Two books on a shelf, one in front of the other. The book in front is The Immortal Rules from the Blood of Eden series.The cover shows a girl with black hair crying one tear of blood. The book in the back is Dumplin and shows a plus sized girl in a red dress on the cover.

Not Your Damsel in Distress

By Timia Cobb
Web Content Contributor

We all know that a good romance book every now and then just feels good for the soul. Books are filled with the drama and romance that we lack in our lives. However, the basic storyline of a teenage girl having to decide between two hot guys or the prince desperately needing a princess is overplayed. Strong female leads in books are needed; they make book series way more entertaining and realistic. Reading about women in main roles, such as that of the hero or “the chosen one,” feels more powerful because it’s showing that although she might be a woman, she doesn’t need a man to make her life worth living and doesn’t need a savior. Through the years, I have fell in love with many books series that have had strong female characters. Here are some books written by amazing women that aren’t full of cringey romance problems and don’t portray the leading female character as shallow or weak.

“Dumplin'” by Julie Murphy

“Dumplin'” has to be one of my all time favorite books because it’s something that every young girl can see a little bit of themself in. I read “Dumplin'” in high school and always seem to reread it when I need a boost of confidence. “Dumplin'” is a story that revolves around a teenage girl named Willowdean Dickson but nicknamed Dumplin’ by her former pageant queen mother. Dumplin decides to get back at her mother after a dispute between them by choosing to run to be the next Miss Clover in the Miss Clover City pageant. Her plan of revenge turns into a story of self love and friendship.

This book has everything to put a smile on your face, especially the heavy influence of the great Dolly Parton throughout the entire book. I am so happy to say that “Dumplin'” was adapted into a Netflix film in 2018 and was released as a winter premiere. I highly suggest to read the book, but the movie is amazing as well.

“My Heart and Other Black Holes” by Jasmine Warga

“My Heart and Other Black Holes” was the first book I’ve ever read that explained depression in a way that I understood it, and I’m thankful that I did. This book is one of the most intense books I’ve ever read and it makes me cry a little even to think about it. Aysel, a 16 year old girl, has made a pact to kill herself; I don’t want to give away the spoiler of why she does, but the reason haunts her life everyday. Aysel feels as though she can’t go through with her pact, so she finds herself a suicide partner and they plan to commit suicide together.

This story allowed me to see what people with depression go through and helped me understand that any girl could be Aysel. Through the story, Aysel and her partner, Roman, develop a friendship. Their friendship convinces Aysel to see that maybe death isn’t the answer for her or Roman. “My Heart and Other Holes” is inspiring and I can’t help to be in awe of how strong the main character is. I suggest this book to everyone, especially those who struggle with depression.

The “Shatter Me” series by Tahereh Mafi

The “Shatter Me” series consist of four books and three mini books. Most series that have this many books usually tend to get boring by the end or feel drawn out, but Tahereh Mafi knows what she’s doing. The plot of this books seems to be used thousands of times—a pretty girl with two hot soldiers fighting over her, all happening in a dystopian society ran by a powerful dictatorship called the Reestablishment. However, there’s more to this story than that. The main character, Juliette, is lethal to the touch. She’s a weapon and a prisoner.

The series has a lot going on, but the main focus is that Juliette is slowly understanding she isn’t just a weapon. This series has all the drama, action and romance most would want without making the leading character weak. She’s smart, stands up for what she believes in and will fight for who she loves. The series is still ongoing with the fifth book hitting shelves April 2, but you can catch up on the series at Tahereh Mafi’s official website.

“The Foxglove Killings” by Tara Kelly

I’ve never been the person who was obsessed with thrillers and mystery books, but Tara Kelly has me hooked. “The Foxglove Killings” is amazingly written. Kelly has the power to make blood and gore sound beautiful, which is astonishing to me. The book not only has a female, crime-stopping, rebel lead who gets the job done, but she is also a mix of Native American, Argentinian and white descent. The book involves a small town that has been under the attack of a murderer who leaves foxgloves in the mouths of their victims. The main character, Nova, gets involved when her best friend is accused of being the murderer and she has to prove him innocent. “The Foxglove Killings” is beautifully captivating and an amazing read.

The “Blood of Eden” series by Julie Kagawa

I’m proud to say I’ve read this book series more than five times and have made it a tradition to read it every summer. The “Blood of Eden” series will forever be my favorite book series. These books have made me cry, laugh and scream from the dramatic, cliffhanger endings. This is another dystopian book series, but there’s a twist—the world is now being run by vampires. This series is so incredible and enchanting that I could never fully explain it. However, I can give you the basic summary: Allison Sekemoto is a human scavenger who barely survives on the streets of one of the last standing cities on earth. She hates vampires, and she’s the living breathing example of a fierce woman. She becomes a vampire one night when she has to decide between dying or living as immortal. Each book has an amazing balance between gore, drama and action, while also depicting Allison as a strong woman who I can’t help but to love. You can learn more about the series on the author’s site.

Featured image by Timia Cobb.

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