The best books with strong and complex female characters

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for strong, complex female characters because I find that teen fiction lacks the combination of strong as well as complex. I have found authors sometimes focus on only showing how a character is strong but forgetting that only being strong isn’t realistic. A character needs flaws and depth to be relatable. As a writer of teen fiction, this is what I strive for in my own work and I hope with each story I accomplish it, whether the genre be teen fiction or fantasy. 


I wrote...

A Secret Service

By Joy Jenkins,

Book cover of A Secret Service

What is my book about?

In a Washington D.C. private high school, where everyone is related to someone in power, Carter Owens is no one. Her biting sarcasm and snarky jabs make her impossible to beat in a word fight, and when words don’t work, she uses her fists.

With a Secret Service agent for a father, Carter lives each day with the fear that one night he might not come home. Between that daily fear, and a mother who walked out on both of them, Carter is convinced it’s best to keep everyone at arm’s length. That resolve is challenged when two new students decide to befriend her. Along with their friendship they bring the mystery of their true identities, a mystery Carter is determined to solve.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Fire

Joy Jenkins Why did I love this book?

I have read this book countless times and will continue to read it countless times. The main character: Fire, is a perfect example of a strong female character that is both powerful as well as vulnerable. These are a mix of traits I find rare in fiction and love how it’s portrayed by Kristin’s beautiful writing style. 

By Kristin Cashore,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Fire 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 must-read title for all fans of Patrick Rothfuss and Trudi Canavan, Fire will have you hooked on its gripping action, political intrigue, and beautiful central relationship.

'The book is REALLY good. Reading it made me very, very happy!' Tamora Pierce

Set in a world of stunningly beautiful, exceptionally dangerous monsters, Fire is one of the most dangerous monsters of all - a human one. Marked out by her vivid red hair, she's more than attractive. Fire is mesmerising.

But with this extraordinary beauty comes influence and power. People who are susceptible to her appeal will do anything for her…


Book cover of Gone With the Wind

Joy Jenkins Why did I love this book?

It’s been years since I’ve read this book and yet I could tell you a million details about the story, the main character as well as the side characters. I didn’t like the character of Scarlet for the majority of the book but I always understood her and respected her determination to survive no matter what. I can’t help but admire Margaret for writing such a strong, complex character.

By Margaret Mitchell,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Gone With the Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of the tempestuous romance between Rhett Butler and Scarlet O'Hara is set amid the drama of the Civil War.


Book cover of Letters to the Lost

Joy Jenkins Why did I love this book?

I love this book for the simple reason that it shows how a character can be strong in small ways, such as picking up a camera. It’s a simple action but shows bravery coming from someone who is grieving. On top of that, it’s a retelling of You Got Mail, one of my favorite movies.

By Brigid Kemmerer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Letters to the Lost as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this romantic novel perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon, New York Times bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer will have you wondering . . . can you fall in love with someone you've never met?

Juliet is drowning in grief after her mother's death.

Declan is trying to escape the demons of his past.

Leaving handwritten letters on her mother's grave is the only way Juliet can process her loss. When Declan finds a letter and answers it anonymously, they continue writing back and forth, not knowing who is on the other side. Juliet is instantly intrigued by this stranger who…


Book cover of The Scorpio Races

Joy Jenkins Why did I love this book?

The beauty of Maggie’s writing never ceases to amaze me when I read this story. The setting, the characters, and the world she creates sweep a reader in and never let them go. And most of all: the character of Puck shows that standing up for something you want always takes courage but is worth it in the end. 

By Maggie Stiefvater,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Scorpio Races as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

A spellbinding novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

Some race to win. Others race to survive.It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio…


Book cover of Pride and Prejudice

Joy Jenkins Why did I love this book?

What can I say about this book that hasn't already been said by hundreds, thousands of readers before me? Elizabeth is a classic strong female character that continues to inspire writers even to this day and I am not an exception to that. I return to this book at least once a year and am always inspired by Elizabeth being both strong and flawed. No one is perfect and everyone needs to grow, that’s how Elizabeth is still relatable today. 

By Jane Austen,

Why should I read it?

35 authors picked Pride and Prejudice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of BBC's 100 Novels That Shaped Our World.

Jane Austen's best-loved novel is an unforgettable story about the inaccuracy of first impressions, the power of reason, and above all the strange dynamics of human relationships and emotions.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition is illustrated by Hugh Thomson and features an afterword by author and critic, Henry Hitchings.

A tour de force of wit and sparkling dialogue, Pride and…


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Book cover of Price of Vengeance

Kurt D. Springs

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Why am I passionate about this?

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What is my book about?

Liam was orphaned at the age of two by a group of giant carnivorous insects called the chitin. Taken in by High Councilor Marcus and his wife, Lidia, Liam was raised with their older son, Randolf in New Olympia, the last remaining city on the planet Etrusci.

As an adult, Liam becomes a soldier. After being cut off from the city, Liam finds that there is an alien intelligence behind the chitin. To defeat it, he must discover who he is and how to use his powers. Then, Liam discovers that a traitor, responsible for his birth parents' deaths, had…

Price of Vengeance

By Kurt D. Springs,

What is this book about?

"From the cover to the opening pages, Price of Vengeance grabs the reader and takes them on a wild ride. Fasten your seat belts for this book." -S. J. Francis, author of Shattered Lies

What is the Price of Vengeance? One could understand why Liam was angry. He was orphaned at the age of two by a group of giant carnivorous insects called the chitin. Taken in by High Councilor Marcus and his wife, Lidia, Liam was raised with their older son, Randolf in New Olympia, the last remaining city on the planet Etrusci.

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