Tuesday 23 June 2015

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YA & NA Feminist Stories & Positive Female Role Models

This is not
Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme run by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is is about favourite past topics for Top Ten Tuesday. Seeing as I haven't been taking part for very long, and don't have enough to talk about, I thought I would combine Top Ten Tuesday with something I want to look at. So it's not Top Ten Tuesday, but it is Tuesday, and I'm listing about ten or so (11) books. Call it what you will!

Anyway, I've recently been thinking about a few YA novels that tell feminist stories, and have been discussing and recommending them on Twitter. I thought it would be great to put together a list of those novels and others, and hopefully get more people picking them up.

Some of these books I read quite a number of years ago, some as far back as when I started blogging. So my reviews for those books won't be as long or as detailed as my current reviews, and are fairly amateurish, so I've also linked to Goodreads.

Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger Wither by Lauren Destefano

Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill - A novel that looks at body image, self-worth, and the worth of women in general in a dystopian patriachal society. I cannot stop raving about this book; if you haven't read it yet, you really need to.  My review

5 to 1 by Holly Bodger - This is a recent release, so I've not yet read it. About a dystopian future India where there are five boys to every girl, and girls are used as a commodity, their sole purpose to find suitable husbands and become caged wives.

Wither by Lauren Destefano - The first book in the Chemical Garden Trilogy, Wither is a dystpian novel where genetic engineering has caused the second generation to die exceptionally early, women at 20 and men at 25. Rhine is one of several girls kidnapped to become brides, so men can try and have children before they die. There's more to the trilogy, but this is what stands out for me. My review

The Testament of of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell Screwed by Joanna Kenrick

The Testament of of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers - Set in the very near future, biological terrorism has caused women to die in their droves. This is a very powerful story that looks at having control of your own body, control of your life, and doing what you feel is right. My review

Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell - This book is about a romance between a disabled boy and an overweight girl. It's has themes of self-esteem and body image, and Riley, the protagonist, is such an incredibly awesome role model for self-confidence. She's very happy in her skin, is bold and confident, even in the face of the comments about her weight. She's wonderful. (Though lets ignore the fact that the girl on the cover doesn't represent Riley at all.)  My review

Screwed by Joanna Kenrick - It's an absolute travesty that this book is out of print, but one I implore you to try and find a second hand copy of. Screwed is an absolutely incredible book; 14-year-old Marsha has casual sex to feel good about herself. Or, rather, it doesn't matter what happens to her body because she lacks self-worth. It's a heartbreaking read, but a fantastic one. It's not a book that criticises casual sex, but one that discusses sex for the wrong reasons, sex as a form of self-harm. (If you do look up Screwed on Amazon, the description is incredibly sexist. Please don't let it put you off. This book is unbelievable!) My review

Good Girls by Laura Ruby Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky

Good Girls by Laura Ruby - Audrey is spied on during a sexual encounter with Luke, a photo is taken, and is sent to everyone. Good Girls looks as shaming girls for having sex, the reputation that that can bring, and trying to keep your head up high throughout. A really brilliant book! My review

Anatomy of a Boyfriend and Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky - These two books cover Dominique's relationship and all the firsts with her first boyfriend and her sexual experiences once she's single. They are very honest, sex positive stories, and show a girl exploring her sexuality without the crap girls seem to get in other stories. They're wonderful. The first book starts during high school and finishes during college, so the there's YA/NA crossover. My review of Anatomy of a Boyfriend and my review of Anatomy of a Girlfriend by Daria Snadowsky

Easy by Tammara Webber Deeper by Robin York

Easy by Tammara Webber - An absolutely wonderful NA novel about Jacqueline moving past the attempted acquaintance rape. There's a beautiful romance too, but one where Lucas helps Jacqueline to empower herself again. Deeply moving! My review

Deeper by Robin York - Deeper is an NA novel similar to Good Girls, but this time deals with revenge porn/non-consenual pornography. Caroline's ex-boyfriend posts sexual photos of the two online after she dumps him. There is a typical NA romance with a lot of sex scenes, but there is equal focus on the seriousness of revenge porn, and it's affect on Caroline and her life, and her trying to move forward from it. A real eye-opener that talks about the law too, and it made me so angry. My review

So have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Are there any other novels that you would recommend as feminist stories or with positive female role models?

ETA: I've realised that with the exception of Only Ever Yours and 5 to 1 this list isn't very diverse.  Can you think of any with diverse characters?


  1. Basically I need, like, ALL OF THESE. I've only read Only Ever Yours at this point (fajdslka that book totally destroyed me) and I really want to read Wither. Mostly because the author is HILARIOUS on twitter. She's just, omg, I wish I could tweet that wittly. hehe. I didn't realise Wither was feministic either, so that is such good news. I really ought to bump it up my TBR. *glares at gargantuan stack* SOON.

    1. Only Ever Yours was brilliant, wasn't it?! I loved it!

      Hope you enjoy Wither, I really loved it! I've not finished the whole series yet, but I'm looking forward to reading the last book. But all of these books are pretty awesome! I loved them!

  2. Wow I really need to read some of these! Only Ever Yours has been on my TBR for sooo long - I finally need to get to it after all the positive review. Wither was on my radar at some point, though I did forget it until now - and I'm definitely going to try and read it soon. Thanks for sharing Jo :)

    Eugenia @ Genie In A Book

    1. You're welcome! I hope you enjoy all those books! They're awesome! Only Ever Yours is absolutely amazing! Incredible book! :)

      Thanks for stopping by!