YA Book Recommendations Inspired by the Language of Flowers in House of Roots and Ruin

Did you know that flowers have their own special meanings? It’s true! And after learning about the language of flowers in Erin A. Craig’s new book House of Roots and Ruin, we’re inspired to share these YA book recommendations paired with different flowers and their meanings (with a few quotes from the book just for fun). So pick a flower, any flower, and we’ll tell you which YA book you should read. Can’t pick just one? Then consider this a build-your-own bookish bouquet!

Alexander shifted in his chair, leaning in close over the arm, giving the illusion of a private conversation. “There’s an entire language to flowers.”
“A language?” I repeated, instantly intrigued.
“If you knew their meanings, we could have an entire conversation between us without ever having to say a word."

House of Roots and Ruin by Erin A. Craig

If you like cistaceae (a.k.a., rock-roses), we recommend reading House of Roots and Ruin by Erin A. Craig.

Flower: cistaceae

Meaning: Of this I am most certain.

We are most certain you’ll enjoy reading House of Roots and Ruin! It’s got a little bit of everything—Gothic, thriller, and fantasy elements; a doomed love story; a curse; ghosts! Not to mention all the cool and sometimes creepy facts about plants scattered throughout the story for any budding botanists and struggling plant-parents alike.

The book offered only one definition.
Cistaceae,” I said, and traced its phrase, a smile growing deep in my heart. “Of this I am most certain.”
He was certain.
I felt all of the anxieties that had spent the afternoon building within me drop away, like racing water falling over the edge of a cliff.
He was certain.

House of Roots and Ruin by Erin A. Craig
House of Roots and Ruin

House of Roots and Ruin

A modern masterpiece, this is a classic Gothic thriller-fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Erin A. Craig, about doomed love, menacing ambition, and the ghosts that haunt us forever.

In a manor by the sea, one sister is still cursed.

Despite dreams of adventures far beyond the Salann shores, seventeen-year-old Verity Thaumas has remained at her family’s estate, Highmoor, with her older sister Camille, while their sisters have scattered across Arcannia.

When their sister Mercy sends word that the Duchess of Bloem—wife of a celebrated botanist—is interested in having Verity paint a portrait of her son, Alexander, Verity jumps at the chance, but Camille won’t allow it. Forced to reveal the secret she’s kept for years, Camille tells Verity the truth one day: Verity is still seeing ghosts, she just doesn’t know it.

Stunned, Verity flees Highmoor that night and—with nowhere else to turn—makes her way to Bloem. At first, she is captivated by the lush, luxurious landscape and is quickly drawn to charming, witty, and impossibly handsome Alexander Laurent. And soon, to her surprise, a romance . . . blossoms.

But it’s not long before Verity is plagued with nightmares, and the darker side of Bloem begins to show through its sickly-sweet façade. . . .

If you like starwort (a.k.a. aster or frost flower), we recommend reading House Party edited by Justin A. Reynolds.

Flower: starwort

Meaning: To welcome a stranger

We welcome you, stranger, to read House Party edited by Justin A. Reynolds. It’s the story of the most epic house party that takes place before a group of seniors graduate, and it’s written by a host of your favorite YA authors! Consider this your formal invitation.

"Like”—he pointed toward the bouquet at the center of the table—“the bright white flowers near the top? Those are called starworts. They’re meant to welcome a stranger.”
Dauphine nodded. “I had one of the gardeners add them in once I knew you’d be joining us tonight.”

House of Roots and Ruin by Erin A. Craig
House Party

House Party

By justin a. reynolds

Coming 06.04.24

Ten bestselling, critically acclaimed authors deliver a fresh novel of interconnected stories that follows a group of young adults over the course of a few wild, transformative hours at an epic house party!

If you like heliotropes, we recommend reading Didn’t See That Coming by Jesse Q. Sutanto.

Flower: heliotropes

Meaning: devotion

We think you’ll fall for the story of budding love and devotion in Didn’t See That Coming by Jesse Q. Sutanto where two devoted video gamers finally meet IRL.

“And those purple flowers?”
“Those are heliotropes,” Gerard explained. “I picked them myself this morning, for Dauphine.” He gave her a wink.
“They’re meant to show devotion.”

House of Roots and Ruin by Erin A. Craig
Didn't See That Coming

Didn't See That Coming

A hilariously fresh and romantic send-up to You’ve Got Mail about a gamer girl with a secret identity and the online bestie she’s never met IRL until she unwittingly transfers to his school, from the bestselling author of Dial A for AuntiesThe Obsession, and Well, That Was Unexpected.

If you like Euphorbia marginata (a.k.a., snow-on-the-mountains), we recommend reading The Wicked Unseen by Gigi Griffis.

Flower: Euphorbia marginata

Meaning: tenacity

Fans of poisonous plants such as euphorbia will dig The Wicked Unseen by Gigi Giffis where a tenacious new girl in town goes deep into her town’s secrets and occult mysteries to find her missing crush.

“What does Euphorbia mean?” I whispered to Alex as I ran my finger over the cursed soup spoon. I wish I’d never even mentioned those little spangled flowers.
He patted the corner of his mouth with his napkin, hiding his response. “Tenacity.”

House of Roots and Ruin by Erin A. Craig
The Wicked Unseen

The Wicked Unseen

The new girl in town is having trouble fitting into a community that believes there’s a secret Satanic cult conducting rituals in the woods. When her crush goes missing, she starts to wonder if the town’s obsession with evil isn’t covering up something far worse. Perfect for fans of Fear Street!

If you like gardenia jasminoides (a.k.a., Cape jasmine or gardenia), we recommend reading Fake Dates and Mooncakes by Sher Lee.

Flower: gardenia jasminoides

Meaning: You are so lovely. I too am happy. Joy. A most tender love.

You’re looking for a light-hearted love story that leaves you with butterflies, so Fake Dates and Mooncakes by Sher Lee is just the book for you. It’s a joyful rom-com about a chef who starts fake-dating his handsome new customer.

I looked up the gardenia first, remembering Alex had mentioned them the night I’d first arrived at the manor.
“‘Gardenia jasminoides,’” I read aloud. It had several possible meanings. “‘You are so lovely,’” it began. “‘I too am happy, joy, a most tender love.’”
I pressed my nose to the creamy blooms, breathing in their sweet scent.

House of Roots and Ruin by Erin A. Craig
Fake Dates and Mooncakes

Fake Dates and Mooncakes

Heartstopper meets Crazy Rich Asians in this heartfelt, joyful paperback original rom-com that follows an aspiring chef who discovers the recipe for love is more complicated than it seems when he starts fake-dating a handsome new customer.

If you like nerium oleander (a.k.a. oleander), we recommend reading Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen.

Flower: nerium oleander

Meaning: distrust, warning

Oleander may look beautiful, but this poisonous shrub sends a message that appearances can be deceiving. However, Violet in Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen is well practiced in the art of lies and deception. In fact, she’s perhaps a little too good at it. Now that she’s awakened a curse, she’ll have to choose whether to use her talent for prophecy to either save herself and her kingdom, or doom them all.

I studied the artwork before me, certain there was a secret passage concealed behind it.
I brightened when I spotted the spiky leaves of an oleander plant.
Oleanders meant distrust, warning that you couldn’t always believe what your eyes told you.
With a smile, I pushed the little plaster blooms, and a hidden panel swung open.

House of Roots and Ruin by Erin A. Craig
Violet Made of Thorns

Violet Made of Thorns

A darkly enchanting fantasy about a lying witch, a cursed prince, and a sinister prophecy that ignites their doomed destinies—perfect for fans of The Cruel Prince.

“Everything you want from an enemies-to-lovers fantasy starring morally gray characters.”—BuzzFeed

If you like Dictamnus albus (a.k.a., dittany), we recommend reading Starlings by Amanda Linsmeier.

Flower: Dictamnus albus

Meaning: perfected loveliness

“Perfected loveliness” might seem like something worth aspiring to, but as Kit discovers in Starlings by Amanda Linsmeiersometimes that perfect and lovely exterior is really hiding something dark and sinister.

Already, the new duke had removed nearly every trace of snow-on-the-mountains from the grounds of Chauntilalie, heralding in the start of his reign with a bower of Dictamnus albus. The white dittany blooms were everywhere around the manor, and the new ducal motto of “Perfected Loveliness” had already been warmly received by the citizens of Bloem.

House of Roots and Ruin by Erin A. Craig


By Amanda Linsmeier

Coming 06.04.24

A dark YA fantasy debut perfect for fans of House of Hollow and Small Favors. In the wake of her father’s death, a teen girl discovers a side of her family she didn’t know existed, and is pulled into a dark—and ancient—bargain she is next in line to fulfill.

Did you enjoy these YA book recommendations inspired by the language of flowers in House of Roots and Ruin? Discover more book recommendations here and get social with us at @getunderlined!

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