7 ~Empowering~ Books That Will Remind You That You Aren’t “Just a Girl”

by Renee Isabella Aguila   |  May 16, 2023
Image: Pexels, Fully Booked Philippines
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Books not only tell stories but also spark change. They can inspire you to fight for your rights and remind you that you’re more than just your gender. Living in a world where gender inequality is happening all around, we’re in need of stories to encourage young women to take a stand for the female community.

READ MORE:  5 ~Nostalgic~ Dystopian Books That Will Take You Down Memory Lane

If you’re looking for some great female leads and entertaining stories, we’ve prepared a list of seven book recommendations that are sure to make you feel empowered and remind you that you *aren’t* just a girl: 

1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

At one point in your life, you’ve probably heard of Little Women whether it may be the book or its film adaptations. Its story takes you through the eyes of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—from their childhood to womanhood. The book is loosely based on the lives of the author and her three sisters which also makes it a semi-autobiographical novel.

With the themes of women empowerment, selflessness, and independence, you’re sure to fall in love with the different personalities and stories of the March sisters. This is because they all have different goals to achieve such as Jo wanting to be a writer and Meg aspiring to establish herself in society. It's a sure read if you like reading coming-of-age stories that are entertaining and heartwarming. 


2. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

If you like to read short stories, you’ll love this collection of four different tales compiled into one book. This story by Amy Tan focuses on four Chinese immigrant families in San Francisco who start a club known as “The Joy Luck Club.” In this club, they play the Chinese game of mahjong for money while feasting on a variety of foods. The three mothers and four daughters that star in the book share stories about their lives in the form of short anecdotes.

A main theme you’ll find in this book would be the cultural misunderstandings between the mothers and the daughters. You’ll find that the mothers are expected to be obedient and never openly challenge authority. On the other hand, the daughters are independent and take pride in breaking the status quo of gender roles. You’ll surely pick up some wisdom in life and love from reading the stories of the book’s well-developed female characters.  

3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Are you more into fantasy novels? Then you’ll love A Wrinkle in Time because it will take you on an adventure across the galaxy. You’ll follow the story of Meg Murry, a high schooler who journeys through time and space with her younger brother Charles Wallace, and her friend Calvin O'Keefe to rescue her father from the evil forces that hold him prisoner on another planet. This book isn’t your typical good versus evil narrative because it lets you think about morals even deeper. It may seem like a typical good versus evil narrative, however, it lets you contemplate your life’s purpose. 

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With the book being ahead of its time, Meg was written as a flawed adolescent girl which is something a lot of people appreciated in A Wrinkle in Time. There’s a sense of comfort in the fact that Meg was depicted just like us. She was imperfect and relatable. It could even be said that this book paved the way for flawed female protagonists such as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy. 

4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

For something more contemporary, you may be interested in hearing the story of 16-year-old African-American, Starr Carter. In this book, she becomes entangled in a national news story after she witnesses a white police officer shoot and kill her childhood friend, Khalil. She begins to speak up about the shooting, and social tensions from this build into a riot after a grand jury decides not to indict the police officer for the shooting.

This isn’t a *light* read as the book is heavy on the topics of injustice and social action. Despite that, you’ll definitely still appreciate the story because of Starr’s perseverance and courage despite the struggles she has to go through to fight for Khalil.

5. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Set in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of 14-year-old Lily Melissa Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. Lily struggles to live with her abusive father with her only solace being Rosaleen, the household’s maid who becomes Lily’s mother figure.


As a coming-of-age story, the book’s plot revolves around Lily coming to terms with her identity and learning about self-forgiveness. The women she encounters in the novel guide her as she grows up. It’s an *emotional* rollercoaster that will have you reaching for some tissues!

6. Red Hood by Alana K. Arnold

A twist on the classic tale, Red Riding Hood, Bisou Martel is a girl in a red hooded sweatshirt. She discovers she has the instincts and strength to stop boys from hurting young women. While doing so, she unravels her past in this tale that has a hint of ~magic~ at every turn. 

You’ll enjoy the book’s celebration of sisterhood and feminine power, especially once you meet Bisou’s circle of girlfriends who are all admirable and ~fierce~. It has the girls of this novel fight back against wolves and toxic masculinity. It’s a good reco if you want something that’s unapologetic in feminism and has a bit of mystery to it.

7. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

In this spunky novel, we follow the story of Vivian, who begins a revolution to call out and raise awareness of the harassment and injustice the girls in her high school face. After finding some old zines in her mother’s closet, she’s inspired to make her own feminist zine and distribute it anonymously in class. Over time, her movement evolves thus beginning a journey of female empowerment. 

As a feminist anthem, the author does a great job of depicting a realistic way for young women to fight for their rights, especially in a high school setting. Vivian still struggles to find her voice despite her goals which shows how much of a flawed and relatable character she is. Overall, the book sends an impactful message to fight for your rights and not tolerate any gendered mistreatment.

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