Women Author Showcase

Shannon

The Feminine Mystique — Betty Friedan

This is one of the most revolutionary books written in the last century, for many different reasons. Friedan’s book, along with The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir, almost single-handedly brought about second-wave feminism. Every single chapter of this book debunks common arguments against feminism and women’s rights, including arguments misogynists are still making today. Friedan goes painstakingly over the reasons not just why feminism is a good idea, but needs to be a fundamental part of any functioning and thriving society. She covers everything from women’s history, her current moment (which we now view so dismissively, yet Freidan’s book handles with such care), reproductive rights and the policing of women’s bodies, the need for education, and the media’s role in giving women internalized misogyny in ways we don’t even realize. There is real insight and analysis that Friedan has that you begin to pick up using on your own, making your own instincts for social justice in the real world more robust. While this book certainly isn’t perfect (it fails to address men as individuals who benefit from and therefore help perpetuate the system of patriarchy, the homophobia is obvious and tragic, her discussion of the Holocaust is careless even though Friedan is Jewish, and the book mostly addressed the lives of white middle-class suburban women), there is still places to learn from Friedan’s mistakes considering what an influential book this has been to bringing us to our current moment. The Feminism Mystique was certainly life-changing for me, and I think it should be taught in every high school in America. 

Allyson

The Young Elites—Marie Lu

My absolute favorite book series is The Young Elites trilogy by Marie Lu. Her first book accepted for publication, Legend, was soon joined by three more books to form the series of the same name for which she is renowned. Legend, which is in the Young Adult dystopian genre, had its movie rights bought by CBS Films before the novel was even published. The Young Elites is Lu’s second series, and it deserves just as much attention as Legend. Set in a world reminiscent of the Renaissance era, it details the impact magic would have on a society eerily similar to how it would be handled in our own world. The chapters of each novel switch between the perspectives of different characters, giving a well-rounded depiction of the events unfolding. However, what makes this series so captivating is not the interesting premise of the narrative, which is remarkable in its own right, but the character development Lu focuses so closely on. Beyond her great ideas, what makes Lu such a wonderful writer is the characters she creates and how she allows them to grow over the course of her novels. Each character is given the attention they deserve because of the rotating chapter perspectives, and they are what kept me glued to every page of the series. The second two books in the trilogy do not falter after the first; every book in the series is strong enough to stand on its own, but they blend together beautifully. The main character is a young woman who, like the other women who stand as prominent characters beside her, is portrayed as real—she has her own flaws and strengths and is not made to simply be a female character with stereotypically masculine traits. Lu’s creative ideas and dedication to fleshing out her characters are what reignited my dream of publishing novels. She is an outstanding writer in her field, and recently she announced the title of her next book in her fourth series, Skyhunter. Whether you have read Legend and want to check out her other work, are just looking for your next great fantasy read, or want to experience great writing by a woman author, check out The Young Elites!

Tess

Six of Crows—Leigh Bardugo

I think out of all the series I’ve read, the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo is my all-time favorite. The books follow six teenagers pulling off a near-impossible heist, all within a fantasy world Bardugo has been building since 2012. Although the book only has two female main characters, they are both lovable and incredibly well developed. Throughout reading, I never felt that either character was solely there as a romantic interest for one of the male characters (quite honestly, it was the other way around). When looking at the book as a whole, it was incredibly well written with a really solid cast of characters in the forefront. The characters are diverse, with some representing physical and cognitive disability, some being POC, and some having mental illnesses that are, at times, debilitating. The storyline is easy enough to follow and interesting enough to keep the reader hooked. It’s such a fun series to get into, and although both books are fairly long (each one having over 450 pages each), they read fairly quickly. Despite there being heavier topics discussed throughout the duology, Bardugo handles them with grace and a sense of relative understanding that really makes it easier to empathize with the characters' experiences. Overall, the Six of Crows duology is an incredibly written fantasy series that is easy to love and fun to experience.

Kailey

Wilder Girls - Rory Power

Wilder Girls is a science fiction, psychological thriller about an all-girls boarding school on secluded island in Maine. The girls’ communication with the outside world is completely cut off when they are plagued with a disease that gives them wild mutations (think: multiple hearts, scaly skin, trees growing out of their limbs). When one of the girls goes missing, her friends will do anything to find her. Meanwhile, they are starting to realize they cannot trust the authority figures in their lives and are grappling with what it will mean to survive. This debut, multi-POV novel is truly a work of art. The prose is ethereal and the story is gripping and thought-provoking. You will be on the edge of your seat throughout this “feminist Lord of the Flies.”