At Hot Key we can’t resist a book with an amazing, rule-breaking, game-changing female protagonist. We’ve compiled some of our favourite feminist-friendly YA reads with women who pack a punch – sometimes literally!
It’s been a month since Trisha’s dad was killed, wandering out drunk in front of the car Trisha is driving, and her mother grabs the wheel. Trisha doesn’t know exactly what happened that night, but she’s afraid it’s going to happen again …
Love and violence. In some families they’re bound up together, dysfunctional and poisonous, passed from generation to generation like eye colour. Eighteen-year-old Trisha’s trying to break the chain, channelling her violent impulses into Muay Thai kickboxing, an unlikely sport for a slightly built girl of Indian descent.
‘Only one thing is more powerful than a wish, and that is a purpose.’
Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother who sends her to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of Eleven. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood, but be compelled to obey a magical wish by her mother’s command.
Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn – but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?
Princess Alyrra has never enjoyed the security or power of her rank. Forced to marry a powerful foreign prince, Alyrra embarks on a journey to meet her betrothed with little hope for a better future. But powerful men have powerful enemies – and now so does Alyrra.
Betrayed during a magical attack, her identity is switched with another woman’s, giving Alyrra the first choice she’s ever had: to start a new life for herself or fight for a prince she’s never met. While walking away will cost Kestrin his life, returning to the court may cost Alyrra her own. As Alyrra is coming to realise, sometimes the hardest choice means learning to trust herself.
Inspired by The Goose Girl fairytale by the Brothers Grimm.
‘A delicious, evocative story’ THE GUARDIAN
Ever since she got pregnant, seventeen-year-old Emoni’s life has been about making the tough decisions – doing what has to be done for her young daughter and her grandmother. Keeping her head down at school, trying not to get caught up with new boy Malachi. The one place she can let everything go is in the kitchen, where she has magical hands – whipping up extraordinary food beloved by everyone.
“A dark jewel of a book . . . intoxicating” – Leigh Bardugo, author of Six of Crows
Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
The first book in the Folk of the Air series. One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The terrifying assassin abducts all three girls to the world of Faerie, where Jude is tormented for being mortal. Jude realises she will need to take part in the dangerous deceptions of the fey to ever truly belong. But the stairway to power is fraught with shadows and betrayal. And looming over all is the infuriating, arrogant and charismatic Prince Cardan…
Dark and romantic YA fantasy for fans of Sarah J Maas – about the siren with a taste for royal blood and the prince who has sworn to destroy her.
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
Fifteen year-old Renée and Flo, are not really meant to be friends. Thoughtful, introspective and studious Flo couldn’t be more different to ambitious, extroverted and sexually curious Renée. But Renée and Flo are united by loneliness and their dysfunctional families, and an intense bond is formed. For Renée and Flo it is the time of their lives.
Paper Aeroplanes is a gritty, poignant, often laugh-out-loud funny and powerful novel from the brilliant author of Cows and So Lucky.
Sold as children. Branded by cursed markings. Trapped in a life they never would have chosen.
When Aster’s sister Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge – in a country that wants them to have none of those things.
It’s going to take more than luck for them all to survive.
A heart-warming teen story from the unique voice of Laura Dockrill, about Bluebelle, aka BB, aka Big Bones – a sixteen-year-old girl encouraged to tackle her weight even though she’s perfectly happy, thank you, and getting on with her life and in love with food. Then a tragedy in the family forces BB to find a new relationship with her body and herself. Moving, memorable and hilarious.
If you leave home, is your heart left behind?
Darya Ivanova is looking forward to September. She has looked after her little sister, Nika, since she was a baby. Now Nika is starting school. Maybe Darya can find a job with her own tidy desk. Perhaps even a boyfriend. But when an unimaginable tragedy strikes, Darya’s life plans are fractured. Stalled. She is afraid. What if she never knows real love? What if she never finds somewhere she belongs?
If only she could get to Moscow. There, Darya could escape. There, she could become someone else . . .