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Forget 50 Shades – Read Books with Strong Female Narrators

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Leeds chapter.

With Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games selling massively in book stores and the film adaptations earning huge profits, people are more likely than ever to seek out another popular series to read. With the 50 Shades trilogy also getting film adaptations, the interest in the books continues to increase. However, thanks to its very weak female narrator and a creepy love interest, people seeking out a new trilogy will hopefully decide to check out something else. The following books all feature very strong female narrators with appealing male leads. Also, like the Hunger Games, they all are classified as young adult and are in the action and adventure genre.

Divergent trilogy

With its own film adaptations, this trilogy is on more people’s radars than the other suggested novels. The narrator, Tris, starts out in a small “clan” or, what is known in the book as a faction, full of selfless people in a future Chicago. Once she decides to switch to the faction made up of the city’s bravest people, she discovers it takes a lot more than declaring she wishes to be part of their faction to fit in. Along the way, she meets a gorgeous guy named Four and makes enemies with other people who do not want her in the faction. They set out to make her life miserable. She discovers what it truly means to be brave and strong, especially when she sees people confront death head on. In the subsequent books Insurgent and Allegiant, she learns more about her mother’s past which helps teach her how to become a leader.


Delirium trilogy

What if you were forbidden from falling in love? What if on your eighteenth birthday you were subjected to something called “the cure” which made it impossible to ever feel the emotion again? In an alternate Portland, Maine, a girl named Lena actually looks forward to receiving the cure, because she’s lived with the stigma of having a mother who broke all of the rules. Lena’s been desperate to fit in all her life because of this. That all changes when she meets an interesting, gorgeous boy named Alex, who, as far as she knows, is already cured. Despite her best efforts to follow the rules, she ends up falling in love with him, which completely changes her life. She goes from looking forward to the cure to dreading it, which also changes her from the shy rule follower to a rule breaker who wants to end the government’s law of subjecting everyone to the cure. She becomes a massive part of the rebellion in the sequels Pandemonium and Requiem.


Starters duology

In a future California where something known as The Spore Wars killed everyone middle aged, thanks to a vaccine only being given to the youngest and oldest of the population, teenagers like Cassie and her brother live on the run, just trying to avoid being captured by the police since they do not have any adults to claim them. Cassie finds out about a place where she can earn extra money, something desperately needed for her sick brother, which is called “the body bank” – a place where young people rent their bodies to wealthy elderly people whose minds are hooked up to young people’s bodies so that they can feel young again. Cassie wakes up before she is meant to and discovers the elderly woman using her body is trying to kill someone. She must find out why and if she should try to prevent the woman from using her to kill a supposedly horrible man. Along the way, Cassie meets a boy named Blake, who is the grandson of the very man she is supposed to assassinate. She begins to really like him, but as she finds out the truth about his grandfather, she wonders what she should do. The sequel Enders features her further confronting more issues with young people who rented their bodies to elderly people being made to do terrible things without their consent. She must find out who is controlling them and take care of the problem once and for all.

Matched trilogy

The narrator, Cassia, lives in a future world called simply The Society, which is in charge of everything from where people live, to who they will marry, to what job they will have and when they die. She is sure they know what is best for her so she does not think to question anything about her life, until the night she is to find out her match (as in, the person she will marry). She ends up not only seeing her best friend Xander on the matching screen but another boy, Ky, someone who, to the fault of his parents, was not entered into the matching pool. Despite the officials telling Cassia to forget about what she saw, she cannot stop thinking about Ky. While this trilogy features the now somewhat clique love trilogy, it also features Cassia waking up to what The Society is really about and what they will do to maintain control and order over all of its citizens’ lives. Once they do something she finds horrible, she becomes determined to change things. In the sequels Crossed and Reached, she joins the rebellion and seeks to fix the broken society she lives in.

Legend Trilogy

In a future Los Angeles, the male narrator, Day, is a poor boy now suspected of murdering the female narrator, June’s, brother. June is a wealthy girl who believes her country, The Republic, would never lead her astray so she believes Day is responsible for her brother’s death so she seeks vengeance. As she hunts him down, she uncovers the truth about just how great her country supposedly is. It undoes everything she has ever thought. In the sequels Prodigy and Champion, she learns what the rebellion is really like and what she wants to do to change The Republic for the better.

So, sit back, relax and get ready to enjoy fierce, awesome young ladies not too different from Katniss Everdeen who fight for what they believe in and what is right.

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