As part of my long-awaited return to blogging, I will be doing the feminist book tag. I was super happy when Hannah, who blogs over at I have thoughts on books, tagged me to do it too and you can read her post here. It was originally created by Rachel (the Pace, Amore, Libri blogger) and it’s all about female representation in books — fun!
EDIT: I don’t know who created it! It wasn’t Rachel, but her post is still definitely worth checking out because she picked some really cool books 😊
It’s no secret that I’m all about good female characters, outstanding female authors, and overall equality in all trades, including writing and publishing. Therefore, I thought this tag would be a fun thing to whip up. Besides, who doesn’t love tags?
1. Your favorite female author
Just like Hannah said, I’m only going to think of authors who have written more than one book that I’ve read. That said, this is a difficult decision because most of the books I read are actually penned by women. Nonetheless, I’ll go with Raina Telgemeier.
Raina Telgemeier is a graphic-novel author from San Francisco, California. She was born in 1977 and she writes both non-fiction and fiction novels. I’ve read Smile and Sisters and absolutely loved them. They’re both biographical and follow the author when she was in middle and high school. Smile tells Raina’s tribulations with having to wear braces for the first time, and Sisters portrays the relationship Raina had as a kid with her sister. They’re both heartwarming memoirs and the illustrations are fantastic.
I really like Raina Telgemeier because she writes sweet, heartwarming books that have a deeper meaning that can be taken out of it. The way she writes about her childhood gives me second-hand nostalgia. You can really see the growth arch she goes through as she becomes older in each of her books, something I always love seeing in coming-of-age stories. Her illustrations are also amazing. She used beautiful pastel and darker palettes that fit the mood of the story really well.
Just take a look for yourself!
2. Your favorite heroine
It’s so hard to pick just one! There are so many female characters I love for different reasons, but I think I will go with Cath Avery from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. This is my favorite book and Cath is one of the reasons that made me love it so much.
If you’ve never read the book, Fangirl is about two twins — Cath and Wren — who leave their divorced father in their family home in Omaha to go to university in Lincoln, Nebraska. Until now, Cath and Wren had always shared a room, as well as most things — even a burning passion for Simon Snow (a Harry Potter-style series that took America by storm). But when Wren wants to branch out at university, that leaves Cath to have to do the same. Both girls get their separate dorms, separate classes and separate friend groups. Fangirl follows Cath’s life more in detail as an English major, the biggest Simon Snow fanfiction writer online, and an introvert who doesn’t seem to fit into the college environment.
Why I love Cath so much… When I read this book I was about to start 10th grade at a new school and immediately identified with Cath in the aspect that I’m, too, an introvert. Even though Cath is very scared to make friends, ask questions in class and to wander around campus to get to know it better, she’s a remarkable and unforgettable character. She has so much drive to finish writing her world-famous fanfiction before the last Simon Snow book comes out, to ace all her classes, and to look after her father and sister. She’s very much that kind of person (or, well, character in this case) who tends to stay out of the spotlight and yet shines in her own way. Despite not having superhuman abilities, Cath overcomes all her personal barriers to achieve something great. She’s an introvert, but still manages to gather up the courage to be ambitious and put herself out there when it’s needed.
3. A novel with a feminist message
I always look for books with feminist themes, but one that really blew me away was The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I was pushed to read this book by the Hulu tv-show (which I still haven’t watched, but will soon!). I purchased a copy and got through it in only a few sittings, it was that good.
If you haven’t heard of this book, it’s a dystopian novel set in America after the collapse of the democratic government which has been substituted by a totalitarian theocratic ruling class. Ofred, the main character, along with most women are Handmaids — women whose only role in society is to give birth to higher-class babies. Her value is solely determined by the health of her reproductive system, and once she can no longer bear children she can be disposed of.
What I loved most about this novel was how real and plausible the whole situation felt, which is also what makes it all the more terrifying. While it was written in the 1980s, it is still completely applicable to our society. I really feel like Margaret Atwood did an incredible job at portraying a very problematic underlying issue that still exists today — reproductive freedom (or lack thereof). It was my first Atwood novel, but won’t be the last.
4. A novel with a girl on the cover
All these books have girls or women on the cover. I will list the title down below and include links to Goodreads for each one.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie — I’m actually writing a paper for university based on this book and I couldn’t recommend it more. It’s a brilliant book.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
Embroideries by Marjana Satrapi — Equal parts entertaining and underappreciated. Highly recommend reading it for a little sneak-peak into Iranian women’s lives.
Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
5. A novel featuring a group of girls
This is a recent favorite of mine. I read this book last month and fell in love with everything: the writing, the plot, the characters and the setting. I particularly loved how the girls in The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet banded together to solve their problems. It gave me a lot of girl power vibes and made me happy to read a novel that put so much emphasis on the power of little girls.
The Orphan Band of Springdale follows Gusta, a young girl who was shipped off by her fugitive parents to her mysterious grandmother’s house in Maine. Never having met her grandmother, Gusta has some trouble adapting to this new life without her parents, especially because she doesn’t know what’s going on around her. World War Two is devastating Europe, and anti-German and anti-communist sentiments are becoming more and more intense. With a name like Gusta Neubronner, living in a small town in Maine in 1941 isn’t easy.
I wrote a more detailed review here on my blog last week. You can read that post here. I hope you get curious enough to look up more about this book!
6. A novel with a LGBTQ+ female character
Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s a modern take on Ovid’s Metamorphoses. I can’t make it justice by attempting to give a summary, so I will include the one Goodreads has up:
“Girl meets boy. It’s a story as old as time. But what happens when an old story meets a brand new set of circumstances?
Ali Smith’s re-mix of Ovid’s most joyful metamorphosis is a story about the kind of fluidity that can’t be bottled and sold.
It is about girls and boys, girls and girls, love and transformation, a story of puns and doubles, reversals and revelations.
Funny and fresh, poetic and political, Girl Meets Boy is a myth of metamorphosis for the modern world.”
I decided to feature this book under this prompt because the main character is a lesbian young girl who falls in love with a gender-fluid protester and vandalizer. This is a very short book and a great introduction to Ali Smith’s writing. The first line immediately hooked me:
“Let me tell you about when I was a girl, our grandfather says.”
It’s a great short book to read and keep in your collection.
7. A novel with a different feminine POV
I was a little confused about what this was actually asking me, but in the end I decided to go with Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
The first narrators are two Nigerian long-lost sisters who don’t know each other and meet completely different fates. The first sister is sold into slavery and is shipped to a plantation in the United States, while the other is married off to a rich British colonialist. The book tells the story of each woman’s generation of descendants from the 18th century up to the twenty-first century.
I think this book has a very unique feminine POV because it gives the reader two completely different perspectives. On one hand, we can learn about what being a wealthy woman by marriage in Nigeria in the 1700s was, but also what it meant to be a female servant to white colonialists in the US. Because the story is told in alternating chapters I think it makes for a very unique and interesting read.
8. A book where a girl saves the world
There are so many examples of girls who save the world nowadays, which is awesome! I don’t tend to read novels where one person single-handedly saves the world because I think they’re too shallow, which is why I’m going with the traditional choice: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
Katniss was a character with whom I had a love-hate relationship when I read the books. I really liked her at times and deeply disliked her at others. I felt the same about the books, but they are still important to me because they were one of the first I read after having discovered booktube. I think this series needs no more introductions at this point, so I’m going to leave it at this.
9. A book where you prefer the female sidekick to the male main character
I’m stealing Hannah’s pick for this one and I’m choosing the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling because I like Hermione Granger better than Harry Potter. I’m pretty sure this isn’t a controversial opinion because Hermione is a kickass character. Not only was she my heroine when I was younger for being the smartest character in the series, but she was the epitome of responsibility.
I still love Hermione Granger and remember looking up to her when I was younger. She was a real role-model for me when I was in middle school and motivation to keep getting the highest grades. What a little nerd I was (and still am).
10. A book written by a male author and featuring a female character
One of my favorite books as a child was Matilda by Roald Dahl. I loved everything about that book and must have read it a handful of times. Matilda was, once again, a big role model for me and I wanted to be like her at all costs.
Matilda is a middle-grade novel about an incredibly smart and gifted girl named Matilda who has really lousy parents who fail to recognize her genius. I knew they were bad people when they didn’t let her read — gasps. Luckily, Matilda’s teacher sees how bright she is and does extra-curricular work with her to help her reach her full capacities. When Matilda sees several weird things happening around her involving floating objects, her teacher is there to help her deal with this new-found talent.
Roald Dahl was one of my most-loved authors when I was little, and Matilda was hands down one of the books that shaped me the most as a young reader.