10 YA Books With Female Protagonists

10 YA Books With Female Protagonists

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Tess Wilson
Nov 25, 2014
(Image credit: The Book Dealer)

After celebrating female-led children's picture books and juvenile fiction, it's time to explore the greatest category of literature for young-at-heart readers of all ages: YA.

There are a few incredible volumes from the 10 Juvenile Fiction Books Featuring Female Protagonists that could definitely go on this list as well (the His Dark Materials trilogy, The Girl Who Could Fly, the Anne of Green Gables series), just as some of these would be great for younger readers (Harry Potter, The City of Ember, A Wrinkle In Time).

As usual, all links lead to Amazon and there are plenty of SPOILERS...

  1. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: During WWII, young women fly planes, act as spies, endure torture, battle Nazis, form incredible friendships, and are endlessly brave, strong, hilarious, brilliant, fascinating, spirited, and amazing. (There's also a companion novel that I haven't read yet.)
  2. Lonely Werewolf Girl (series) by Martin Millar: Teenage Scottish werewolf battles abusive family members, eating disorder, and addictions, pursues education, forms friendships, bests all opponents. Also featuring powerful female academics, fashion designer, heads-of-(werewolf) state, and royal elementals.
  3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: Female magician proves to be every bit the equal of her male counterpart, rebels against confining system.
  4. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff: Fifteen-year-old girl endures horrifying military occupation, comes-of-age (if you know what I mean), survives against all odds.
  5. I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith: Seventeen-year-old girl pursues love of reading and writing despite shocking lack of candles, rises above heartbreak caused by unworthy man.
  6. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli: Sixteen-year-old girl leads her peers, inspires her community, rebels against conformity.
  7. Stardust by Neil Gaiman: Fallen star endures injury and imprisonment with unquenchable rage and rebellion, eventually becomes queen.
  8. A Wrinkle In Time (series) by Madeline L'Engle: Thirteen-year-old female mathematician takes no guff, never stops standing up for herself, travels through dimensions, saves everyone.
  9. The City of Ember (series) by Jean DuPrau: 12-year-old girl pursues career, exposes corruption, overthrows oppressive male leaders, forms meaningful platonic friendship with boy, saves everyone.
  10. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling: Young muggle-born witch is smarter than everyone, knows everything, fixes everything, saves everyone.

What are your favorite YA novels?

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