Your Favorite Female Author
Leigh Bardugo. Six of Crows is one of the best YA fantasy series ever written, The Language of Thorns is the best short story collection I’ve ever read, and Shadow and Bone is the reason I’m here writing reviews. I had read and liked YA books before, but I never felt like a book understood me/what I wanted from novels until I read Shadow and Bone. I also discovered both Ninefox Gambit and Too Like the Lightning because of its fandom – this was a coincidence (they have little in common with any YA fantasy series, being adult sci-fi) but I would not be the same person without Leigh Bardugo’s books.
I have two:
- Ajewen Cheris from Ninefox Gambit. I thought I’d never see a book about a queer female scientist, and Cheris is a lesbian mathematician – and more. She is an infantry captain, the friend of all the “servitors” (AIs), a mediocre duelist and an awesome trouble magnet. I love her so much.
- Alina Starkov from Shadow and Bone. She’s the first main character I’ve ever found relatable in some way – her struggles with her power, which lead her to not eat and become weaker mirrored what was happening to me when I was reading that book. Mine wasn’t magic, but you can’t have everything. Also, I would 100% kiss the villain too, we both have A+ decision making skills.
A Book With a Feminist Message
Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali follows Janna, an American Muslim girl who was recently assaulted by someone important in her community, as she decides how to deal with the situation and stand up for herself.
A Book With a Girl on the Cover
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. I’ve always liked this cover, and I started liking it even more when I discovered that this book about a trans girl had a trans cover model. The inside is just as beautiful, but it also has some heartbreaking moments (it needs trigger warnings for transphobia and outing).
A Book Featuring a Group of Girls
Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore follows the five Nomeolvides cousins, the new generation in a cursed Mexican family. They’re all girls, all bisexual and they are always there for each other, even in the most difficult circumstances. Everything about this book was beautiful, but one of my favorite aspects was the focus on family and what it means to be a family.
A Book with a LGBTQ+ Female Character
The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz was one of my favorites books in 2017, mostly because of its main character, the Puerto Rican, bisexual Mercedes Moreno. She’s a painter, and I thought that both her feelings for her art (sometimes she hates it, sometimes she loves it, sometimes she just wants to destroy it or forget it) and her feelings for her best friend felt real in a way that contemporary main characters usually don’t. I loved her and I need to reread this book.
A Book with Multiple/Different Female POVs
Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton is the only series I know in which there are three different female PoVs – and all three of them go through so much character development. Every time I think about Bette’s character arc (she goes from a petty, insecure mean girl to an actual mature person, and it’s done so well) I get emotional. Also, this has Korean rep, ownvoices black & disabled rep (try to find another book about a chronically ill character who doesn’t get cured and whose illness isn’t chronic pain?), eating disorder representation that isn’t awfully triggering and diverse secondary characters. I’d like to say that the side queer rep was good, but it was… not, the bisexual representation was messy at best, but that’s the only flaw I can find in there.
A Book in which a Girl Saves the World
There are many books I could choose, but this is already a personal post, so I’m choosing the one that is the most personal of all, Uprooted by Naomi Novik. This book follows Agnieszka, a magical girl who has to save the countries of Polnya and Rosya from the evil wood who is invading the land.
Uprooted is high fantasy, but I have a phobia which made me feel like I was reading horror; I felt like this book understood what I feared.
A Female Sidekick You Liked More than the Male MC
Daiyu Jin from Want by Cindy Pon. I really liked this dystopian book because of the futuristic Taipei setting (yes, I am tired of America), and I also liked the PoV character, Jason Zhou, but the reason this book didn’t make it to my “favorites of 2017” list was that it should have been written in multiple PoVs – the heist squad would have been more developed and I would have known more about Daiyu, who was one of my favorite female characters of last year.
A Book Written by a Man in which the Main Character is a Woman.
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. I was afraid, when I started this book, that this would turn out to be just another sexualized-main-character-clearly-written-by-a-man, but it wasn’t at all; it’s about a young bisexual girl who is training to be an assassin nun. There are lessons about poisons, magic, and the most beautiful action scenes I’ve ever read. I can’t wait for Grey Sister.