Feminist Reads in YA

By Anna B, Isaac F, and Lisa T.
March 11, 2022

We’ve gathered together books for tweens and teens that feature girls and women taking the lead in their story. From nonfiction to fantasy to school drama, these stories center on the empowerment of women. Click on the book covers to be taken to our catalog, where you can place holds.

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These lists are always changing. See something we missed? Send your suggestions our way!


Not Here to be Liked / by Michelle Quach

After losing the editor-in-chief job of the student newspaper to inexperienced newcomer Len, Eliza inadvertently starts a feminist movement in her school, but amid growing tensions within the school, she begins developing feelings for Len.

Legendborn / by Tracy Deonn

To discover the truth behind her mother’s mysterious death, a teen girl infiltrates a magical secret society claiming to be the descendants of King Arthur and his knights.

My Eyes Are Up Here / by Laura Zimmermann

reer Walsh wants to rediscover her sense of self, but since the summer before ninth grade her body decided to change all the rules. She’s entirely uncomfortable in her body, and avoids physical contact– until she finds an unexpected community on the volleyball squad.

Most Likely / by Sarah Watson

In 2049, as the President of the United States waits to be sworn in, she reflects on senior year in high school when she and her three dear friends vied for the attention of the future First Gentleman.

Six Angry Girls / by Adrienne Kisner

Raina Petree is crushing her senior year, until her boyfriend dumps her, the drama club (basically) dumps her, the college of her dreams slips away, and her arch-nemesis triumphs.

Every Body Looking / by Candice Iloh

When Ada leaves home for her freshman year at a historical Black college, it’s the first time that she’s been able to make her own choices. Will she find the courage to shape a life of her own?

Song Below Water / by Bethany C. Morrow

Follow the experiences of a Black teen siren and her haunted best friend in Portland, Oregon, who find themselves targeted by violence when they are unable to hide their supernatural identities in an alternate world that discriminates against magic.

You Should See me in a Crown / by Leah Johnson

Shy studious Liz has always avoided the spotlight, but needs must, she enters the competitive and highly publicized prom queen contest in order to win the college scholarship that accompanies the crown.

Watch Us Rise /by Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan

Jasmine and Chelsea are best friends on a mission–they’re sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women’s Rights Club.

Firekeeper’s Daughter / by Angeline Boulley

Daunis, who is part Ojibwe, defers attending the University of Michigan to care for her mother and reluctantly becomes involved in the investigation of a series of drug-related deaths.

Cheer Up! Love and Pompoms / by Crystal Frasier

Through the rigors of squad training and amped up social pressures (not to mention micro-aggressions and other queer youth problems), two girls rekindle a friendship they thought they’d lost and discover there may be other, sweeter feelings springing up between them.

Clap When You Land / by Elizabeth Acevedo

Separated by distance — and Papi’s secrets — two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.


Revenge of the Red Club / by Kim Harrington

When middle school journalist Riley Dunne learns that an important and beloved club is being shut down, she uses the power of the pen to instigate much-needed social change.

Fighting Words / by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Depending on an older sister who protected her when their mother went to prison and their mother’s boyfriend committed a terrible act, 10-year-old Della tries to figure out what to do when her older sister attempts suicide.

Good Kind of Trouble / by Lisa Moore Ramée

After attending a powerful protest, Shayla starts wearing an armband to school to support the Black Lives Matter movement, but when the school gives her an ultimatum, she is forced to choose between her education and her identity.

Don’t Judge Me / by Lisa Schroeder

Hazel discovers a list that rates the girls at her middle school based on their looks — started by her best friend’s older brother. She knows she has to do something, and she can’t do it alone. If Hazel can find the courage to speak up, she might just change everything.

Maybe He Just Likes You / by Barbara Dee

When boys in her class start touching seventh-grader Mila and making her feel uncomfortable, she does not want to tell her friends or mother until she reaches her breaking point.

Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers / by Celia Pérez

After Ofelia, Aster, Cat, and Lane fail to persuade a local girls club to change an outdated tradition, they form an alternative group that shakes up their sleepy Florida town. Includes tips for beginning birders, characteristics of crystals, a cookie recipe, tips for aspiring journalists, directions for creating badges, and facts about the killing of birds for fashion.

Dress Coded / by Carrie Firestone

An eighth grader starts a podcast to protest the unfair dress code enforcement at her middle school and sparks a rebellion.

Go With the Flow / by Lily Williams

Sick of an administration that puts football before female health, the girls confront a world that shrugs–or worse, squirms–at the thought of a menstruation revolution. They band together to make a change.

Samira Surfs / by Rukhsanna Guidroz

After months of rebuilding a new life in Bangladesh with her family, Samira decides to become a Bengali surfer girl of Cox’s Bazar, in this novel in verse about a young Rohingya girl’s journey from isolation and persecution to sisterhood, and from fear to power.

Last Gamer Standing / by Katie Zhao

When Reyna qualifies for the Dayhold Junior Tournament, she knows she’s got what it takes to win the championship title and the $10,000 prize. But when she’s blackmailed and threatened with doxxing by an anonymous troll, Reyna has to confront the toxic gaming community head-on.


This book is feminist : an intersectional primer for next-gen changemakers / by Jamia Wilson

Explore the points where gender, race, class, ability, sexuality, and culture meet. Learn from author Jamia Wilson’s lived experiences, read the statistics, and gain strength in quotes from feminist firebrands and activists. Along the way, respond to calls to action and form your own views on the ‘F’ word.

Feminist AF : a guide to crushing girlhood / by Brittney Cooper

Loud and rowdy girls, quiet and nerdy girls, girls who rock naturals, girls who wear weave, outspoken and opinionated girls, girls still finding their voice, queer girls, trans girls, and gender nonbinary young people who want to make the world better: Feminist AF uses the insights of feminism to address issues relevant to today’s young women.

Lifting As We Climb / by Evette Dionne

For African American women, the fight for the right to vote was only one battle. An eye-opening book that tells the important, overlooked story of Black women as a force in the suffrage movement–when fellow suffragists did not accept them as equal partners in the struggle.

She Came to Slay: the Life and Times of Harriet Tubman / by Erica Dunbar

Not only did Tubman help liberate hundreds of slaves, she was the first woman to lead an armed expedition during the Civil War, worked as a spy for the Union Army, was a fierce suffragist, and was an advocate for the aged.

The Woman All Spies Fear: Code Breaker Elizebeth Smith Friedman and Her Hidden Life / by Amy Greenfield

Elizebeth Smith Friedman had a rare talent for spotting patterns and solving puzzles. These skills led her to become one of the top cryptanalysts in America during both World War I and World War II.

Ida B. the queen : the extraordinary life and legacy of Ida B. Wells / by Michelle Duster

Written by her great-granddaughter, a historical portrait of the boundary-breaking civil rights pioneer covers Wells’ early years as a slave, her famous acts of resistance, and her achievements as a journalist and anti-lynching activist.