Today is one of the best days. It’s International Women’s Day! Did you know that every IWD has a theme? This year’s theme is I Am Generation Equality. This is not only a day of understanding how far women have had to come in terms of equality, but also a celebration of all that women have created, how we should always encourage, help, support, and uplift one another, and how important it is to have strong women in your life.
Of course, as intersectional feminists, we believe in equality and celebration of everyone. As bookworms, we believe this fully extends to what we read. So, naturally, we thought that it would be a great idea to make a list of books from badass women who inspire us to continue telling stories and who wow us with each and every story they bring us.
Which book by a badass woman will you be picking up?!
Ask the Passengers-A.S. King
I’ve written about this book before, but I cannot stress enough how incredible it is. I mean, that’s why I keep suggesting it, duh. Astrid is a girl who feels stifled not only by her hometown, but by the insane guidelines her mother believes she should live by. Her mom wants the perfect, cookie cutter image and Astrid just doesn’t see herself fitting into that mold. And it’s not just because she thinks that she’s a lesbian; something she most certainly can’t share with anyone else. It’s an incredible coming of age story with just a hint of magical realism and I just…it’s one of my all time favorites. Just read it already.
The Sun is Also a Star-Nicola Yoon
This was made into a movie last year starring Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton. I read this book in literally one sitting. THAT is how good it was. Natasha is doing everything she can to make sure that her family does not get deported back to Jamaica. Daniel is on his way to a college interview that he has no desire to be at, but where his parents want him to be. A chance encounter has their paths cross and changes their perspectives. All in one day. Can one day change their lives for the better?
The Hate U Give-Angie Thomas
This was one of those books that everyone was talking about before it had even hit shelves. And for good reason. It’s one of the most incredible novels I’ve read within the last five years. And listening to her speak at an event? Oh my god. It’s unreal. The story follows Starr after she witnesses her childhood best friend, Khalid, become the victim of police brutality based entirely on the color of his skin. It’s gut wrenching and shines a light on the unfortunate issues that we have somehow still not learned from. It’s beautifully written and deserves all the accolades. Her follow up, On the Come Up, is also a page turner. Angie Thomas is going to continue to be a force to be reckoned with.
An Ember in the Ashes-Sabaa Tahir
My friend asked me when the sequel, A Torch Against the Night, was coming out to go to the author signing with her which of course meant that I absolutely had to read the first one so I could know what was happening. I’m so glad she forced me to go with her because the world that Sabaa Tahir has built in this four part series is truly incredible. It hurts my brain to think about all of the details that she has to keep track of! In a world under the rule of the tyrannical Empire, Laia, a slave, keeps her head down. But when her brother is arrested for treason against the Empire, Laia seeks out the rebellion and offers to do what she can in exchange for her brother’s rescue. She’s sent to be a slave to the Commandant, a terrifying woman who runs the army, and quickly gets mixed up with Elias, a soldier with a desire to be free. A sweeping adventure that neither expects to be on follows. Really great for fantasy fans, but be aware they are long.
The Scorpio Races-Maggie Stiefvater
This is one of those books where I was super pissed when the book ended. Not because it was bad, but because it was so damn good. I was also pissed, but also super impressed, that it was a one off. Along the sea, every November, the Scorpio Races take place. Racers do their best to stay on their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Of course, not everyone makes it. But this year’s race is different. Puck Connolly has decide she would enter the race. This would make her the first girl to ever do so. She know she can win, but does she know if she can even make it to the race with all of the obstacles that stand in her way?
I absolutely love Lucy Knisley’s graphic novels. But Relish is my favorite. (Kid Gloves made me cry and I think anyone who is or is trying to be a mother needs to read it!) This part memoir, PART COOKBOOK is so amazing. It’s filled with vignettes about Knisley’s life and all of the food that those memories are attached to. And like I said, at the end of each vignette, THERE’S A RECIPE. I mean, if that doesn’t hook you, I really don’t know what will. It’s incredible. All of her work is. Read it all.
99 Days and 9 Days and 9 Nights-Katie Cotugno
I love Katie Cotugno and one of the saddest things is knowing how absurdly underrated she is. She tells stories that are so vulnerable and relatable and real. I sometimes read YA and think, this just doesn’t resonate with me as being real. The story of Molly Barlow and the love triangle she finds herself in with the boy she’s been in love with for forever, Patrick Donnelly, and his charismatic younger brother who’s always been in love with her, Gabe Donnelly, is a pure delight to read first in 99 Days and then again in 9 Days and 9 Nights. This could have happened to anyone in high school and that’s what makes it so perfect. I cannot recommend these books or any of her other books more.
Circus Mirandus and The Bootlace Magician-Cassie Beasley
This are more geared towards middle grade, but they are two of the most addicting books. I had wanted to read Circus Mirandus for awhile before finally doing it last year and nearly screeched when I found out that there would be a sequel. Micah, an orphan being raised by his beloved Grandpa Ephraim, is lost and confused when his grandpa falls ill. If he could just find the magical circus his grandpa had visited as a boy, find the Lightbender, and use the miracle he was promised, he knows he could save his grandpa. The adventure he finds himself on twists, turns and is full of answers Micah wasn’t sure he wanted. An absolutely incredibly story about love, loss, grief, and finding your true self. I loved both so much.
Other books that are also incredible by outstanding women that need to find their way to the top of your list: Strung Out: One Last Hit and Other Lies That Nearly Killed Me by Erin Khar is a truly devastating read about the author’s heroin addiction from the age of 13 (incredible, but not for the faint of heart).
I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott is a memoir about striking the balance between motherhood, career and remaining yourself.
Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith is a great American train traveling story that will totally make you swoon.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez follows Julia as she navigates her place in her family and her culture after her sister Olga passes away.
The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland is a family dramedy set on a cruise ship that will have you laughing and crying.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han because duh. Magic.
Almost American Girl by Robin Ha was such an incredible graphic novel about a girl stuck between her life in Korea and the life she has to adjust to when she emigrates to America.
Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe is a great graphic novel about gender identity that I think everyone should read.
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling is a great LGBTQ story about Salem witches set today.
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson is one of the most breathtaking coming of age, family dramas ever. I just…I cannot recommend it enough.
When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri is a lesbian love story that will literally have you turning the pages so fast.
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte is a future world ruled by a four pronged monarchy of queens that has one hell of a page turning mystery.
The Princess and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang about a down on her luck seamstress that finds herself making magnificent gowns for the prince. (Soon to be a movie!)
Red Clocks by Leni Zumas is great for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale. More modern and less religious, totalitarian dystopia. This seems much more likely and that’s terrifying.
Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship by Kayleen Schaefer really needs no more explanation. The title says it all and will make you want to text your best gals.
Oh, jeez. This got so long so fast! This is just a taste of all of the amazing women writers we love and can’t wait to read more from! We hope we’ve given you some ideas for books that should absolutely be on your list from all of these fantastic women.
Who’s your favorite female writer? Let us know in the comments!