20 Novels With Fierce Female Characters We Love
9:30 am, July 27th | by
I love reading. And there’s nothing better than curling up with a great book that features a strong female lead! I love reading inspiring stories of women who overcame adversities and kicked butt. So, here at The Jane Dough, we compiled a list of wonderful novels with strong female characters. Why? Because they deserve the recognition — and you still have a whole month to catch up on your summer reading. And no, this list does not include anyone from the Twilight Saga or Fifty Shades of Grey (sorry?). So get yourself to a bookstore, or plug in your Kindle and start reading!
1.1) Emma From Jane Austen's Emma
So, this really shouldn't come as a surprise to any of you that Jane Austen writes amazing novels with strong female characters. Besides being my all-time favorite book, Austen's
Emma also examines the conventional role of women in society and she offers a character (Emma) that completely challenges and breaks the mold. If you're a fan of Jane Austen I also reccomend trying Pride and Predjudice, Sense and Sensibility, and all other things Austen!
Image from My Opera .
2.2) Katniss Everdeen From The Hunger Games
Surprise, surprise! Katniss from
The Hunger Games made it onto our list of literature with strong female leads! Katniss essentially defines "strong woman." She's independent, smart, savvy and a hunter/fighter! Definitely not a weak character.
Image from PopSugar .
3.3) Hermione Granger from Harry Potter
We just couldn't leave Hermine Granger off our list! This book-smart girl makes everyone proud.
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4.4) All The Women From The Help
If you have not read Kathryn Stockett's novel,
The Help, then you need to pick up a copy immediately. Every female character is developed beautifully in Stockett's novel and they all show courage.
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5.5) Offred From The Handmaids Tale
I read this book as part of an assignment for a literature class and I'm so glad. Margaret Atwood's novel examines what life would be like for women under a futuristic, totalitarian government in which women were only used for procreation. It's such an intense and captivating story- I recommend it to everyone!
Image from The Feminist Mystique
6.6) Lisbeth From The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Lisbeth from Swedish author, Stieg Larsonn's book
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, is the darkest book to make its way onto our list. Lisbeth, a rape victim, does not let her horrific past rule her life. Instead, she portrays the image of a strong woman, faced with adversity who overcomes and kicks butt.
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7.7) Harriet From Harriet The Spy
While this may be the most juvenille of the books on our list, who doesn't love Harriet?! Harriet from Louise Fitzhugh's
Harriet The Spy is a spunky, 11-year-old girl with ambitions to write and spy on her neighbors. Through this adorable story of mischief and friendship, Harriet learns that sometimes words can hurt. And in a story about self-growth, she eventually succeeds and becomes editor of her school newspaper. Definitely a good book for younger girls.
Image from Malinda Lo .
8.8) Jane From Jane Eyre
It maybe took me three separate occasions to get through reading Charlotte Bronte's
Jane Eyre , but I'm glad I finally did because this truly a beautiful book. Jane faces abuse and social barriers in her life as a governess and eventually manages to find love and gain independence.
Image from IMP Awards
9.9) Tally Youngblood From The Uglies
If you were a fan of
The Hunger Games you should definitely consider reading the Scott Westerfeld series The Uglies. Set in a similarly futuristic period, Tally Youngblood struggles with society's image of "beauty" and challenges the traditions of her world. Strong-willed and determined, Tally uses her smarts to break out of the conventional mold.
Image from Heights Libraries
10.10) Lily & Snow Flower From Snow Flower And The Secret Fan
Lisa See's novel
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a beautiful, but harsh portrayal of friendship, love and betrayal. Lily and Snow Flower struggle to find happiness in their confinements of societal traditions and marriages. It's a truly honest story of friendship, jealously and personal growth.
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11.11) Elphaba From Wicked
I'm pretty much a super-fan of the Broadway musical
Wicked -- and I love the book, too. Gregory Maguire wrote this novel based on the transformation of the "Wicked Witch" from the famous story The Wizard of Oz.
Image from Photobucket
12.12) Gemma Doyle From A Great And Terrible Beauty
This series by Libba Bray came out when I was in high school and I was immediately hooked. Bray's novel
A Great and Terrible Beauty follows the story of Gemma Doyle who goes to a London boarding school where she stumbles upon a magical alternate world. Gemma is strong and independent and brave in this novel of terrifying adventures and friendships.
13.13) Jo From Little Women
Not only have I read Louisa May Alcott's
Little Women, but I have also read every available abridged version and spin-off stories available. But in every version, the strongest and bravest female is always Jo March -- the forward thinking, witty tomboy. In the book, Jo demonstrates a sense of independence and strength that was not expected (or encouraged) for women at the time.
Image from Yet Another Period Drama Blog .
14.14) Scout From To Kill A Mockingbird
To Kill A Mockingbird is an undeniable classic that has touched the hearts of many. Scout, a young girl and a strong-willed character, isn't afraid to stand up for what she believes in.
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15.15) Anna From Anna Karenina
I remember reading Leo Tolstoy's
Anna Karenina one summer in high school and following in love with the story. Anna is a complex character who struggles to define true love and happiness in her proper societal life. With the anticipation of the new movie Anna Karenina which comes out in November, I highly recommend reading the book first!
Image from Collider
16.16) Francie Nolan From A Tree Grows In Brooklyn
Betty Smith's novel
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn follows the life and development of Francie Nolan, a young girl growing up in Brooklyn in the early 1900s. It's an intimate and honest story of her growth into adulthood as she forms relationships and learns from the diverse world around her.
Image from The Daily Snapshot
17.17) Ella From Ella Enchanted
While the 2004 film
Ella Enchanted sort of flopped, you should still read the book -- I promise it is WAY better. Gail Carson Levine's novel follows the adventures of Ella, a girl who was cursed as a baby to always obey commands. Ella makes our list of strong female leads because she fights for her independence and tackles the curse head-on.
Image from The Daily Snapshot
18.18) Winnie From Tuck Everlasting
I read Natalie Babbitt's novel
Tuck Everlasting in middle school, but the story of Jesse Tuck and Winnie has stayed with me long throughout my young adult life. Winnie meets a magically immortal family (the Tucks) and learns to find her independence and ultimately make life-changing decisions for herself.
Image from Book Page
19.19) Holly Short From Artemis Fowl
Another book that was popular when I was younger was the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. In the series the only female character is Holly Short and magical elf. Smart, determined and caring, Holly makes our list as a strong female character. Her bravery and smarts are necessary to the success of the devious Artemis Fowl.
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20.20) Alianne From A Trickster's Choice
Tamora Pierce's fantasy series follows the life of Alianne who joins a dangerous rebellion and becomes an impressive spy. With her intelligence, this young girl takes on a brave role and becomes a true heroine.
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