Strong Female Characters, and Where to Find Them

I love novels with strong female characters, and apparently, so do other readers. 

Here is a short list of my current favorites:

Dread Nation

In this alternate US history, 16-year-old Jane McKeene was born just two days before the dead at the Battle of Gettysburg began to rise up and attack the living. Now Jane is at a special school where Black girls are trained to kill the undead--and Jane has serious zombie-slaying skills. This book is not too scary for timid readers (like me!) but there is some blood on the page and quite a lot of dead stuff that isn't quite all dead yet.

Spinning Silver

In this fairy tale remix, the story of Rumplestiltskin combines with traditional Russian and Polish folklore, along with some original characters to create intrigue, suspense, and a lot less romance than you might expect. It features three outstanding female main characters: a Jewish moneylender, a peasant girl, and a minor noblewoman. Each must use her own strengths and ingenuity to save herself and her family.  

The Girl From Everywhere

Nix was born in Honolulu around 1868, but she spends her life on board her father's pirate ship sailing across the world, across time, and across mythology itself. However, the combination of the caption's opium addiction and his obsession with Nix's dead mother are bound to take the crew of the Temptation into trouble. If they succeed in revisiting Hawaii, they might accidentally erase Nix's entire life.


Two teens on an illegal mining planet think that the worst day ever is when their romance breaks up. Then, their planet gets bombed by a rival mining corporation, and the survivors are stuck on damaged rescue ships with a lunatic computer and a zombie virus on board. This book is first in a trilogy. The full-cast audiobook is fabulous.

The Bear and the Nightingale

Vasilisa (Vasya) is both a child listening to Russian fairy tales and a young woman destined to become one of the greatest central characters in northern folklore. This is the story of her childhood and transition to adulthood: hearing and telling the tales of her elderly nurse, living with a cold and unloving stepmother who sends her out into snow on foolish errands, meeting the Frost King and surviving his challenges, taming the magical steed called Solovey ("Nightingale") and confronting the tyranny of Chernobog ("Bear") the dark, cursed god.

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

Sequel to The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, this volume concentrates the narrative on the adventures of Felicity Montague, who wishes to study medicine. Alas for Felicity, 18th-century women are not allowed to become doctors--and ladies are not allowed to do much at all. Undeterred, Felicity joins forces with two friends and together they galavant across Europe in pursuit of nearly-unattainable goals. This story is both fun and funny.

Now it's the reader's turn: if you enjoy strong female characters, and have a book to recommend, please leave a note in the comment box!

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