There’s Something About Villains: YA Baddies We Can’t Resist

Favorite YA villains

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By Lizzy Hosty

What’s better than a ‘bad guy’ that you can’t help but love? To celebrate the release of All of Us Villains, a dark fantasy with no shortage of wickedness, we’re taking a look at some of our favorite baddies in YA. From iconic characters such as Cruella and Lady Tremaine to a generation of brand new evil-doers, here’s a list of villains even the most virtuous of readers can’t resist.

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All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

Every time the Blood Moon rises, seven families in the remote city of Ilvernath each name a champion to compete in a tournament to the death. The villainous Lowe family has won almost every tournament, but this year, after a salacious tell-all is released, the champions get access to new information, new means to win, and a chance to rewrite their story.


The Midnight star

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

Following the events of The Young Elites and The Rose Society, The Midnight Star focuses on Adelina Amouteru and her descent into the darkness. After becoming the White Wolf, Adelina turns her back on those who betrayed her and focuses solely on each new conquest. Suddenly a new danger appears, and Adelina and the Roses have to accept a tentative alliance with the Daggers, which might be the real danger.


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A Neon Darkness by Lauren Shippen

From a young age, Robert Gorman has learned that he can make whoever is around him want what he wants. One day when he wants to be alone, his parents disappear forever. Now Robert is in Los Angeles, and he knows it will be different this time. He’s discovered a group of people with powers like him that call themselves the Unusuals – led by a tall figure who is immune to all their powers – and they rename him Damien. In order to stay in this new family, he has to learn to control his powers, but he’s not sure control is a sacrifice he’s willing to make.

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Because You Love to Hate Me edited by Amerie

With stories by thirteen best-selling authors, each story in this anthology puts a new spin on the villains of classic stories, such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Medusa, and Lancelot. We’ve all seen and read about these villains acts of vengeance but this collection shows us the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that brought them to this point.


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Hello, Cruel Heart by Maureen Johnson

Inspired by the new Cruella movie, Hello, Cruel Heart follows 16 year old Estella who dreams of being a fashion designer, but has to focus on survival by thieving with her new friends Horace and Jasper. After meeting two young scions of high society, Estella’s days become filled with partying, flirting with a rock star, and buying cutting-edge fashion. Soon, Estella has to face the true cost of keeping up with the fast crowd – and whether it’s a cost she’s willing to pay.


Heartless coverHeartless by Marissa Meyer

Wonderland’s biggest villain, the Queen of Hearts, was once a young girl who wanted to open a bakery with her best friend. After catching the eye of the unmarried King of Hearts, her mother decides such a goal was unthinkable for the next queen. Catherine meets a handsome and mysterious court joker, Jest, and Cath’s determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms, but fate has other plans.


Cold Hearted coverCold Hearted by Serena Valentino

The latest novel in the Villains series follows the backstory of Sleeping Beauty’s Lady Tremaine. Before the glass slipper, before she made a fatherless child a servant, there was another story of love and grief, of hopes and dreams dashed. Even the cruellest of villains are wives and mothers who wished for something better with their lives – once upon a dream.