it or if I’ve missed any of your favorite secret princesses!

There may be some spoilers ahead!

BONUS: in honor of Princess Week, feel free to read Anastasia and Her Sisters by Carolyn Meyer and Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix for free until May 8th!

The Storyspinnerby Becky Wallace

A classic tale of “hidden in plain sight,” Johanna was raised to be a storyspinner and acrobat in a circus, until her father’s death gets her banished from her troupe and her new job working for a duke puts Johanna in the middle of some nasty political dealings.

Snow Like Ashesby Sara Raasch

It’s the ol’ switcheroo in this one; as the Kingdom of Winter is invaded by the evil King of Spring, the Winter queen switches her child with that of her most loyal soldier’s, so no one will ever find the real, magical ruler of Winter…yeah, that wasn’t set up to backfire AT ALL.

Throne of Glassby Sarah J. Maas

Magic has vanished and the Fae kingdom has fallen, nearly all its subjects dead or in hiding, including, rumors say, the princess Aelin Galathynius. Or she could have been training to be a world-renowned assassin. You know, just living life.

The Iron Kingby Julie Kagawa

Everything in Meghan’s life was just fine until her little brother was kidnapped by faeries and she was whisked away to the Summerlands because, as it turns out, her real father is the Summer King of all faeries. Caught in the middle of a three-sided war between Summer fae, Winter fae, and a new breed of Iron fae, Meghan’s royal pains are just getting started.

The Kiss of Deceptionby Mary E. Pearson

Princess Lia despises the idea of her destiny, of being married off as a “prize” for some foreign prince. So she runs away to hide in a distant village and becomes just another citizen, never suspecting her prince (and a few other shady characters) might have come looking for her.

The Princess Diariesby Meg Cabot

Mia’s dad is the prince of Genovia, but as it turns out, he can’t have any more children, so the heir to the Genovian throne is his only daughter from his first marriage. But Mia is a Manhattan girl through-and-through -she’s not excited about her royal news, to say the least.

Ruinedby Amy Tintera

Once the shame of her family, Em’s lack of magical powers is exactly what saves her from death or torture at the hands of the enemy kingdom invading her homeland. Desperate to find her sister and exact revenge for her people, Em masquerades as another rival princess to marry into the enemy family and position herself in the perfect position to avenge her kingdom.

Palace of Mirrorsby Margaret Peterson Haddix

Cecilia is the true princess of the kingdom, hiding as a peasant until the evil forces that killed the king and queen have been vanquished, and a decoy has been placed on the throne to keep Cecilia safe. Now she is ready to become the ruler she was born to be; the only problem is, Desmia the decoy wholly believes that she really is the princess!

Cinderby Marissa Meyer

This sci-fi twist on the Cinderella fairy tale features an evil moon queen desperate to make sure her niece, and the rightful heir of the Lunar throne, doesn’t resurface after the assassination attempt fifteen years ago, especially when she turns out to be a cyborg catching the attention of the prince of New Beijing!

Midnight Pearlsby Debbie Viguie

A fisherman finds a baby in the middle of the ocean in a storm, and takes her home, names her Pearl, and raises her. Sixteen years later two strangers, one blind, one mute, both seemingly unaccustomed to land-living, come searching for the missing princess to their mermaid kingdom, having been stolen from them by an evil sea witch.

The Orphan Queenby Jodi Meadows

A popular theme in this list, hiding in plain sight: when her kingdom is overtaken by rivals, princess Wilhelmina must become a spy and sneak back into the palace to discover a way of retaking her homeland -without the enemy knowing she is the rightful queen.

The Impostor Queenby Sarah Fine

The big secret in these books is that Ellie’s not actually the queen, it’s this OTHER girl, Ansa! But Ansa doesn’t really want to be queen, and since Ellie doesn’t get the queen’s magic, she can’t have the job…hmmm, wonder how they’ll figure this one out? Check out the series.

Queen of the Tearlingby Erika Johansen

In hiding since her mother’s death, Kelsea’s journey to becoming a formidable ruler of the Tearling is long and arduous, as she’s not always sure her guard knows what’s best for her, or how best to compete against the Red Queen hell-bent on conquering Kelsea’s people.

The Looking Glass Warsby Frank Beddor

When her aunt Redd overtakes the Wonderland throne, Alyss Heart must flee into the cold and cruel world of Victorian England, where she is told over and over again that she is mad for her delusions of mushroom forests and card soldiers. She almost can’t believe it herself when her loyal bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, finally finds her to bring the Queen of Wonderland back to her kingdom.

Red Queenby Victoria Aveyard

Finally, a story where the princess ISN’T actually royalty. The Silver-blooded aristocracy thinks only they can have special powers, so when Red-blooded Mare shows a rare and destructive ability, they try to pass her off as a long-lost daughter to dead Silver royalty …but not everyone is buying this story, and that’s definitely not good for Mare.