Feminist AF: Girls Run the World, a guest post by Jennifer Rummel
We know that Girls Run the World, but they also save the world too. I’m not talking about Hermione, although I love her and Harry Potter wouldn’t have been able to defeat Voldemort without her. I’m talking about the girls who literally saved the world. They might be a spy, or a princess, or a wielder of magic, or a really powerful girl, or a smart girl. She might be a combination of any or all of these. But in the end, she does save the world, to the surprise of no one.
Here are a few modern classics (10 years old and still circulating in libraries) where girls kick butt and take names.
Mary Quinn is a thief; she was rescued from certain death by hanging and brought to a special school for girls. She worked hard to change her station in life. Upon graduating, she’s not sure where her life will lead. When her advisors share a secret about the school, everything changes.
They run a spy agency and with training, they believe she would be the perfect fit. In fact, they already have an assignment in mind for her. As a young woman in service, she’d be overlooked and of no consequence.
Mary Quinn becomes a paid ladies companion to Angelica Thorold. Mary’s responsible for gathering intelligence on Mr. Thorold in regard to his alleged smuggling operation. Mary struggles with both jobs. Unable to find any intelligence, she snoops at Mr. Thorold’s place of business where she’s caught by a man of similar concerns. Mary has no choice but to accept his partnership. What they discover might shed some light on Mary’s buried past.
Read this one if you’re waiting for An Affair of Poisons by Addie Thorley
Alanna by Tamora Pierce
Alanna and her twin brother are sent away to school; Alanna’s supposed to be learning the art of magic. Instead she desperately wants to become a knight. So, she convinces her brother to change places with her. Thom travels to the convent, and Alanna takes his place.
Training to be a page is tougher than it looks, between the chores, the homework, and the bullies, Alanna’s not sure she can handle it. But her determination rises to the challenge. She works extra hard to prove herself.
Read this one while you’re waiting for We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Eon’s been training with both magic and swords for years. He hopes that he will be chosen as one of the twelve Dragoneye apprentices. If he doesn’t, he and his master will be living on the streets.
Eon works hard, but people do not believe in him. They judge him based on his crippled leg. They would judge him worse if they knew his secret – instead of being a young boy, Eon is really Eona, a sixteen year old girl.
Girls aren’t allowed to use Dragon Magic. If the secret gets out, it could end her life.
When a lord greedy for power changes the ceremony, not even Eona’s raw power can combat the outcome. Her heart becomes heavy with failure when another apprentice is chosen. But all is not lost as an ancient dragon makes a return, choosing Eona.
This choice threatens her secret and gains her a powerful enemy.
Read this one if you like Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kaqawa
Ismae was born with a scar on her body and a father who couldn’t stand her. He attempts to marry her away to the highest bidder. Just when Ismae believes her life to be over, help comes creating a new path for her.
The God of Death claims her. She’s brought to a covenant where she learns that she’s an instrument of Death and will train her to become an assassin.
After years of training, she’s finally given her first assignment and then her second. The same man turns up during both assignments, giving the Reverend Mother cause for concern. When he reveals himself and asks for her help, Ismae travels with him to court to see if they can uncover the plot against the young ruler. It’s not long before she’s in the middle of double crossings, secrets, and traitors.
Read this one while you’re waiting for Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Katsa is graced with the ability to fight; she can kill a man with her bare hands. Her uncle, King Randa, forces her to use her skills to frighten people into obeying his command.
She secretly works against him whenever she can. When she rescues a king from the dungeons, she has no idea that her life will change forever.
A man arrives searching for the king she rescued. She’s intrigued by him, even more so when he makes her work to beat him in a fight. As their friendship grows, Katsa knows Po is leaving to search for answers. She can’t bear the thought him going without her, she accompanies him.
Their path is as dangerous as their enemies. They will need all her strength to survive once they uncover the truth that threatens the seven kingdoms.
Read this one if you like Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
Hunger Games by Suanne Collins
In a world where revolution failed, the government hosts a yearly elaborate game to make sure an uprising doesn’t happen again. Two children from each district must travel to the Capital and fight for their survival while the whole worlds watches the Hunger Games. There is only one winner in these game, it’s either kill or be killed.
No one volunteers for the games, but when Katniss’s younger sister is chosen, she volunteers. The other chosen tribute from district 12 is a boy Katniss owes a debt.
Katniss’s only skill comes from years of secretly hunting to feed her family. Peeta understands how to play the game, how to engage the audience. His lies help Katniss gain more favor, but to what end. Only one of them can walk away.
Read this one if you like Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
After two years on the run, Rose and Lissa are caught and taken back to St. Vladimir’s Academy. The academy isn’t your average boarding school, it’s a school where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-humans train to protect them. Rose, a Dhampir, is a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a vampire princess.
They’ve been on the run because Lissa’s in danger and the worst place for her to be right now is St. Vladimir’s. From the social scene to two forbidden romances, everything threatens to expose them. Rose must do everything in her power to keep Lissa safe.
Read this one while you’re waiting for Renée Ahdieh’s The Beautiful.
Jennifer’s been a Young Adult Librarian for 13 years. She loves reading and talking about books. Reader’s Advisory is one of her favorite parts of the job. She writes the blog YA Book Nerd. When she’s not reading or talking about books, she’s baking, crafting, watching the Celtics, or snuggling with her two dogs.
You can find her online at:
Filed under: Feminism
About Robin Willis
After working in middle school libraries for over 20 years, Robin Willis now works in a public library system in Maryland.
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