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34 Young Adult Books Every Feminist Will Love

Girls' stories aren't just for girls.

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1. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Hot Key Press

Alabaster Academy is a selective private school with an even more selective secret society, the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds. Frankie's boyfriend and his friends are all members, but Frankie's not allowed to join because she's a girl. In an escalating series of pranks and stunts, Frankie shows the whole school she's not one to be messed with, and the book teaches a powerful lesson about sexism.

Get a copy here.

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2. Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill

louiseoneillauthor.com

In her first book, Irish author Louise O'Neill constructs a dark and fearsome dystopia where young women are bred to be wives and concubines to the world's most powerful men. The plot is a page-turner, but the book also offers a searing takedown of patriarchal culture, beauty standards, and women's right to their bodies. O'Neill's second book, Asking For It, which looks into the unfair standards many rape victims are held to, is another must read.

Get a copy here.

3. Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery by M. Evelina Galang

Coffee House Press

M. Evelina Galang's incredible book hits intersectionality on the nose for young readers. It's the story of Angel, a Filipino teen in Chicago in 2001, during the second Philippine People Power Revolution. The book crisscrosses one girl's coming of age with the legacy of her family and community's experience in a stunning and eye-opening narrative.

Get a copy here.

4. What's A Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne

hollybourneauthor.tumblr.com

Holly Bourne takes on what it means to be a feminist in today's society with no holds barred. What's A Girl Gotta Do tells the story of Lottie, who decides to take her philosophy seriously and start calling out every sexist act she sees. The project gets the attention of the press, and from there Lottie starts to receive abuse and trolls, and the fallout explores the unfair consequences of standing up for freedom and equality in a sexist world.

Pre-order a copy here.

5. The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

panmacmillan.com

2016's Costa Book of The Year surrounds Faith, who wants to follow in her father's footsteps as a natural scientist, even though the trappings of the Victorian era would keep her from it. And when her father is murdered, Faith takes the investigation into her own hands, and along the way discovers her own strength, as well as the strength and secrets of the other women in her life.

Buy a copy here.

6. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

ryangraudin.com

In this thrilling alternative history book, the Axis powers have won WWII and Yael, a former death camp prisoner, is on a quest for a revenge. It's 1956 and Hitler and Emperor Hirohito are commemorating their victory with a motorcycle race across Europe and Asia, and Yael, who's developed shape shifting powers after hideous lab experiments in the camps must impersonate one of the greatest female riders in order to get close enough to kill Hitler. It's basically like Sons of Anarchy, Inglorious Bastards, and The Hunger Games had a baby.

Get a copy here.

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7. Unbecoming by Jenny Downham

Google Books

This beautiful rumination on the relationships between mothers and daughters should be on every woman's reading list. Jenny Downham explores the thread between Katie, her mother Caroline, and her grandmother Mary, who moves in with them following and Alzheimer's diagnosis. Secrets unravel and the three begin to see each other, perhaps for the first time, and individual women with struggles and stories all their own. It's about being growing up a girl, and all of the pressures and the joys that go along with it.

Get a copy here.

8. The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

Penguin

Rick Yancey's thrilling sci-fi trilogy offers two opposite and uniquely badass heroines: Cassie and Marika, a.k.a Ringer. In the wake of a violent alien apocalypse, both are fighting, not just for their lives, but for the future of humanity at large. Cassie, a sister with a big heart out to save the world for her brother, and Ringer, a brilliant soldier out for answers and revenge, must both reconcile their pasts with their present and find a way to work together to make a difference.

Get a copy here.

9. Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Pan MacMillan

Amal Mohamed Nasrullah Abdel-Hakim is a sixteen year old Australian Palestinian-Muslim girl trying to juggle school, friends, and family, as well as handle the onslaught of reactions to her choice to wear the hijab full-time. The book offers a much-needed insight into Muslim women's experience and posits that wearing the hijab is infact a radically empowering act, and gives us a delightfully plucky and determined heroine in Amal. Hilarious, illuminating, and inspiring AF, Does My Head Look Big in This? is an excellent reminder to teen girls to make their own choices and stand by their own beliefs.

Get a copy here.

10. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

hive.co.uk

This stunning historical fiction book from Elizabeth Wein follows the story and friendship of two incredible women: an English spy taken captive in France by the Nazis, and the Scottish pilot who brought her to France in the first place. Written in the form of a confession, Code Name Verity is a beautiful, nuanced, and completely unmissable ode to female friendship and strength.

Get a copy here.

11. The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson

Razorbill

A lifelong friendship is challenged when Nina returns home to find her best friends Avery and Mel might actually be more than best friend. Both a fascinating look into the unique and messy world of close female friendships and a celebration of female sexuality and pleasure, The Bermudez Triangle is an excellent and arresting story about love and growing up.

Get a copy here.

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12. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass

sarahjmaas.com

Think Game of Thrones meets YA with a lot more female agency thrown in. Sarah J Maas's book follows Feyre, a huntress who finds herself in the world of the Fae, falling in love with Tamlin, one of the most powerful immortal beings of all. But the world of the Fae is in danger, and it's Feyre, not Tamlin, who can do something about it. A Court of Thorns and Roses is a racy adventure, with its sequel, A Court of Mist and Fury picking up where it leaves off, and offering an unapologetically sex-positive and female-focussed approach to its love stories.

Get a copy here.

13. No Virgin by Anne Cassidy

Hot Key Books

This harrowing account of a sexual assault is one in a long line of vital YA books that speak out for teen victims. Growing out of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak and Louise O'Neill's Asking For It, No Virgin tackles the muddy aftermath of rape, what it means to talk about it out loud, and what it means to tell your story.

Pre-order a copy here.

14. Lydia by Natasha Farrant

Chickenhouse

If Jane Austen wasn't feminist AF already, this new reimagining of Pride and Prejudice from the point of view of the wildest Bennett sister certainly is. Opinionated and determined, Lydia is a divisive character, but an excellent one – a strong young woman who makes her own choices and her own mistakes, and Natasha Farrant's new book offers a fascinating peer inside her head.

Pre-order a copy here.

15. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Scholastic

Not only to we get a singularly kickass female lead in Suzanne Collins' grisly dystopian trilogy, we also get a unique relationship which doesn't rely on societal gender roles. In Katniss we find a heroine that echoes the male action heroes we know too well, and in her love story with Peeta we find a blueprint for a relationship that has nothing to do with masculinity and femininity and is based on a bond that transcends the need to play a role. It's a story that cares less about what parts everyone has and more about how much heart everyone has, which is what you want IRL, when you think about it.

Get a copy here.

16. The Curious Tale of the Lady of Caraboo by Catherine Johnson

Random House

This fascinating, rooted-in-history story novelises the well-known hoax of the Princess Caraboo. When a mysterious, disoriented girl shows up appears in Cassandra's life, she thinks she might have found the way out of a life she doesn't want. The swashbuckling adventure also takes a careful look at the unique struggles of young women in the 18th century, as well as the strength it takes to survive trauma.

Get a copy here.

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17. Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian

Push

This excellent examination of teen girls and their sexualities is a must read for every girl and every parent. Tired of the unfair expectations and double standards that she and her classmates are held to when it comes their bodies, expression of their sexualities, and behaviour, Natalie Sterling tries to find a way to evade definition.

Get a copy here.

18. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Simon & Schuster

The Gemma Doyle trilogy is a classic YA series that focuses on female friendship, transcendence of societal expectations, and the powerful women that history and culture overlooked. Set in a finishing school in Victorian England, A Great and Terrible Beauty and its follow-ups follows four teen girls as they discover their mysterious – and dangerous – magical powers. It's dark, sexy, smart, and chock-full of unique and fascinating women.

Get a copy here.

19. Sloppy Firsts by Megan Mcafferty

Random House

In what must be inspiration for MTV's Awkward, Megan McCafferty's Jessica Darling books are required reading for every teen girl and her mum. Funny, irreverent, and sex-positive, Sloppy Firsts and its followups perfectly capture what it's like to come of age as a young woman.

Get a copy here.

20. The Ruby in the Smoke by Phillip Pullman

hive.co.uk

Sally Lockhart is a kick-ass heroine by any definition. This first installment in Phillip Pullman's serious surround the smart and plucky Lockhart sees her on a daunting journey to solve the mystery behind her father's death.

Get a copy here.

21. And I Darken by Kiersten White

Random House

Forget Game of Thrones; Kiersten White's And I Darken is a dark, gritty, and seriously badass epic that will have you dying for more. Lada Dragwyla is the brutal ruler of Transylvania, and she'd risk anything to keep her family's line on the throne. Intense battle scenes and a serious dose of politics make it a thrilling holiday read, and with a fascinating and fearsome woman at its helm, it's required reading for every feminist fantasy fan.

Get a copy here.

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22. Forever by Judy Blume

Bradbury Press

A timeless classic, Judy Blume's unabashedly sexy book for teen girls is a must on every shelf. Hailed for being far ahead of its time in its depiction of teen sexuality and its openness about the trials and tribulations of growing up a girl, Judy Blume's book remains the primer it always has been.

Get a copy here.

23. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez

Carolrhoda Lab

Based on the 1937 New London school explosion, Ashley Hope Pérez's book asks important questions about gender, race, and class. When Naomi's Mexican American mother dies, she's tasked with taking care of her infant twin siblings, alongside the pressures of her studies living in a school and town where she's equal parts fetishised and despised. When she meets Wash, a senior at the segregated black school, a bond quickly forms, but then tragedy strikes and a narrative about marginalisation in all forms unravels through multiple perspectives.

Get a copy here.

24. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Little, Brown Books

Kody Keplinger dissects high school society and body image in the darkly comic, The DUFF. Bianca Piper gets a shock when she finds out she's not the only one who looks at herself as the least common denominator among her tightly knit group of attractive friends. Apparently, outsiders consider her the group's Designated Ugly Fat Friend, and it turns out every clique has one. What follows is a takedown of beauty standards and reality check on the experience of being teenage, and an overarching reminder that refusing to fit the mold is actually pretty damn admirable.

Get a copy here.

25. Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

Cinco Puntos Press

Isabel Quintero's amazing book tackles a mass of problems girls face in their teenage years, from drug abuse to assault to heartbreak, Gabi's diary is a searing and stunning peek into the mind of one Mexican teen. Throughout the book, Gabi tries to reconcile her mother's traditional values with her burgeoning sexuality, her body image issues with her ambitions, and watches her friends fight their own battles.

Get a copy here.

26. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Faber & Faber

If you're looking for a singularly kick-ass heroine, Amani from Alwyn Hamilton's Rebel of the Sands is your girl. With nothing but her killer shooting skills and an infallible spirit, Amani leaves home behind (before she's forced to marry her uncle) in hopes of finding a new life in the city. But before she knows it, she finds herself roped into a revolution. It's an epic adventure with a smart, funny, and fascinating woman at its helm, and it won't leave you hanging on a little bit of romance, either.

Get a copy here.

27. Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani

Tu Books

Clare's gone most of her life with no information about her father, until she finds a letter from him on her 17th birthday, revealing he'd been part of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. In this examination of legacy, family secrets and one girl's search for identity, Valynne Maetani expertly weaves history with page-turning thrills.

Get a copy here.

28. The Tracey Fragments by Maureen Medved

House of Anansi Press

Canadian writer Maureen Medved's cult classic perfectly captures the confusion, angst, and trepidation of teenage girlhood. On a quest to find her missing brother, Tracy finds herself deep in the dark belly of the city, and interspersed throughout her daunting journey, we get sputtered flashbacks to her troubled homelife, difficulties at school, and her frustrating attempts to connect with the people in her life.

Get a copy here.

29. Remix by Non Pratt

Walker

Non Pratt's atmospheric ode to female best friendship is an absolute must read. In Remix, Ruby is out to help her friend get over a gut-wrenching breakup, so the two head of to Remix Festival to catch their favourite band, but the mess of life catches up with them and they're forced to reevaluate their friendship and find each other all over again.

Get a copy here.

30. Homecoming by Cynthia Voight

Simon & Schuster

When her mother abandons her and her siblings in a carpark, Dicey Tillerman has to step up and take matters into her own hands. She leads her siblings on a journey toward Bridgeport, the band of children encounters a slew of characters that help them understand themselves and their situation more clearly. Throughout Homecoming and its sequels Dicey proves herself to be an astounding well of strength and compassion.

Get a copy here.

31. A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

Pan Macmillan

E.K. Johnston delivers an exhilarating retelling of the Scheherazade story in this wicked adventure. When her unnamed heroine volunteers to marry a terrifying king to save her sister from the same fate, trouble rises back up quickly: her power of storytelling seems to be the only thing that can keep the king's murderous tendencies in check. A story about redemption and sacrifice, A Thousand Nights is a brilliant ode to a uniquely courageous woman.

Get a copy here.

32. Divergent by Veronica Roth

Katherine Tegan Books

If you're looking for a serious role-model, consider Tris: smart, selfless, and unabashedly kickass, she's a heroine who follows her heart and knows what she's doing on the battlefield. In addition to a page-turning plot, Veronica Roth's trilogy paints a picture of a young woman who isn't ashamed to follow her own path, make her own choices, and break down barriers.

Get a copy here.

33. Girl Detatched by Manuela Salvi

Barrington Stoke

This captivating book by Italian author Manuela Salvi was banned in her home country for its no-holds-barred depiction of sexual grooming. When Aleksandra, a shy, stuttering teen meets Ruben, he flatters her, but his attention soon morphs into expectations which even sooner become demands, and Aleksandra finds herself caught in a cycle of manipulation and abuse that she doesn't know how to get out of.

Pre-order a copy here.

34. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison

Harper Collins

This quintessential primer on teenage girlhood in Britain is absolute required reading. Hilarious and relatable as hell, Louise Rennison's brilliant series tells it like it is when it comes to growing up, making for a refreshing and loveable coming of age story every girl needs to read.

Get a copy here.

Did we miss one? Let us know your recommendations in the comments!

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