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When Girls Go Undercover: 5 YA Fantasy Reads Where the Woman is Disguised as a Man

As a young girl whose first movie in a theater was Mulan, is it really any surprise that I’m a huge fan of the girl pretending to be a boy trope? There’s just something about the tension of if (truly when, after all, it wouldn’t be so much fun if they never get busted) they will have their secret identity revealed.

While a strong female heroine is a common trope, sometimes the impact they will have on their world is hindered by their gender. Occasionally, to get things done she needs to don a disguise, bend the rules a little and kick some butt as her almost alter ego-self.

Throw in the love interest almost discovering that this companion of theirs is in fact a woman and you have one of the most fun and often sassy reads out there!

People lived because she killed. People died because he lived.

Zafira’s alter ego as the Hunter is gaining fame and recognition as the hero of the people. Nasir is the bloodthirsty king’s son who takes out those who defy his father. When they meet on a mission to find an ancient artifact that will restore magic to the land, her identity is at risk. After all, Nasir was just assigned the task of assassinating the Hunter.

This book picks up steam the further you get into it and by the end, you don't want to put it down. It is a bit description-heavy, but the worldbuilding and character development will absolutely suck you in. There's a glossary at the end that helps fill in the blanks if you ever forget details and did I mention the yummy food? Don't read this on an empty stomach. I warned you.

Maia Tamarin’s dream is to become a tailor. Only she’s a woman which means she is meant for a life of wife and motherhood and nothing else. Opportunity strikes when her ailing father, who had been an infamous tailor, is summoned to compete to make dresses for the emperor's soon-to-be bride. Disguised as a man, she competes against 12 others and fights to make her dream a reality.

What do you get when you combine Mulan, Aladdin, and Project Runway? One of the most fun and fast-paced books I've read in quite a while.

Sleeping Beauty’s daughter knows the cost of magic. Her mother had sacrificed herself to give Aurora magic. Aurora herself would never feel romantic love. Prince Niklaas must defy his brothers fate and convince a princess to marry him by his 18th birthday. Only one problem, when they meet she is disguised as her bother.

Even if you aren't a fan of Sleeping Beauty retellings, this book is definitely worth a try. It's light-hearted, has stubborn characters, and that banter... absolute perfection.

Eon has been training to be a dragoneye apprentice. When the opportunity arises, one thing threatens his success. Eon is in fact Eona and it’s a death sentence for a woman to use dragoneye magic.

An Asian-based fantasy world, transgender and physically disabled sidekicks, and strong feminism themes make this a truly unique world to dive into.

To avoid the fate of every woman in kingdom, being sent to the breeding houses, Alexa cuts her hair and hides her identity. Trained to be a swordsman (swordswoman?) by her father, Alexa and her twin brother earn a spot on the prince’s guard. She’s kidnapped along with another guard and the prince by a powerful sorcerer, putting her secret at risk. Can she handle the backlash from her gender being discovered and save both herself and her kingdom?

If you are looking for a character-driven almost love triangle fantasy book this one is definitely for you! While the romance is definitely at the forefront of this book, the worldbuilding is action-packed and magical.


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