The best books with strong feminist perspectives, coming-of-age themes, and— please god— humor

Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy Author Of Margot Mertz Takes It Down
By Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy

Who are we?

Hi! We are writers currently living in Los Angeles after 18 years in New York. We wrote Margot Mertz after reading American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Online Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales. It was the first time we heard of boys cultivating and curating non-consensual nude pics, effectively treating them like Pokemon cards. It was infuriating, especially when we realized there are no federal laws to protect victims of revenge porn at the time. So it became a focus of our work. We love a main character who’s angry but also funny, and desperately seeking change.

We wrote...

Margot Mertz Takes It Down

By Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy,

Book cover of Margot Mertz Takes It Down

What is our book about?

Veronica Mars meets Moxie in this hilarious and biting YA contemporary novel following Margot Mertz, a girl who runs a very online cleanup business erasing people’s nip-slips, dick pics, and embarrassing DMs from the internet. But when a fellow student hires her to take down some leaked nudes, Margot discovers a secret revenge porn site featuring Roosevelt High girls. And hell hath no fury like Margot when she sees girls’ butts shared without their consent. The more she digs, the deeper and darker the case becomes until Margot realizes that some jobs are so dirty, no one can come away clean. Even her. Gross.

The books we picked & why

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Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

By Alison Bechdel,

Book cover of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Why this book?

Fun Home feels so intimate and profound. And though our experiences were nothing like Bechdel’s, it made us re-examine our childhoods and relationships with our parents. Poignant. Laugh out loud funny. And heartbreaking. It reaches universal themes by being incredibly specific, insightful, and honest. A perfect book.

Does My Body Offend You?

By Mayra Cuevas, Marie Marquardt,

Book cover of Does My Body Offend You?

Why this book?

This is a YA novel told from the perspectives of two very different strong women. It’s part coming-of-age, part coming-of-action as they learn the best ways to affect change in their communities and how to voice their frustrations with the patriarchy. And we loved how it dealt with these issues in a nuanced and complex way that didn’t offer easy answers.

Pizza Girl

By Jean Kyoung Frazier,

Book cover of Pizza Girl

Why this book?

The logline sounds like the most depressing character study you’ll ever read. A story of a pregnant teenager, Jane, who lives with her mom after the death of her father. Jane spends her days delivering pizzas and her nights drinking beers alone in a shed behind their house. But thanks to the prose, and the pacing of the plotting, this book is both funny, engaging, and something of a psychological thriller. Especially when Jane becomes obsessed with one of her regulars, a stay-at-home mom. We marveled at Kyoung Frazier’s ability to put us in the head of Jane, in a way that we actually wanted to stay there.

Trust Exercise

By Susan Choi,

Book cover of Trust Exercise

Why this book?

Full disclosure: we are both theatre kids, so we appreciated this look at an incestuous and often toxic high school drama department. While much of it is set in high school, Trust Exercise is not a YA novel. It’s told from the perspectives of three different characters who view the events (and each other) very differently, and who force the reader to question what’s real. It’s a beautiful, dark, onion with a lot of layers and a lot of humor. And a pretty smart look at the trauma caused by problematic relationships.

Nobody's Victim: Fighting Psychos, Stalkers, Pervs, and Trolls

By Carrie Goldberg,

Book cover of Nobody's Victim: Fighting Psychos, Stalkers, Pervs, and Trolls

Why this book?

We read this biography/call to arms while we were researching our book. There’s very little written about revenge pornography and cyber crimes in this modern age. And Carrie Goldberg’s memoir/rallying cry for privacy justice was an eye-opener. The crimes committed almost exclusively by men online are 1,000 times worse than we initially assumed. But thanks to Goldberg’s funny, brisk, and foul-mouthed prose, you’re able to absorb the information without throwing up or screaming at the book. An impressive lawyer, survivor, and writer. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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