I’ve been reading a whole bunch of books lately with feminist over and undertones and it’s really gotten me in the mood to blog about my favourite empowered books! This list focuses more on books that deal with rape culture, sexism, etc in a high school setting, because those are the stories I most identify with, but because I can’t go a post without fangirling, I also included a whole bucket load of honourable mentions ft. badass ladies, matriarchies, forward thinkers and destroyers of harmful gender roles!
The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
I only recently finished reading this, after months of scouring every bookshelf in the shops looking for it. I’d been hyped up on reading this for months when I discovered my school library had just gotten in a new order of books, and this one was on it! It ended up being everything I thought it would be and more! Dealing with rape culture, sexism, and high school gender stereotypes, this book hit really close to home and made for quite the emotional roller coaster for me! And I loved the characters so much. Not only were they diverse, fleshed out really well and with clear cut motivations, I felt like I could have fit right in with them!
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
I read this one awhile ago, but I haven’t forgotten how much I loved it! Moxie was one of the first feminist books that I read, and reading about an ordinary girl starting a girl power revolution within her school was really empowering and inspiring. I haven’t been able to get enough of these kinds of stories since!
Vigilante by Kady Cross
Vigilante was the first book that made me angry. Nothing gets a feminist angry like rape culture, right? It’s a rare day that I get emotional when I read ( I’m more robot than human when it comes to handling emotions, generally ), but throughout this book I was absolutely livid. My heart went out to Magda, and when Hadley donned the pink ski mask in order to get revenge for her friend, I imagined myself doing the same, standing beside her as she avenged the memory of her friend. It was such a powerful story, and reading about girls coming together to dismantle rape culture in their community gave me hope for this community and this world.
It Only Happens In The Movies by Holly Bourne
Cliches. I discussed them at length in my past post, and how I currently sit on the fence between loving and hating them. Today I’m leaning more towards hate, I think, because I am utterly sick of the guy always getting the girl. He cheats on her with his ex? No worries, a proclamation of love and suddenly its water under the bridge. He interrupts her while she’s explaining why she’s upset and angry by shoving his tongue down her throat? Wow how romantic. He definitely cares about her feelings, and takes the time to listen to what she has to say, doesn’t he? But I’m getting off topic. It Only Happens In The Movies was everything I needed in a book. ( spoiler alert: he didn’t get the girl! She stood her ground, and did what was really best for her, instead of squashing her feelings and insecurities down in order to accommodate for what he wanted )
The Exact Opposite Of Okay by Laura Stevens
I loved this book. So much so that I don’t know how to begin describing everything I felt while reading it. The Exact Opposite Of Okay completely decimated victim blaming, slut shaming and “the friend zone” which I loved! The book’s protagonist Izzy was a breath of fresh air, and exactly the kind of character every teenage girl needs to read about. Laura Stevens wrote a really powerful story that manages to discuss a lot of heavy topics while still maintaining that light and fluffy feeling of a ya contemporary.
Below are a whole bunch of honourable mentions that I couldn’t bring myself to leave out! They might not have a specific focus on feminism, but their characters certainly embody all the best qualities this social justice movement has to offer, as far as I’m concerned!
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
I read Warbringer shortly after I saw Wonder Woman the movie for the first time. ( but literally, Patty Jenkins is a godsend, and I’m so excited for the sequel; Wonder Woman ’84! ) Typically novelisations of movies, and books based around movie characters don’t thrill me, but Wonder Woman: Warbringer really impressed me! Not only does it contain an amazing cast of characters and plenty of action, the writing was super sophisticated ( it’s Leigh Bardugo though so, I mean, come on ) and I loved seeing the world through Diana’s fresh perspective!
The Alanna Quartet by Tamora Pierce
I love stories with knights, magic, court intrigue – basically the whole King Arthur, sword in the stone, knights of the round table idea – and this series is what started it all! The Alanna Quartet is a super fun series full of secrets, magic, friendship, love, and not to mention a female protagonist sticking it to all the men who think women are the weaker sex ( well, kind of at least. Alanna sorta pretends to be a boy called Alan for the first two books . . ) But anyway, I love love love this series and am always empowered to kick some butt after reading!
Throne Of Glass Series by Sarah J Maas
Sarah J Mass is brilliant at writing complex female characters, so it should come as no surprise that the TOG series makes this list. Between Aelin, Lysandra, Nehemia, Kaltain, Elide, Manon, the Thirteen, etc. – I couldn’t seriously spent all day listing the characters, but for the sake of finishing this post I’ll stop here – there’s almost too much girl power to choose from! ( Kidding! You can never have too much girl power. ) I really liked reading about female characters that were allowed love shopping and have bubble baths, but also deadly with a blade. We’re not always one or the other, you know?
Queens Of Geek by Jen Wilde
This book is so geeky and I absolutely love that about it! Charlie, Taylor and I are practically kindred spirits and I lived vicariously through them as they explored SupaCon and rebelled in all the nerd culture. The characters were diverse, the friendships we see throughout were realistic and admirable, and there was a super cute girlxgirl romance! Queens Of Geek is one of my favourite reads of September so far!
So that’s all my fiercely feminist reads for you ( it’s so short, which is kind of embarrassing but I’m on the hunt for more! ) and I would love some recommendations!
What are some feminist books that you’ve read? Did you like any of the ones I mentioned here? I am definitely down for talking about books full of feminism and girl power with you!