Teenage Girls Who Save the World

By Jennifer K.
Once upon a time, not too long ago, I happened to be in the Young Adult section of my library. Nearby was a person who audibly scoffed at the selection: “All these books about teenage girls who save the world.”

Now, that is a completely valid point of view. We all have different tastes, and no one has to read about awesome teenage girls saving the world if they don’t want to.

Personally, I always want to read about teenage girls. I want books about nerdy girls, and funny girls, and fat girls, and girls of color, and queer girls. The vulnerable girls, the smart girls, the scared girls, the creative girls, the brave girls. I definitely want to read books about the teenage girls who save the world.

That’s one of the reasons why I – not a young adult – love the YA section. The variety of female-centered YA books is rich and wonderful. In YA, interesting heroines can be found in all genres, from contemporary fiction to science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction. It sometimes seems like YA is the only place in the library where almost any novel that you can imagine might have a girl as its protagonist.

To me, that’s not a bug … that’s a feature.

Are you like me? Do you want to read about young women who overcome their fears and faults to fight for justice and survival? (Even if you’re not a teenage girl yourself?) Then here are just a few books you should know about.

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

This book has a fantastic setting: the brilliant Brazilian city Palmares Três. Here, advanced technology lives harmoniously beside dark superstition. June is an artist who doesn’t have a problem with the violent rituals that preserve the city’s prosperity. Until she meets the Summer King, and begins to look behind the glittering surface of her society.

The Rule of One by Ashley and Leslie Saunders

In an oppressively overcrowded dystopian world, a one-child policy is ruthlessly enforced. Secretly, one family defies that policy: illegally having twins, who survive by pretending to be one person. Inevitably, the charade collapses, and Ava and Mira go on the run.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Orléans is a magical society, and Camellia is one of the magical young woman who can create beauty – for a price. Camellia’s magic gives her power and privilege, but she can’t ignore the sinister underpinnings of her glittering world for long.

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Ashala is in a terrifying detention center. She’s one of the few people born with special powers, which means she’s been on the run her whole life. Now she’s been caught, and will be forced to reveal all her secrets. This book by an Australian author offers twists and turns that you won’t see coming.

Want more? Check out these!

This is only a tiny fraction of the books about teenage girls saving the world. I’d love to hear about your favorites in the comments!

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5 responses to “Teenage Girls Who Save the World”

  1. I loved The Summer Prince; it’s a fully realized world that is a little bit challenging to our mainstream norms. I feel like it was/is ahead of a curve.

  2. KathyS says:

    Children of Blood and Bone!

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