The best books with fierce young women

The Books I Picked & Why

Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I

By Robin Lafevers

Book cover of Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I

Why this book?

This whole series was a delight—a historical fantasy full of kick-ass young women. Ismae, the heroine of book one, is brave and fierce, the love story feels rich and right, and even with such vivid and extensive world-building, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Assassin nuns—what more do you need to know?


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True Grit

By Charles Portis

Book cover of True Grit

Why this book?

Though it was published back in 1952, True Grit features one of my all-time favorite fierce heroines, Mattie Ross. Though she’s only fourteen, Mattie sets off on a journey through the old west to avenge the death of her father. She’s smart, no-nonsense, incredibly courageous, and truly the embodiment of grit. Bonus tip: the audiobook is extraordinary, narrated by bestselling author Donna Tartt, and no exaggeration, I listened to it twice in a row.


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Code Name Verity

By Elizabeth Wein

Book cover of Code Name Verity

Why this book?

This is the harrowing story of two young women, a pilot, and a spy, in World War Two. “Fierce” isn’t a strong enough word to capture these characters and the story of their friendship, courage, and heroism amidst the horrors of the Nazi regime. It’s an intense and satisfying read that resonated with me long after I finished.


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A Court of Thorns and Roses

By Sarah J. Maas

Book cover of A Court of Thorns and Roses

Why this book?

For fierce heroines, readers generally rave about Maas’ Throne of Glass, but I am all about her A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Feyre is a hunter, a survivor, and the protector of her family who finds herself held captive in a magical kingdom that is, naturally, populated by some devastatingly handsome faeries. The second book in this series is on my shortlist of favorite books of all time.


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Vampire Academy

By Richelle Mead

Book cover of Vampire Academy

Why this book?

If you somehow missed the Vampire Academy series when it first came out in 2007, you’re in for a treat. There’s friendship, romance, intrigue, and a whole lot of female badassery. This book really lit the fire for me--and helped inspire my own vampire series--with its creation of a world where it's the young women who are the empowered ones.


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