There’s no denying that characters like Katniss Everdeen, Hermione Granger and Elizabeth Bennet have had a huge impact on our culture. Written to be fearless and brave, these heroines inspire us to gather our courage and go after our dreams. If you love reading about inspiring female characters, you’re going to love these 15 new books featuring kickass heroines.
The Tenant by Katrine Engberg
Julie Stender has just been found dead in her apartment. Assigned to the cryptic case is Copenhagen police detective Anette Werner and her partner Jeppe Korner. As the two begin to look into those in Julie’s life, they happen upon her peculiar landlady who, the detectives have just discovered, has written Julie into her unfinished mystery novel. Convinced that the landlady had something to do with Julie’s death, tough as nails detectives Anette and Jeppe come to find out that there is a much more sinister power at play in the death of Julie Stender.
A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende
It’s the late 1930s and civil war is on the horizon in Spain. Living in Spain on the eve of war is Roser, a pregnant widow trying to flee the country she’s always called home. If she wants to survive, she must team up with Victor Dalmau, the brother of her late lover and an army doctor. Together, Roser and Victor board a ship to Chile where their lives will change both for better and for worse. The two come up against many trials as they restart their lives on a new continent but all the while keeping hope alive that one day they’ll be able to return to their beloved Spain.
Behind Every Lie by Christina McDonald
Waking up in the hospital after being struck by lightning, Eva Hansen has no memory of the incident and must come to terms with another bombshell: her mother has been murdered. Without memory of the what led up to these dark events, the police are instantly suspicious of Eva. Determined to clear her name and find the person responsible for taking her mother’s life, Eva travels to London in search of answers about her mother’s past that may help her solve the mystifying case and unravel the secrets that surround it.
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
New York City is a place full of life and spirit and in The City We Became, one force threatens to upend the city as a whole. In order to keep the sprawling metropolis from falling into chaos, five heroic people will have to come together to stop the evil forces at work. One hero from each of the five boroughs must step up and acknowledge their power if they have any chance at defeating the mysterious evil force and its minions. A complex story about the diversity, drive and heart of New York City, The City We Became is both a terrifying thriller and an exploration in humanity.
Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Harley has always wanted to be a trapeze artist and growing up around her parents’ circus in Las Vegas only inspired her further. But her parents have different plans for her, encouraging her to get an education instead. Unhappy with their inability to accept the future she wants to pursue, Harley leaves home and her parents behind to join the family’s rival circus, Maison du Mystere. While the new circus teaches Harley about hard work and being a team player, it also forces her to think about her own family, the sacrifices they’ve made and the people she hurt in order to achieve her own dreams.
Long Bright River by Liz Moore
Sisters Kacey and Mickey are no longer as close as they once were. Now, Kacey finds herself on the streets of Philadelphia, struggling with addiction while Mickey patrols the same streets as a cop. When Kacey disappears, Mickey knows she’s the only one who can find her sister and begins looking into unsolved local murders, hoping it will reconnect her with Kacey. If she wants to bring Kacey home safe, Mickey will have to put everything on the line to find the culprit.
The Life Below by Alexandra Monir
Ever since Naomi left her fellow Final Six contestant, Leo, behind on Earth, she’s struggled with her decision and the dangers that accompany her upcoming mission to Jupiter’s moon, Europa. On Earth, Leo has begun working with a rogue scientist whose research shows that traveling to Europa will mean coming into contact with potentially dangerous extraterrestrial life. Armed with this new information, it’ll be up to Leo to get to space, reunite with Naomi and warn her of the threats that may be awaiting her on this distant and mysterious moon.
Lakewood by Megan Giddings
Lena Johnson has just lost her grandmother and with her passing, Lena has been exposed to the extreme debt her family is in. Taking it upon herself to support the family, Lena takes a new job in Lakewood, Michigan, a city shrouded in secrecy. While the job seems perfect on the surface—high paying, great benefits and a place to live—it all comes at a cost: Lena must take part in a secret program. With her family’s future on the line, Lena is forced to think about how this secret could destroy everything and before long, Lena discovers the danger she and her family are in because of the program.
A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers
Due to a curse her mother cast on her as a young girl, Helen Lambert is forced to live lifetime after lifetime, taking on a new identity each time. But everything she knows changes when a man presents himself to her, revealing that he has been tethered to her from the very beginning. As she begins to have extremely vivid dreams and realizes the true extent of the powers she’s been accumulating over lifetimes, she believes she finally has the strength to break the curse she’s been under for over a century.
Brown Album: Essays on Exile and Identity by Porochista Khakpour
As an Iranian woman whose family fled their home during the Iranian Revolution, Porochista Khakpour never had an easy time finding her rightful place in the United States. Hoping that moving to the east coast would solve her problems, she is instead subjected to the horrors of 9/11 and later the fear of the Middle East and the polarization that came with Donald’s Trump presidency. In Brown Album, one Iranian woman details what it means
Fast Girls by Elise Hooper
Three brave and talented women join forces in Fast Girls to compete in the Nazi-sponsored 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Betty Robinson, Louise Stokes and Helen Stephens have all faced difficult times in their lives but are ready to show the world that despite their pasts, they can be victorious. Based on the real women who competed on the track and field team in the 1936 Olympics, this historical fiction novel details the lives of three incredible women who fearlessly chased after their dreams and made an incredible impact on the world.
The Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalian
Alexis and Austin find themselves falling in love, so when Austin suggests they take a trip to Vietnam to get to know one another better and pay respect to Austin’s family, Alexis agrees to accompany him. But an exciting trip quickly turns bad when Austin vanishes. Left to deal with the FBI, Austin’s family and those in her own life, Alexis finds herself questioning who Austin really was, why he really brought her to Vietnam and how much danger she may still be in.
The Eye of Zeus by Alane Adams
Twelve-year-old Phoebe Katz is used to her life as a foster kid in New York City despite the fact that unexplainable things happen around her on a regular basis. But when a statue of Athena comes to life and makes Phoebe aware of who she really is, the daughter of Zeus, she’s suddenly thrust into an adventure of a lifetime. If Phoebe wants to stop a devastating prophecy from coming true, she’ll have to use her newfound powers to collect talismans from six terrifying Greek monsters.
Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth
Over a decade ago, Sloane was chosen to join a team of teenagers, known as the Chosen Ones, to bring down a ruthless and deadly entity, the Dark One, that traveled across the United States, destroying cities and killing thousands of people. But that was 15 years ago and since defeating the Dark One, Sloane has found it impossible to adjust to life as a normal girl. When one of the Chosen Ones dies and the remaining four warriors reconnect at the funeral, they realize that another war is coming and they’re the only ones who can stop it.
Epic Solitude: A Story of Survival and a Quest for Meaning in the Far North by Katherine Keith
Katherine Keith always felt at home in wild and remote places but she truly found peace and belonging when she found herself in Alaska. While living in Alaska makes her the happiest she’s ever been, she also comes up against heartbreak and must pick up the pieces for both her and her young daughter. Through all the hardship, Katherine’s life changes when she discovers her love for long-distance dog sledding. Competing in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race alone, she finally has the opportunity to face her inner demons and the grief she had previously bottled up.