P.S. I Like You
The Queen of Blood
I thought this was an interesting twist on the normal YA trope (gal has to save the empire). The kingdom is called Renthia and is ruled by a Queen, who spends her time stopping the spirits from killing people in her kingdom. Queendom is transferred via power and students attend an academy in order to seek the position.
Daleina is one of the students at the academy, she has no desire to be Queen. She does eventually team up with Ven, an exile soldier, when things start going wrong in the academy and the country.
I've read this type of genre/trope (listed above) quite a few times so I was kinda surprised when Durst went a different way for the ending than I was expecting. I don't think it was such a shock to be fair, but Durst went beyond what I was expecting. I have the other two books in the trilogy ( with some other standalones) on order.
If you had to pick a YA action-fantasy (or even a general fantasy with a lady lead), than this should be it. It's a great book. I know I said I won't do this as a full standalone, but maybe I will if the rest of the trilogy holds up.