Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
16-year-old Astrid Llewelyn's mother had always told her daughter that real unicorns are not flying, sparkley, pinkish-purple fairy-tale beasts, but rather murderous, poisonous monsters (now extinct) that could only be killed by virgin girls like Astrid.
Of course, Astrid's mom was a complete kook.
That's what Astrid thought, anyhow, until the night when her boyfriend got himself gored by a murderous, poisonous monster with a single horn growing out of its head.
Sent to Rome against her will to train with other virgin huntresses against the re-emerging threat of bloodthirsty unicorns, Astrid learns about magic, romance, and her family's history...and learns some interesting stuff about her mother, as well.
A strong narrative voice and some excellent butt-kicking battle scenes, interspersed with scenes of sexual questioning, including the role of virginity, the definition of rape, and the power of love.
No cussing, a fair amount of blood spilled in battle, no sex on-page, and lots of kissing and sexual longings. For readers tired of vampires and zombies, this is a natural next choice. Recommended for ages 12 to adult.