It's Women's History Month! Today, I'm offering a list of books with strong female characters.
Grave Mercy by Robin LeFevers. Ismae joins the convent at St. Mortain where she trains to become an assassin for hire. (Yes, this book is all about assassin nuns.) But, in her first assignment, she runs into trouble for paying more attention in her classes in posions and weapons than courtly ways and royal history. The first in a trilogy of companion novels (the other books follow Ismae's friends), I cannot wait until April's release of Dark Triumph.
Graceling by Karen Cashore. Katsa is a Graceling. Other Gracelings have uncanny abilities in things like dancing or swimming. Katsa's is killing and is used as a thug for an evil king. To deal with her guilt, she starts a council to right the wrongs in the kingdom. The adventure picks up when they discover an international plot and Katsa heads off to save a princess and a kingdom. Fans will want to read the companion novel, Fire.
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. Cimorene is not a traditional princess and has no desire to learn traditional princess things. Sadly, her secret lessons in things like cooking, fencing, and magic always get discovered and ended. To save herself from an arranged marriage to an idiot, she runs away and volunteers to become a Dragon's princess, where she's finally able to put her talents to use. This is a box set of the entire 4-book series. Start with Dealing with Dragons.
Heist Society by Ally Carter. When a group of paintings is stolen, there's only one suspect, Kat's father. The only way to save him is to find the paintings and steal them back. Kat's been raised in a family of art thieves, but this time she's in charge with her own crew, and they're about to pull of the most daring heist in history. The start of a series, you'll want to read Uncommon Criminals next.
Does My Head Look Big In This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah. Amal knows that deciding to wear the hajib it won't be easy. However, she's not prepared for the amount of pushback she gets. Despite it, Amal doesn't back down and faces the challenges with humor and faith.
Kiki Strike:Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller. 5 girls, chosen for their special abilities form a vigilante group to explore the secret city under New York and fight crime. In addition to the adventure, instructions and tips are given on everything from how to tell real diamonds from fakes and how to lose a tail. The first in a series, follow it with The Empress's Tomb.
The Wee Free Men: The Beginning by Terry Prachett. When Jenny Green-Teeth comes up from the river, Tiffany does the first thing she thinks of and bashes her with a frying pan. When the Queen of Fairies kidnaps her brother, Tiffany (along with the Nac Mac Feegles and a talking toad) venture into the darkness and nightmares of Fairie to get her back. Tiffany's resourcefulness and clear thinking are enough to get her apprenticed to a witch, even though there's never been a witch from the chalk before. This volume encompasses the first two books of the Tiffany Aching arc (The Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky)
in Prachett's larger Discworld series.
God Save the Queen by Kate Locke. In the steampunk paranormal present, Xandra's sister has committed suicide. But Xandra knows that Dede isn't dead, but she can't prove it, but she will. And she will bring to justice those responsible for Dede faking her own death. Published for adults, this one has high teen appeal.
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta. So, the main character in this one is a boy. After years in exile, Finnikin hears a whisper that the prince still lives, and the novice Evanjalin will help Finnikin find him. This book may be named for Finnikin, and told through his eyes, but Evanjalin's strength-- what she endured, what she inflicts, and why makes her one of the strongest female characters out there. The rest of Lumatere is also populated with strong females, from Yata to Lady Beatriss to Tesadora and later Lirah and Pheadra and Quintana. The third and final book is finally named after a female. Quintana of Charyn comes out in April.
Who are your favorite strong female leads? Especially in realistic fiction, which is very under-represented here!
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