books with strong female leads
Book Discussion Books

Books with strong female leads you should be reading

Kaili

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Growing up I don’t recall there being very many books with strong female leads that were easily accessible. Don’t get me wrong I’m sure there were many out there but they weren’t everywhere you turn like they are today. A lot of books today seem to be a lot more inclusive and make you feel okay for liking the things you like as long as it’s not hurting anyone. Granted we had The Hunger Games but that was something I never got until I was in high school.

Books with a strong female lead

Over the past ten years or so things have been changing a lot and I mean A LOT. Not only are we getting more books by POC authors but we’re also getting more books with strong female leads. This is something that I really wish we had more of as I was growing up. I’m a very introverted person and have a tendency to not stand up for myself. I would have loved books like this as I was growing up because it probably would have inspired me to get out of my shell. It probably would have inspired me to actually stand up for myself.

What makes a strong female lead

So, I kind of want to put this out there before we get into the novels with strong female leads. What makes a strong female lead is different for everyone. There can be some similarities but nearly everyone has a different idea of what exactly makes a woman strong.

For me, a strong woman is someone who is smart. She’s somewhat book smart and street smart. On top of that, she’s confident and knows what exactly she wants out of her life. The fact that she’s able to stand up for herself and take her mistakes with a grain of salt is a very strong woman to me. While for you a strong woman could just very well mean that the woman is physically strong.

Why should you read books with strong female leads?

I think every girl and woman should have the opportunity to read more books with strong female leads. I know there are a lot of girls who were like me and probably a lot of women who are still like me. Reading books with women like this gives inspiration. At least it does for me. It inspires me to want to do better and be a better person.

Reading books like this might be a good idea for men as well. Granted not all men want a strong woman but these types of books can show men what they are missing out on.

Books with strong female leads

All of these books have a strong female lead but they vary in different ways. I want to include a variety of books that include women who have a way of being strong. They aren’t physically strong but are mentally strong in some way.

Smile and Look Pretty

Even though Smile and Look Pretty wasn’t one of my favorite books I still think that all of the women in the novel are awesome and strong. It takes a lot to come out and talk about anyone who has been sexually assaulting you or treating you any less just because you are a woman. I don’t think a lot of men realize this and I do think some women who haven’t been through this situation don’t realize it either. It’s important having books like this because it makes you realize some of the thought processes that women go through when having to go through this at all. There are reasons some women don’t come out sooner and for some, it’s because they don’t think anyone will believe them.

I love how the women get ‘revenge’ in this story in a very public way.

Amazon | Bookshop

The Stowaway

The Stowaway follows a woman who goes on vacation with her kids and her soon-to-be husband. Not that long ago she was a part of a jury where just about everyone thought the person on trial was the murderer, but this soon-to-be wife says she couldn’t convict him for something she wasn’t sure of. It gets out and she gets harassed for it to the point she can’t leave her home. After a year things start to die down and her anxiety is a little better, but not fully gone, they decide to go on a cruise so she can decompress before going back to work. When people start dying on the ship it doesn’t take her long to figure out who it is.

So, I added The Stowaway because the mother in the story is such a strong woman. Not only does she take the blame for letting someone free that EVERYONE thought was guilty and taking all of the harassment, but she’s a strong mother with perfect instincts. She’s what I envision as a strong woman even though she was cornered to stay in her home for almost a full year.

Amazon | Bookshop

Legend

I didn’t read Legend until recently and I’m glad that I did. Legend became very popular on Tik Tok which is how I heard of it, to begin with. Granted this isn’t really one of my favorite dystopian novels but I wanted to add this because the main character is strong! She’s a smart girl and she grew up in a pretty privileged family. After her brother is killed she goes on a rampage to find the killer but it doesn’t take long for her to realize that her life may be a complete lie.

Most who grow up in a pretty privileged life don’t really care for those who are beneath them. So the fact that the main character finds out what is going on with the less fortunate. Granted she only finds out so she can get revenge for her brother’s death. In the end, she does change her mind for the better. To me, that takes a lot of strength because most wouldn’t even care.

Amazon | Bookshop

My Lovely Wife

I know My Lovely Wife isn’t the conventional book to add to this list. Why? Because the woman in this story isn’t exactly the best role model. She’s not really the woman you want to strive to be. But she’s smart, conniving, and sneaky which is what I love about her. I think these are traits that a lot of people don’t appreciate when it comes to strong women. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that people should gaslight others, murder them, or use these attributions in a negative way. I think if these qualities were used in a more positive light then the woman would be very well near unbeatable.

I add this novel to the Books with strong female leads because she is a strong woman. She just so happens to use what makes her strong in a negative light.

Amazon | Bookshop

To Dream is to Die

books with a strong female lead

To Dream is to Die follows a college-age woman who can see ghosts and other things on the other side. I add this book because of how strong the main character is. She’s okay with being herself. She doesn’t try pushing to be someone else in order to fit in. In fact, she pushes people away because she gets along better with the dead than she does with the living. But she still winds up making friends that love her for who she is. Throughout the entire story, she stays true to herself and doesn’t change for anyone.

Even though it’s not great to stay stuck in your ways with certain things the main character knows what she wants. Her ways aren’t toxic but just a way to keep herself safe along with others as well. The main character is kind of who I aspired to be when I was in high school. I really wish a book like this was around then.

Amazon | Bookshop

The Diseased Ones

books with a strong female lead

The Diseased Ones is a YA Dystopian novel. It follows a girl who has to get tested when she becomes of age. The population gets tested for powers when they are at their coming of age. If they have powers then they are considered diseased and have to be ‘fixed’.

So, I add The Diseased Ones because I feel like the main character is a badass main character. It must be scary to grow up thinking becoming a Diseased One is one of the worse things to happen to you. It’s scary and it’s something you don’t want to happen. So when it happens to the main character she freaks out. It doesn’t take her long to grow accustomed to and learn a new way of thinking.

Why exactly did I add this book to the list? I think it takes a strong woman who granted freaks out over change and then takes it in stride. So many people stay in the freak-out stage and do not push themselves through it. Not only that she changes her perspective of how she thinks about the diseased one who she originally thought were extinct.

Amazon | Bookshop

What books did I miss? Let me know in the comments what books have stood out to you and have a strong female lead!

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