The best young adult villain romance books

Who am I?

Ever found yourself rooting for the bad guy? Well, you’re not alone. As a lifelong villain-advocate since witnessing Dorothy steal the Wicked Witch’s rightful property, I have found myself lured to the Dark Side of fiction. After all, a villain is the hero of their own story. They’re flawed, uninhibited, and authentic to the core. These factors make for compelling stories and even more compelling romances. It’s what drives good characters to embrace their “shadow selves,” and it forever inspires my imagination. I mean, what’s the point in world domination if there’s no one to share it with?

I wrote...

Insidious: The Marked Mage Chronicles

By Victoria Evers,

Book cover of Insidious: The Marked Mage Chronicles

What is my book about?

What's worse than being hunted by a devil? Discovering you've been mated to one. All I wanted was a fun night out on the town. What I got was a death warrant. As it turns out, the quaint little hamlet of Mystic Harbor, Maine houses more than sandy beaches and adorable B&B’s. Beneath the New England charm rests a deadly world where dark sorcerers, shifters, demons, and angelic hunters all vie for power—power I now possess.

I was just your average seventeen-year-old girl. Now, someone wants me dead, and someone even worse wants me alive. Hell's mystifying Crown Prince of Lust has just marked me to be his Mate, and this handsome devil won't stop until he claims what is his.

The books I picked & why

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The Shadows Between Us

By Tricia Levenseller,

Book cover of The Shadows Between Us

Why this book?

We’ve all heard a tale or two about a charming, ruthless cutthroat willing to do whatever is necessary to take the throne, be it through political intrigue, seduction, and even murder. The twist here? While 99.9% of these romances have a male sitting in the villain’s seat, The Shadows Between Us delivers a refreshing take by introducing us to femme fatale Alessandra. Not only that, but she’s the protagonist! If you’re looking to sink your teeth into something deliciously wicked, then look no further, because you will be treated to every devilish inner monologue and scheme as Alessandra plots to marry and kill the Shadow King.

A Court of Mist and Fury

By Sarah J. Maas,

Book cover of A Court of Mist and Fury

Why this book?

Taking place in a world of humans and Fae, the first book in this series is exceptional with its retelling of Beauty & the Beast. Most readers, however, will tell you the real magic begins in this second installment. Paying homage to the tale of Hades & Persephone, protagonist Feyre finds herself indebted to spend one week every month with the villainous High Lord of the Night Court, Rhysand. Even worse, this handsome High Lord decides to start this bargain on the day of Feyre’s wedding…as she’s literally walking down the aisle. Talk about bad timing. Or is it? Feyre may just learn that there’s more to this angel-faced villain than she was led to believe.

Endless Knight

By Kresley Cole,

Book cover of Endless Knight

Why this book?

Action, romance, the apocalypse, all rolled into a tale of reincarnation with a Hunger Games twist. Intrigued? You should be. After The Flash (an event that rids the planet of most water and life), the remaining survivors have more to fear than starvation and thirst. As it turns out, the characters on tarot cards actually exist, and these magically gifted individuals must compete in a match to the death until only one is left standing. The story centers around Evie, who learns she is the Empress, as she’s hunted down by the game’s most lethal player, Death. Evie may not remember her past lives, but Death certainly does, especially the part where the two were once married…and she may have tried murdering him. All's fair in love and war, right?   

Shatter Me

By Tahereh Mafi,

Book cover of Shatter Me

Why this book?

Romance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “dystopian YA meets X-Men, but don’t be fooled, especially when the villain runs part of the corrupt government and just so happens to be obsessed with our main character. After the United States has been taken over by the nefarious Resistance, protagonist Juliette hasn’t had things easy. Abandoned by her parents, locked away in an asylum, and cursed with an ability that will kill people with her very touch, she at last discovers hope and a blossoming romance with your run-of-the-mill “good guy,” Adam. But it’s the third corner of this love triangle, Warner, who will reshape Juliette’s life and leave fans begging for more.  

Shadow and Bone

By Leigh Bardugo,

Book cover of Shadow and Bone

Why this book?

We all know the story: good girl meets bad boy (who wants to shroud the world in darkness to obtain world domination). No? Not ringing a bell? Well, you don’t get much more villainous than that, but the man at the helm is just as enticing as he is dastardly. This fantasy world, inspired in part by 19th-century Russia, follows soldier Alina Starkov as she enters the Shadow Fold—an unnatural expanse of shadows that contains nightmarish creatures who threaten to kill all who enter. This ungodly realm has quite literally split her country in half, and there is no hope in banishing it. That is, until Alina is attacked in the Fold, where her dormant sun-summoning magic is awakened. She could very well be the key to destroying the Shadow Fold…but not if our villain has anything to say about it.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in curses, romantic love, and magic-supernatural?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about curses, romantic love, and magic-supernatural.

Curses Explore 44 books about curses
Romantic Love Explore 368 books about romantic love
Magic-Supernatural Explore 322 books about magic-supernatural

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Force of Fire, Follow Me to Ground, and The Young Elites if you like this list.