Top 5 Young-Adult Novels Written By Women
Book sales soared during 2020, despite an ongoing pandemic. More and more people decided to read or listen to an audiobook as the world was put on hold. In the UK alone, the number of books that were sold was well over 200 million during national lockdowns. Whereas in the US, the number of books sold in their nationwide reached a massive 750 million.
This shows that people were receiving their media consumption during a time where the world was uncertain of a future. Here, in all their glory, are five young-adult novels written by women that supported me in getting through the endless Covid-19 lockdowns:
Circe By Madeline Miller
Circe tells the story of the daughter of Helios, the god of the sun. However, Circe is not like her parents, she holds a dark mysterious power that threatens the livelihood of Helios and the gods. Thus, resulting in Circe being cast out to the isolated island of Aiaia.
This land becomes her home where she practices her witchcraft by practising spells, taming beasts and gathering the herbs that grow on the island. During the time on the island, an array of guests visits Circe but only one piques her interest causing Circe to risk everything that she knows.
This book is the perfect mixture of love, loss and family rivalry that is the main focus of mythology. As someone who is intrigued with Greek Mythology, Circe gives a retelling of The Odyssey from the female point of view. In which it delves into how Circe coped with the transition from the loud and occupied House of Helios, to the quiet island of Aiaia. To me, this book had the right amount of magic with the right amount of character development that supported Madeline writing a strong female protagonist within Circe.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Six of Crows follows a ragtag group of outcasts that put friendship and loyalty to the test as they navigate their dangerous world of Ketterdam. Kaz Brekker, one of the most feared in The Dregs, is offered a once in a lifetime chance at a heist. Where is the heist taking place? A military stronghold known as the Ice Court to retrieve personnel that may be the key to change the magic of the already powerful Grisha. However, this is one heist that can’t be pulled off alone. Kaz will need help from five others who will become unstoppable.
Six of Crows is a powerful story that doesn’t just focus on one character. Every chapter is a character point of view of the different aspects of the heist which equally lets readers fall in love with the main six. I especially love this book due to how little magic there is. It has elements but not as much as one may think. This focuses on practical aspects such as planning the heist, and how the Crows were going to execute this plan and get the characters to get along.
Not only this, but Leigh’s shift from the first person to the third person made the story a little easier to follow. Six of Crows is a part of a wider universe, so it is highly recommended that Shadow and Bone are read first followed by this book. You can also see a prequel story to Kaz, Inej and Jesper in Netflix’s adaption of Shadow and Bone.
Heartless By Marissa Meyer
Heartless is a prequel story about one of the most iconic and well-known story villains, the Queen of Hearts. Our young protagonist, Catherine embarks on a journey in a newly envisioned Wonderland where all she dreams of is to open her own bakery. However, when Catherine becomes one of the desired girls who has caught the interest of the unmarried King of Hearts, she meets the lovable court Jester. This causes both Cath and Jest to enter a secret courtship and Cath becomes more determined to form the destiny she chooses.
As a lifelong Alice in Wonderland fan, I enjoyed this prequel to Lewis Carroll’s original Alice stories. This book showed us another version of Wonderland. A calm, care-free Wonderland where everything and anything is possible. As the Queen of Hearts is a notorious villain in the stories, it was a welcomed sight to see a younger queen and what she (Catherine) had been like before marriage and how the other protagonist, Jest, made her feel.
Meyer captures Catherine’s feelings well that I felt empathy towards the Queen when reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the last chapter of the book. It perfectly sums up how people experience grief on their own too, another mixture of loss and love in storytelling.
The Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black
The Modern Faerie Tales features three stories that interconnect in the realm of fae. In the first story, Tithe, we meet Kaye. Kaye is thrust into a world of magic and deceit when she saves an injured man near her home in New Jersey. Little does Kaye know, that she is about to become a pawn in a deadly game of life or death. In the story Valiant, readers are introduced to Valerie.
This is where Valerie is challenged to track down a lair that belongs to a mysterious creature, where she has a difficult decision to make. Our third and final story is Ironside. In this sequel to Tithe, we return to Kaye who is in the midst of the Unseelie Court. When Kaye drunkenly declares her love to Roiben, he sends her on a quest that takes Kaye into a war of weapons and wits.
Modern Faerie Tales has a spot in this list because I enjoyed how we had three consistent stories that link together in the final one. To me, this book has a great mixture of balancing the real world with the Fae world as well as keeping introductions to the characters short and sweet. Not only this, but the mystery that surrounds Valerie and Kaye regarding the faerie realm keeps this book a page-turner and not one to be missed, especially if you enjoyed Holly’s recent Folk of the Air series.
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Mist and Fury is the sequel to the critically acclaimed A Court of Thorns and Roses. In this book, Feyre is reunited with her lover after the events of the first book left her broken and bruised. However, when the High Lord of the Night Court calls in their bargain, Feyre learns the ways of this court, tangling herself in their dark politics and power. With a war looming on the horizon, Feyre must master her gifts and create a future for a world broken in two.
This story is one for the ages with a slow-burning romance for Feyre and delves deeper into the world that she now lives in. Not only this, but the book also goes into certain mental health issues that are explored as Feyre learns to heal. It features hard-fought happiness and sacrifices that will leave readers feeling shaken. I favour this book out of the others in this series because it left me feeling very proud of the main character, very emotional and unprepared for the events of the third instalment of the series.