The best books about tomboys

3 authors have picked their favorite books about tomboys and why they recommend each book.

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Book cover of The Billboard Bride

The Billboard Bride

By Monica Mynk,

Why this book?

This is a sweet romance about a young woman who finds out minutes before her wedding that her fiancé has been unfaithful. She climbs up to the top of a billboard and refuses to come down until her sleazeball future ex-husband climbs up and apologizes. Trouble is, he doesn’t, and the task is left to the young man who lives next door to literally talk her down. This is a fun, quick-read romance that everyone should enjoy. Monica has a quick wit that I thoroughly enjoyed and a sweet biblical message about love and forgiveness. 

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Book cover of The Academy

The Academy

By Emmaline Andrews, Reese Dante (illustrator),

Why this book?

A somewhat different kind of setting awaits readers in The Academy. It depicts a dystopia in space that resembles Victorian times quite strikingly. Pretty awesome combination, huh? The heroine infiltrates an all-boys school to become a spaceship pilot and navigate the stars. Only to discover even the galaxy is not big enough to run from love.

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Book cover of Louisa May Alcott: Little Women

Louisa May Alcott: Little Women

By Louisa May Alcott, Roberta Bordone (illustrator),

Why this book?

Why I recommend this book that every romance-head can recite cover to cover? Because I could not possibly take myself seriously as an author if I didn't. Seriously, Jo is a tomboy legend. She does not even need to get dressed up as a boy to show us who’s boss.

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Book cover of The Autobiography of a Tomboy

The Autobiography of a Tomboy

By Jeannette I. Gilder,

Why this book?

Gilder’s memoir of growing up in the 1860s as a boyish girl will seem remarkably contemporary to those who equate nineteenth-century girls and women with corsets and overly important etiquette. Gilder writes about baseball, pranks, and various attempts to look like a boy, confirming an instinctual tomboy identity even at a time when females could not legally wear pants.

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Book cover of Little Women

Little Women

By Louisa May Alcott,

Why this book?

What I loved most about Little Women was that it focuses on living the values of honor, family, being a good person, and finding the path that is right for you—these are some of the most important lessons of a life well spent. A semi-autobiographical novel Little Women follows the lives of March sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy during the time of the Civil War as they grow up and each of them dreams of their own destiny. Something that was particularly inspiring to me was Jo’s burning desire to become a writer and the difficulties she encounters until…

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Book cover of The Wakefields of Sweet Valley (Sweet Valley High)

The Wakefields of Sweet Valley (Sweet Valley High)

By Francine Pascal,

Why this book?

I devoured everything in the Sweet Valley world as a teen, though I was more into Sweet Valley Twins than Sweet Valley High for some reason. Maybe it’s because I liked the twins’ innocence, and the high school drama was too much (or too relatable!) to me. I like to escape to a happy ending! And in complete seriousness, I debated naming my daughter Lila because I didn’t want her to be associated with mean girl Lila Flower. In the end, I named her Delilah (Lilah—with an h!—for short) and that eased my worries.

At any rate, I’ll read a…

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Book cover of The Corinthian

The Corinthian

By Georgette Heyer,

Why this book?

Love is not the only thing that is in the air in this one. Penelope happens to dangle off a window in boy clothes just when Mr. Right comes passing by.

If Heyer's romance books were a food, they would be red velvet cupcakes – sweet and elegant. I have yet to read one of hers that is not amazing.

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Book cover of Shakespeare's Comedy of Twelfth Night or, What You Will

Shakespeare's Comedy of Twelfth Night or, What You Will

By William Shakespeare, William J. Rolfe,

Why this book?

Twelth Night or, What You Will just has to be on here, being the mother of all boys-clothes-wearing heroines. The plot has been adapted in so many books and films that it is definitely worth it to read the original (or better yet: watch the play) to see where the brilliancy stems from.

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Book cover of Tomboy Bride: One Woman's Personal Account of Life in Mining Camps of the West

Tomboy Bride: One Woman's Personal Account of Life in Mining Camps of the West

By Harriet Fish Backus,

Why this book?

I’ve been to the Tomboy Mine. All that’s left of the camp are old foundations in a rocky basin above timberline, surrounded by high peaks, 3,000 feet above Telluride. The only gold left behind is in the rich hues of a Colorado sunset. While the Tomboy may be gone, it’s the same view Harriet Fish Backus saw every day. Life at a remote mountain mine was full of “mishaps and makeshifts,” and she kept a diary of daily events. Nothing she writes is a dull description, nor is it the soaring purple prose of Victorian-era romanticism. Her account of mining…

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Book cover of The Unicorn Sonata

The Unicorn Sonata

By Peter S. Beagle,

Why this book?

Peter Beagle is best known for his fantasy novel, The Last Unicorn, but other than featuring unicorns, this book is unrelated. It’s a beautiful story about thirteen-year-old Josephina Rivera. Her parents don’t have time for her, so she hangs out at a music store, where she is drawn to the music played by a mysterious young boy. This soon leads her across a magical border into a land peopled by unicorns, fauns, and other magical creatures. But the story is about more than mythic animals; it’s a poignant, inspiring tale about life, sacrifice, and the love between a girl…

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