Holidays are around the corner and we’re hear to help you buy the best gift of all: books! Have a friend who loves the ladies of ABC’s Once Upon a Time but can’t stand that Wonder Woman still doesn’t have a film? Try giving them one of these.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Harcourt Mifflin Harcourt
Release date: October 1st 2008
In fact, buying all three Graceling Realm books – Graceling, Fire and Bitterblue – would be a great trilogy for any fantasy fan to unlock. The first in these diverse female-led fantasy novels follows Katsa, a woman Graced with the ability to kill, as she discovers a deadly secret across the kingdom and a young girl who needs her help.
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release date: December 10th 2013
Not only does These Broken Stars feature amazing worldbuilding and a sweet romance, but Lilac LaRoux is one of the most fascinating female characters I’ve read in a fantasy novel in a while. She overcomes the stereotypes thrown at her and survives in a world where she never stood a chance.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: June 5th 2012
Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy features a wide cast of female characters including power hungry Alina, beautiful Genya, dark Baghra, and the rest of the women. Their world is one where women and men have equal rights in the Grisha army – and where all the power and potential rests in Alina’s hands.
Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Release Date: September 11th 2012
Liyana leads a group of gods across a deserted desert. Not only does Vessel feature a lead lady – but it’s entire cast is people of color.
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: September 1983
I could list all of the ways that Tamora Pierce’s female-led novels are feminist, but it would be faster for you to buy them and read them. And buy the rest of the Song of the Lioness series while you’re at it. And the Immortals series.
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 7th 2014
You want a lady lead? A disabled lady lead? A disabled lady lead villain who kicks ass and takes names? Oh, hey, it’s The Young Elites!
Poisoned Apples by Christine Hepperman
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: September 23rd 2014
Poems! But not just any poems. Poisoned Apples is a collection of modern fairy tale retellings in poetry format, and every single one with a feminist twist. An amazing little book – and would fit perfectly in a stocking!
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
Release Date: April 15th 1987
Robin McKinley’s classic The Hero and the Crown features your classically chosen hero and destiny – except the hero is Aerin, a teenage girl. Bonus: it’s one of Malinda Lo’s favorite feminist fantasy novels.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: January 3rd 2012
Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles series retells a different fairy tale in her amazingly diverse world. Each of her lady leads – from Cinder to Cress – is strong, creative and amazing to read about.