Lately, I’ve seen a lot of controversy over whether MG/YA literature can be divided into “girl” books or “boy” books. In other words, are there only certain books each gender will read? Should we, as adults, be labeling them thus? My first instinct is to say “no,” that each child should choose books they enjoy, regardless of what others think. However, one cannot deny that certain subjects may attract one gender over another.
So here are some of my personal favorites when it comes to MG/YA “girl” books. I say that mainly because they have female protagonists. But if you have a sensitive and open-minded boy who’s not afraid to resist labels, feel free to recommend these to him. Also, if you’ve seen any of my other recs, you know I don’t do summaries as much as give opinions. Summaries you can find on amazon–click on the book’s title to take you there!
Catherine Called Birdy, by Karen Cushman. I adored Catherine’s take-charge approach–quite unusual for a noble girl in medieval England. Most others just had their lives run by those around them. Anyway, Catherine is a terrific female role model, and definitely one I think I’d get along with! And like all the Cushman books “for girls,” it’s thoroughly researched and extremely believable.
The Midwife’s Apprentice, by Karen Cushman. Not only does this book occupy a special place on my bookshelf, but I recommend it to everyone I know with daughters. It is by turns funny, heartbreaking, and uplifting. Love the way that Alyce perseveres, and doesn’t take “no” for an answer. If I were you, I’d put it on the top of my TBR pile ASAP!
Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine. This is another book I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who will listen. The main character’s biggest problem is a magical “gift” she can’t control. The ending is PERFECT, and getting there is a funny and adventurous ride. A must-read for the rebellious little girl in your life . . . even if she’s 30. Check out the movie with Anne Hathaway too.
The Two Princesses of Bamarre, by Gail Carson Levin. One of my favorites by this author. I loved the way she pulled a switcheroo, with the shy sister overcoming the challenges, while the braver one was unable to help. The only thing I didn’t like [SPOILER ALERT] was the way the sisters couldn’t really be together in the end. But don’t let that stop you from picking up the book. It will really turn your ordinary notions of fantasy on their heads.
What are some of your favorite MG/YA books “for girls?” Do you even believe there is such a thing? I know you have opinions, so let me know what they are in the comments!
(Top image by CollegeDegrees360)