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18 YA Authors Recommend Their Favorite Feminist Books

"It's all about a woman fighting against the roles society has created."

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1. Nightingale by by Amy Lukavics

Harlequin Teen, Wednesday Books / Via Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

"Nightingale is one of the most visceral reading experiences I've had. It's a profoundly raw and unflinching take on the unfair standards we've held girls to over time. It's so critical we empower girls and women and give them the tools they need to succeed to become their best selves. Everyone benefits when we do that. June's story drives this home in a brutally sharp and profoundly important way." – Courtney Summers, author of Sadie.

2. Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

Harry N. Abrams, Sourcebooks Fire / Via Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

"Iron Cast by Destiny Soria is a stunning work of feminist glory centering on two female best friends and con artists who use magic and smarts to run schemes all over prohibition-era Boston. One is a daughter of immigrants, the other of a wealthy white family, and the whole story hinges on their rock-solid friendship and trust in each other's skills. These women are fierce, brave, vulnerable, clever, supportive, and dominant inside a profession and a time period that typically catered to and favored men."

— Bridget Morrissey, author of What You Left Me.

3. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Viking Australia, Flatiron Books / Via Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

"The women in this series are some of the most vibrant and powerful women I've encountered in fiction. They run the gamut from queens to forest women, and the connections and communities they form with each other, and the different ways they wield social and political power, and the ways they do and are allowed to love, hate, and crave vengeance make them characters that have lived in my mind (and are revisited frequently) since I first read these books in 2012." – Somaiya Daud, author of Mirage.

4. Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Ember, HMH / Via Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

"When soldiers murder the last of her family, 16-year-old Neryn journeys to Shadowfell, home to a secret rebellion fighting to overthrow a mad king. Neryn is my favorite kind of hero, the quiet, unassuming kind that no one sees coming." —

Makiia Lucier, author of Isle of Blood and Stone.

5. Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Beacon Press, Harlequin Teen / Via Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

"This novel is a haunting reminder that we will remain forever linked to our pasts. Octavia has this genius way of using science fiction to tackle feminist themes. You think you're just being entertained but really...Octavia is taking you to school!" — Dana Davis, author of Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now.

6. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Knopf Books for Young Readers, Feiwel & Friends / Via Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

"Francesca's a girl who attends a recently gender-integrated school that used to be all-boys, which is such a fun place to start any story, really. It's got everything I love: complicated friendships, family dynamics, and questions of identity. Plus kissing (I love kissing books). Francesca is so relatable in that she doesn't start out as a brilliant woke feminist. Instead, we get to be there as she goes on this amazing journey of figuring out the messy day-to-day details of how to live a life that aligns with what you actually believe. It’s one of those books that reminds you that even when you’re being your worst self, you can always pick yourself back up and do better." — Aminah Mae Safi, author of Not The Girls You're Looking For.

7. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Bantam, Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Via Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

"This is going to be neither original nor without some problematic elements: But I relate so hard to the women of Game of Thrones. Say what you will of George R.R. Martin, but I love how he writes the vengeful rage of Arya, the black heart of Cersei, the strength of Brienne, the cunning of Sansa — it's wonderful to see women in a violent, epic series. Written by a male, no less." — Maurene Goo, author of The Way You Make Me Feel.

8. The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

Little, Brown, HarperTeen / Via Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

"Elizabeth Grey isn’t your traditional heroine. She is flawed and complicated, kind and strong-minded. We watch her grapple with tough choices, where the answer is not always obvious, and gain her strength through her own agency and self-discovery." — Alexis Bass, author of What's Broken Between Us.

9. The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Hogarth, Albert Whitman / Via Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

"It's all about a woman fighting against the roles society has created for her, and the decision that transforms her completely. Kang’s tale is an anthem for women everywhere. It shows us that we all have to take this journey — it’s hard, and not a lot of people are going to like what we are striving to become, but we must keep moving forward." — Maura Milan, author of Ignite The Stars.

10. The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Katherine Tegen, Katherine Tegen / Via Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

"This book wrenched the heart out of my chest and never stopped squeezing. In dark, glittering prose — and three POVs, all unflinchingly honest — McGinnis explores not only the culture of violence toward women, but the violence that is sometimes necessary to survive it." — Bree Barton, author of Heart of Thorns.

11. How To Suppress Women's Writing by Joanna Russ

University of Texas Press, Simon & Schuster / Via Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

"It is my favorite feminist work by a genre writer — a total dystopian takedown of the way our totally dystopian world diminishes the accomplishments of female writers. Reading it changed the way I approached criticism and the act of reading itself." — Phoebe North, author of Starglass.

12. This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers

13. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Tor, Katherine Tegen Books / Via Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

"It's about a young woman who has decided to leave her insular culture to study math at a prestigious university…in space! But it’s not simple — Binti wants to keep her connection to her culture and people, while also honoring her own gifts, something that seems impossible. That struggle between your past and your future, between your home and your dreams, is something a lot of women face. I loved seeing it explored so thoughtfully." — Veronica Roth, author of Divergent.

14. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Scholastic Press, Tor Teen / Via Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

"A female driven Lord of the Flies — need I say more? Okay, if you insist. Whip smart and full of sharp angles, this book takes on a surrealist funhouse mirror view of the pre-and proscribed roles for women."

— Kim Liggett, author of The Last Harvest.

15. The Body In The Library: A Miss Marple Mystery by Agatha Christie

William Morrow Paperbacks, Speak / Via Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

"This book thrilled me when I read it at 13. It was my first introduction to an inspiring female protagonist — one who solved every crime while fending off an endless stream of mansplaining police officers and detectives.

Agatha Christie once called her famous detective Hercule Poirot a 'detestable, bombastic, tiresome, ego-centric little creep' — I think her true love lay with Marple. Mine sure does." — April Tucholke, author of Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea.

16. Fire by Kristin Cashore

Dial Books, Katherine Tegen Books / Via Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

"This books sticks with me for so many great reasons. Through her intricately-crafted world full of beautiful monsters, Cashore explores (and rejects) rape culture, and how some men attempt to use sexual violence to control women. Fire's strength of will, her quick mind, and her persistent refusal to take responsibility for men's bad behavior while she fights to choose her own future makes this book an all-time favorite read." — Debra Driza, author of MILA 2.0.

17. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Simon & Schuster, Imprint / Via Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

“My reintroduction to the young adult book world at the ripe age of 19 was Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle series. I was absolutely blown away that the girls in the series were allowed to be messy, complicated, and even sometimes, downright nasty. Their relationships were complex and vivid. Seeing imperfect girls wielding the magic of a world has stuck with me long after reading the final page.” — Laurie Devore, author of Winner Take All.

18. Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

Broadway Books, Bloomsbury / Via Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

“Witness the birth and evolution of human civilization on a dark planet as it grapples with patriarchy, expansionism, and myth, all while demonstrating the resiliency of hope. If you’ve ever wondered how our own planet came to be so dominated by patriarchal cultures, this series is for you.” — Ameriie, editor of Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy.