Global Girl Power

February 11, 2013

Katniss Everdeen of Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games trilogy is just one recent example among many brave, inspiring female protagonists in young adult fiction. Today we extend our gaze across the globe to discover more of this same type of inspiring female protagonists from recent young adult books. These resilient young women stand up to the challenges of life and can remind the reader that we all have the might within ourselves to overcome and become anything.

1. Broken Moon by Kim Antieau

Broken Moon

In a harrowing tale set in Pakistan, Nadira risks everything to save her younger brother—even disguising herself as a boy to chase the kidnappers.


2. Broken Memory: A Story of Rwanda by Elisabeth Combres, tr. Shelley Tanaka

Broken Memory

To find healing, Emma must overcome her childhood memories of her mother's murder.


3. Escaping into the Night by D. Dina Friedman

Escaping into the Night

Halina Rudowski flees to a secret underground forest encampment to escape the Nazis while her mother is left behind.


4. Small Damages by Beth Kephart

Small Damages

Sent to southern Spain because she wants to keep her unborn baby, Kenzie learns to appreciate the beauty around her.


5. The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair

Set in seventeenth-century Scotland, Maggie Blair is accused of witchcraft and must save her family from danger.


6. Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

Looking for Alibrandi

A humorous and poignant coming-of-age story, Josephine Alibrandi navigates her last year of high school in Australia. 


7. Child of Dandelions by Shenaaz Nanji

Child of Dandelions

Sabine’s life is forever changed when the Ugandan president decrees foreign Indians must leave the country.


8. Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins

Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins

Asha Gupta seeks solace by writing in her diary to distract her from the family turmoil of living in Calcutta while awaiting news from her father in America.


9. Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy

WordsintheDust by Trent Reedy

Zulaikha hopes Afghanistan will be more peaceful now that the Taliban have left, and she even allows herself to dream of getting surgery for her cleft palate and going to school.


10. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

A postapocalyptic tale of Mary’s journey to find truth while dodging the Unconsecrated who roam the forest.

Laura Hernandez lives and writes in Brooklyn. Working in the book-publishing industry has only made her book-hoarding tendencies worse. When she’s not reading, she’s gallivanting around the globe, eating tacos, or exploring New York City.