The best Me Too movement books

3 authors have picked their favorite books about the Me Too movement and why they recommend each book.

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Shout

By Laurie Halse Anderson,

Book cover of Shout

For decades, Laurie Halse Anderson’s work has been a guiding light for so many young people in her honest portrayals of life’s hardest challenges, including sexual assault. Her 2019 book Shout, a memoir written in verse, is a deeply personal reflection on her own experience with sexual assault and its impact on her life. She first tackled this topic twenty years earlier in her groundbreaking 1999 novel, Speaka book that profoundly affected me as a young person. Born out of outrage over the lack of change that has happened in regard to how society treats survivors (and perpetrators) of sexual violence in the twenty years since Speak was published, Shout is a beautifully fierce and moving call to action for today.

Shout

By Laurie Halse Anderson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Award-winning Speak author Laurie Halse Anderson's New York Times bestselling poetic memoir and call to action, which garnered eight starred reviews!

Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a critically acclaimed poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to…

Who am I?

I began writing The Way I Used to Be back in 2010. For me, it started simply as a place to work through my own private thoughts and feelings about sexual violence. I was writing as a survivor myself, but also as someone who has known, loved, and cared for so many others who have experienced violence and abuse. By the time I finished, I realized my novel had evolved into something much bigger: a story I hoped could contribute something meaningful to the larger dialogue. These powerful books on this list are all a part of that dialogue, each based in a richly diverse, yet shared reality. Readers will learn, grow, heal, and find hope in these pages.


I wrote...

The Way I Used to Be

By Amber Smith,

Book cover of The Way I Used to Be

What is my book about?

Eden was always good at being good. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, everything changes. What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved, she now hates. What she thought was true…now lies. She knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So, she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative novel reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, all while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had.

The Mirror Season

By Anna-Marie McLemore,

Book cover of The Mirror Season

The Mirror Season is a difficult and beautiful novel about trauma – sexual assault, specifically – and it’s handled so compassionately, kindly, and brightly. Its central metaphor losing your magic after something unthinkable happens to you, left only with broken shards, works on many levels (as all good metaphors do). Ciela and Lock are brought together after one horrible night at a party, and their relationship is rendered realistically – they struggle separately and together. The something queer is pan: enchanted pan dulce, and a pansexual protagonist. 

The Mirror Season

By Anna-Marie McLemore,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Mirror Season as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An unforgettable story of trauma and healing, told in achingly beautiful prose with great tenderness and care." ―#1 New York Times-bestselling author Karen M. McManus

When two teens discover that they were both sexually assaulted at the same party, they develop a cautious friendship through her family’s possibly-magical pastelería, his secret forest of otherworldly trees, and the swallows returning to their hometown, in Anna-Marie McLemore's The Mirror Season...

Graciela Cristales’ whole world changes after she and a boy she barely knows are assaulted at the same party. She loses her gift for making enchanted pan dulce. Neighborhood trees vanish overnight,…


Who am I?

It’s great for me, personally, that queer means both strange and gay, in some way, because I’m both. I love writing stories that are zany, bizarre, and supernatural, but still grounded in the real world; giving detail to the strangeness makes it feel more real, like something that could have happened to a friend of a friend. I’m particularly moved by stories that work on both the literal and metaphorical level – being a werewolf is a metaphor for being queer and chronically ill, but my werewolf, Brigid, is also a chronically ill lesbian. Here are five of my favorite books that capture both definitions of the word queer. 


I wrote...

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses

By Kristen O'Neal,

Book cover of Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses

What is my book about?

When Priya’s Lyme diagnosis forces her to move back home from college on medical leave, she finds a kindred spirit in Brigid, a friend she’s only spoken to online. The two of them join a chronic illness Discord server together, but Brigid won’t talk much about her own illness. When Brigid goes offline, Priya does something uncharacteristically impulsive – she drives from New Jersey to Pennsylvania to check on her. She doesn’t expect to find a creature in the basement of Brigid’s house. 

Priya puzzles together an impossible but obvious truth: the creature is a werewolf—and the werewolf is Brigid. As Brigid's condition worsens, their friendship is deepened and challenged, forcing them to reckon with their own ideas of what it means to be normal.

Don't Turn Around

By Jessica Barry,

Book cover of Don't Turn Around

This is the second-scariest book I have read in a while (and the first-scariest doesn’t belong on this list as the female lead can’t exactly be said to triumph; she is dead for the whole thing). In this story, Cait Monaghan is in charge of squiring women safely to an abortion clinic, driving under cover of night through the darkness to avoid detection by abusive biological fathers, red state protestors—and one unseen, shadowy threat. The novel proceeds in a cat-chases-mouse-mouse-turns-on-cat series of twists and turns through the wilderness of an endless Texas highway, taking places as seemingly banal as a diner and transforming them into scenes you’ll read with the light on and one hand on your phone.  

Don't Turn Around

By Jessica Barry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Don't Turn Around as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An addictive, fast-paced thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Perfect for fans of LISA GARDNER and CLARE MACKINTOSH.

'A novel like razor-wire' AJ Finn, author of #1 bestseller The Woman in the Window
'A nerve-shredding book' Rosamund Lupton, bestselling author of Three Hours

Two strangers, Cait and Rebecca, are driving across America.

Cait's job is to transport women to safety. Out of respect, she never asks any questions. Like most of the women, Rebecca is trying to escape something.

But what if Rebecca's secrets put them both in danger? There's a reason Cait chooses to…


Who am I?

I've always been obsessed with justice, but as a five-foot, zero-inch woman, I can't exactly kill a bad guy with my bare hands. So I right wrongs in my books, which always end on a note of triumph, and where people who do dread, nefarious things tend to meet with rightful ends. Before I became a writer, I worked as a psychotherapist, and one day I was assigned the case of this adorable five-year-old who had just killed the family pet. Drilling down into the reasons behind the acts people commit helped me save this child, and has come to consume me. It also happens to be something every author on this list does brilliantly well.


I wrote...

The Second Mother

By Jenny Milchman,

Book cover of The Second Mother

What is my book about?

Opportunity: Teacher needed in a one-room schoolhouse on a remote island in Maine. Certification in grades K-8 a must. 

Julie Weathers isn't sure if she's running away or starting over, but moving to a remote island off the coast of Maine feels right for someone with reasons to flee her old life. She finds friends in her nearest neighbor, Ellie, and in Callum, a man who appears to be using the island for the same thing as she: escape. As Julie takes on the challenge of teaching the island's children, she comes to suspect that she may have traded one place shrouded in trouble for another, and she begins to wonder if the greatest danger on Mercy Island is its lost location far out to sea, or the people who live there.

The Wild Ones

By Nafiza Azad,

Book cover of The Wild Ones

I love this book so much, I blurbed it! In a world where women are often asked to be quiet, to make themselves small, Nafiza Azad’s unapologetically feminist book is breathtaking. Readers journey with Paheli and her collection of girls—the Wild Ones—helping to save girls from the pain they had to endure. On their journey, they seek Taraana, a boy with stars in his eyes, who once saved Paheli and now needs saving. While The Wild Ones is a fantasy, it is an unflinching look into the #MeToo movement, the tragedies and pain of being female, the saving grace of sisterhood, and the audacious power of resilience and hope.

The Wild Ones

By Nafiza Azad,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wild Ones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From William C. Morris Finalist Nafiza Azad comes a thrilling, feminist fantasy about a group of teenage girls endowed with special powers who must band together to save the life of the boy whose magic saved them all.

We are the Wild Ones, and we will not be silenced.

We are girls who have tasted the worst this world can offer. Our story begins with Paheli, who was once betrayed by her mother, sold to a man in exchange for a favor. When Paheli escaped, she ran headlong into Taraana-a boy with stars in his eyes, a boy as battered…

Who am I?

I grew up in the 1980s when there wasn’t consideration for representation or diversity in literature or media. If I wanted to read about a Girl of Color, inevitably, she was a slave. If I wanted to watch a TV show featuring women (of any color), they were inevitably rescued in the climactic moment by a man. As such, I grew into a reader who loves kickbutt girls of all stripes. Give me a chance to cheer on a female who’s looking for her happy ending and not about to let the world dictate how she finds that happiness (and with whom), and boy, you got me!


I wrote...

The Signs and Wonders of Tuna Rashad

By Natasha Deen,

Book cover of The Signs and Wonders of Tuna Rashad

What is my book about?

No matter what her older brother, Robby, says, aspiring screenwriter Tuna Rashad is not “stupidstitious.” She is, however, cool with her Caribbean heritage, meaning she's always on the lookout for messages from loved ones who have passed on. But ever since Robby became a widower, all he does is hang out at the house, mock Tuna for following in their ancestors’ traditions, and meddle in her life.

Tuna needs to break free from her brother’s loving but over-bearing ways and get him a life (or at least, get him out of hers!). Based on the signs, her ancestors are on board. They also seem to be on board with helping Tuna win over her crush, Tristan Dangerfield. The only hiccup? She has to do it before leaving for college in the fall. 

Re-Imagining Black Women

By Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd,

Book cover of Re-Imagining Black Women: A Critique of Post-Feminist and Post-Racial Melodrama in Culture and Politics

This is a brilliant book about race, gender, and politics in the United States. While there is a lot of work on racial inequality this book stands out in its focus on the ways in which culture shapes our politics and responses to inequality. It does so by centering Black women. It is also very timely and analyzes the way in which public figures like Michelle Obama and Condoleeza Rice have shaped the American political imagination.  

Re-Imagining Black Women

By Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Re-Imagining Black Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE W.E.B. DUBOIS DISTINGUISHED BOOK AWARD, GIVEN BY THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF BLACK POLITICAL SCIENTISTS
A wide-ranging Black feminist interrogation, reaching from the #MeToo movement to the legacy of gender-based violence against Black women
From Michelle Obama to Condoleezza Rice, Black women are uniquely scrutinized in the public eye. In Re-Imagining Black Women, Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd explores how Black women-and Blackness more broadly-are understood in our political imagination and often become the subjects of public controversy.
Drawing on politics, popular culture, psychoanalysis, and more, Alexander-Floyd examines our conflicting ideas, opinions, and narratives about Black women, showing how they…


Who am I?

I have spent close to thirty years researching and teaching about questions of inequality and change. Most of my focus has been on the Global South, with a particular focus on India. I've written about intersecting class, gender, and caste inequalities. I've pursued this research agenda through extensive field research on labor politics, democratization, and the politics of economic reform in India. My interest stems from my background. I am originally from India and have lived and travelled extensively in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. I'm an author, public speaker, and consultant and have been a professor for three decades at the University of Michigan, Rutgers University, The University of Washington, and Oberlin College.


I wrote...

Governing Water in India: Inequality, Reform, and the State

By Leela Fernandes,

Book cover of Governing Water in India: Inequality, Reform, and the State

What is my book about?

Intensifying droughts and competing pressures on water resources foreground water scarcity as an urgent concern of the global climate change crisis. In India, individual, industrial, and agricultural water demands exacerbate inequities of access and expose the failures of state governance to regulate use. State policies and institutions influenced by global models of reform produce and magnify socio-economic injustice in this "water bureaucracy."

Drawing on historical records, an analysis of post-liberalization developments, and fieldwork in the city of Chennai, Leela Fernandes traces the configuration of colonial historical legacies, developmental-state policies, and economic reforms that strain water resources and intensify inequality. While reforms of water governance promote privatization and decentralization, they strengthen the state centralized control over water through city-based development models. 

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