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Reading Challenges > Jim's Strong Female Protagonist Challenge

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message 1: by Jim (last edited Feb 26, 2015 09:54AM) (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments I haven't read any, yet :( but I'm planning on reading at least 20 this year.

If you are interested in suggestions, one of my favorite authors is Laini Taylor, and her books are amazing!

The Faeries of Dreamdark are written for middle school level, but are far and away 2 of the best books I've read in my life. I listened to them on audio, and was transfixed. The writing is amazing and the narration is fantastic. Check out:


The main characters are Magpie Windwitch and Whisper Silksinger, respectively. I pray that Ms. Taylor revisits the Dreamdark series. These were good enough that I purchased them in hardcover after I listened to the audiobook. I'll probably read them at some point this year.

But I also love her Smoke & Bone trilogy. These are more YA level, and the only novels I've ever pre-ordered. I'm more of a borrow or buy used type of person. Karou is an amazing hero!

Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Days of Blood & Starlight
Dreams of Gods & Monsters

I'd probably recommend Laini Taylor's books more enthusiastically than just about anything else I've ever read.

message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments I guess I'm starting with graphic novels.

1. Alice by Lela Dowling (adaptation of Alice Adventures in Wonderland)

2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Omnibus, Vol. 1 - I'm re-watching the show, and following along the timeline in the comics.

message 3: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 3. The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks.

The author is a good writer - and is very descriptive. In fact, I think she's given one of the best descriptions I've ever heard of what it's like for a vampire to crave blood. I just wish the book would have been funnier. (It had a lot of potential...)

message 4: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 4. Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson. I was really impressed by this book about a young girl who is uprooted from her life in boarding schools and sent to the Amazon. I hadn't even heard of it before. Worth reading.

5. Delirium by Lauren Oliver. YA dystopias are way overdone these days, but I really enjoyed this one with a bit of a different twist.

6. Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks. This was a very enjoyable graphic novel about a girl who has to transition from homeschool to high school. Great story about growing up.

message 5: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments It seems a great side benefit of this challenge is to find books by wonderful women authors you haven't heard of before!

message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 7. A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb told a beautiful story. I loved the strong female ghost protagonist. Please check this out if you get the chance. And you like superanatural YA. Well, you may like it even if you don't...

message 8: by Stefani - SpelingExpirt, White Rabbit (new)

Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 307 comments Mod
Jim wrote: "It seems a great side benefit of this challenge is to find books by wonderful women authors you haven't heard of before!"

I'm surprised how many of the books that I'm reading with strong female protagonists are written by men. I should read more by women though.

message 9: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments Stefani - SpelingExpirt wrote: "I'm surprised how many of the books that I'm reading with strong female protagonists are written by men. I should read more by women though."

That would be a great challenge for next year - women authors. (Though that may have already been a previous challenge here.)

message 10: by Lexxi Kitty (new)

Lexxi Kitty (lexxikitty) Hmms. I hadn't thought of that aspect, the gender of the author writing this strong female books, until I saw it mentioned in this thread.

So I went back and looked. Of those I've read and put in my thread, 22 by female authors, 15 by male authors.

message 11: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus Vol. 3

10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus Vol. 4

These almost feel like cheating - but they are several hundred pages long, containing probably 15-20 regular comic issues.

message 12: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 11. Batwoman, Vol. 2: To Drown the World

As opposed to these that contain 5 or 6 issues at the most.

message 13: by Jim (last edited Aug 17, 2015 08:19AM) (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 12. Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy. This is a team-up book with a magical skeleton detective and a 12-year-girl in the lead roles. I think that Stephanie definitely qualifies as a strong female protagonist. Plus, these books are excellent. I'm falling in love with them.

13. Playing with Fire by Derek Landy. Skulduggery Pleasant book 2. Continues to be amazing!

14. Pantomime by Laura Lam. I was really impressed by this book. Plus it tackles some bigger issues. I think Iphigenea Lauren definitely counts as a strong female protagonist, too.

message 14: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments Based on the rate I'm going, I'm going to have to bump up my challenge to 50 and match Stefani's.

message 15: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 15. Batwoman, Vol. 3: World's Finest

16. Fairest by Marissa Meyer. I think I'd call her the protagonist in this story, though in all the other Lunar Chronicles she's the antagonist.

17. The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger. Bianca comes off strong at first - but then she seems to discover that she's just using that to deflect life. And by the end of the book she shows true strength - making decisions based on what she wants and dealing with life.

message 16: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 18. Batwoman, Vol. 4: This Blood Is Thick

19. Batwoman, Vol. 5: Webs

I'm really enjoying this series. But if (view spoiler) I'm going to be really pissed. That's one of the things that made this book great.

message 17: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 20. Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo. Cute, funny, and creative. Read it if you get the chance.

21. Neil Young's Greendale by Joshua Dysart. I like graphic novels that are just a little bit different. Interesting mix of activism, environmentalism, and spirituality.

message 18: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 22. The Ice Dragon . George R.R. Martin writes a kids book! It was a good story, though it was a little dark, IMO, for the age group it seems to be written for. (As you would expect, I guess.)

23. The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale. Cute and funny. Though the book length would strike me as for 1st or 2nd grade, the writing seems to be more for pre-school age.

24. Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge. I thought this was very clever and creative. A girl in high school, her friends, and power outage. The best stories are just about people and their relation to each other.

message 19: by Jim (last edited May 18, 2015 11:20AM) (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 25. In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang. A well-written, enjoyable comic about a girl gamer that makes you think and brings you almost to tears? This was amazing. Thank god for the strong female protagonist.

I give this one the highest recommendations - go read it. I checked it out at the library, but will probably go ahead and purchase it for my collection.

message 20: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 26. Proper Gauge (Wool, Book 2) by Hugh Howey. 5 separate books (Wool 1-5) were collected into a single omnibus. The first book (more of a novella) doesn't really have a strong female protagonist, but this second one does. This is a weird and interesting story. I'm really getting into it.

message 21: by Jim (last edited Jun 23, 2015 08:26AM) (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 27. Casting Off (Wool, Book 3) by Hugh Howey. Continuing Juliette's story. Good stuff!

28. Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson. This book was fantastic! If you like comics, you need to check this out.

29. The Unraveling (Wool, Book 4) by Hugh Howey. How is it going to end?!?

message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Hum, is this the same one or did someone else do a challenge just like this in this group, well these are still fun anyway so here i go again.
1 The 2nd Realm a new book by a new author I'm getting into
2 Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl
3 Nightwing/Huntress
4 Batgirl Vol. 2: A Knight Alone
5 Witchblade Compendium Volume 1

message 23: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments Hey, Janis! You can create a thread just for your challenge if you want. I hope it's okay; I took the liberty of creating:

Janis's Strong Female Protagonist Challenge

You can post all your stuff there if you want.

message 24: by Jim (last edited Jun 23, 2015 08:27AM) (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 30. The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. Wow - this was really different. And pretty fantastic. Read it if you get a chance.

message 25: by Jim (last edited Jun 23, 2015 08:27AM) (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 31. The Stranded by Hugh Howey. Book 5. Wrapping up a great series.

32. Dark Days by Derek Landy. This series continues to deliver. Fantastic! And Valkyrie Cain is a great character.

33. The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks. Omigosh, this comic is freakin' hilarious. Check it out if you haven't yet.

34. Mortal Coil by Derek Landy. Book 5. Valkyrie makes some tough choices. (Edge of your seat kind of stuff!)

message 26: by Jim (last edited Jun 23, 2015 08:28AM) (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 35. Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann. I have no idea how to characterize this. Weird and dark. Beautiful and creepy. If you like disturbing stuff, check out this comic.

message 27: by Jim (last edited Aug 17, 2015 08:09AM) (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 36. Lumberjanes, Vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson. Fun! (But I didn't love it as much as I thought I would based on everyone else's reviews.) But I'm definitely looking forward to the future books in the series.

37. Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murock. I really enjoyed this novel. Definitely YA, but good story with great insight into human relationships. And I really liked the ending.

38. Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2: Generation Why by G. Willow Wilson. Kamala is a wonderful character.

39. Beloved by Toni Morrison. Good history lesson. Great writing. Everyone should read this.

40. Team Human by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier. My first Larbalestier book. Mel is the penultimate teenage girl. Without being stereotyped. Fun book.

message 28: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 41. Afterworlds . I've enjoyed Westerfeld's work for a long time (since I read the Leviathan trilogy), and this book doesn't disappoint at all! Scott is married to Justine Larbalestier (see book #40), and he seems to write female characters as well as she does. At least as far as I can tell from my perspective. Recommended.

42. Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince. This autobiographical graphic novel (comic book) is excellent. Check it out.

43. - 44. Foiled and Curses! Foiled Again by Jane Yolen. The use of color in these books is great. And the story and main character are fascinating. I love the infusion of fantasy.

45. Gotham Academy, Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan. I really like the character of Olive Silverlock. Interesting story, and interesting tie to Batman. Looking forward to reading more.

message 29: by Jim (last edited Sep 09, 2015 04:11PM) (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 46. Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe. OMG this is so good! I can't wait to pick up later volumes. (I just looked, and my library got vol. 2!)

47. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. This is an amazing sendup of beauty pageants and the standards that girls and women are held to in our society. Sometimes silly, sometimes serious, it is amazing.

48. Death Bringer by Derek Landy. Skulduggery Pleasant book 6. Still going strong!

49. - 50. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus Vol. 5 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus Vol. 6 . Some great Tara and Willow stuff in 6.

message 30: by Jim (last edited Sep 09, 2015 04:11PM) (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 51. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. Fantastic fantasy with dragons and a wonderful main character. Well worth reading.

message 31: by Jim (last edited Sep 09, 2015 04:11PM) (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 52. Orlando by Virginia Woolf. Fascinating and ahead of its time. But hard to get into.

message 32: by Jim (last edited Sep 09, 2015 04:11PM) (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments Crud - I missed this one.

53. (27a) The Faceless Ones by Derek Landy

message 33: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments Didn't finish this from last year!

54. The Alchemy of Being Fourteen by Leah Williams. I can't recommend this book enough. Great story by a new author.

55. Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey. I was really impressed with this book. Great writing! (My first Carey book.)

message 34: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 56. The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen. Enjoyed the first volume; the 2nd volume was too complicated and I didn't enjoy that one...

57. Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick. Yes! It is as amazing as everyone says! Read it!

58. Kingdom of the Wicked by Derek Landy.

59. Ms. Marvel, Vol. 3: Crushed by G. Willow Wilson. Continuing to really enjoy this series.

60. Rat Queens, Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe. Still amazing!

61. Strange Girl Omnibus by Rick Remender. Great strong female protagonist - and some interesting theology.

62. Legenderry: Red Sonja by Marc Andreyko. Steampunk Red Sonja. Interesting.

63. Camp Midnight by Steven T. Seagle. For younger readers, but still really good.

message 35: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 64. The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil. I joked in my review that if there was a woman like the main character in this book, I needed to meet her. The interesting thing, there is, and I did! Here on Goodreads. I'll have to share more on that later ;) I thought this was a great book.

message 36: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments 65. Red Sonja: The Black Tower by Frank Tieri. Disappointing.

66. The Empty, Vol. 1 by Jimmie Robinson. Really enjoyed this. Really different.

67. Little Red by Bethan Woolvin. Cute kids book. Worth reading.

68. Rat Queens Deluxe Edition Volume 1 by Kurtis J. Wiebe. Collecting volumes 1 and 2, and adding some original material. It was worth reading again - and I thought it was worth getting for the original material.

69. Prez, Vol. 1: Corndog in Chief by Mark Russell. Odd and different - a nice surprise. Really worth reading.

70. If I Had a Gryphon by Vicki VanSickle. Another well-done children's book.

message 37: by Jim (new)

Jim (jkmfilms) | 109 comments Oops! Missed one:

71. Cloudy With a Chance of Destruction by Gwenda Bond. Great Lois Lane short. In 2016, I've read both novels, and they were even better! Check them out.

message 38: by Thia (new)

Thia (thial) | 1 comments Wow what a great listing of books!

message 39: by Kate (new)

Kate | 10 comments I agree with Thia. Many of these I hadn't even heard of! By the way, like you, I love the Ms. Marvel series, and I wasn't thrilled with The Princess in Black. To be fair to Shannon Hale, I think books for early readers are hard to get right. The best I've ever seen are the Frog and Toad series.

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