It’s Bastille Day, the anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution and the national day of France. Every year, millions of people all over France celebrate their revolution overthrowing the monarchy with parades and fireworks, a lot like the American Fourth of July. Revolutions are pretty familiar to most avid readers, and YA fiction especially tends to focus on overthrowing corrupt governments. Here are a few of these revolutionary books for you to enjoy, from popular favorites to some that deserve much more love!
1. Belle Révolte by Linsey Miller
This book makes the top of our list to tie in to Bastille Day: set in a magical world based on revolutionary France, Belle Révolte tells the story of a noble girl and a commoner that agree to switch places to achieve their dreams. The strict social class system in their society makes life for Emilie and Annette difficult until they find themselves involved in a dangerous revolution. This book has queer representation, an intricate and unique magic system, and is a great example of political revolution in YA fantasy.
2. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
In Orïsha, magic is illegal. Years ago, the king killed all the maji, including the main character Zelie’s mother. Zelie struggles to control her powers, all while taking the one chance she has to fight the monarchy and outrun the ruthless crown prince. Children of Blood and Bone is widely praised for its setting and magic system, moving away from only setting fantasy stories in European-inspired worlds, and the magic and characters of this book will definitely capture your imagination.
3. The Divergent series by Veronica Roth
Set in the future, where society has become strictly separated into five factions, teenagers choose a faction at sixteen and train hard to be accepted. Tris Prior chooses Dauntless, who value bravery – but also learns she is Divergent, suited for multiple factions, and unlikely to ever fit in. When she figures out a plot to eliminate all Divergents, Tris has to break out of her new life and rebel, along with the mysterious Four. The rest of the series explores just why their society has become like this and what they can do about it. Divergent was really popular at the height of the YA dystopia trend of the 2010s, and it’s always good to revisit an old favorite.
4. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
Speaking of old favorites, arguably the most popular and influential book in the trend of YA protagonists overthrowing corrupt governments is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. When Katniss volunteers to fight to the death against other teenagers instead of her sister, it kicks off a chain of events that leads to her becoming the symbol of the revolution. The dystopian government of future North America, Panem, is one of the most brutal regimes in YA fiction, and The Hunger Games series asks questions about revolution, violence, and justice that are still super relevant today.
5. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
In the Martial Empire, the Emperor rules with an iron fist, and the Masks are his terrifying enforcers. Laia and her family live as part of the poor and oppressed Scholar class, and when her brother is arrested for being a rebel spy, she seeks out the help of the rebellion to find him. On her quest to find her brother, Laia ends up at the Blackcliff academy for the Masks, where she meets a student named Elias, who is looking for a way out. Together, they and the rebellion might stand a chance. An Ember in the Ashes and its sequel, A Torch Against the Night, are both set in a harsh society based on the Roman Empire, where the main characters fight to make things right.
6. The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
Calaena is an assassin, summoned to the king’s castle to compete in a competition that would end her imprisonment for good. But when her competitors start dying one by one in the castle of glass, Calaena has to fight to survive. Throughout the rest of the Throne of Glass series, she’ll discover more about the kingdom she’s forced to serve and who she really is. Throne of Glass is very popular, and it’s not hard to see why; it’s a dark, high-fantasy take on YA dystopia that’s definitely hard to put down.
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