It’s 2019 and people are still out here with nonsense about only men being strong, and rather than saying “I’m tired y’all,” I’m saying “To the books!” Specifically, the ones showcasing strong women. Here are 10 books certain to fit different reading tastes:
For fans of dystopian novels, here’s a cult on an isolated island where nothing is what it seems. And by cult, I mean it is a land of men in power and women having no rights beyond being put to the use of birthing children. But when one girl witnesses something horrifying, it leads seventeen-year-old Janey Solomon–who was already striking against becoming a woman in this society–to lead an uprising. But will they prevail?
by Megan Abbott
If you’re a crime reader and not already obsessed with Abbott, you have an excellent catalog to make your way through. Her exploration of girls' and women’s everyday lives combined with the extraordinary is *chef’s kiss.* In this novel, we have Devon Knox, an Olympic hopeful and gymnastics prodigy, and her parents, who sacrifice and dedicate everything to that dream. Then a murder is committed, and Devon’s mother finds herself trying to keep their hard work on track while also being drawn into the drama, rumors, and fallout from the crime…
Where are my historical fiction fans? Time to travel faaaaaar–Ancient Egypt, 51 B.C. Hello, family power struggle: in one corner we have Cleopatra, and in the other. we have her eleven-year-old brother, Ptolemy. Stuck in the middle is their sister Arsinoe. Who will Arsinoe side with as Rome's army siphons power from their father while his health deteriorates?
by Leni Zumas
Here’s a feels-too-close-to-home dystopian! In-vitro fertilization is banned, abortion is illegal, and embryos are afforded life, liberty, and property. We follow five women living in a small fishing town in Oregon, all struggling in different ways within the restrictive world. And then a modern-day witch hunt forces all their paths to cross… If you’re looking for a feminist dystopian read, this one rings all the bells.
Looking for more feminist dystopias? Your wish is my command! This time, the difference between our world and this world is that teenage girls have a power: they can cause agonizing pain or, ya know, death! (Cathartic, maybe?) Explore a world where the power has been shifted to girls, and follow along to see how this affects a wealthy Nigerian kid, an American politician, a foster girl with religious parents, and a tough London girl.
And here's one for fans of historical fiction, westerns, and revenge! Oh, and did I mention the revenge is carried out by a young girl who sets to find and kill the panther that murdered her mother and left her traumatized?! That’s a nice twist on the usual revenge plots. Anyhoo, it’s her and her brother, now orphaned, setting out across the Texas frontier to complete her quest which sounds pretty awesome.
With Christina Lamb
Looking for an incredible memoir? Look no further than Malala’s story of refusing to be silenced. Here, she recounts being shot in the head for daring to get an education, surviving, and fighting for the right for girls’ education and becoming the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Amazing girl and now woman.
Illustrated by Jessica Olah
With Stef Ferrari
Love food? History? And nonfiction? This one is for you! These are the stories of more than 80 women in history who used their assigned roles of “in the kitchen” to fight for a better world through food. Did you know that a march for the independence of India was inspired by Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay and a few grains of salt? How cookbooks helped finance the fight for female suffrage? There are so many amazing stories here.
by Nada Bakos
With Davin Coburn
Read memoirs and spy novels? Nada Bakos takes us into her life as she worked her way through the ranks of the CIA up until she was assigned the task of finding the godfather of ISIS and mastermind of Al Qaeda in Iraq: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. I’m always here for women recounting their time in organizations that are boys’ clubs.
by Robin Green
Speaking of women working at boys’ clubs: in the early ‘70s, Green was the only woman writer on the masthead of Rolling Stone Magazine. Brutally honest (sex partners are gonna be named and detailed), funny, and bold, Green talks about her time working for the magazine as a journalist including moments with celebrities, her rise and fall, then rise again to a TV writer, including for the Sopranos.
If you’re in an “I am woman, hear me roar” type of mood, may your lioness spirit be filled to roaring by something on this list!
Jamie Canavés is a Book Riot contributing editor and Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator who always has a book in one hand. She writes the Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter, never says no to chocolate or ‘80s nostalgia, and spends way too much time asking her goat-dog “What’s in your mouth?!” Tweets: @Oh_Dinky.