Here are nine recommendations that feature kickass female leads. These stories about newly discovered powers, dangerous adventures and unexpected romances redefine superpowers through the perspectives of heroines. As each and every one of them rise to meet formidable challenges, they start learning about how one must embrace their true selves before they can face the world.
1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Meet Karou. The atypical blue-haired teenager from Prague who disappears when she is supposedly “running errands”. In this world haunted by unknown creatures, doorways are tainted with black hand prints. The first book of Taylor’s exhilarating trilogy, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is followed by Days of Blood and Starlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters.
2. The Possible by Tara Altebrando
What if you could move objects with the blink of an eye or a light lift of your eyebrows? What if you’ve been doing it all your life but you just didn’t know? All the unanswered questions in Kaylee’s life are suddenly tangled up in one web but no one dares to mention the dark histories that define her life. The Possible documents a young girl’s exploration of her own powers and reasons behind these unnoticed abilities.
3. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
Tea is a witch, but not just any witch – a bone witch. She makes the discovery by accidentally bringing her dead brother back to life. This dangerous gift of necromancy means she must leave home and sharpen her dark powers with the asha. The Bone Witch depicts the apprenticeship of a young girl who must learn to remain in control of her ominous potentials.
4. The Diviners by Libba Bray
Speakeasies, flamboyant outfits, flashing lights, it’s the Jazz Ages, the Roaring Twenties. Set in New York City in 1926, The Diviners series follows the extraordinary journey of Evie O’Neille as she undertakes and gradually grasps her supernatural powers. With two other curious companions, Evie sets out to uncover the town’s most malicious serial killer.
5. Serpentine by Cindy Pon
Skybright is startled by the remarkable change she experiences after turning 16. By day, her role remains as the handmaid of the youngest daughter of a rich family. As darkness encroaches, Skybright fears her own transformation and struggles to balance her true self with her demonic side. When her first love appears, she must embrace herself for a bumpy ride before she can reach the Kingdom of Xia and regain her selfhood.
6. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
Overwhelmed by her magical abilities, Alex performs a spell to get rid of her own powers. However, when the spell goes haywire, her family suddenly vanishes from thin air. Despite her dislike for all things magic, Alex has no choice but to embark on a journey to Los Lagos, a dark limbo filled with unknown dangers.
7. Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee
Set in what’s left from the end of World War III, Not Your Sidekick is the romantic story of a heroine’s journey to self-discovery with the addition of some cute robots. Imagine if a trip to the big city could result in genetic mutations and give you superpowers. For Jess, the female protagonist of the book, these newly acquired superpowers are life-changing. Tension escalates after she secures an internship at a mysterious company where her crush also works at. However, a co-worker dressed in metallic armor named “M” also catches her curiosity…
8. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
If you consider extreme strength as a superpower, beware of Katsa because she killed a man with her bare hands at the age of eight. As the King’s niece, her powers could not have gone unnoticed and she is forced to work as his thug. Much like Katniss Everdeen with her pragmatic skills, Katsa is a strong character that readers will find themselves falling in love with. As the first book of the Graceling Realm trilogy, this book is followed by Fire and Bitterblue.
9. Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
Sierra Santiago’s love for creating murals led her to notice something very peculiar about the street art in her neighborhood. Step by step, she begins to uncover the troubling past of her family and learns of her role as shadowshaper, which is someone who can connect spirits through artistic objects. To complicate matters even further, the teenager is forced to utilize her newly discovered potentials to prevent the destruction of her community.
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