Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Feminist Novels

Top Ten Feminist Novels

(or the books I would want my daughters to read if I had them)

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

10. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Whether it be Katniss, Mag, or Johanna, THG has some seriously strong women.

9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Elizabeth Bennet was basically a feminist in her time. I mean, she turned down TWO proposals.

8. The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter

A society of all female spies? Awesome!

7. The Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld

Deryn proves that she can play with the big boys and beat them at their own game. You can read my review of the final book in the trilogy here.

6. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brasheres

This book series is all about the strength of female friendship. (I still haven’t read the newest one, so no spoilers please!)

5. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

My favourite part of this book was the Puck’s fight against the patriarchal system of the races.

4. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

It’s basically like Wither by Lauren Destafano, except better.

3. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

This is the first book I read and realized that it was feminist. It kind of blew my mind.

2. all of Tamora Pierce’s novels

Especially The Songs of the Lioness and the Beka Cooper trilogy though. You can read my review of the third book in the Beka Cooper trilogy here.

1. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Does this honestly surprise any of you? Then you obviously haven’t read my review about it over here.

Do you have a favourite novel with feminist themes that didn’t make my list? Let me know about it in the comments!

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About megtao

Student. Writer. Nerdfighter. Fights for love, justice, and awesome.
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30 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Feminist Novels

  1. Tara says:

    I pretty much agree with your entire list – though especially with Tamora Pierce. She’s totally the reason I got into reading fantasy, and I think my favourite had to be the Songs of the Lioness.

    I have to admit,I haven’t read The Scorpio Races yet, but I have a copy on my TBR pile – maybe I’ll move it up a few paces now!

  2. I really want to read The Gallagher Girls books. I’ve heard nothing but great things about them.

    Check out my Top Ten / Teaser Tuesday!

  3. Great topic! I hate to say that i’ve only read Hunger Games, but I never knew those other books had such strong female characters too! Fantastic list 🙂

    Michele | Top 10 Books Set in Toronto

  4. “The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
    It’s basically like Wither by Lauren Destafano, except better”

    Can I high five this statement! Love love love Margaret Atwood and it breaks my heart that dystopia is taking off like it is now but sooo many people haven’t read this!

    • megtao says:

      I can understand why people might be wary to read The Handmaid’s Tale, but really Oryx and Crake is a necessary dystopian read and it’s impossible to put down!

  5. Awesome list! Katsa for Graceling is my all-time favorite kick-ass heroine! I would also add Lila from Holly Black’s Curse Workers trilogy and Scarlet from Jackson Pearce’s Sisters Red. Happy Reading!

    Check out YA Litwit’s Top Ten Fairy Tale Retellings and my GIVEAWAY!

    • megtao says:

      Ohhh both of those are awesome! I’m hesitant to add Lilla to my awesome heroine list until I’ve read Black Hearth. She was kind of non-existent in Red Glove…well the real her anyway.

  6. Bekka says:

    I agree with your whole list except for maybe the Hunger Games. But that’s an entirely different discussion!

    My TTT

    • megtao says:

      You don’t think THG has strong female characters? I agree it definitely has a way to go (that’s why it’s only #10 on my list), but if nothing else, Katniss’s relationship with characters like Prim, Rue, and Johanna pushes it to the feminist side for me. Plus Mag is so freaking awesome. She’s seriously my hero.

      • I don’t think it’s necessarily a feminist novel. Not a single woman was treated as an equal. Even Coin wasn’t taken as seriously as she could have been, and aside from her, there were no other female leaders until we got to the rebels. Never mind the weakling Mom, and weakling Hazel. Using the ‘female condition’ and pregnancy and a girl crazy with love as plot devices (in the games) bothered me. The women in the books (especially District 12 women) were relegated to traditionally female roles.

        So yes, the tributes were strong characters. Not all of them, but Katniss could be, and Johanna certainly was. But I don’t think that having strong women in your book makes it ‘feminist.’

    • megtao says:

      I think it’s interesting that you say that none of the women were treated as equals. The Hunger Games themselves are all about equality: the same amount of female and male tributes are required and all signs point to girls winning the games just as often as boys.

      We’re you reading the same books as me? Hazelle was awesome! Yes, Katniss’s mom fell apart after her husband’s death, but Hazelle did the opposite and is a counterargument to Katniss’s mom.

      “Using the ‘female condition’ and pregnancy and a girl crazy with love as plot devices (in the games) bothered me.” They were supposed to bother you. That’s the idea! Katniss is this amazing female character, and then the games force her to hide behind these female stereotypes in order to survive. If she had shown how awesome she really was Snow would have taken her down. I always viewed that as a metaphor for women in society in general. Often, women feel like they have to act as if they are less than they are in order not to upset the social balance. The fact that it upset you proves that it was doing it’s job and making the point that this is not how women should be viewed/treated.

      I’ll give you the “women were relegated to traditional roles” thing though. That’s something I have issues with in most books, but you have to remember that just because a role is traditional doesn’t mean it’s any less worthy.

  7. BOOM! This entire list 4eva.

    Like, you can’t have a list of Feminist books and not include Tamora Pierce.

    And sigh, I desperately need to read Scorpio Races ASAP.

    • megtao says:

      I think Pierce is part of the reason I’m a feminist today. She showed me that girls could be so much more than what we’re generally viewed as. If I ever get to meet her I would want to hug her and thank her for everything she’s done.

      And yes, you really do!!

  8. This list is so LEGIT. I love everything on it. Katsa is such a kick-ass heroine and I love her dearly. (Seriously, I know you are MAJORLY in love with Katsa, but Fire is pretty outstanding, too.) Same with Puck (GAH! I love Scorpio Races!) and Beka Cooper. I still need to read Mastiff, but I know that Tamora won’t ever steer me wrong with my strong ladies!

  9. Oh my gosh, this is such a good topic! I love strong female characters, and I think we always need more. And I was so excited to see the Gallagher girls on here!! Have you gotten your hands on the new one yet? Oh, also, have you read the Mortal Instruments series? That has a lot of awesome female characters, too! You should check it out!

    • megtao says:

      eeee I’m hesitent to add the Mortal Instruments to this list… Just because of how much of it is about the love triangle and really Clary isn’t a strong female character to me. I have issues with MI XD I enjoy reading them though!

  10. Candice says:

    I think what I love best about this list – besides loving it way more than is probably healthy – is that a lot of the books I’m familiar with aren’t overly feminist in an obvious way (such as shoving feminist notions at us every step of the way). They just feature strong amazing female characters that don’t rely on men to solve their problems – they take the reins in their lives. I would love for my daughters (should there ever be any) to read all of these. Amazing list!

    • megtao says:

      Yeah, I don’t enjoy stories that shove any opinion at me, really, but I think these novels just show, like, that this is an option for our lives. Women can be strong and we can be independent and we don’t have to follow social norms, you know?

  11. Awesome list! Loved The Hunger Games series (and Katniss) – and Graceling – love love love!

  12. Heidi says:

    Yes! Fantastic picks. I love all of the books here I’ve read particularly for their strong women. What I loved about Puck in particular was that she wasn’t doing what she did as a political statement as a woman, she did it because she felt she had to, and the statement evolved from her actions. Also I’m a sucker for girls in drag…I love Deryn!!

    • megtao says:

      Yes, it’s true! Although I never really understood why she felt like she had to join the races, I did like that it wasn’t a “I’m doing this because I shouldn’t” thing.

  13. I’ve read spoilers for the newest Sisterhood book. Trust me when I say don’t read it. Leave things at book 4.

  14. I’ve read and enjoyed pretty much every book on your list except… I haven’t read a single thing by Tamora Pierce! Everyone tells me I would love her!!! I really need to go out and buy some of her books. Thanks for the specific recommendations in your post. I’ll pick up Songs of the Lioness and Beka Cooper next time I see them.
    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

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