Happy Really-Belated International Women’s Day!
Today I’ll be celebrating by eating sushi and blogging about good books with strong female characters. You can also check out my post about how to write strong female characters.
The theme of this “Good Books” is coincidental. I don’t actively go searching for books based on the gender of their protagonists, but recently my reading list has been topped by vivid, interesting female protagonists.
The books with said strong female main characters are Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Divergent by Veronica Roth, and I read both in a few marathon reading sessions that translates into a shiny stamp of approval.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Premise: Girl goes missing under mysterious circumstances. Her husband is the lead suspect. All hell breaks loose.
This book hijacked my weekend. I started reading it because my trusted partner-in-crime recommended it to me, and he has a great taste in fiction, and I couldn’t put it down.
I can’t laud the literary intricacies of this book without spoiling the riveting plot, but I can say this much: the characters are top notch, the suspense is riveting, and the surprises are unexpected and fresh.
The female lead in this book is lively and her voice is distinct. You think you know her… until you realize you don’t.
I know my review reads like a movie trailer at this point (OVER BLACK: “YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW THESE CHARACTERS…. BUT YOU DON’T *cue ominous music by Hans Zimmer and snippet shots of scenes randomly cut together*) but I’m desperately trying to get you to read this book without spoiling anything.
I’ll say this, to end things: I haven’t read a great book like this in months. This unsettling, haunting thriller won me over, and will remain on my “favorite books” list for a time to come.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Premise: From Good Reads: …society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
Honestly, most of the young adult books I’ve been reading lately have been awful. Thankfully, Divergent is a breath of fresh air. The movie is coming out next year, which is why I decided to read the book.
Divergent is an edgy, no-nonsense dystopian novel that doesn’t mess around with silly love triangles or an abundance of teen angst that are the staples of most other YA novels. Nope, the protagonist Tris is tough and vulnerable and complex. Even her love interest is a three dimensional character, and, *gasp* they both have other priorities aside from being in love. What!? You mean they actually have goals and there’s real conflict and danger and it’s not just a ‘oh maybe I like him but I don’t know let me think it over for the rest of this book while kinda also liking this other guy love is so complicated!’ story?
I think the only reason this book is YA is because there’s no explicit scenes, and the protagonist is sixteen. This book reads like any other novel, with violence and murder and elevated diction. You’ll find no attempts at “teenager” slang such as “yowza!” in this book which plagued this other YA book I read that will remain nameless.
Divergent is a sci-fi thriller that’s written in such a beautifully visual style that it screams adapt me for the silver screen! The pacing is excellent and the reveals pack a punch.
I’ve already bought the second book and pre-ordered the third– and I never pre-order books. If that’s not a shining recommendation I don’t know what is.
I wholeheartedly believe that reading is essential on the path to becoming better writers. So feel free to jump on Twitter and tweet me your favorite book! I’m always looking for new reads.