9 YA Books with Fierce Female Characters

We love books with fierce female characters! Ferocity comes in many forms, from the quiet girl who finds the strength to be herself to the bold girl who takes charge of any situation. And the best part? Reading about fierce characters helps you become stronger, too.

Are you ready to meet some fierce female characters? Here are our favorite YA books with female powerhouses you’ll adore.

Breathless by Jennifer Niven

Sometimes ferocity comes in the form of taking charge. When her parents split up, Claude feels like her life is spinning out of control. But when she meets Miah, a boy who loves nature and photography, Claude decides to sleep with him. She takes ownership of her decision, including when to have sex and how much of her heart to give away.



Spend your summer with an unforgettable novel about falling in love for the first time from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places.

With graduation on the horizon, budding writer Claudine Henry is focused on three things: hanging out with her best friend, starting college in the fall, and havin...

Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus

In Nothing More to Tell, you get Brynn—a girl who’s moved back home to start her dream internship at a true-crime show, and is on a mission to uncover the truth about her favorite high school teacher’s murder four years ago. Brynn is fierce, smart, and determined—all qualities she’ll need if she’s to find the real killer.

Nothing More to Tell

Nothing More to Tell

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the critically acclaimed author of One of Us Is Lying comes a new page-turning mystery. Be sure to keep your friends close . . . and your secrets closer.

Four years ago, Brynn left Saint Ambrose School following the shocking murder of her favorite teacher—a story that...

The Merciless Ones by Namina Forna

In The Gilded Ones, Deka was faced with the choice to suffer death at the hands of her fellow villagers or join an army of nearly immortal girls. So what did she choose? Immortal warrior! However, now that she’s made that choice, the real battle has only just begun. With her own gifts changing, Deka must discover if she holds the key to saving Otera . . . or if she might be its greatest threat.

The Gilded Ones #2: The Merciless Ones

The Gilded Ones #2: The Merciless Ones

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The epic, hotly anticipated sequel to the instant bestseller The Gilded Ones about a girl with the power to remake her world—or destroy it.

“Fans of Children of Blood and Bone, Mulan, and the Dora Milaje from Black Panther are goi...

As Good as Dead by Holly Jackson

After the events of Good Girl, Bad Blood, Pip finds herself facing death threats and a stalker who seems eerily similar to a local serial killer caught six years ago. Did they arrest the wrong guy? When the police refuse to investigate, the fierce Pip takes matters into her own hands to find the suspect herself.

As Good as Dead

As Good as Dead

THE MUST-READ MULTIMILLION BESTSELLING MYSTERY SERIES • The final book in the A Good Girl's Guide to Murder series that reads like your favorite true crime podcast or show. By the end, you'll never think of good girls the same way again...

Pip is about to head to college, but she is still haunted by the way he...

Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amélie Wen Zhao

Once, Lan had a different name. Now she goes by the one the Elantian colonizers gave her when they invaded her kingdom, killed her mother, and outlawed her people’s magic. But that hasn’t stopped her from doing everything she can to understand the strange mark burned into her arm by her mother in her last act before she died. If there are answers, they lie deep in the Last Kingdom, with an order of practitioning masters planning to overthrow the Elantian regime. Is Lan’s mysterious hidden power one that will liberate her land, or one that will destroy the world?

Song of Silver, Flame Like Night

Song of Silver, Flame Like Night

In a fallen kingdom, one girl carries the key to discovering the secrets of her nation's past—and unleashing the demons that sleep at its heart. An epic fantasy series inspired by the mythology and folklore of ancient China.

"Perfect for fans of The Untamed. I loved it!” —Shelley Parker-Chan, bestselling author of...

Skyward Flight: The Collection by Brandon Sanderson

Let’s not forget about Spensa, a feisty girl with big dreams going up against impossible odds. She wants to become a fighter pilot, but her family’s reputation keeps her from reaching her goals. But Spensa doesn’t give up easily, and she’s willing to outwork, out-train, and outsmart anyone who stands in her way.

Skyward Flight: The Collection

Skyward Flight: The Collection

Return to the planet Detritus with FM, Alanik, and Jorgen in this must-have three-novella collection featuring exclusive character art and deleted scenes from Skyward with commentary from Brandon Sanderson.

Journey with Skyward Flight to Detritus—humanity’s final refuge from the hostile Galactic Superiority gov...

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Maia is a fierce girl with big dreams and nerves of steel. When her elderly father is summoned to court, she disguises herself as a boy and goes in his place. She competes against the best tailors in the land, harnesses her magical abilities, and journeys to the empire’s farthest reaches. Faced with impossible challenges every step of the way, Maia learns to wield her wit, intelligence, and ferocity.

Spin the Dawn

Spin the Dawn

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping fantasy about a teenage girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars. And don’t miss Elizabeth Lim’s new novel, the instant New York Times...

This Is My America by Kim Johnson

Ferocity can be hunting for clues about a murder and diligently writing letters every week to an organization that can help your father. With her father wrongfully convicted of murder and her brother accused of killing a girl from school, Tracy holds on to her inner strength while she searches for ways to help both innocent men.

This Is My America

This Is My America

"Incredible and searing." --Nic Stone, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin

The Hate U Give meets Just Mercy in this unflinching yet uplifting first novel that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system.

Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont wri...

Lucha of the Night Forest by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Lucha is fiercely protective of her sister. She would do anything for her—even if it means striking a dangerous bargain. Caught between the freedom she always wanted and a sister she can’t bear to leave behind, will Lucha be able to step into her own power…or will she be consumed by it?

Lucha of the Night Forest

Lucha of the Night Forest

An edge-of-your-seat fantasy about a girl who will do anything to protect her sister—even if it means striking a dangerous bargain. Dark forces, forgotten magic, and a heart-stopping queer romance make this young adult novel a must-read.

A scorned god.
A mysterious acolyte.
A forgetting drug.
A dangerous forest.

Ready to discover more fierce female characters? Find more book recommendations here and get social with us at @getunderlined!

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