Books can be an experience that engages all the senses, taking the reader on a trip somewhere new. In a society that is hyper-critical of young women, these brief escapes are treasured. Even in a book that takes the reader to somewhere fantastical or strange, there is an impact made when readers can identify, in some way, with the characters.
Fiction for young women should therefore feature an array of female protagonists as diverse and unique as the young women readers themselves. In an effort to further promote this and expand our selection of books, gathered here is a wishlist of titles that we hope to acquire, all of which are written by women and feature engaging female main characters.
If you’re looking to help out the library, these books would make great donations!
If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan (2013) Publisher: Alqonquin Young Readers
Sahar is an Iranian teen with a dangerous secret: She’s a lesbian in love with her
best friend. The society that she lives in condemns homosexuality, but embraces gender transition as a “cure”. Her story is one of passion and determination, as she decides to become a man so she can love freely.
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (2014) Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
A searing story about rumours that take on a life of their own, and the insidious harmfulness of bullying.
The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard (2014) Publisher: HarperCollins
By the author of the Pretty Little Liars series comes a murky murder mystery
revenge story, with a highlight on the strength of female friendships.
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson (2015) Publisher: David Fickling Books
A powerful tale of a transgender teenager’s struggle with
This is Not a Love Story by Keren David (2015) Publisher: Atom
Set in Amsterdam and London, this is a very modern tale of adolescent love,
dealing with identity, sexuality, racism and relationships.
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella (2015) Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Kinsella tackles the tale of a teen coping with depression and an anxiety disorder,
all with the light humour that she has become known for.
Asking For It by Louise O’Neill (2015) Publisher: Quercus UK
Considering the unfortunate culture we live in in modern society, this book is an
important and brave examination of rape culture, sexism, and victim-blaming.
The Lost and Found by Cat Clarke (2015) Publisher: Quercus
Faith Logan’s sister, Laurel, was six years old when she was abducted. Thirteen
years later, she returns home.
Girls Like Us by Gail Giles (2014) Publisher: Candlewick Press
Two special education teenagers, Quincy and Biddy, are matched by their
teacher after they graduate their high school’s program and are sent out into the
world to find jobs. Both young women find understanding in each other even as
the world tries to shut them out with prejudice.
Liberty’s Fire by Lydia Syson (2015) Publisher: Hot Key Books
A historical fiction account of doomed love during the Paris Commune of 1871.
Killer Game by Kirsty McKay (2015) Publisher: Chicken House
A thriller set at a boarding school on an isolated Welsh island,
necessitating a heroine to solve the mystery.
One by Sarah Crossan (2015) Publisher: Greenwillow Books
This book muses on friendship, solitude, love, and identity via the story of
conjoined twins. It also raises philosophical questions about surgery on conjoined
twins and the possible threat of genetic engineering.
The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna (2012) Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Eva is one of a class of clones who’ve been created to serve as replicas of real,
living beings in the event of their deaths. Eva’s journey to individuality with the
girl she’s supposed to replace is full of danger, heartbreak, and eventually
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey (2010) Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
A skillfully crafted story that features Māori mythology, romance, and betrayal.
Huntress by Malinda Lo (2011) Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Filled with action and romance, this book is also overflowing with lush Chinese
influences, details inspired by the I Ching, and a heroine who falls in love with another heroine.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (2015) Publisher: HarperTeen
Very Hunger Games-esque, and featuring an equally fierce, headstrong
Books that were published before the late 2000s are often very difficult to source from publishers. However, just because they are not brand new, it does not mean that these stories are any less important. They all carry timeless messages, and deserve their own recognition.
The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger (1974) Publisher: Puffin
This book deals with accepting ones self-image, coming into one’s own, and growing a sense of self confidence, all with a humorous tone.
Hush by Jacqueline Woodson (2000) Publisher: Speak
Toswiah and her family are forced to uproot their lives and enter witness
protection. Hush deals with police brutality and the quest to change a broken
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (2008) Publisher:
This book presents gender politics in an engaging and accessible way, as
Frankie fights against the special privileges boys have at her school.
Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper (2006) Publisher: Atheneum Books
At the age of 15, Amari becomes one of the millions of women who were
kidnapped from their homes in West Africa and forced into slavery. This is a tale
of extreme resilience and courage that does not shy away from the gravity of the historical
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle (1962) Publisher: Yearling Books
Meg is 14, frizzy-haired, with braces and a love of math. Even today girls are
conditioned by society to think that they are bad at math and science. To girls
discovering her when this book was originally published, she must have been a
marvel, and she is still as much of a revelation today.
If you have a copy of any of these titles that you would like to donate to the library, please get in touch with us via email or in person.
Read any of these books? What stories for young women do you think we should stock our shelves with? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!