The first books that taught me something about feminism was The Babysitter’s Club series. I was in awe of these girls. I wanted to be a leader like Kristy, my own person like Claudia, and empathetic like Maryann. I wanted to be like all of them. That’s where my journey began. I knew I needed to keep reading about women who were both strong and smart—and kicked ass. I’ve been finding these books ever since. Every one of them has reminded me about my own strengths, and showed me a world I could make a difference in.
The past few months have been filled with anxiety and dread over the election, and as always my favorite escape has been through books. If you’d like a little vacation from the real world yourself, and want to spend a few hours with women who rock, look no further than the five selections below. (All written by female authors as well!)
1. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
In a highly competitive college preparatory, one girl masterminds an all-male secret society through an escalating series of pranks and stunts. Don’t underestimate this story of a young girl who not only keeps up with the guys, but beats them at their own game. It’s funny, clever, extremely well-written, and feminist as hell. What’s not to love about gender politics and secret societies? This book will remind you that sometimes being heard is a battle, but it’s one worth fighting.
2. Lumberjanes Vol 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, & Brooke A. Allen (Illustrator)
At an all-girls summer camp, things aren’t always what they seem. But nothing is going to stop the girls of Roanoke cabin from having an awesome summer together. Not even a magical quest, strange creatures, or groan-inducing puns. Stunningly illustrated, this wild adventure is deeply charming, inventive, and wonderfully weird. Follow along with Jo, April, Molly, Mal, and Ripley as they defeat mythological creatures, champion female friendship, and earn scout badges.
3. Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery
If you’re in the mood for something more classic, look no further than Anne of Green Gables. This timeless story of a strong-willed and imaginative young girl reminds us what we are all capable of. That we too can carve out a place for ourselves through creativity, heart, a little bit of trouble, and unapologetic love for life. Reading about Anne Shirley is familiar and comforting. Remind yourself what it meant to be a little different, a little brazen, a little wild. Fall in love with Anne all over again.
4. As I Descended by Robin Talley
A Shakespearean-inspired tale about power, and what we’re willing to do in pursuit of it. If Maria and Lily want to attend the same university and stay together, Maria will have to win a coveted scholarship. A scholarship that is presumptively going to another student. Soon, teen rivalry crosses into something darker and more sinister as lives spiral out of control, and the price of power is much steeper than anticipated. This engaging story is filled with ambition, jealousy, and a thirst for redemption. This Macbeth retelling demands to be read.
5. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Although not a work of fiction, this volume of poems is necessary reading for everyone. The poet explores what it means to be female, to be happy, to be broken, to be human. Every poem resonates in a different way; sometimes like a warm cup of tea, other times like a knife to the heart. Deeply personal and relatable at the same time, this collection examines the joys and struggles of growing up female. Let this book of poetry unmake you, and help you heal.
What is your favorite book with a badass heroine?
Photo by Alisa Anton.