100 books like Grave Mercy

By Robin LaFevers,

Here are 100 books that Grave Mercy fans have personally recommended if you like Grave Mercy. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Code Name Verity

Katherine Marsh Author Of The Lost Year: A Survival Story of the Ukrainian Famine

From my list on historical fiction to read with middle schoolers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Not only have I written six critically acclaimed novels for middle-grade readers, including three historical fictions, I am the parent of a tween and teen who is always looking for great read-alouds and read-alongs for my own family. I am a firm believer that this is a valuable way to encourage literacy and love of story as I wrote in a recent, much-discussed essay in The Atlantic. Having lived abroad, including as an exchange student and camper in the Soviet Union and for three years in Belgium, I am also a huge believer in expanding our own as well as our kids’ knowledge of history beyond our own borders, cultures, identities, and perspectives. 

Katherine's book list on historical fiction to read with middle schoolers

Katherine Marsh Why did Katherine love this book?

Elizabeth Wein’s young adult novel about female friends and aviators during World War II has a jaw-dropping twist.

But it’s also a fabulous introduction to both the larger war-time history—including in England and France--and the history of women in aviation and military/ intelligence roles.

This story is a great choice for families with girls, who get to see themselves as heroines, fighters, and adventurers—roles traditionally reserved for male protagonists.

By Elizabeth Wein,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Code Name Verity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

'I have two weeks. You'll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.'

Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, Code Name Verity is a bestselling tale of friendship and courage set against the backdrop of World War Two.

Only in wartime could a stalwart lass from Manchester rub shoulders with a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a special operations executive. When a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France, she is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in…


Book cover of True Grit

Sabrina Reeves Author Of Little Crosses

From my list on a fierce female protagonist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Boston and New York and currently live in Montreal. I have worked primarily in writing performance texts and plays. I founded the performance company Bluemouth Inc., with whom I have written and staged over a dozen works. In 2018, I completed an MFA in Creative Writing at Concordia University, where I was awarded the Dean of Arts and Sciences Award for Excellence in Creative Writing. As for my expertise in compiling this list, I am the daughter of a strong force-of-nature woman who fought for what she had and taught her kids they can get through anything as long as they have humor, music, and books.

Sabrina's book list on a fierce female protagonist

Sabrina Reeves Why did Sabrina love this book?

Fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross has got grit.

This book was recommended to me by my firefighter brother, who often reads what I call “he-man” books. The titles always have words like mutiny, bullets, gangsters, firestorm, etc. So, when he suggested I read this book, I had my reservations. (In fairness, the books he recommends consistently end up on my list of all-time favorites–I guess that’s what I get for pre-judging!) In any case, over the years, I have learned the one thing we both love in a protagonist–and now I have a name for it–is grit. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

By Charles Portis,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked True Grit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There is no knowing what lies in a man's heart. On a trip to buy ponies, Frank Ross is killed by one of his own workers. Tom Chaney shoots him down in the street for a horse, $150 cash, and two Californian gold pieces. Ross's unusually mature and single-minded fourteen-year-old daughter Mattie travels to claim his body, and finds that the authorities are doing nothing to find Chaney. Then she hears of Rooster - a man, she's told, who has grit - and convinces him to join her in a quest into dark, dangerous Indian territory to hunt Chaney down…


Book cover of Graceling

Melissa Marr Author Of The Hidden Dragon

From my list on if you want to go on a magical adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on fairy tales and folklore in the Appalachian Mountains. Stories of adventure and dusty fairy tale books in my grandmother’s attic were my entertainment. The library trips we took “into town” added to my reading. I discovered that the step from fairy tales to classics wasn’t as wide as folks argue. Years later, when I went off to college, I became an English major, then a graduate student, and then started teaching literature at college. From childhood to adulthood, magic and fiction were my life... which led to selling a book of my own. Over the last 17 years, I’ve been writing fantasy.

Melissa's book list on if you want to go on a magical adventure

Melissa Marr Why did Melissa love this book?

I loved this book since before it was published.

I gave a quote for the cover of the first printing of it, in fact. Fifteen years later, it still remains a book that can carry me away to a world where magic is not a gift but a challenge to overcome.

Kristen had a fresh idea here, but it still folded into my love of adventure and magic and finding out who we are inside.

That’s a story that will always get my attention, and the writing in this one is also lush enough to make me want to pause and re-read lines.

By Kristin Cashore,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Graceling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Discover the Graceling Realm in this unforgettable, award-winning novel from bestselling author Kristin Cashore.

A New York Times bestseller
ALA Best Book for Young Adults
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature Winner
Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal,Booklist, and BCCB Best Book of the Year

"Rageful, exhilarating, wistful in turns" (The New York Times Book Review) with "a knee weakening romance" (LA Times). Graceling is a thrilling, action-packed fantasy adventure that will resonate deeply with anyone trying to find their way in the world.

Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable-yet-strong Katsa, who is smart and beautiful and lives in the…


Book cover of The Empress of Salt and Fortune

Liza Street Author Of Blood Bounty

From my list on historical fantasy with a touch of romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an author and a lifelong lover of books, I read all genres. My favorites are set in fantastical worlds with unique settings. The mash-up of history and fantasy is endlessly compelling to me, and I always want to see a romantic subplot (or main plot!) in the books I read. I want a happily-ever-after even when the strange world and its villains are conspiring against the main characters. 

Liza's book list on historical fantasy with a touch of romance

Liza Street Why did Liza love this book?

This truly lovely historical novella is set in a fantastical version of ancient China and incorporates mythology that I’m certain I didn’t completely understand. However, the bittersweet tale, told by a former handmaiden named Rabbit to a traveling cleric, is gorgeous enough to stand without any background knowledge. This is a tale I will return to more than once, for its compelling story and nostalgic tone.

By Nghi Vo,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Empress of Salt and Fortune as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2020 Crawford Award!
Winner of the 2021 Hugo Award!
A Hugo Award-Winning Series!

A 2021 Locus Award Finalist
A 2021 Ignyte Award Finalist
A Goodreads Choice Award Finalist

"Dangerous, subtle, unexpected and familiar, angry and ferocious and hopeful... The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a remarkable accomplishment of storytelling."―NPR

A 2020 ALA Booklist Top Ten SF/F Debut | A Book Riot Must-Read Fantasy of 2020 | A Paste Most Anticipated Novel of 2020 | A Library Journal Debut of the Month | A Buzzfeed Must-Read Fantasy Novel of Spring 2020 | A Washington Post Best SFF…


Book cover of A Court of Thorns and Roses

Terry Madden Author Of Three Wells of the Sea

From my list on mythic fantasy novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been studying Celtic myth and history since I was in college and took a class on Arthurian literature. Drawing heavily from Irish and Welsh lore to build my “land beyond the veil” known as the Five Quarters, I have always been intrigued by the Celtic view of the land of the dead as a distinct world to which we go and then return, like two sides of the mirrored surface of a well. I hope you enjoy these mythic fantasy books as much as I did!

Terry's book list on mythic fantasy novels

Terry Madden Why did Terry love this book?

This inventive novel is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but what I enjoyed most about it is the portrayal of the “Fairy Folk” of myth. The Fae.

In most myths, we encounter the dark side of the Fae, the gruesome and frightening side. In modern times we have reduced these creatures to flower fairies. What I loved about this novel is that Maas sticks with the dangerous and malevolent portrayal of these immortals, and she weaves a beautiful mythic tale into their world.

By Sarah J. Maas,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Court of Thorns and Roses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Experience Feyre Archeron's journey all over again with the beautiful collector's edition of A Court of Thorns and Roses, the seductive first book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series by Sarah J. Maas, featuring a deluxe new package, an updated map, ribbon pull, and more! When nineteen-year-old Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin-one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. As she…


Book cover of The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Erica Bauermeister Author Of No Two Persons

From my list on (re)immersing you in the magic of books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been book-besotted my entire life. I've read, studied, taught, reviewed, and written books. I went to “gradual” school, as John Irving calls it, earning a PhD in literature before gradually realizing that what I really loved was writing. For me, books contain the intellectual challenge of puzzles, the fun of entertainment, the ability to fill souls. They have changed my life, and the best compliments I have received are from readers who say my books have changed theirs. I read widely and indiscriminately (as this list shows) because I believe that good books are found in all genres. But a book about books? What a glorious meta-adventure. 

Erica's book list on (re)immersing you in the magic of books

Erica Bauermeister Why did Erica love this book?

Magical doors that appear out of nowhere, a fantastical book that may not be fiction, some truly sketchy villains, a quest, and an intrepid heroine.

The author had me at fantastical book, but what I love about this novel is the world and character building, that feeling of opening the cover and being somewhere that has nothing to do with ordinary life.

And yet, there is mystery. And romance. A lost father. A daring daughter. You’ll want to race through it, but slow down at the same time, just to savor the ride.

By Alix E. Harrow,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Ten Thousand Doors of January as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A gorgeous, aching love letter to stories, storytellers, and the doors they lead us through...absolutely enchanting."—Christina Henry, bestselling author of Alice and Lost Boys

LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER! Finalist for the 2020 Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards. 

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely…


Book cover of Poison Study

Maggie Claire Author Of House of Vultures

From my list on strong characters and unpredictable plots.

Why am I passionate about this?

I get bored easily when I read a book where I can predict the plot. The two things that really set apart the original stories are world development and character complexity. You need a strong character, filled with their own eccentricities, flaws, and virtues. And you need an interesting, well-developed world in which your character can live. If you do these two things well, the story easily writes itself. If you can discover how the character thinks, acts and interacts in their world, how they seek to solve their problems and fix their flaws—that’s what makes a story worth telling…and for me, that’s the story I want to write.

Maggie's book list on strong characters and unpredictable plots

Maggie Claire Why did Maggie love this book?

This book draws you into its own, unique world right from the first page. You immediately meet the main character in unusual circumstances—not where you might expect a protagonist to be found. Yet the author does a wonderful job of slowly showing you past events that brought the character to this place, and you find yourself hoping she will find a happy ending. I love the way the author draws you into the story so that you feel like you are experiencing what the main character feels.

By Maria V. Snyder,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Poison Study as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How much is your life worth?

In the territory of Ixia the government maintains control through the Code of Behaviour, forbidding the practice of magic, but danger lurks in mysterious places...

Imprisoned for murder Yelena Zaltana's punishment is death, until she is reprieved - for a price.

As the Commander of Ixia's food taster she will risk assassination from poison daily, a position she would be a fool to refuse... In a world where magic equals death and freedom is for the lucky few, survival is all Yelena has and the battle for her life has just begun.

A CHRONICLES…


Book cover of Harriet the Spy

Annie Barrows Author Of The Best of Iggy

From my list on classic heroes with poor impulse control.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of The Best of Iggy, which is the first in a series of middle-grade books about nine-year-old Iggy Frangi, who never met an impulse he didn’t like, and therefore is often in trouble with cold, calculating types like, for instance, grownups. In Iggy’s opinion—and mine—he is creative, brave, resourceful, hardworking, and absolutely full to the brim of good intentions. He’s also really really sorry about the thing he did to his teacher. He thought it would be funny. But it wasn’t. He knows that now, and he’ll never do it again. Though he’ll probably do something else. Oh well. At least he has the following heroes for company.

Annie's book list on classic heroes with poor impulse control

Annie Barrows Why did Annie love this book?

Unlike the sensitive, bullied, internally or externally wounded protagonist common in today’s mid-grade novels, Harriet the Spy is tenacious and smart and fights fire with fire. What a hero! 

She sneaks into buildings to spy on unsuspecting grownups; she keeps a notebook to record her uncomfortably truth-filled observations of her schoolmates; and when she is ostracized because of it, she first retaliates with ferocity and then lies through her teeth, which effectively rehabilitates her.

Harriet the Spy is a refreshingly honest look at social hypocrisy, with an admirable hero who won’t back down and won’t stop being herself. If it were published now, it would probably be banned. 

By Louise Fitzhugh,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Harriet the Spy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

First published in 1974, a title in which Harriet M. Welsch, aspiring author, keeps a secret journal in which she records her thoughts about strangers and friends alike, but when her friends find the notebook with all its revelations, Harriet becomes the victim of a hate campaign.


Book cover of The Belles

Christina Bacilieri Author Of The Last Refuge

From my list on YA books that blend fantastical magic with dystopian worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been drawn to stories where characters discover the magic within and channel it to confront overwhelming odds. Dystopian fantasies meld the intricate worldbuilding of an oppressive world with a character’s unique abilities to fight back. When I was a young adult, these types of books made the most challenging moments in life manageable, not only for the escapism but for their message of hope. They reminded me I wasn’t alone and that my voice mattered. At their core, they’re made for the dreamer in all of us. They inspired me to become an author and write about the transformative power of self-discovery.

Christina's book list on YA books that blend fantastical magic with dystopian worlds

Christina Bacilieri Why did Christina love this book?

The descriptions blew me away; it was like I was really in Orléans, eating buckets of rainbow macaroons. Dhonielle Clayton’s prose envelopes your senses in this glittering world and works as a plot device to make the characters’ dark acts even more jarring.

Camellia is a Belle with the coveted power to manipulate skin and bone to transform others. Her greatest ambition is to be chosen to serve the Queen and her court, but Camellia learns the court’s splendor masks a rotten core. We follow her journey to save her fellow Belles and the kingdom.

The narrative explores the dark underbelly of a society obsessed with external beauty and the wicked lengths characters will go to possess it. In true dystopian form, this book prompted me to think deeply.

By Dhonielle Clayton,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Belles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Beauty. Power. Magic. What would you give to have it all?

The dazzling New York Times instant bestseller from the author of TINY PRETTY THINGS (coming to NETFLIX soon)

Camellia and her sisters control beauty.

They are Belles and they can make you 'perfect'.

Glossy hair, smooth skin, flawless body.

You'll feel better once it's done. The results are worth the pain.

And when they fade, the Belles will fix you all over again . . .

But it will cost you.

Are you willing to pay the price?

'Heart-pounding' Samantha Shannon, New York Times bestselling author

'Diverse' Tomi Adeyemi,…


Book cover of A Spy in the House

Kathleen Baldwin Author Of A School for Unusual Girls

From my list on secret spy schools for girls.

Why am I passionate about this?

Spy stories have always captivated me. This fascination grew after I learned that throughout history, many women worked behind the scenes as key spies. How cool is that? So, I decided to write a girls' spy school set in Jane Austen's world. Junior Library Guild said this about A School for Unusual Girls, “An outstanding alternative history series entry and a must-have for teen libraries.” Scholastic licensed the series for their school book fairs. Ian Bryce, the producer of Spiderman, Transformers, Saving Private Ryan, and other blockbusters, optioned it for film. To date, more than 600,000 copies of my award-winning historical novels are in the hands of readers around the globe.

Kathleen's book list on secret spy schools for girls

Kathleen Baldwin Why did Kathleen love this book?

I absolutely loved this series! The heroine is a young woman struggling to survive the harsh streets of Victorian England. Caught stealing, Mary Quinn is convicted and sentenced to hang. However, the Agency rescues her from the noose and provides her with an education. In return, she trains to work as an investigative agent among the upper-class society of London. These books expose the realistic darker side of that world, but if you could handle Oliver Twist, you can handle these. Lee captured the mystery and intrigue so brilliantly I could not put them down.

By Y. S. Lee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Spy in the House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

A colourful, action-packed Victorian detective novel centred around the exploits of "agent" Mary Quinn.

At a young age, Mary is rescued from the gallows by a woman masquerading as a prison warden. She is taken to Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls. The school, Mary learns, is a front for a private investigation agency and, at 17, she is taken on as an agent. In her new role she is catapulted into the family home of the Thorolds to investigate the shady business dealings of Mr Thorold.


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