The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley is a fantasy book set in the medieval land of Damar, where dragons, wizards, and witches lurk.
Princess Aerin, who is the only child of Arlbeth, King of Damar, is also the daughter of a woman from the north. All Demar knows the story of how the witchwoman enspelled the king into marrying her, and after having a daughter instead of a son, died of a broken heart. Because of this Aerin grows up wild: curing animals, fighting dragons, learning to fence. But now she must put her skills to the test as the Great Dragon awakes.
I would probably recommend this book to anyone 11 and up due to vivid and painful descriptions. McKinley is a wonderful author; I couldn't put this book down.