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12 YA Books with Fierce Female Characters

Are you ready to meet some fantastic female characters? Here are twelve YA books with female powerhouses you’ll adore.

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 fantastic female characters? Here are twelve 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.

Breathless

Breathless

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places comes an unforgettable summer novel, set on an island off the coast of Georgia, about a sensitive girl ready to live her bravest life--sex, love, heartbreak, and all.

Before: With graduation on the horizon, budding writer Claudine Henry is focu...

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

In The Cousins, you get two fierce women in one story. Milly is bold, assertive, and witty. Aubrey is quiet and eager to please. But both girls find their fierce side when they meet their cousin Jonah at their estranged grandmother’s resort. Even though they’re strong in different ways, together, these girls are a force to be reckoned with.

The Cousins

The Cousins

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER From the bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying comes your next obsession. You'll never feel the same about family again.

Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they've never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she...

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

When she’s faced with the choice to suffer death at the hands of her fellow villagers or join an army of nearly immortal girls, what does Deka choose? Immortal warrior! She welcomes every ounce of ferocity as she travels to the capital and begins training for the biggest fight of her life.

The Gilded Ones

The Gilded Ones

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY TEEN VOGUE
 
"A dark feminist tale spun with blood and gold. Must read!" –Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Belles
 
Sixteen-...

Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson

After the events of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, Pip hangs up her amateur detective hat and starts a viral podcast instead. But when a friend goes missing and the police won’t investigate, this fierce girl takes matters into her own hands.

Good Girl, Bad Blood

Good Girl, Bad Blood

THE MUST-READ MULTIMILLION BESTSELLING MYSTERY SERIES•  More dark secrets are exposed in this addictive, true-crime fueled sequel when Pip finds herself in another deadly case.

Pip is not a detective anymore.

With the help of Ravi Singh, she released a true-crime podcast about the murder case they solve...

The Lake by Natasha Preston

Kayla and Esme vowed never to talk about that terrible night at their childhood summer camp. But now they’re returning to the same camp as counselors. When they start receiving notes threatening to expose them, they must harness their ferociousness to find out who (or what) is behind the letters.

The Lake

The Lake

The instant New York Times bestseller!
 
Hot on the heels of The Twin, the undisputed queen of YA thrillers is back with a scary and suspenseful read about a summer camp filled with dark secrets.

Esme and Kayla once were campers at Camp Pine Lake. Now they’re back as counselors-in-training. Esme l...

Rebel Daughter by Lori Banov Kaufmann

Even though Esther isn’t perfect, she loves her family with unrivaled ferocity. As the city of Jerusalem gets torn apart by war and rebellion, she must fight to save the people she holds dear. If you like historical fiction with fierce female characters, don’t miss this stunning book!

Rebel Daughter

Rebel Daughter

National Jewish Book Award Winner • Christy Award Finalist

A young woman survives the unthinkable in this stunning and emotionally satisfying tale of family, love, and resilience, set against the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE.


Esther dreams of so much more than the marriage her parents have arranged to a prosperou...

Red Tigress by Amélie Wen Zhao

As the only surviving member of the royal family, Ana Mikhailov has no choice but to embrace her fierce nature. To survive and take back the throne, she must team up with a crime lord, venture to a new land, and raise an army. If you’re new to this series, start with the first book, Blood Heir.

Red Tigress

Red Tigress

Fans of Children of Blood and Bone will love the sequel to Blood Heir. The second book in an epic fantasy series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to liberate her empire from a dark reign.

Ana Mikhailov is the only surviving member of the royal family of Cyrilia. She has no army, no ti...

Skyward 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

Skyward

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Reckoners series, Words of Radiance, and the Mistborn trilogy comes the first book in an epic new series about a girl who dreams of becoming a pilot in a dangerous world at war for humanity's future.

Spensa's world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the ...

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...

The Wild by Owen Laukkanen

Female characters don’t get fiercer than this! When Dawn’s parents send her to a secluded wilderness boot camp, they’re hoping she gets her life back on track. But once she’s out in the woods with minimal supplies and a group of troubled teens, things veer madly off course. Dawn must tap into her wild side if she wants to escape this disaster alive.

The Wild

The Wild

A girl is sent against her will to a remote wilderness boot camp where things aren't what they seem in this riveting and twisty paperback thriller.

FROM THIS MOMENT ON, YOU'RE A BEAR CUB. YOU'LL LEARN RESPONSIBILITY AND RESPECT. HOW TO SURVIVE. IT'S EASIER IF YOU JUST ACCEPT IT.

Dawn isn't a bad person--she's just made s...

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