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

Why are we passionate about this?

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.

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The books we picked & why

Book cover of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy Why did I love 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.

By Alison Bechdel,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Fun Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

DISCOVER the BESTSELLING GRAPHIC MEMOIR behind the Olivier Award nominated musical.

'A sapphic graphic treat' The Times

A moving and darkly humorous family tale, pitch-perfectly illustrated with Alison Bechdel's gothic drawings. If you liked Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis you'll love this.

Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian home, a third-generation funeral home director, a high-school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with his male students and the family babysitter. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is…


Book cover of Does My Body Offend You?

Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy Why did I love 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.

By Mayra Cuevas, Marie Marquardt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Does My Body Offend You? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

A timely story of two teenagers who discover the power of friendship, feminism, and standing up for what you believe in, no matter where you come from. A collaboration between two gifted authors writing from alternating perspectives, this compelling novel shines with authenticity, courage, and humor.

Malena Rosario is starting to believe that catastrophes come in threes. First, Hurricane María destroyed her home, taking her unbreakable spirit with it. Second, she and her mother are now stuck in Florida, which is nothing like her beloved Puerto Rico. And third, when she goes to school bra-less after a bad sunburn and…


Book cover of Pizza Girl

Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy Why did I love 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.

By Jean Kyoung Frazier,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Pizza Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named a Vogue, Esquire, NPR, Marie Claire, and Refinery29 Best Book of the Year. Perfect for fans of Normal People and Fleabag

Great inventiveness, unfailing intelligence and empathy, and best of all a rare and shimmering wit' Richard Ford

A moving story about an unforgettable young woman trying to find her place in the world...

Eighteen years old, pregnant, and working as a pizza delivery girl, our dysfunctional heroine is deeply lost and in complete denial about it all.

Her world is further upended when she becomes obsessed with Jenny, a stay-at-home mother new to the neighbourhood.

As one woman…


Book cover of Trust Exercise

Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy Why did I love 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.

By Susan Choi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Trust Exercise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S BOOKS OF THE YEAR

Both inventive and shocking, Trust Exercise became a sensation on publication in the USA for its timely insights into sex, power and the nature of abuse.

Sarah and David are in love - the obsessive, uncertain love of teenagers on the edge of adulthood. At their performing arts school, the rules are made by their magnetic drama instructor Mr Kingsley, who initiates them into a dangerous game. Two decades on we learn that the real story of these teenagers' lives is even larger and darker than…


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

Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy Why did I love 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. 

By Carrie Goldberg,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Nobody's Victim as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nobody's Victim is an unflinching look at a hidden world most people don't know exists-one of stalking, blackmail, and sexual violence, online and off-and the incredible story of how one lawyer, determined to fight back, turned her own hell into a revolution.

"We are all a moment away from having our life overtaken by somebody hell-bent on our destruction." That grim reality-gleaned from personal experience and twenty years of trauma work-is a fundamental principle of Carrie Goldberg's cutting-edge victims' rights law firm.

Riveting and an essential timely conversation-starter, Nobody's Victim invites readers to join Carrie on the front lines of…


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Traumatization and Its Aftermath: A Systemic Approach to Understanding and Treating Trauma Disorders

By Antonieta Contreras,

Book cover of Traumatization and Its Aftermath: A Systemic Approach to Understanding and Treating Trauma Disorders

Antonieta Contreras Author Of Traumatization and Its Aftermath: A Systemic Approach to Understanding and Treating Trauma Disorders

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

As a trauma therapist and dedicated researcher, I love uncovering valuable insights within lesser-known books. There are hidden gems, free from the pressure of commercial success, crafted by authors deeply committed to research, understanding, and the art of writing itself. Their dedication resonates with me, as I believe in the profound value of information and the power of critical thinking. Through my own book, Traumatization and Its Aftermath, I aim to emphasize that psychological concepts often lose their depth in translation and my mission is spreading awareness and fostering a deeper understanding of trauma and its intricate facets. With that idea in mind, I chose these five titles. 

Antonieta's book list on uncovering the human experience and exploring the depths of trauma

What is my book about?

A fresh take on the difference between trauma and hardship in order to help accurately spot the difference and avoid over-generalizations.

The book integrates the latest findings in brain science, child development, psycho-social context, theory, and clinical experiences to make the case that trauma is much more than a cluster of symptoms to be tamed, but instead best understood as development gone off course, away from growth and towards (only) survival.

This book prompts a profound shift in perception, inviting to view trauma as an intricate and diverse experience, a point of view that ultimately leads to sharper treatment and, hopefully, more healing. It encourages a transition from asking, "What happened to you?" to the deeper question, "What is your relationship with what happened to you?"

Traumatization and Its Aftermath: A Systemic Approach to Understanding and Treating Trauma Disorders

By Antonieta Contreras,

What is this book about?

The book is comprehensive, bold, and practical-a much-needed resource for the assessment and treatment of trauma. Instead of the traditional focus on the overall importance of healing, Traumatization and its Aftermath decodes why some people don't heal as easily as others, analyzes the various failures of diagnosis, and explains how to make therapeutic interventions truly effective.

This book offers a systemic deep dive into traumatization that clarifies myths and misinformation about the entire spectrum of trauma and provides both clinicians and non-clinicians with the right level of validation, preventive measures, conceptualization methodology, assessment tools, and healing facts that have not…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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