Fri
Jun 19 2009 2:10pm

“I’m thirteen, I’m a girl, and I like fantasy and some science fiction. What should I be reading?”

This is a serious question, posed on behalf of my recently-minted teenage daughter. She’s read a significant amount of young adult fantasy and fantastic fiction, and had some read to her (because we like reading aloud and some books “speak” really well). She isn’t terribly fond of hardware-oriented sf, though she has read the original Ender’s Game (the short version, not the novel) and a few other tidbits. She likes what she’s read of Ray Bradbury (The Martian Chronicles, which she borrowed from the school library and later bought because she had to own it). She’s a budding Trekkie (TOS and TNG).

Her taste is pretty eclectic. She’s read Twilight because everyone else is reading it, but Bella’s passivity drives her crazy, and most of the other “ya/teen” vampire stuff leaves her cold. She much prefers the work of Cornelia Funke, especially The Thief Lord. She’s been reading Sean Stewart’s “Cathy” series, which has immortals in it, and she likes Scott Westerfeld’s “Uglies” series and Margaret Peterson Haddix’s “Shadow Children” series, both of which are science fiction.

She reads plenty of non-genre stuff too, especially if the story has some mystery to it, like the “Pretty Little Liars” books. Then there are the books that I don’t quite understand why she likes, like “The Clique” series, which she reads avidly . . . and then spends days being enjoyably outraged at the stupid/irresponsible behavior of the teen characters and their parents.

She’s wary of leaving the Teen section of the bookstore for the uncharted territory of the SF section, and I’m woefully out of touch with what on the SF shelves is appropriate for younger readers and what on the Teen shelves might pique her interest. (We spend a lot of time in the manga aisle as well, but that’s a different set of difficulties.)

I’m seriously looking for recommendations here—school lets out in three weeks and she will then have a lot more free time for reading.

Specifications:

There must be a solid female character who isn’t just for show. She has to be, if not feminist/egalitarian, at least not silly (Podkayne of Mars failed to meet my daughter’s standards, and she’s struggled a great deal with the silly portrayals of girls in the otherwise amusing and exciting “Ordinary Boy” books.) On the other hand, if there are no female characters in the book at all, that’s okay but doesn’t always create a long-term connection (so, alas, though my daughter has read the first Earthsea novel, she has no desire to continue the series).

Fantasy is probably better than SF but she’s tired of dragons and isn’t sure yet if she likes zombies. Vampires are okay, but she’s read the back cover copy on a lot of teen vampire books without buying any and says they all sound alike.

Prose can be somewhat dense or complex but shouldn’t be impenetrable. She had no trouble with Poe, for instance, but Austen is too hard.

I’m thinking short fiction, to let her try different writers, but she likes longer storylines so she’s thinking novels, though not bugcrusher-sized.

Help?

199 comments
Aaron Bergman
1. Aaron Bergman
Not having ever been a preadolescent girl, I'm not sure how much this advice is worth, but two books that come to mind are The Changeling Sea by Patricia McKillip and Sunshine by Robin McKinley.
Zachary Ricks
2. madpoet
Well, the first thing that went through my mind was the Pern novels - I read and really enjoyed the Harper's Hall books, and there's a lot of strong female protaganists in Pern, but you said she's tired of dragons...

You could try her on John Scalzi's Zoe's Tale, which is set in his Old Man's War universe, but is told from the perspective of a teenage girl. You could also try Patterson's "Maximum Ride" books, which I hear are pretty good.

And am I the only one who looks at the Science Fiction/Fantasy for young adults and says "MAN, there's a lot of vampire books out there..."?
Aaron Bergman
3. Floating Lush
Some authors I think could work are: Diana Wynnes Jones, Robin McKinley, Garth Nix, Suzanne Collins, Pamela Dean, Cindy Pon, Philip Pullman, Megan Whalen Turner, Kristin Cashore, Nancy Werlin (specifically IMPOSSIBLE, not the trauma porn stuff).

If she wants to dip into stories, I'd suggest the FIREBIRDS books editied by Sharyn November.
James Jones
4. jamesedjones
Brandon Sanderson is the latest "It" Sci-Fi/Fantasy author thanks to his selection to complete the Wheel of Time epic. He was introduced to the genre by his grandmother, and all of his books include strong female characters. Mistborn might be a little daunting for an introdutory novel. But she will probably enjoy Elantris, which features a strong female voice in Sarene, who arrives in a new nation with a personality designed to challenge the status quo presented to her.
Aaron Bergman
5. Alervie
I agree with the Garth Nix vote... starting with Sabriel.
Aaron Bergman
6. SWS
*rolling up sleeves*

Okay, for fantasy, I strongly recommend The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown, both by Robin McKinley. I would be a different human being if my sixth grade English teacher had not recommended these books to me. The Dragonriders of Pern books are fantasy that becomes science fiction, which I must recommend even if she is tired of dragons.

I'm a big fan of the Star of the Guardians series by Margaret Weis. I discovered it in high school, and I've read nearly all my original copies to pieces and had to replace them. The author terms them "galactic fantasy" but is more Star Wars-ian space opera. Main character is 17 year old boy, but very strong female character gets nearly as much page time.

Jack McDevitt's Polaris has a great female narrator, especially for a science fiction book. As a mom myself, I would suggest you read that one first. Its adult, not inappropriate, but only you can decide what works for your daughter.

I'm a big fan of sword and sorcery stuff - I could go on all day with that. Have to suggest Katherine Kerr's Deverry saga - great stuff, very strong female characters throughout. Having a harder time thinking up science fiction that meets your criteria.
Luke M
7. lmelior
I'm glad you told me she didn't think much of Twilight, or else I'd roll my eyes and continue jonesing for the next WoT re-read post.

First two that popped in my head:

Anne McCaffrey - Dragonflight
Brandon Sanderson - Mistborn

Both have female leads. I actually wasn't too impressed with the former, but that's probably just because I'd only gotten to it after the works it influenced. The latter I enjoyed immensely, and the main character being female was not awkward at all.

Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series starting with The Golden Compass (at least here in the US) also stars a female, if you aren't anal about the anti-religion overtone (undertone? neither word sounds right to me at the moment).

A quick Google search pulls up a lot of recommendations I've never heard of, like this Amazon list.

*after preview*
Well it looks like I've been beaten to the punch in all my recommendations, so I'll just add my vote to them.
Aaron Bergman
8. mev
Terry Pratchett's Discworld. They are all stand-alone stories, though the world builds up in all. The Susan books might be a good way to start - Soul Music and Hogfather are both good.

Sabriel (Garth Nix) is awesome.

I think my introduction to SF/F was Piers Anthony's Xanth - the first ones were good...but I haven't read any after the first 18.
René Walling
9. cybernetic_nomad
I'll suggest China Miéville's Un Lun Dun

She may also enjoy The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Brian Kaul
10. bkaul
I'll echo the Robin McKinley recommendation. I would recommend The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown. The latter is a Newbery Award winner, and the former was a runner up (Newbery Honor Book). All of her books feature very strong female protagonists. Those two are from the '80s ... while she's still writing today, I think they're some of her best work and a good introduction to her as an author. Deerskin and Sunshine probably aren't the best for teen readers, but her latest, Chalice is back to being teen-friendly, if not as gripping as the Blue Sword series was.

And, as jamesdjones said, Sanderson is an excellent newer writer and Sarene is a very strong female voice in Elantris. (As is Vin in the Mistborn trilogy). For that matter, Robert Jordan has very strong female characters in the Wheel of Time series, but 11 "bug-crusher" volumes and counting is probably a bit much until you've got her hooked. :)
Aaron Bergman
11. brpbrp
Oldie but goodie: The Belgariad. Polgara is not just for show, and Ce'Nedra develops into something other than a spoiled brat eventually. It's the first fantasy series my daughter read when she was your daughter's age and she devoured it.
Leigh Butler
12. leighdb
Mercedes Lackey. I stumbled across Arrows of the Queen when I was about fourteen, and thereafter hunted down and DEVOURED the entire Heralds of Valdemar series. It's about as tailor-made a fantasy series for a young teen girl as can be imagined, in my opinion. I still reread them as comfort food on occasion.

Other things I was eating up at her age:

The Pern series by Anne McCaffrey (warning: contains dragons)

Madeleine l'Engle (though that might skew a little young for her, A Wrinkle in Time and accompanying books are good enough that it shouldn't matter)

Watership Down, by Richard Adams - Basically the Odyssey, except with rabbits. LOVE

Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander

There are a lot of others, but I would hesitate to actually recommend some of them to you, because I often read things that my mother would probably not have approved of had she known - like everything Stephen King ever wrote, for instance, and the Clan of the Cave Bear series, which, well. I still snicker that that series was available for checkout at my Catholic high school's library, is all I'm saying.
David Goldfarb
13. David_Goldfarb
Wait...Sean Stewart has a "Cathy" series? A whole series and nobody told me? Aargh.

As to recommendations, Lois McMaster Bujold springs immediately to my mind: the Sharing Knife books, the Chalion books, and that can lead into the Miles books by way of Cordelia. I agree with the recommendation of McKinley above. Tim Powers: Last Call, The Anubis Gates, On Stranger Tides.
Dru O'Higgins
14. bellman
Maybe Charles De Lint, some Terry Pratchett. Diane Duane's Wizards series. Start her on Anne McCaffrey's Harper Hall trilogy, dragons play a very minor part. The Alvin books by Orson Scott Card.

My younger sister followed me into Heinlein at a very young age. She told me recently that after reading Podkayne, with all the stuff about how the mother should have been staying home with her kids and how Podkayne realized that she couldn't be a starship captain because she was female and would have to go into childcare really disturbed her. The quote actually was, "Would have been kinder if he'd walked up to me and smacked me in the face."

edit - She also loved Clan of the Cave Bear. I could never read them, but from what I've heard my parents wouldn't have approved. And the Fionavar Tapestry by Kay, but you should read it first, it may not be appropriate.
Aaron Bergman
15. westmarch
I echo the recommendations of Brandon Sanderson - both Elantris and Mistborn feature strong female leads and the stories move along quickly. The magic systems in both are creative and internally consistent. Enjoy them.
Elizabeth Adams
16. ehadams
I read a lot of YA sci-fi fantasy and these are my picks:

The His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
The Abhorsen series by Garth Nix (Shade's Children is also a good standalone book)
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Little Brother by Corey Doctorow
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
The Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Wake & Fade by Lisa McMann
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson
Lannis .
17. Lannis
When I was your daughter's age, I discovered (surprise, surprise) The Wheel of Time, and it's still dear to my heart.

I was also enjoying Eddings' Belgariad, and Charles de Lint (Jack of Kinrowan got me hooked, and Moonheart, Spiritwalk, and Memory and Dream soon followed.) IIRC, de Lint has some nice identifiable female protagonists, and he also has short story compilations that're excellent, too. Good luck!
Pablo Defendini
18. pablodefendini
I've recently been reading and enjoying David Weber's Honor Harrington series. It's hard military Space Opera, so I don't know if it's quite up J's alley, but they do feature a strong female lead, an abundance of female supporting characters, and issues surrounding women's rights(particularly within the context of repressive religious regimes) plays a big role in some of the running plots (which flow very neatly and briskly from one book to the next—I'm four books into it, and so far, it's all read like one long book).

I'll also second (third?) Sanderson—particularly Mistborn, and of course, McCaffrey as well.
Aaron Bergman
19. bgdaves
Speaking of Wheel of Time, I believe the first book is broken down into two books in the young adult section.

I know several people that like the Honor Harrtington series by David Weber, although I have not read them myself.

George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire has several great Female characters but tends to have more adult rated chapters that might not be good for young readers.

If she liked Card's Enders game she might like his Hatrack River Series, Seventh Son is the first book.

I am sure there are more but all I could think of at the moment.

Hope this helps,
David
Erin Hartshorn
20. ErinMH
Most everything that came immediately to mind has already been covered, from Scalzi to McKinley.

If you really want short stories, you might look for the New Skies and New Magics anthologies (both edited by Patrick Neilsen Hayden).

Oh, and Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching books (Wee Free Men, etc.)!
Kate Nepveu
21. katenepveu
What does she think of Tamora Pierce? The Circle books are more to her taste than the Tortall books--I would skip right to the Circle Opens series, which is more to her reading level. Lots of strong female characters, craft magic, crime stories.

Duane's Young Wizards books are also a good choice.

Wrede and Stevermer, _Sorcery and Cecelia_ and sequels. Regency-with-magic epistolary novels, female protagonists, entirely charming.

I would think that Sanderson would count as "bugcrusher sized." And the problem with McCaffrey is that the Harper Hall books lead into the mainline Pern books which romanticize rape.
Church Tucker
22. Church
Geekdad just posted a list of comics of interest to girls her age:
Madeleine Lee
23. keita12686
(I started writing this post a while back, so some of the things on here have already been recommended. Will post entirety anyways...)

Your daughter sounds like me, ten years ago, except that my father had already encouraged me to break out into the adult section by that point :) And it was also about that point that he gave me a copy of The Eye of the World. Still reading Jordan today.

I'd suggest Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight, except you said she's soured on dragons. My other favorite series at that age was Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books... If she reads Arrows of the Queen, there's a good chance she'll identify with the main character, Talia.

Anything by Tamora Pierce would also be a good choice. She's known for writing YA fantasy with strong female protagonists.

I love Diane Duane's Young Wizards series (Book 1: So You Want To Be A Wizard), and there's another strong teenage female protagonist there.

In terms of more adult SF/F... Brandon Sanderson might be a good bet. Start her with Elantris, and if she likes that, move onto the Mistborn series.

You could also try her on Jane Lindskold's Firekeeper books (#1: Through Wolf's Eyes).

I liked Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars series (#1: King's Dragon) though that might fit into doorstop territory.

Also try Kristen Britain's Green Rider series. (Notice how I have recommended a fair number of female authors? ;) )

Will probably have more as the day goes on!
Jennifer Liang
24. JenniferL
I have to put in another vote for Sanderson, particularly Mistborn. I frequently recommend it to students. Anything by Weis and Hickman is pretty good, though I think the sexual themes in the Will of the Wanderer might be a bit too much, but I'm a prude when it comes to giving children books. It does feature a gay character though, which I always appreciated. I started reading WoT when I was 12, but that was before anyone knew it would be 14 books long and not completed before I was 30.
Christopher Key
25. Artanian
On the SF side I might suggest at least the first few books in David Weber's Honor Harrington series, for something a little different. The first two are in the Baen Free Library, so there's not a lot of risk there. Towards the middle to end of that series it might get a little too hard-SF, but the series doesn't really start that way, and the female lead certainly fits the criteria.

Hmm, fantasy, no dragons. Maybe L.E. Modesitt's Spellsong cycle? Not having ever been a thirteen year old girl I'm not sure of exactly what they would like, mainly just trying to think of ones that don't have anything inappropriate, and have strong female leads.
Mara Shepherd
26. ladyaife
Thinking back to when I was 13 I loved Diana Wynn Jones particlarly Fire and Hemlock which is excellent, has a strong female lead. The story runs through her early teens and starts/ends when she is about 18.

Also Marion Zimmer Bradley's Amazon books, got me hooked on Darkover for life along with a strong desire for red hair.

No idea if Louise Lawrence books are still about but the Warriors of Taan is one i particularly enjoyed, and recently bought again second hand. its kind of fantasy, but also sci fi and has very strong female leads.

Good luck....
Dru O'Higgins
27. bellman
My sister's absolute favorite book at that age, and now, was Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart. Can't remember any strong female characters.
Aaron Bergman
28. cyborgsuzy
I second the recommendation for Mercedes Lackey books. Any of them. That author is nothing if not consistent with the strong, believable female characters.
Aaron Bergman
29. Liddle-Oldman
Elizabeth Moon.
Barbara Hambly.

And I also suggest Terry Pratchett.
Aaron Bergman
30. Carrie Harris
I second the Terry Pratchett suggestion, although she might want to start with the Tiffany Aching books. Those are written especially for teens. The Wee Free Men is the first in that series, and it's hilarious.

Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix is a terrific fantasy based on Asian myth, although there is a brief almost-rape scene that may or may not be appropriate depending on her maturity. And with that in mind, as much as I LOVE Lois McMaster Bujold, I'd hesitate to give the Sharing Knife to someone so young. There's a lot of mature material in there.

Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games is a great read for someone who liked Uglies. A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce is a retelling of the Rumplestilskin myth with a really strong female protagonist. And I adored Beka Cooper: Terrier, by Tamora Pierce.

I could go on for ages, but I probably ought to stop.
Nina Lourie
31. supertailz
Most of my recs have already been posted, so I'll just add a couple:

Bones of Faerie - Janni Lee Simner
War For The Oaks - Emma Bull
To Say Nothing of the Dog - Connie Willis
Scott Westerfeld's new book, Leviathan, is about to come out and is severely awesome
Wicked Lovely and sequels by Melissa Marr
Howie Brennan's series, but I'm forgetting the name
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (I loved this book so hard it's covers fell off)
Summon the Keeper series - Tanya Huff
Chrestomanci books by Diana Wynne Jones (really anything by her)
The Bartimaeus Trilogy - Johnathan Stroud
Devil's Lexicon - Sarah Rees Brennan
Magician's Ward/Apprentice series - Patricia C. Wrede
Caroline Stevermer's magic school books but again I'm blanking on the title
Privilege of the Sword - Ellen Kushner
Vampire Tapestry - Suzy McKee Charnas
The Worst Witch series might be a little young for her at this point, simililarly with Patricia Wrede's Enchanted Forest series, but they are so good and hilarious and adorable that I still reread them.

Non-genre:
Homecoming - Cynthia Voigt (one of the best girl protagonists I've ever read)
Liar - Justine Larbalestier
Anything by Maureen Johnson
Little Love Song or Back Home by Michelle Magorian
Nina Lourie
32. supertailz
Oh! Also (and then I promise I'll stop for now) the only Anne McCaffrey series I ever really loved (and read at that age) was the Tower and the Hive series. No dragons, just telepathy and adorableness. They are actually on my nightstand right now waiting to be reread.
Aaron Bergman
33. Niki Smith
Strongly seconding the recommendation for Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series! Strong women (often as the main characters), no dragons, but with magic and intelligent/mystical animals. Start with "Arrows of the Queen".

And they're still a good read, ten years later-- something I can't really say for all of McCaffrey's Pern novels (though I do recommend the Dragonsinger/song/drums trilogy, which I loved at her age).
Aaron Bergman
34. shellybean99
Most of the stuff I read at that age has been covered, but I don't think I saw any Piers Anthony. I read him like crazy as a young teen.
I definitely second Anne Mccaffrey (and she has books beyond the pern series that are not so dragon-y), and Mercedes Lackey- particularly her Elemental Series (I find victorian fantasy to be a nice change of pace)....others I can think of are Orson Scott Card, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Phyllis Eisenstein- I adored The Crystal Palace when I was young.
Aaron Bergman
35. Literatewench
I'm always ready to recommend the Vorkosigan series by Lois Bujold - no lack of strong female characters there, even if the lead character is male. The "Fearless" series (can't remember who it's by) just irritated me because it never *ended* or went anywhere interesting. There's the "1-800-Where R U" series by Meg Cabot, and also her "Mediator" series; those were good. Here in Australia there are a couple books by Catherine Jinks: There's the "Evil Genius" duet and "The Reformed Vampire's Support Group". Looks like they're also available in the US. "Skulduggery Pleasant" might be a touch young for her, but the writing is good. "The Dark is Rising" series has a male protagonist, but is a good series. "Blue Moon Rising" is a good book by Simon R. Green, but the follow-up book "Beyond the Blue Moon" *might* be age-inappropriate. "The Belgariad" is pretty easy going for such a large series, and it has Polgara as a strong female character, so that might work too.

I'd also recommend Watership Downs by Richard Adams, Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams,The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Begle, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, pretty much anything by Jane Yolen, the Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix, pretty much anything by Isobel Carmody, and - absolutely, without a douby - anything and everything by Patricia A. McKillip. Might be best to start with her older stuff, like "The Forgotten Beasts of Eld". Diane Duane's "So You Want to be a Wizard?" series has a couple really strong female characters too, and I remember loving it as a teen.
Aaron Bergman
36. alreadymadwithyoungreader
Raymond Feist
R.A. Salvatore

Most of my other favorites have already been recommended.
Kate Nepveu
37. katenepveu
McCaffrey's Tower and the Hive series has, to me, seriously icky sexual elements. In fact I would disrecommend pretty much all of McCaffrey except the Harper's Hall books on that ground.
Aaron Bergman
38. sarah kate
I enjoyed Maria Snyder's Study series (Poison Study, Magic Study, and Fire Study.) Also in YA there is Tera Lynn Childs' Oh.My.Gods. The sequel (Goddess Boot Camp) just came out and I'm looking forward to reading it.
walter tingle
39. wjtingle
Lots of excellent suggestions above, I strongly recommend Robin McKinley, although I would caution you to talk about McKinley's "Deerskin" with her. It's one of her best, but the theme may be a bit intense. Fairy tales aren't always _nice_.

E. Moon's books all should go well. Try "Once a Hero" for mil-sf, or some of the Heris Serrano books (for horse lovers).

I'm surprised there aren't recommendations for two slam dunks, authors your daughter already likes. Scott Westerfeld and Sean Stewart also write adult sf and fantasy. Stewart's "Clouds End" would probably be a sure thing. Westerfeld might be a bit grown up in some cases, particularly "Evolution's Darling", but you can try.

Regards,
Jack Tingle
Aaron Bergman
40. pinkvodka
Chris Roberson's Here, There, & Everywhere is a terrific time-travel piece with a female protagonist.

If she liked Bradbury, try Something Wicked This Way Comes. It's definitely about boys, not girls, but I know I could never resist Bradbury's magic.

And I'll second the Pratchett recommendations (just don't start with the first 2) and the Honor Harrington books. I'm not a big hard SF/military SF person, but I eat those Harrington books like candy.
Melissa Ann Singer
41. masinger
I'm kind of chuffed to see so many authors and books I read when I was younger are still being recommended, like Robin McKinley (I was already an adult when I read those, so my radar is off); Anne McCaffrey (dd's tried her a few times without success but I think in another year or so they might work for her), Lloyd Alexander (I have a set of those on the shelf already).

The Lackey recs made me go "headdesk," because I've read many of the Valdemar books myself and I edit Lackey, sheesh, how dumb can you get, but that's what happens when you have kids, you develop weird blind spots . . . actually, the problem is that I can't tell if stuff I read as an adult is appropriate for teen readers, because I came at the books from a different perspective in the first place. Bujold, similar reaction, though I don't (alas) work with her.

Gaiman rules in our household but we don't have The Graveyard Book yet--the budget doesn't run to hardcovers these days, alas.

But many of these are writers and books I would not have thought of at all and I'm going to print out this thread and hit the bookstore. The batch of stuff we bought last week, at least one of which I was hoping would be taken to camp, is nearly read through already, since homework has become pretty minimal (and today the textbooks went back to school, ouch). So We Need More Books!

My thanks to everyone who offered cautions about content. I'll keep a wary eye open, but there's little I forbid her outside of really graphic sex and violence. And we talk about pretty much everything, including what she's reading (which is how I know the following).

I don't know if any of you have read much non-genre YA fiction lately, but in the last two years, my daughter has seen, in books: car crashes due to DUI, underage drinking, teen pregnancy, teenagers having affairs with teachers and the parents of their friends, theft, murder, someone's eye getting put out with an arrow, cutting, anorexia and bulimia, physical and emotional bullying, and sexual abuse. She has also read a large number of Holocaust novels, some of which do not pull many punches.

In real life, she knows teens who cut, drink, shoplift, live with their grandparents because their parents have lost custody, make themselves throw up, and threaten suicide (earlier this year I told a friend that it felt like we were living in the middle of a season of Degrassi, The Next Generation).

She is, thankfully, quite sane despite all this. Comes from being an Alpha Girl, I guess. But it's no wonder she prefers fantasy and sf to most "real world" fiction.
JP Ikäheimonen
42. Oldtribe
How about Charles Stross' Merchant Princes series? It's a bit light to my taste, but intriguing and moderately fast-paced. I've not read all of them, so I cannot tell how suitable the later books in the series are, but the first two should be just fine.
Aaron Bergman
43. kiirstin
There are some awesome recommendations here, but I notice there's no Kenneth Oppel. His Silverwing trilogy is best known, but it sounds to me like your daughter would prefer Airborn. It's listed as fantasy but I'm not sure why; more alternate history, I think. But will definitely appeal to fantasy readers. I didn't have the opportunity to read this as a 13 year old girl, but if I had I would have devoured it.

Lots of adventure, some very funny bits and touching bits, great writing, and even a little bit of romance. It's told from the first-person by a young man, but the female character, Kate de Vries, is fantastic. She's smart, brave, and every bit Matt's match; and she's bent on defying (Victorian) social conventions for women.

Highly, highly recommended. Would also be a great read-aloud.
Aaron Bergman
44. dwndrgn
Wow, lots of stuff (I second Lackey, McMaster Bujold, McCaffrey, Pratchett, Jordan's WoT, and most everything already said) so all I have left to add is Gaiman's Stardust, Rick Riordan's Olympians (male protag but many good, strong female chars.)Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires (not bad like Twilight but good and much shorter!)and just to be a bit out there and stretch the fantasy element, I'd also suggest Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody mysteries - they usually have at least a hint of paranormal about them but are really fun mystery reads with a wonderful female lead.
Aaron Bergman
45. Angiegirl
Yes, yes, yes to Robin McKinley recs THE BLUE SWORD and THE HERO AND THE CROWN. She might also enjoy McKinley's OUTLAWS OF SHERWOOD which is an extremely well done Robin Hood retelling.

Also, I think she might really enjoy some Sharon Shinn. Specifically ARCHANGEL (scifi/fantasy) and then the Twelve Houses series which begins with MYSTIC & RIDER (more traditional fantasy with awesome heroines and a group of companions you fall in love with).

Lastly, I saw someone mention her name above but I can't recommend Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief series highly enough. Smart, smart fantasy and each book gets more sophisticated. Reading order is THE THIEF, THE QUEEN OF ATTOLIA, and THE KING OF ATTOLIA.
Lianne Burwell
46. LKBurwell
Here's another plug for Blue Sword (and just about everything else by Robin McKinley, although the rape scene -- incest to boot -- in Deerskin might be a little much).

And while I haven't read the most recent ones, So You Think You Want To Be A Wizard and sequels by Diane Duane are fantastic books.

Going a little older, I really loved The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge. It's from 1946, and has some of the attitudes, but I so wanted to be the heroine in that book. She's also the one who has to solve the problem that have haunted her family.

I also loved Scott Westerfield's Midnighters series. It's more horror than fantasy, focussed on a female protagonist, and aimed at a teen audience. I haven't tried his Uglies series, but I've heard good things about it.
Aaron Bergman
47. JenHayley
For YA fantasy with strong female heroines, I highly recommend the following books:

1. Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier. It's about a girl who finds a doorway between NYC and Australia, and magic has serious consequences.

2. Midnighters by Scott Westerfeld. Teens who have access to a secret midnight hour and the monsters they fight.

3. Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Fantasy with strong female heroine.

4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. A SF dystopian series set in the future.

5. Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi. Great SF read for teens.

6. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong. About a teenage girl who discovers she's a necromancer.

7. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. A historical YA fantasy about girls who can enter a magical realm.

8. The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. The two main characters are boys, but there is a girl in it. About two brothers battling demons.

Hope this helps!
Aaron Bergman
48. mev
John C. Wright Orphans of Chaos series.
Somewhat dense writing but interesting.

Cecelia Dart-Thornton Bitterbynd Trilogy
Again DENSE but lovely.

I LOVE Heinlein's Time Enough for Love (didn't suggest originally for potential 'squick' factors, but one I re-read at least annually.

I'm enjoying this thread too, just to see what I might have missed on the shelves. Thanks for starting the conversation.
Aaron Bergman
49. Rashda
Here's a new author I've been very impressed with, esp. since she was published close to the Twilight series but has a female protag I could actually respect and enjoy reading about...

Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study is my favorite. But her other books that follow are pretty darn good too.

Oh, btw, she writes fantasy.
Aaron Bergman
50. alreadymadrecommends
Janny Wurts' Empire Trilogy co-written with Raymond Feist has a strong female lead.
Katy Coole
51. k8ekol
These three don't have a female lead, but I've loved them. I'm quickly approaching 30 and I've read the first two in the past year and recently repurchased the last to reread after falling in love with them when I was your daughter's age:

1) The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riodan
2) The Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan
3) The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper

I'll back up the recommendations for Jordan's Wheel of Time series and David Eddings Belgariad as I read both the series when I was your daughter's age and they're how I became officially hooked on scifi/fantasy.

Anne McCaffery's Pern series is great and I'll add to that her Rowan series and her Ship series (of which my favorite is The Ship Who Searched).

Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality - several of which focus on female leads

The Summoning series by Robin D. Owens focuses entirely on strong females, but the content may be a little mature so you might give that one a read before handing it over. Same goes for anything by Anne Bishop. I do love her novels and generally if a female lead starts off a bit weak they come back strong, but these I would definitely put off for a couple years.


Non-genre YA:

The Gallahager Girls series by Ally Carter - serious girl power as it focuses on an all girls boarding school training future secret agents. I've loved them!
Aaron Bergman
52. PamK
I heartily second the Tamora Pierce recommendation. YA heroic fantasy with female protagonists, not just "strong female (supporting) characters." The Mercedes Lackey recs are good too; I loved the Valdemar books when I was a teenager, and many of them also have female protagonists.

For short fiction, you could try digging up some of Marion Zimmer Bradley's old "Sword and Sorceress" anthologies (maybe via library or bookstore), I was also very keen on those when I was a fantasy-loving teenager in search of female heroes.
Aaron Bergman
53. PRT
I have to second (third? fourth? etc.) the recommendations of Robin McKinley, Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffery, and David Weber's Honor Harrington series. Those were by far the most formative books of my early teen years, and all have amazing female leads. I still call Honor Harrington the woman I want to be when I grow up, even though I'm 25.

Other books that you'll find in the adult section that might appeal to the 13 year old are the Mercy Thompson books by Patricia Briggs (there is some sex, but I don't think it's any more explicit than Mercedes Lackey or Anne McCaffery), Jasper Fforde (she might not get all the references, but the books are pretty fun even you don't know what happened in Jane Eyre), and Elizabeth Moon's The Speed of Dark.

Older kids and Teen books--check out anything by Tamora Pierce, Ursula K. LeGuin's book "Gifts" and its sequels, Jane Yolen's teen books, Michael Chaybon's Summerland, Madelein L'Engle, Westerfeld's Midnighter's series (though if she's read Uglies, she probably already knows about these), and Cory Doctorow's Little Brother.
Leigh Butler
54. leighdb
Also, it's not sf but if she hasn't tried the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery, well, she is missing out.

I read those books to shreds at her age, and I remember thinking they must be super-extra awesome, because I had friends at the time who categorically REFUSED to read for pleasure - except for the Anne of Green Gables books. Just saying.
Dru O'Higgins
55. bellman
Jumper by Steven Gould.

The Green Knowe series by Lucy M Boston, starting with The Children of Green Knowe.

Maybe the first three Callahan's bar books by Spider Robinson. Perhaps best if you skip the one shamelessly glamourizing prostitution.

The Hospital Station books by James White, starting with Hospital Station but can be read in any order.

Crisis on Conshelf Ten and Earthdark by Monica Hughes.

I liked John Varley's Titan, Wizard and Demon at about that age.

And finally, I'll leave genre for Cue for Treason by Geoffrey Trease.
edit - Anne of Green Gables, yes, but the best book Montgomery ever wrote was the Blue Castle. But I once reduced a room full of adults to tears by bringing up Rilla of Ingleside.
Aaron Bergman
56. dwndrgn
Totally loving these comments, my 'to-read' list is getting longer by the minute!
j p
57. sps49
Speaking of U. K. LGuin, her Earthsea trilogy is very good. Don't continue to the 4th. And I assume she has read Rowling already.

For SF- even for a 13 y/o, I suggest C. J. Cherryh. The Pride of Chanur is a good start, if Byzantine plotting isn't too much for her.
Aaron Bergman
58. Maltheos
Some suggestions

C.J. Cherryh -- has some really good strong female characters in her books and is an enjoyable read in general -- Cyteen and Gate of Irivel stick out for me as I recal(but Its been long enough that I dont recall them well enough to comment on their suitability)

Elizabeth Moon has several series with strong female characters. Not sure they exactly fall into her cuppa tea tho.

Trudi Canavan also has strong female characters, but I seem to recall some not totally suitable for YA stuff in there, its been a while so I'm not sure

Madeline(sp?) L'Engle is another good one for YA readers.( at least the early stuff)

Charles de Lint annother good one

Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander
Sumana Harihareswara
59. brainwane
masinger, my own recommendations include:

YA non-SF fiction: Linda Crew's touching Children of the River (about an Asian immigrant teenage girl and her conflicts with family and a suitor. Helped me a lot when I was a young teen), and Gordon Korman's hilarious Son of Interflux, No More Dead Dogs, and The Twinkie Squad.

Nonfiction: In Code: A Mathematical Journey by Sarah Flannery. An Irish girl discovers math with the help of her dad, and makes international headlines with a discovery about cryptography. A nice memoir partly because there's nearly nothing depressing in it.

Our Bodies, Ourselves. Just essential. The handbook to my body. Every teen girl should have a copy. The bits online are not enough -- she's gotta be able to flip through it and browse.

SF/Fantasy: Has she tried any of the comic book or abridged versions of the Mahabharata? Lots of interesting women in an epic tale with elements you often don't see in your standard Western High Fantasy. Also recommended: the YA-centric comic Runaways (available in trade paperback).

Allow me to recommend two short fantasy stories from an anthology I just edited: "Goldenseed" (Bradbury-like) and "Daisy" (domestic urban fantasy).
René Walling
60. cybernetic_nomad
"the problem is that I can't tell if stuff I read as an adult is appropriate for teen readers, because I came at the books from a different perspective in the first place."


I agree.

The majority of the books recommended here, I first read as an adult. So there are books I find I simply cannot recommend. For example the Xanth series, I just cannot recommend them. I mean the (otherwise forgetable) female protagonist is either extremely beautiful and dumb as door knob, or brilliantly intelligent and extremely ugly. That's just not a message I want my (or anyone else's) daughter to read.

Hidden Talents by David Lubar is a book your daughter might enjoy even though all the main characters are boys.
Aaron Bergman
61. OtterB
Ditto, ditto on Megan Whalen Turner's thief series and on Duane's So You Want to be a Wizard, and most anything by Wrede.

Maybe Lee & Miller's Liaden books? Balance of Trade is the most YA but there's nothing in the others (Agent of Change, Carpe Diem, etc.) that I wouldn't give a 13-year-old, and I think I would have enjoyed them myself at that age.

Mysteries: I started reading Dick Francis at that age and always enjoyed his books.

Other: How about the Mary Stewart Merlin series, beginning with The Crystal Cave. Not much in the way of female characters, though.

My daughter is currently 16. She and her friends loved The Book Thief by Zusak, which they read when it first came out, so at 14 or so. At around 13 she also really liked The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. There must be more - her shelf is full of books, but most of the ones I'm thinking of she started a little bit later than 13. That can be a tough transition age. Remind your daughter that if there are things she doesn't like now, she might try them again in a year or two to see if she likes them better.
Anthony Aziz
62. aaziz
Why should she shy away from large novels?

I started reading Wheel of Time at 13, and it hooked me after the first few chapters (though, she'll have to force her way through the prologue ;/).

But, maybe a bit less daunting, Elantris and Mistborn both have strong female leads and are a bit less intense than WoT.

Hell, I still read Harry Potter and scholastic books at that age, too...
Katy Coole
63. k8ekol
Oh, another suggestion from my TBR pile and one I know a coworker's daughter is enjoying: The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor - a differnt spin on Alice in Wonderland.
Aaron Bergman
64. ZCam
Mmm, Laini Taylor's Blackbringer. Yummy.
And any of the YA stuff from Shannon Hale. Don't care as much for her adult stuff, but the YA books are really good.
My 12yo daughter also raves about the Ranger's Apprentice (John Flanagan) and Young Olympians (Rick Riordan) series, even though they have male protagonists.
Oh, and Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor Mbachu has a really delightful take on technology.
Aaron Bergman
65. brennam
Fun!! Where to start...? The Alanna series by Tamora Pierce, Anne McCaffrey, Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea, The Ancient One by TA Barron, Robin Hobb, Madeline L'Engle, Xanth Series by Piers Anthony (some are more adult), Sabriel by Garth Nix, Dealing w/ Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede, Laurence Yep's Dragon series, The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper. These are some of the books that I was reading at 13, and I've never stopped loving fantasy and sci-fi!
Aaron Bergman
66. Gwen13
I was surprised I got to #44 before I saw Rick Riordan's Olympian books recommended -- they're excellent (and the last one just came out).

A set of books that really hooked me when I was your daughter's age was the YA SF by Sylvia Louise Engdahl, especially "Enchantress From the Stars" - wonderful strong female protagonist.
Aaron Bergman
67. DBratman
It would be tragic for a fantasy-loving girl to stop with Earthsea after the first, male-oriented, book, because the second book is about a girl! The Tombs of Atuan. Read it, now.

Le Guin's The Beginning Place and Gifts are also excellent books, with adolescent boy protagonists but each has an equally important adolescent girl character. And Gifts has a follow-up (readable separately), Voices, whose principal character is a girl.

I also second recommendations for Patricia McKillip, especially The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, and Diana Wynne Jones, especially Fire and Hemlock. Both with strong teenage female leads, both absolute classics in the field.
Aaron Bergman
68. mmoore
What about Zenna Henderson's "Pilgrimage: The Book of the People" (1961) and "The People: No Different Flesh" (1966)? I loved those.

And there is Octavia Butler's "Kindred".
Melissa Ann Singer
69. masinger
Feedback, generally . . . .

She doesn't like Rowling. Neither do I, much, but I didn't tell her that until after she said she didn't like Harry Potter. She read the first book and that was it, though she enjoys the movies (mainly for Alan Rickman and Maggie Smith and the Weasleys).

Ella Enchanted is a favorite, and she's read a number of other Gail Carson Levine books, but feels that she is now a little too old for them.

I tried her on Dick Francis but she doesn't like horses. So no Marguerite Henry or Black Stallion or My Friend Flicka either (breaks my heart since I own so many of those from my own youth).

@60, your comment about Piers Anthony's heroines is something we run into a lot and hate a lot. Why can't someone be pretty and smart, or prety and nice, or just _normal_ looking. This is part of why dd likes A. Lee Martinez's A Nameless Witch and Too Many Curses.

The other part of the problem is that many of the books I read when I was young reflected the then-current state of affairs regarding girls' and women's roles and places in society. I read them and accepted those story elements with a minimum of complaint because they didn't completely accurately reflect my early-70s experiences in NYC or my feminist household and were balanced by the more overtly feminist SF I was reading (Reed, Russ, etc.).

DD, however, having grown up _now_, has virtually no tolerance for that sort of thing. When girls in stories turn mushy at the sight of a boy, she bristles. When they are relegated to second fiddle simply because they are female, regardless of their abilities, she burns. And she's 13, so she's pretty absolute on such matters. Watching original Trek with her is pretty interesting, because she sometimes foams at the mouth over the actions of the female characters . . . though the wall over her bed is slowly being wallpapered with pictures of Spock (Nimoy and Quinto)

While we don't have an Our Bodies, Our Selves, we have a great many other useful books for girls/women/people. I particularly recommend It's Perfectly Normal and It's So Amazing. She hasn't read The Mahabharata but has seen Sita Sings the Blues.

Why does she shy away from large novels? During the school year, there is too much work to do to tackle anything lengthy. The literature curriculum in NYC requires that children produce a Literary Letter (like a book report, but not) every two weeks--and you can't do more than two in a row on the same book. Seriously. I have to go in and argue with her Literacy teachers about this every year. Students must read a certain number of books a year to meet promotion requirements, and while this is perhaps valid for some students, it's really annoying for dd, especially because manga doesn't count, not even stuff like With the Light.

In the summer, she wants to make up for lost time, so she generally only reads one Really Big Book per summer, and maybe two in the course of the school year, with frequent stops to read the stuff she _has_ to. Most of the time, the Big Book is our reading aloud book.

Next year will be worse--applying for high school in NYC is kind of like applying for college now, so her free time between Sept. and Dec. will be very, very limited. (Off-topic, sorry.)
Pablo Defendini
70. pablodefendini
@ PRT 53
I still call Honor Harrington the woman I want to be when I grow up, even though I'm 25.
Heh. I'm thirty, and a guy, and I keep telling myself the same thing as I'm reading the books. Except for the 'woman' part, of course. 'Cause, you know, different plumbing and all that. ;)
Kate Nepveu
71. katenepveu
(Oh, and for manga, I totally love _Fullmetal Alchemist_. Which has kick-ass women galore.)
Aaron Bergman
72. hillary80
Lots of my favorites are already on this list. Michelle Sagara's "Cast in... (Shadow, Fury, Courtlight, whatever) books feature a strong female protagonist. I don't think anyone has mentioned them yet.
Melissa Ann Singer
73. masinger
@71:

I'll be asking about manga in a couple of months, when she's back from camp and has caught up on the volumes of stuff she'll miss while she's away. A number of her favorite series are ending soon and she'll be looking for replacements.

I'm focusing on books right now because she's about to go to camp and needs to take reading matter without pictures. She reads most manga in an hour or less so they're not good for traveling.
Sydo Zandstra
74. Fiddler
I'll third Lois McMaster Bujold.

I'd recommend to start with Cordelia's Honour though (which is a combination of her stories Shards of Honour and Barrayar.

It's a good starting point for Bujold's SF works, and has a woman as main Protagonist. And it's a good lead introduction into the other Miles Vorkosigan books (which have enough strong female characters too, as somebody already mentioned).


Another recommendation I'd like to make is Anne Bishop's Black Jewels Trilogy, although it has some dark/sadistic elements in it. The main character is a little girl though. Maybe you should do a wiki on it first.

Her Tir Allainn series has a lot of main female characters as well, and is easy to read.
Kate Nepveu
75. katenepveu
Sorry, couldn't resist the _Fullmetal Alchemist_ rec. Will wait for next post to gush more!

* * *

Anne Bishop's Black Jewels books take female-nuturing/male-violent-protective gender roles and enshrine them on the level of unalterable building blocks of society. Also they are heterocentric like whoa.
Aaron Bergman
76. warreno
Can't say I have a great depth of knowledge here, but Sagan's novel "Contact" is not only hard SF, but it includes as its central character a damn powerful woman.
Sumana Harihareswara
77. brainwane
masinger, thanks for your responses! How does she feel about Lois Lowry? I'm thinking of the Anastasia books, which I adored.

Man, I miss being a text-ravenous teen on summer break...

In case she likes what she knows of Indian mythology, I live in NYC and am willing to lend you various versions of the Mahabharata. I have a box set of the comics I grew up with, and I have a prose paperback version by Rajagopalachari.
Aaron Bergman
78. KaylynnZoBell
I think there are some BIG holes in this list (but only a few).

FLORA SEGUNDA - by Ysabeau Wilce. Great worldbuilding and a wonderful female protagonist.

BEAUTY - by Robin McKinley. I know McKinley has been mentioned, but this book hasn't, and it was my favorite by her as a teenager. Also, I think someone who likes Ella Enchanted will like this as well.

HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE - by Diana Wynne Jones. Again, Jones has been mentioned but not this book. The anime based on it does not do the book justice.

ALCATRAZ series - by Brandon Sanderson. It may look like it, but this is not a Harry Potter clone. It's also Sanderson's series that is directed at young adult readers. The main character is a boy, but his bodyguard is a girl who gets a cool sword.
Lonnie Ezell
79. lonnieezell
I have to second (or third) the recommendations for Mercedes Lackey, Orson Scott Card, and Charles DeLint.

One author that I didn't see on the list, but I think would be a perfect fit, is Holly Lisle (with the exception of Talyn - which gets into more adult subjects then would be appropriate for that age.)

This may be bold, but I believe my own novel, Daughter of the Sun, would also be appropriate. There are 2 main characters, one of which is a very strong female character, and her daughter plays fairly heavily into the story as well. There is one scene that gets into a bit of a racy spot, but there is no explicit sex, it's all off camera and performed by the villain, but 13 is the earliest I'd recommend it to anyone. You can even read it online for free (or download the audio version) at LonnieEzell.com.
Aaron Bergman
80. AlisaGoode
As the mother of readers about your daughter's age (one just turned fifteen, one is about to turn thirteen) and someone who never stopped loving YA, I've got a huge list for you. Then, I saw you already had a huge list, and most everything I'd recommend is on it, except one. (Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy). Aside from that I will reiterate other's suggestions in case you are tallying votes. (heh)

Magic or Madness, Justine Labalestier. (The author is Scott Westerfeld's wife, which might draw your daughter in. In her own right, she has a strong drive to talk about Things of Importance, and a very nice voice, Better, imo than Westerfeld.)
Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series is quite good, I just finished the third one, and enjoyed it very much.
The Bartimaeus Trilogy, I bought all of them, loved them, excellent. (Jonathan Stroud)
Zoe's Tale (John Scalzi) is on my to read list, but I haven't read it yet.

Nongenre:
Maureen Johnson
John Green (Start with Paper Towns. I think you'll find the discussion of the complexity of a human being excellent.)
Liar by Justine Larbalestier

The classics are great, and I ate them up when I was her age, but I think those were covered pretty well by everyone else. These are all novels that have come out more recently and build upon all that came before. I think they're more accessible to younger readers, but don't think that I mean that they are dumbed down. They are just more relevant.

Also, none of them are HUMONGOUS. :D
Hope that helps!
Leigh Butler
81. leighdb
Ooh! #77 reminded me: Lois Duncan!

Who's written a grazillion books, but the ones I remember were Daughters of Eve and The Third Eye (though she's probably best known for writing Killing Mr. Griffin and I Know What You Did Last Summer, which were both adapted into teen flicks fairly recently).

I don't know how well they've aged overall - it's been years since I read her - but I adored the hell out of them as a pre-teen/teenager. Lots of strong female protagonists and psychic phenomena galore.
Melissa Ann Singer
82. masinger
@77: She's read The Giver twice, for school, once in literacy and once in social studies (different years). Having a book taught is a good way to kill it, and she's sort of cool ot Lowry as a result. (Hence, my taking her to see Shakespeare _now_, before high school starts turning it into Literature.)

Recently we rewatched the version of A Little Princess where Sarah tells her schoolmates some of Sita's story at various points in the film; having seen "Sita," dd had a completely different reaction to "Princess" and for the first time really _got_ that Sarah had been raised in India and thought differently than the other girls. (Her Indian and Pakistani schoolmates already think she's weird because she keeps trying to steal their lunches when they bring food from home; I swear one of her friends keeps inviting her over to see if they can find a dish she won't eat. I amuse them similarly. Obviously we are strange for white people.)

What do you think of the Peter Sellars version of The Mahabharata? I saw it on TV many years ago and thought it was splendid but have nothing to compare it to.

I may take you up on the loan offer later in the summer, but we never take borrowed books out of the house, on general principles.

Friends, I am about to decamp for the weekend. I'll check back on Monday to see what other delights you have found for us, and with Pablo's blessing, will report further once dd has made some selections.

My sincerest thanks to all!
Oscar Nelson
83. oscar.nelson
I'm going to be a little peculiar and recommend Samuel Delany, specifically Nova and Babel-17, both of which I first read around that age.
Aaron Bergman
84. Catherine Felt
If she wants protagonists that are not like Bella (smart girl, by the way, to pick up on how passive that character is!) I highly suggest some of my favorite fantasy reads. All of these are fairly new books, and very, very good. The following are all from the post-apocalyptic slice of fantasy and have strong female protagonists who don't just play kissyface, but actually do something about their world. These are still more of the 'teen' books, but just in case she hasn't picked these up yet I think she'd love them considering what other books she has enjoyed.

HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins is my #1 fav book right now. A little dark but moving and, in my opinion, one of the best books out there. It's set in a world where several dozen children are forced to fight to the death in front of a televised audience once a year, a twisted futuristic version of reality TV shows.

FARWALKERS QUEST by Joni Sensel is also a fabulous story about a world struggling to survive after the War of the Blind made several generations of humankind completely blind, causing mankind to lose a lot of knowledge.

I'm currently reading, and absolutely loving, THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH by Carrie Ryan. It has zombies, but it is written in such a beautiful way, it has a sort of feel like M. Night's THE VILLAGE.

Good luck finding some good reads!
Aaron Bergman
85. WandaWolfe
Patricia Briggs - The Hob's Bargain

Esther Friesner - The "Chicks in Chainmail" books - lots of humorous fantasy stories with women characters, written by many of today's top writers

Rosemary Edghill's The Warslayer is a funny book about a Zena type character

Is she mature enough for the Noble Dead books by Barb Hendee? Or the Kitty books by Carrie Vaughn

Tanya Huff's The Enchantment Emporium and the Valor series

The Maireleon duology by Patricia Wrede

Just about anything by Jody Lynn Nye

And definitely Bujold, Lee & Miller, and Diana Wynne Jones.
Lena Vogelmann
86. kalafudra
I second Un Lun Dun by Miéville. And The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix .

I also really love A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, though she might fall inbetween the cracks with these books (too old for the target audience, too young to see the adult humour behind the kids' story).

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak would be another recommendation. And The Satanic Mill by Otfried Preussler (though that one doesn't have much female characters to speak off).

I also very much enjoyed the Red Magician by Lisa Goldstein.
Joseph Blaidd
87. SteelBlaidd
If you are looking for some thing with a strong female character there is none more than P.C Hodgell's Kencyr series

Second the vote for Bridge of Birds especialy if you like to read out loud to each other. It is the only book Ive ever read that my first impulse is to say "Here let me read this book to you."( I shall clasp my hands together and bow to the corners of the winds.)

Anne Bishop is a favorite (I know a young lady who's effect on males is so exactly like Janelle's it's scary)

If she likes manga I highly recomend Megatokyo, and she will probly get a real kick out of the adventures of Agatha Heterodyne in Phil and Kaja Phoglio's Girl Genious
Laurel Lyon
88. laurellyon
These books all sound really interesting - I'll use them to find something for my own daughter to read. She reads much better in Spanish than in English at present. Also I'd like to read most of these myself! I have a lot of catching up to do, having been away from British libraries for 20 years.

Anyway, that aside, can I recommend Joan Aiken? Especially the series starting with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. Strong little girl protagonists and an alternative history setting, all very entertaining and exciting, although it might be a little young for your 13-year-old.
Aaron Bergman
89. whatusername
Raymon Feist. The empire Trilogy: Daughter/Servant/Mistress - no dragons, strong female lead, etc, etc.

(or just start with Magician)
Aaron Bergman
90. mityorkie
Don't know why everyone is stopping the Anne McCaffrey recommendations at the Pern novels.

The Rowan series, Crystal Singer series, Sassinak... all focus on a female protagonist and are great reads.
Aaron Bergman
91. cdalek
For a fantasy novel with a strong teenaged female protagonist, I would recommend Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle. Lovely book featuring ghosts and the Wild Hunt.
Aaron Bergman
92. Stephen Hurlbut
I'm not sure how great it is for teen girls, but I read The Hogfather, by Terry Prachett. Nothing inappropriate about it, but I'm not sure it is for teen reading. It was pretty funny though. Although a lot of British humor(I guess). And one of the main characters is a very strong woman character.
Aaron Bergman
93. Teka Lynn
Tanith Lee's The Silver Metal Lover and maybe Metallic Love (though that might be less accessible). Definitely Lee's Don't Bite the Sun and Drinking Sapphire Wine, available as Biting the Sun in an omnibus edition.
Gabrielle Jagoriles
94. Geese82
everybody here got an awesome suggestions, mine would be Zoe's Tale or Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, I am not an expert on Fantasy books with female leads on it, except for comic books, esp Wonder Woman or Birds of Prey both were written by a woman to boot!, also you mentioned manga, and the novelization of Blood tv series is a ok, have her check it out, also I read that she's into immortals (vampire books) but if it's set in a fantasy world I just wish that the video game Lost Odyssey would have its stateside release of its short stories called "He Who Journeys Eternity: Lost Odyssey: A Thousand Years of Dreams" by Kiyoshi Shigematsu, it is a tale of an Immortal Kaim who lost his memories and the short stories is kind of a background story of what he did through time, a la Highlander except it's not on Earth
Estara Swanberg
95. Estara
Anything by Tamora Pierce, Anything by Sherwood Smith. They most often have female protagonists and when they don't, the females are as important as the males for the plot.
Tamora Pierce
Sherwood Smith

If she can handle darkly emotional fantasy, Elizabeth Wein's retelling of the Arthurian legends, taking the survivors into Ethiopia is gripping stuff. It starts with Winter Prince, where Mordred is the protagonist.
Elizabeth Wein

Sharon Shinn's YA books are good and have female protagonists
Sharon Shinn YA

And if she'd like truly epic fantasy with a female protagonist there's P.C. Hodgell's Jamethiel Dreamweaver which is being rereleased and expanded by BAEN right now. She has to be able to stomach blood though.
Description of the Godstalker Chronicles

Personally I still enjoy Anne MCaffrey's Pern and Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books.
- -
96. heresiarch
Nix's Abhorsen books peter out a bit, but the first one is amazing. Shade's Children is also quite excellent.
Aaron Bergman
97. arc315
I'd also suggest some comics, esp Ted Naifeh's "Courtney Crumrin" books and "Polly and the Pirates". The former is quite a bit darker than the latter, which one could take as either a positive or a negative.
Aaron Bergman
98. JoshC
While the lead character is male, Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files is a great series. The books get better as the series progresses, and so do the strong female characters.
jane reynolds
99. janie
Having been a teenage girl not that long ago and having a similar taste - I like fantasy and some SF - I can't recommend Isobelle Carmody strongly enough. Beware, though - she hasn't yet managed to finish a series. There are a couple of good stand alone novels, though, especially Alyzon Whitestarr. And despite being 5 books out of a 6 book series, the Obernewtyn Chronicles are fantastic. They do age rather quickly, though - the first couple of books are definitely written for a younger audience than the later ones.

And I have to put in another vote for Robert Jordan. Although I may have been a couple of years older when I started reading the WOT.
Joseph Blaidd
100. SteelBlaidd
If you have no objection to reading fanfic online then CatTalesis the best Batman stories I have come across in the last 20 years, including the new movies.

I made the below for a rescript competition. The lines comes from the first story A Girls Gotta Protect Her Reputation where in Selina Kyle decides to combat the Gotham Post's less than flattering portrayal by putting on a one woman show off Broadway.
http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f104/SteelBlaidd/th_CatTales-1-1.gif
Aaron Bergman
101. Ruchira
I read the Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy when I was around 13, and really enjoyed it. I read the Song of the Lioness quartet much later and also enjoyed that--it's targetted at 13-year-old girls.
Soon Lee
102. SoonLee
Chiming in late but I recommend:

"Good Omens" Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett's 'for the younger reader' books:

The Bromeliad Trilogy ("Truckers", "Diggers" & "Wings")

The Johnny books, though the title character is male, they have a strong female character ("Only you can save mankind", "Johnny and the dead", Johnny and the bomb").
Aaron Bergman
103. AlisonSinclair
Coming late to this thread, almost all my first thoughts have already been had. But looking back to the 80s, I'd add HM Hoover - especially "The Rains of Eridan", "Return to Earth", "Another Heaven, Another Earth" and "The Lost Star".

When I think back to my own discovery of SF, which happened at age 13, it started with John Wyndham, and went on to Ray Bradbury, Andre Norton (has no one mentioned her?), and then expanded to include everything in Gollancz bright yellow covers and Corgi SF Collector's series (purple covers). Though "Barefoot in the Head" didn't take. I was very square. Also blissfully oblivious of gender agendas.
John Massey
104. subwoofer
Hello- I am glad to see that many have recommended books that are dear to my heart as well. I grew up with Eddings and was saddened at his recent passing away. Esther Friesner is also a great writer with many *LOL* moments. Yay, I see someone else recommended her! It was eons ago but I believe that John DeChancie also had a castle series where the girl always baled out the main guy who always dug himself a hole.

I am honored at Leigh@54 recommending L.M. Montgomery. Being proudly Canadian, Anne of Green Gables is based out of PEI. wooo! Canada! Represent!

Um... off genre, it is too bad that your daughter did not like Dick Francais. I read Driving Force and have been hooked since. Not quite sure of the age but growing up, Enid Blyton was a favorite of my mom and sisters. I read the Great Brain and Encyclopedia Browne series. There is also the tried and true- Nancy Drew.
Aaron Bergman
105. Staver
A lot of the ones I would have mentioned have all been mentioned already, but a few things I'd like to point out.

David Weber's Honor Harrington not only have a strong female lead with strong female supporting cast, the battles follow the Napleonic Wars, and if she does get into the series, it will at least help with her history.

I know it's a kid's series and she might be a bit too old for it, but I read them. *Shrug* The Akiko series by Mark Crilley is just plain fun. Very light reading where a 14 year old girl is the undisputed leader of the party as they travel all over the galaxy.

Okay, okay, okay, NOT scifi or fantasy, but the Phantom Tollbooth by Juster is probably the best book written for kids ever. It's one of the few books she'll be able to pick up and reread over the years and continue to get different jokes as her vocabulary expands.

Terry Pratchett's stuff is good, but he has a series for young adults I'd start her on before the other stuff, especially if she's not used to dry British humor. I'd recommend The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Mice and the Tiffany Aching series (A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, and the first title eludes me at the moment).

Aside from that, there really is a lot of gold mentioned here that took me years to find and discover on my own or through recommendations. It's a pretty safe bet to print out this page and head to the local library and start reading some of these.
Aaron Bergman
106. Viadd
Yet another vote for Bujold.

Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary, by Pamela Dean.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Girl Genius
John Massey
107. subwoofer
Off genre again but as long as we are talking of Anne of Green Gables... Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote a series of books called Little House on the Prairie etc. Great books and a very strong female lead. Reading the story arc of her growing up was great!
Eugene Myers
108. ecmyers
Wow. I'm not going to look through all 104 comments on this to make sure I'm not repeating a suggestion. I think she may like The Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve, which has some strong female characters, especially in the later books. She should also check out The Bartimeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud, which has a strong female protag in the second and third books, who overshadows the male protag. In addition to His Dark Materials, Pullman's Sally Lockhart books are quite good. Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey does have a female protag in it. Ysabeau Wilce's Flora Segunda books. Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin. Me, the Missing and the Dead by Jenny Valentine. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeiffer.
Ian Horn
109. IanGH
It's been a long time since I was 13 and I've never been a girl but I'll give it a shot. The one series that stands out in my memory is the Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper. They're small enough that I wrote book reports on them in junior high. They got me started on the genre.
Aaron Bergman
110. afterthefallofnight
I asked my daughter, who is a voracious reader, and she mentioned the following:

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
Heir Apparent by Vande Velde
Summers At Castle Auburn by Sharon Shin
Wolf Tower by Tanith Lee

She is quite fond of many of the books and authors already mentioned. She thought Anne of Green Gables, Green Rider and Belgariad were wonderful and almost everything by Duane, Pierce or Cabot is recommended.
Clifton Royston
111. CliftonR
If I remember right, at this age or shortly before, my daughter was a big fan of Tamora Pierce (repeatedly mentioned up thread) and also Patricia Wrede, especially her Enchanted Forest books, which are a hoot. Possibly a bit later she got into Tanith Lee (including the Don't Bite the Sun duology mentioned above) and I think some of the Mercedes Lackey books. After that it was everything in sight. I think we found essentially everything published under the 'Magic Carpet' imprint for young adults was good.

Also, don't forget nearly all of Patricia McKillip's books, starting with the fabulous The Forgotten Beasts of Eld.
Aaron Bergman
112. TehaniW
I 54th the Robin McKinley recommendations, and suggest Graceling, by Kristin Cashore. There's a new book from Cashore called Fire coming soon also.

What about some Lois McMaster Bujold? I've been reading her fantasy lately, and there's some great women in them (although the latest series might be a bit too much like romance...), but I'm a huge Vorkosigan fan. Start her on Cordelia's Honor and she'll be set :)

Early Tamora Pierce rocks (the original Lioness Quartet), and of the recent rash of vampire stuff, the House of Night series is the best of the bunch I reckon.
Andy Leighton
113. andyl
Some great suggestions already but I am going to suggest some more -

The Owl Service and Red Shift by Alan Garner (The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and Elidor too but they are pitched somewhat younger).

Hello Summer, Goodbye aka Rax aka Pallahaxi Tide by Michael G. Coney.

The H-Bomb Girl by Stephen Baxter. This is a YA novel about a girl growing up (rather quickly) in Liverpool in 1962.

The Limits Of Enchantment by Graham Joyce. A charming fantasy novel of a young girl growing up in 1960s rural England after being raised by a 'wise woman' who knew the ways of the hedgerow. The main theme is one of transformation.

Siberia by Ann Halam (Gwyneth Jones)

The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Excellent YA novel. SF but not full of spaceships and gadgets. Don't let her be put off by the setup (no women apparently exist on the world) things ain't what they seem.

Don't forget some of the classics - Day Of The Triffids by John Wyndham is great read.

That'll do for the moment.
Sumana Harihareswara
114. brainwane
masinger mentioned that (paraphrase) her daughter has less tolerance for sexism in her entertainment than masinger did as a teen. I am honestly curious as to whether US bibliovore teen girls, as a whole, have changed their tastes in the last generation or two with regard to tolerance for sexism. Any editors or other experts in the house want to let me know?

Adult women today can use Jezebel's "Fine Lines" feature or GirlyCon to parse out what's squee and what's problematic in Judy Blume, Cherry Ames, Jacob Have I Loved, The Secret Garden, The Girl With The Silver Eyes, Babysitters Club, Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley Twins/Twins and Friends/Friends/High/University/Grad School/Postdoc/Tenure-Track, The Long Winter, and everything Paula Danziger ever wrote (including her sci-fi teen angst comedy romance set on a moon colony, This Place Has No Atmosphere).

It's sad that curricula including The Giver make people think Lowry is like Fisher Price's My First Margaret Atwood or something. The Anastasia books (and their offshoot Sam books) are crazy hilarious and I promise they contain no Messages whatsoever.

The women in Phantom Tollbooth are, sadly, pretty minor characters; if I were rebooting it I might switch Milo's gender, or Tock's. By the way, it's not a coincidence that the dichotomy in Tollbooth mirrors that of CP Snow's "two cultures" of science and humanities. Juster had that division in mind.

Oh! Recent mimetic YA book I liked a lot: Never Mind The Goldbergs by Matthue Roth. Stars Hava, a punk Orthodox Jewish girl, during a very unusual summer.
Joseph Blaidd
115. SteelBlaidd
You know she may not have liked Bella but the protagonist in Myers' The Host is much more proactive and it's a very original take on the "invasion of the body snatchers" idea.

Another classic Author with a tendency toward strong heroines is James H. Schmitz

Wen Spencer's Tinker is another can do girl.

And the Ring of Fire Series starting with 1632 is just full of lots of different types of strong women.
Aaron Bergman
116. NickPheas
Second Mortal Engines and it's sequels. Very strong female leads, even if Wren is a bit wet at first.

Diana Wynne Jones, Robin McKinley, etc
Aaron Bergman
117. 4Kats
I scanned through the comments and did not see this listed, apologies if I missed it! But...

I know there are *a lot* of vampire books out there, but the Darkangel triology by Meredith Ann Pierce which is from the '80s (I believe) is outstanding. Has a female character who grows and changes throughout the series and does some interesting things with mythology.
Alena McNamara
118. aamcnamara
I would ditto Garth Nix, Charles de Lint, Diana Wynne Jones, Janni Lee Simner, Robin McKinley, Susan Cooper, Patricia C. Wrede, Cornelia Funke, the FIREBIRDS anthologies. Add in FINDER and WAR FOR THE OAKS by Emma Bull. Also ABARAT, Clive Barker. JOURNEY TO THE RIVER SEA by Eva Ibbotson might be a bit young for her, and it isn't genre, but it's excellent. Huge ditto to PRIVILEGE OF THE SWORD by Ellen Kushner. CHANGELING by Delia Sherman. Also ditto to A COLLEGE OF MAGICS by Caroline Stevermer (earlier mentioned, but the title wasn't; the second is A SCHOLAR OF MAGICS). The Bordertown anthologies are hugely out of print, but awesome; THE ESSENTIAL BORDERTOWN is usually the easier to find, and also the one I personally like the best. EMPRESS OF THE WORLD by Sara Ryan is not genre, but it is about nerds. ZAHRAH THE WINDSEEKER by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu and its sequel THE SHADOW SPEAKER. CROWN DUEL and COURT DUEL (sometimes published in one volume) by Sherwood Smith, or the Wren series by Sherwood Smith. WIZARD HALL, Jane Yolen. PAY THE PIPER, Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple (and their other books together; Stemple's books alone have a lot of violence).

I'm sure there's more, but that's a handful to start with, at least. Anything from the Firebirds imprint is good. (Also, as a note, I am 17. Many of the recommendations here are good by my standards, others are not so great. Aside from specific recommendations, when asked "what do I read" I will generally recommend either browsing libraries/bookstores or going on the Internet and finding a community of like-minded people. Livejournal is good for that--I don't know how much your daughter is on the Internet (I certainly was at that age, and getting good recs for books from my community), but that can be a good resource.)
John Adams
119. JohnArkansawyer
The only books that quickly came to mind which I did not see mentioned above are Briar Rose by Jane Yolen (which I'm guessing she's read already) and Orbital Resonance by John Barnes.

What I didn't see--I skimmed quickly--was an anthology. It'd be nice to have, every year or three, a collection of recent short work suitable for the nearly-adult. I wonder how it'd sell?
Aaron Bergman
120. fizzchick
In addition to Chronicles of Prydain, I'd highly recommend Lloyd Alexander's less well known series, both the Vesper Holly ones and the Westmark trilogy. Depending on her maturity, the former may seem too young, but it's got cool archaeological/world travel info along the way. I really loved the Westmark series, despite dark overtones (regicide, revolution, hints of child abuse). Both have very strong female characters.

The Austin books by Madeleine L'Engle slightly annoy me now, but as a young and nerdy girl I appreciated their perspective on working through crushes and the whole relating to boys thing.

If she enjoys historical stuff, the E. Nesbit books are a fun twist on fantasy with no dragons involved, and fairly strong female characters.

For one last non-SF suggestion, though I never got into the Anne of Avonlea series, for some reason, I really enjoyed L.M. Montgomery's Story Girl and Jane of Lantern Hill novels.
Aaron Bergman
121. James Davis Nicoll
Has anyone mentioned Octavia Butler yet? If someone wanted a more nuanced view of unequal power relations than Twilight provides, she'd be the author I'd go to first.

As I recall, a surprisingly large percentage of the first Orphans of Chaos book in the series someone recommended above involved non-consensual bondage games involving a busty minor (1). Just a heads up.

1: or at least she thinks she's a minor. It's a bit more complicated than that.


If your daughter can tolerate older material, Jirel of Jiory runs her own barony and is pretty much the only woman ever to have met Northwest Smith and survived. Planet Stories has a complete collection (I don't think I'd recommend their Northwest Smith collection for a teenaged girl, unless she doesn't mind watching him pile up a stack of dead girl-friends, most of whom died to save him. Northwest is harder on his significant others than Elric and James Bond combined).

I Remember Palahaxi, mentioned above, can be found here: http://members.shaw.ca/mconey/

Rite of Passage may be a possibility. I think it's aged OK and that there's at least an e-book edition.

I will admit that I would be interested to know how your daughter reacted to Joanna Russ, in particular her non-fiction work How to Suppress Women's Writing.
Aaron Bergman
122. FortyArc
Go to the library or a second-hand bookstore and dig up Marion Zimmer Bradley's old Sword and Sorceress anthologies. There were something like twenty of them, and the theme is magical/heroic fantasy with strong female protagonists. I've been reading those since I was about thirteen. They've aged well and are still a refreshing change for anyone who is sick of passive heroines.
Aaron Bergman
123. Starshadw
Let's see...

Robin McKinley - just about everything by her would be excellent.

Tolkien - 'nuff said

She might like Anne McCaffrey's books - that was the age I enjoyed them at.

Madeleine L'Engle
Margaret Mahy - a book called "Changeover"
Aaron Bergman
124. Mandy P.
I don't think anyone has mentioned the Chanters of Tremaris trilogy by Kate Constable. The first novel is the Singer of All Songs. It's YA and follows a strong female character. My little sister loves them and I appreciate them.


I agree with Madeleine L'Engle, Brandon Sanderson (especially the Alcatraz series for younger readers), Tamora Pierce, David Eddings, Kristan Britain, and all the like.

When I was thirteen I had read every McCaffrey book published as well as all the published Wheel of Time books. That's also when I read Sabriel (other two books weren't out yet) and the entire Ender's Game series. I also started in on Asimov at that age, but sadly Asimov doesn't feature very many strong female characters. Though if she likes mystery, Caves of Steel is awesome.
Andy Leighton
125. andyl
Actually James (msg 121) I mentioned Pallahaxi Tide and not I Remember Pallahaxi. I think the original novel is far better than the followup - although I do think I Remember Pallahaxi is worth reading.

Colin Greenland's Take Back Plenty. A fun space opera with a realistic female spaceship captain.

Amy Thomson has done some great stuff. Storyteller is a fairly straightforward read.

Philip Reeve has been mentioned before but not his novel Here Lies Arthur.

A book that I'm surprised hasn't been mentioned yet is Melissa Scott's Night Sky Mine. A bit of a cyberpunkish detective story.
Aaron Bergman
126. James Davis Nicoll
D'oh! Stupid mistake on my part. Sorry.
Aaron Bergman
127. Lee Ann Rucker
I personally think that Podkayne's decision to not become a pilot wasn't because *couldn't* but because she didn't want to, but if you read it that way, Heinlein's short story "The Menace from Earth" is an antidote. It goes the opposite way - Holly starts out wanting to design starships, ends up wanting to design starships, and is never once advised to change herself to keep her boyfriend - a big shock to me in 1977 when I was 12, when stories that were *new* had the obligatory "makeover to keep the boy" scene, and here was a story from 1959 that *didn't*.

Asimov does have an interesting teenaged girl protagonist, Arkady Darell, in Second Foundation.
Ursula L
128. Ursula
That's about the age I was when I wandered from the older children's section of the library into YA and SF sections (my local library shelved the SF separately from the rest of the adult fiction.) Parts of the SF section I loved, but other parts were way over my head, and my folks weren't the sort to talk about sex, so I was left with some rather confused ideas. So I'll focus on that for now - things that are good, and things that may be a bit much.

I started on Bujold about that time, via Falling Free when serialized in Analog. That's probably a good Bujold to start with, as the Quaddies are at a developmental age similar to hers, although you may want to talk with her about the sexual relationship between Silver and the jumpship pilot, as well as Silver and VanAtta. From Cordilia's Honor, maybe skip Shards (Cordilia's near-rape may be a bit much for her) but Barrayar should be fine. Warrior's Apprentice might also be a good starting point.

Bujold's Sharing Knife series might be good in that it provides a (rare) look at a healthy sexual relationship, however some of the "reading between the lines" you have to do in the sex-scenes may leave her confused (the "If I do this, while doing that..." bits, where she has no good reference for "this" or "that" in her imagination or experience.)

Octavia Butler's Xenogenisis series - I found Imago first, and then Adulthood Rites, and only found Dawn years later. Adulthood Rites, being from the perspective of a child, may be a good one to start on.

My library had an anthology that was called "Children of the Future" which had a bunch of short stories by various science fiction authors. I liked that a lot. http://www.amazon.com/Children-Future-Science-Fiction-Shorts/dp/0817217401/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245521217&sr=1-9

I was fairly uncomfortable with stories with romantic or sexual elements at that age. I'm not sure how your daughter is with that, but if you're introducing her to adult SF, it would probably be well to pre-read the books before giving them to her, and be prepared to talk about aspects she may not be comfortable with, or things that you want to be clear are Bad Examples rather than How It Should Be.

Madeleine L'Engle is definately good. Also Spider Robinson's Callihan stories - the ones in the bar, not the ones in the brothel. Lots of fun with puns and wordplay.

The Little House books are good, if she hasn't read them yet (I'd read them all, by her age) although some of the latent racism (the treatment of Native Americans, the minstrel show in Little Town on the Prarie) may need some context for her.
Aaron Bergman
129. Ross TenEyck
Almost anything by Barbara Hambly. Dragonsbane and Bride of the Rat God are particularly good -- although be cautious about the sequels to Dragonsbane, which are atypically depressing.

The Darwath books are pretty good -- the original trilogy is The Time of the Dark, The Walls of Air, The Armies of Daylight, and then there are a couple of later follow-ons -- but the Sun Wolf and Starhawk books are even better (especially the first two): The Ladies of Mandrigyn, The Witches of Wenshar, The Dark Hand of Magic.

Hambly is good at strong female characters, and none of her protagonists are dumb. She doesn't do the "idiot plot" thing -- where the plot only happens because one of the characters decides to act like an idiot for no good reason.

You might have to find several of these books at a used bookstore, unfortunately; I think a lot of her stuff is out of print.
Aaron Bergman
130. Gervase Fen
Not mentioned yet, as far as I can see, is Frances Hardinge's FLY BY NIGHT, a bit languid in places but also very vivid and involving.
Aaron Bergman
131. RogerSS
I gave my teenage daughter Guy Gavriel Kay's Ysabel and she loved it, not published as YA but 2 of the protagonists are teens, one being a very smart and capable young woman. 2 Pat Murphy books: The Wild Girls is not actually fantasy, but is about storytelling, with a sharp teenage girl as a narrator. Wild Angels is just a hoot, my daughter enjoyed both of these.
I want to echo the above poster, I read the first Wright Chaos book, the sexuality is not appropriate for a young woman.
Roger
Aaron Bergman
132. Ramah
Has anyone suggested the Tales of the Otori by Lian Hearn yet? They are wonderfully written with very evocative prose. One of the main characters in the original trilogy (starting with Across the Nightingale Floor) is female and although for the main part she is subservient (it is set in a Japan-like fantasy setting with all the social positioning that entails), she is strong willed and has her own plans.

Also, I would imagine this has been suggested, but if not then how about the Empire trilogy by Feist and Wurts? It's been a long, long time since I read it but I remember liking it a lot and the main character is a very clever female, struggling to survive in a male dominated world.
Aaron Bergman
133. John Fiala
Diane Duane's Wizards series - it starts with 'So You Want to be a Wizard' and goes on from there - sounds tailor made for what she's interested in.
Aaron Bergman
134. madscientistnz
These are books that I love and own. I'm including repeat recommendations, because I find if a lot of people like something, I'm more likely to try it.

Xanth series - Piers Anthony
Abarat series - Clive Barker
Pure Dead Magic - Debi Gliori
The Princess Bride - William Goldman
The Goose Girl - Shannon Hale
A Fistful of Sky - Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Diana Wynne Jones
The Waterborn - Greg Keyes
Magic or Madness - Justine Labalestier
Anne McCafferey
Robin McKinley
Sabriel - Garth Nix
The Keys to the Kingdom series - Garth Nix
Terry Pratchett
Megan Whalen Turner
Crown Duel - Sherwood Smith
Sector General series - James White
Patricia C Wrede and Caroline Stevermer (jointly and separately)
Graphic Novels - Books of Magic and Fables

It would be nice to see a summary list with all the most recommended books/authors at the top!

Ohh - that reminds me of
Pollyanna's Booklist, books recommended by readers of Robin McKinley's blog. Most books have "strong, self-sufficient young women" and are fantasy.
I've loved all of the books I've tried from this list. (Most of the authors on my list are also on Pollyanna's Booklist)
Melita Kennedy
135. melita
If she's sensitive to gender roles, perhaps have her read Jennifer Roberson's "The Lady and the Tiger" (in MZB's S&S II and Guinevere's Truth). If she likes that, go on to the Tiger and Del series. Or just start with Sword-Dancer.

I also recommend Megan Whalen Turner (4th book in the Thief series is scheduled for next spring!!), Robin McKinley, McCaffrey's Harper Hall books, Patricia McKillip, Tanith Lee's The Silver Metal Lover, Tamora Pierce, Sharon Shinn's YA (The Safe-Keeper's Secret is one), Zenna Henderson, Steven Gould, Patricia Wrede, Caroline Stevermer, possibly Pullman's Sally Lockhart books, Cherryh's The Paladin ('without the d***ed armor!') or The Pride of Chanur or Gate of Ivrel, possibly Tepper's The Game books (Mavin or Jinian), ...

I just read the sequel to Flora Segunda, Flora's Dare, and enjoyed it a lot.

I can't recommend McCaffrey's Weyr books (although I loved 'em) because of the sexual coercion that goes on. With Lackey, I grew tired of the torture/rape scenes.
William S. Higgins
136. higgins
Daniel Pinkwater writes books aimed at readers her age, along with some aimed at younger and some aimed at much younger readers. But I read them as an adult and greatly enjoyed them, so they may suit her taste as well.

My own favorite is Borgel. I think Alan Mendelsohn, the Kid from Mars is awfully good. Everybody else's favorite seems to be The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death.

Every library has at least a few Pinkwaters on its shelves. Browse.

His protagonists tend to be male. His strength is that he as a powerful ability to imagine a child's point of view.
Aaron Bergman
137. Janice in GA
Check out The Folk Keeper and Well- ished, by Franny Billingsley. Quirky heroines, and unusual plots.
Aaron Bergman
138. Janice in GA
Uh, second Franny Billingsley book is "Well Wished".

Sorry about that.
Aaron Bergman
139. Lockwoodd
13 is probably old enough to start with Connie Willis: "Bellwether" is light, easy to read and very funny... and ends up being kind of a sweet, believable romance. "Doomsday Book" might be harder to get started on, but becomes an irresistible page-turner quickly; it is one that can have me laughing and crying at the same time. "Passage" is on the surface also both funny and sad, but ultimately is a very uplifting parable on the nature of our mortality. David Eddings' "The Begariad" (5 books) and "The Mallareon" (also 5 books) are great, and would be series I would have killed for if they'd been published when I was your age. "Aunt Pol" can seem cold, but I love her like she was family.

One more author I'll recommend is Sherri Tepper, but I'd wait a few years in your case; she deals with very adult and disturbing feminist themes. The only reason I bring it up is that we probably won't be in touch again, and it would be a shame if, in about 5 years give or take, you didn't dip into one of the most powerful female voices I've ever read in fantasy-sci fi. Actually, come to think of it... "Family Tree" isn't too harsh. But overall, my recommendation is that you write yourself a note, and look her up in a few years.

All of these involve strong, interesting, and believable women, which in the genre from my youth, were pretty rare.
Aaron Bergman
140. creepygirl
One book that I haven't seen mentioned is Owl in Love by Patrice Kindl. It's got a wonderfully prickly, non-passive teenaged girl as a protagonist, and it's also a short standalone book.
Aaron Bergman
141. stanthedevil
I recently devoured the first four books of Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series -- the main protagonist is your daughter's age and is a strong young lady with an adorably pesky little brother. The characters run a pretty standard list -- fairies, naiads, centaurs, etc. -- but his treatment of them was refreshing.

I also put away the first three books of Obert Skye's Leven Thumps series. Although the main character is a boy, his friend Winter is a strong character in her own right. The fantastical world of Foo had me constantly wondering what would be around the next corner.

I was your daughters age when I started Jordan's Wheel of Time, but my real love then was Brian Jacques' Redwall series.
Aaron Bergman
142. Nazgul35
Almost all of McCaffrey has strong female characters.

If you want to avoid Pern (dragons), there is always the Crystal Singer, Ship Who Sang and To Ride Pegasus series to get her started...
Aaron Bergman
143. Elaine T
The resident almost 13 year old loves the following that haven't been mentioned yet:

Dracula by Stoker

20,000 Leagues Under the SEa and _Mysterious Island_ by Verne (recent translation)

Ysabel by GG Kay

Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia A. McKillip, and Changeling Sea. (Why these two hit her liking, and not the others, puzzles me....)

The Naming and its three sequels by Alison Goodman.

Eon by Alison Croggon (but it has dragons)

Truth-Teller's Tale and the companion novels by Sharon Shinn

Paul Gallico's _Too Many Ghosts_

N.M. Browne's Silverboy

Alma Alexander's World Weaver's Trilogy starting with _Gift of the Unmage_ (last installment came out earlier this year.)

She hasn't read it, but I also quite like Alexander's Secrets of Jin-Shei.

Also everything else N.M. Browne has written. Browne mostly does standalones, although she has one trilogy, the "Warriors" books.

Jessica Day George's books, a dragon trilogy and two fairy tale retellings: One of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, the other of 12 Dancing Princesses.
I think Shannon Hale is somewhat better than George, but they're both readable. I mentally link them because they write similar stories and both live in Utah.

Timothy Zahn's _Dragon and X_ hexalogy (6 books). SF, not fantasy. The dragon is an alien warrior-poet who needs to be physically connected to another being symbiotically (IIRC) inorder to live. Jake is a 13 year old (or so) con artist surviving on his own with the aid of the AI Uncle Virge in his spaceship. And then with the aid of Draycos who draws him into a quest to help the K'da, Draycos' people.

Jane Yolen's _Sister Light, Sister Dark,_ and _White Jenna_.

Moorchild by McGraw.

Oh, also Eleanor Farjeon, who occupies the same mental place as Elizabeth Goudge's _Little White Horse_.

Of books already mentioned, she's devoured CYTEEN, but bounced off the sequel. Loved CJC's FORTRESS series, also. Loves everything Pratchett ever wrote. Loves Garth Nix. And (dragons again!) hauled Rowley's Basil Broketail series to the hospital for a recent stay.
Britta Ager
144. weatherglass
They aren't sff, but I'd recommend Jaclyn Moriarty's books- she's an Australian author who writes interlocking ya books (standalones, but set in the same neighborhood, and characters from one get cameos in the next) composed mostly of the characters' letters, journal entries, notes, and other documents. They're quite fun, the characters are wonderful, and they're weird in a way that satisfies a lot of my sff craving. To describe them as ya magical realism isn't really accurate, but is the best I can come up with for how they feel. I started with The Spell Book of Listen Taylor; I'd suggest not starting with The Murder of Bindy McKensie, as it took me a while to warm up to the main character, and I'm not sure if I would have stuck it out if I hadn't already trusted the author.
Aaron Bergman
145. L J Geoffrion
I haven't seen anyone rec CJ Cherryh -- The Morgaine Trilogy (Gate of Ivrel, Well of Shiuan, and Fires of Azeroth). They were released as one big mega-book, but I think it's better to have the individual books, if you can find them. There's also the Faded Sun series (Kesrith, Shon'jir, and Kutath) and the Chanur books that start with Pride of Chanur.

Also, a strong recommendation for Kushner's Privilege of the Sword.
Aaron Bergman
146. LJ Geoffrion
I don't have any daughters, but I and my boys loved Mary Stewart's Merlin series that starts with The Crystal Cave.
Aaron Bergman
147. Neil in Chicago
I'm not going to read 143 comments to see if I'm duplicating someone, but I have a standard suggestion which applies here.
Most stuff is out of print, including most of the good stuff. Find the good used bookstores near you (they're cheaper, too!), and find a well-read friend you can discuss tastes with, and take your budget and see what's on the shelves when you get there.

And if you're feeling aggressive on gender issues, check out the Tiptree Award. Each year there's an honor roll (that's close to what they call it, I'm not going to Google this minute), with whatever the judges thought was really good that year. It's not a fixed number of picks, just what they wanted to honor. That's a good way to find more titles and authors.
Aaron Bergman
148. zxhrue
Emergence by David R. Palmer

read for suitability first, but if you are looking for feminist retellings of the Mahabharata, Yajnaseni by Pratibha Ray or The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (both from Draupadi's POV) are both well worth looking at. it's really a pretty grim story though, overall.

otherwise ditto on much of the above, but especially The Privilege of the Sword by Kushner, and Zoe's Tale by Scalzi
Aaron Bergman
149. dcb
The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues
The Westing Game

both by Ellen Raskin

Non genre but worth consideration.
Aaron Bergman
150. RobMRobM
Leigh @12. Chronicles of Prydain - yes!!!

Also, an oldie but goodie - try to find novella "In Hiding" by Wilmar Shiras. Main characters are a boy and a male psychiatist but the author is female and the story is tremendous - about a boy with a huge secret. She also wrote a follow up novel "Children of the Atom." Both were listed as among the best works of early SF. Rob
jazz tigan
151. tredeger
It's a pity no one has any suggestions, huh?

Here are a few things to consider that might not have been mentioned:

1. YA is just about the only part of the bookstore that isn't just surviving but thriving. The demographic for this section is mostly girls (boys read too, but at that age more often magazines and other media rather than books). There is a lot of knock off stuff and drivel and stuff you'd never read outside that age group (but that's true of every section) but despite Twilight and series books like Gossip Girl and Clique, some of the very best contemporary writing lives in this section. And authors like Scott Westerfeld sell far more copies of their YA work than their adult SF. YA is a very exciting place these days with plenty of great stuff.

2. YA authors tend to rock. So while reading the classic recommendations here is definitely cool, there is a lot of added value to the modern stuff. If you live in a literary city with great independent bookstores (Bay Area - Books, Inc. & Kepler's) during the school year there are tonnes of author events and YA authors are the most accessible, appreciative, awesome people. And great role models for you child. Their book tours tend to be very sparsely attended (though some authors have rock star like followings) so there are great opportunities to really talk to the author. Some authors are really active online (westerfeld, john green) and are the hubs for strong communities of thoughtful young adults having all the complex experiences your daughter will have growing up in NYC. So for some authors, you can go far beyond the books themselves.

3. Most stuff in contemporary YA is series. But that's true of SF/F too.

4. Not always true, but a lot of girls read in packs. The books that succeed in YA often do so because they work well as a social tool (Twilight) and of course authors who cultivate an active community benefit from this a lot. Overall, I think this is awesome and you get passionate readers discussing works together but without the formality and stuffiness of a book club. The really voracious readers start literary review blogs like this one:
http://nineseveneight.blogspot.com/
The girls who write this are 16-17 and have actively been review books for several years now. And they do so with the voice of your daughters peers. Cause that's what they are.

5. One thing to note about YA SF/F is that, like the rest of YA, the work sometimes tackles issues that are particular to that age group. There are a lot of great issue books like Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak or Wintergirls. But as an adult male, they don't speak to me very much since they are dealing with things like eating disorders or teen rape or whatever. But usually its just more like there are a few age specific elements (which can totally be a good thing for a reader of that age). But these can end up meaning the book is harder to come back to when your an adult and discover you still love it. At the same time, there is tonnes of work in YA that I am thrilled and proud to read as a grownup. They call those 'crossover' books but really that's just code for a darn good ripping yarn. And I think it's validating for the kids to see the grownups reading their books.

6. There's never been a better time to be a teen girl reader. An embarrassment of riches if you avoid the dreck. That said, here are some recommendations:

Shaun Tan - The Arrival - Just cause everyone should read this wordless graphic novel which takes a shockingly long time to read for something without words. Just lovely and beautiful and a masterpiece of the form. Great for kids in the reading comprehension stage cause you must engage all the 'reading' parts of the brain without being burdened with decoding words. Great for adults cause it just rocks. I think I by this book once every couple of months to give as a gift.

Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games (the sequel Catching Fire is currently making the rounds as a much coveted ARC). - The first book I ever read in one sitting. Devoured it. Was both happy and sad to see Stephanie Meyer recommend it on her website. Strong female protagonist, action, adventure, appropriate and sincere romance, science fiction, great pacing, characters that live beyond the page, some of the finest exposition around. Love this book with a vengeance. This is also popular with the young lit crowd, so it's a book she can share/discuss with her friends. And a book an adult (like myself) can happily read.

Neil Gaiman - Neverwhere, Smoke & Mirrors, Sandman. I recommend them in that order because I just loved the book and short story collection and because if she finds she likes Sandman, its classic and a big world to dive into.

M.T. Anderson - Whales on Stilts and Octavian Nothing demonstrate the extreme versatility of this brilliant author. Just someone bookish people should know about. And awesome in person.

John Greene - Not SF/F but one of the best ambassadors of geek culture to the rest of the world. Great for kids and adults. Just smart stuff and he is hugely active online. There is a loose circle of YA authors who are friends and support each others' efforts and someone like him is a gateway to a lot of other popular reading. In fact, John Greene and Scott Westerfeld will tend to lead to Libba Bray, Holly Black, Maureen Johnson & Co. Scott is also way cool in person and Leviathan has me excited (currently in an ARC).

Audrey Niffenegger - The Time Traveler's Wife. Depending on your daughter's maturity level, I just think this is a beautiful book that everyone should read especially before seeing the upcoming movie which I hope with all my heart will be palatable. One of the nice things for a young girl about this grown up book is that it isn't hollywood romance (all about the chase and it ends with happily ever after at the first kiss) but depicts a really complex loving relationship between two equals who are partners coping with difficult circumstances (his time traveling) over an extended period of time. I wish I'd read this when i was young as an antidote to all the (literally) romanticized depictions of what adult relationships are supposed to be like. But aside from the fact that this book will make you a better person, there's a really great story in there too. Hard to put down. Characters you will laugh with and weep for and love that you met them. Come on Audrey, write something new for me to read!

I know you said Austen wasn't her cup of tea but it might be a fun project read to pick up Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. Which you have to read side by side with the plain old Pride & Prejudice. I started it and plan on making the time to do the whole thing this summer. Also, you can annoy that stick in the mud Literary teacher with it.

And while I could go on forever, you've probably stopped reading this post already. So I'll close with another off the wall recommendation. Samuel Delany's short novella The Star Pit. A classic piece of SF that is heartachingly good. 90 pages, just read it.


Some anti-recommendations
While she might get a lot out of Libba Bray and Holly Black (which leads to Charles DeLint which leads to Garth Nix which leads to...) that stuff can also be a gateway to Cassandra Clare which is hugely popular but awful. He said adverbally. She started as a Harry Potter fan fic authors and her own stuff has similar writing. For instance - "Is it?" Jace asked ruminatively. Ugh. Avoid.

Also, I know people in YA are loving Forest of Hands and Teeth (Zombies are the new vamps) but the book died in editing. The author has a nice lyrical style but overwrites a lot of her descriptions and wasn't edited properly. The book goes to volume 9 on the tension dial and stays there. Flat at 9 is as boring as flat at two. She has a line in the book that almost justifies it (a girl dies and her husband's anguish is that "He didn't have time to memorize her") but when she repeats the line a page later (twice!) it completely undermines the effect and is just a writing tragedy. I would have been less disappointed if the writing wasn't as good as it is and I kinda like the author and hate her editor. Also, deus ex machina big time. Ugh.

Ok, enough rambling. Hope this is useful.
Judith S. Anderson
152. jskanderson
Zilpha Keatly Snyder: The Egypt Game, Black & Blue Magic, Eyes in the Fishbowl and all her other books. She's still writing and I remember being a kid and totally loving her stuff. The kids are normal and smart, the girls are true full personalities.

Nalo Hopkinson; Midnight Robber, Brown Girl in the Ring
M B
153. selidor
Ooo, wow. What a fun topic! *cracks knuckles in preparation*
I will add recommendations for these, which have not been previously mentioned:

- Maurice Gee. The Halfmen of O and its sequels. Also, The World Around The Corner and Under the Mountain. These are really good crossing-from-real-world-to-fantasy-world ones. No dragons, more volcanoes. All feature teenagers as protagonists.

- Gaelyn Gordon. Stonelight and its sequel Mindfire: they feature NZ Maori mythology + telepathy. Also her other books, particularly Several Things are Alive and Well and Living in Alfred Brown's Head, which is hilarious.

- Margaret Mahy. All her teenage books are excellent: they tend to have supernatural/fantastic elements. Kaitangata Twitch (now being made into a tv miniseries), The Haunting, The Changeover (both Carnegie Medal winners)...too many to list. The Greatest Show Off Earth is one of her rare SF ones, though with her trademark sense of humour.

- Ken Catran. Deepwater Rising series (five or six books if I remember right). Teenagers on a far-future gene ark spacecraft, travelling to save the other half of the gene archive and bring it back to the barren Earth...or so they think. I must have read these all six times or more.
Ryan Thistlethwaite
154. shintemaster
Even though they have a lot of male characters I always found the Chronicles of Prydain to be fairly egalitarian in the ways that matter, definitely second the nomination.

I don't have a lot more to add to these suggestions, however if you'll forgive the indulgence... I started reading the Dune novels at about 12 or 13 and I tend to be of the opinion that as long as things aren't overly graphic or distasteful there aren't too many (quality) books that aren't worth the read - even if they are a little confrontational or above the head of a younger reader. Hell, there's stuff I read now that goes above my head at times - doesn't mean there's not value and useful learning in them.
Aaron Bergman
155. RobMRobM
Re my above post at 150. One reason I recommended "In Hiding" is that Timothy, the main character, is 13 years old - right at the target audience. Also, when I said it was an old story I meant it - 1953. I read it in a collection of the best SF stories for the period ending 1975, as I recall. Shiras was a one hit wonder - one great novella, one great novel (Children of the Atom, which is also worth reading), and that'a pretty much all she did. Rob
Aaron Bergman
156. apricotmarmalade
Yes to Graceling, Pratchett, Eddings, Jordan...

I haven't seen Trudi Canavan recommended (may have missed that!) but her Black Magician series has a female protagonist and is pretty solid.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow?

Maybe Frank Miller's Dark Knight stuff - a couple of cool strong female characters. I forget, but the comics series Alias may also be appropriate (probably skim it for adult content first).
Aaron Bergman
157. stanthedevil
I couldn't find if someone had already mentioned it, but I always enjoyed Lloyd Alexander's WESTMARK TRILOGY.

Although I enjoyed the Chronicles of Prydain, I liked Westmark, The Kestrel, and The Beggar Queen more. They really aren't Fantasy as there aren't mythical creatures and magic. In fact, they probably read more like tales of the French Revolution. However, I always liked the internal struggles the main characters face. The story is told from the point of a young apprentice, but his friend, a poor street girl, has quite the part in the trilogy.
Melissa Ann Singer
158. masinger
As a partial thank you to everyone, dd offers her just-finished omg that was so fantastic book:

Hero by Perry Moore. GLBT content, superpowers, gripping plot. When she finished, she handed it to me and said, "you _have_ to read this." So I will.

I'll put up a recap post (thank you, thank you, thank you) in the next few days.

DD is a little stronger on the no-sexism thing than many of her friends, though she is apparently enlightening them. Interestingly, the girls from less-traditional households are more intolerant of "isms" of all sorts (sexism, racism, religious prejudices), perhaps because they are educated about them and/or exposed to them at a younger age. I can't speak about boys with any authority. Though dd has many male friends, apparently I scare them and they rarely say anything personal while I am around, whereas I am an adjunct mother/weird aunt to many of her female friends. OTOH, the boys' eyes go WIDE when the conversation turns to comics or Trek and I can keep up. (which may be part of why I scare them, lol)
Nadine Pedersen
159. Alyssum
People have already made so many wonderful recommendations that I agree with. The only missing name I really see is Andre Norton. Some of the science may be dated in the science fiction but the stories and characters are wonderful.
Susan de Guardiola
160. Susan
A few books I don't think I've seen mentioned:

Charles de Lint: _Little Grrl Lost_

Jacqueline Lichtenberg, _Mahogany Trinrose_ (OOP, but plenty of used copies on Amazon)

Steve Berman: _Vintage: A Ghost Story_ (gay teen protagonist)

Paula Volsky: _Illusion_ (fantasy version of French Revolution, adolescent female protagonist)

This may be a little edgy, but Catherynne Valente's _Orphan's Tales_ duology is filled with strong female characters and turns a lot of classic folk tale and fairy tale material neatly sideways. Valente is also serializing a YA novel (new chapter every Monday) called _The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland on a Ship of Her Own Making_ here.

I haven't seen anyone suggest the comic book _Elfquest_ yet. The original series of twenty issues has been collected several different ways, I believe recently including a manga version. I devoured these as they came out when I was ages 10-16.

I nth the recommendations for Diane Duane, Diana Wynne Jones, Mercedes Lackey ("Arrows" trilogy), Barbara Hambly (Darwath trilogy), and _Emergence_.

I was disappointed in the _Golden Compass_ trilogy because I thought the female protagonist was pushed aside by the male one in the later books. And I seem to be one of the few people who bounced hard off both _The Hero and the Crown_ and _The Blue Sword_. I also have to anti-recommend Piers Anthony because of the way he portrays women (as mentioned by a couple of people above).

Also, while I like Kelley Armstrong just fine, _The Summoning_ is NOT a complete story. It's barely the beginning of a story. The stop-dead-in-the-middle ending really ticked me off. I don't recommend it until the next book or two come(s) out.
Hugh Arai
161. HArai
masinger@158: I don't know if keeping up with comics or Trek is what is scaring the boys. When I was a 13yr old boy, if one of my friend's mothers had shown current comics or Trek knowledge, my eyes and my friend's eyes would have gone wide yes, but then she'd never have gotten rid of us :)
Aaron Bergman
162. Smatt
Here is a quick list of the top of my head. I am now also worrying about all the books I can't remeber now.....

Ursula K LeGuin - Earthsea
David Eddings - The Belgariad
JRR Tolkien - The Hobbit
Alan Garner - The Wierdstone of Brisigamen
Lloyd Alexander - The Chronicles of Prydain
Terry Pratchett - All
Philip Pulman - His dark Materials
Aaron Bergman
163. Electric Landlady
Wow, so many awesome suggestions! I second practically all of the above, with some caveats that have also already been mentioned (Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffrey, etc.).

Stuff I don't think has been mentioned:
- Judith Tarr does wonderful historical fantasy. A lot of her backlist is out of print but I remember very much enjoying the Hound and the Falcon trilogy at about age 13.
- Barbara Hambly's Those Who Hunt the Night is a Victorian vampire novel with a terrific female co-protagonist.

I also highly recommend the Bookshelves of Doom blog: http://bookshelvesofdoom.blogs.com/ She's a librarian who reads and reviews a ton of YA and the reviews are always very helpful. Many other links to the rest of the kidlitosphere.
Aaron Bergman
164. bronxbee
i highly recommend "Tea With the Black Dragon" and "Twisting the Rope" by R.A. MacAvoy, as well as her "Damiano" series and her other fantasy works, although i would think that the "Lens of the World" series might be a little too dark and grim.
April Vrugtman
165. dwndrgn
Used bookstores everywhere are cheering for joy! And librarians too. This single post has, I bet, garnered many a purchase all over the place. And will continue to do so for quite some time. My personal 'To-read' list has gotten much bigger and I'll eventually get to them all.

I hope your DD enjoys all the stories she gets from this list (as well as all the posters who have added to their lists too!).
Melissa Ann Singer
166. masinger
I'm working on a roundup post--we're at more than 300 books/series and counting!

Alas, there are no used bookstores in my neighborhood--there's only 1 bookstore in my neighborhood, period--so for the moment, given my time crunch, we'll be sticking to what we can lay our hands on at B&N (or around the Tor offices).
Sumana Harihareswara
167. brainwane
A reminder to those seeking out-of-print books: BookFinder.com and WorldCat are your friends. They're sort of search aggregators. BookFinder lets you search the holdings of lots of used bookstores throughout the world, and WorldCat lets you search libraries near you (including university libraries). For example, here are four libraries that have any issues of my parents' magazine Amerikannada: the Library of Congress, UC Berkeley's library, and the New York Public Library. And here are 84 places to buy Alan's War by Emmanuel Guibert.

masinger can't make much use of either right now, since she doesn't have time to wait for shipping and her household doesn't take library books anywhere but home. But others itching for older stuff mentioned in this thread might find it useful.
lanyo lanyo
168. lanyo
If she's an avid reader, any series might go over well. I read the heck out of EVERY Agatha Christie book, then all Anne of Green Gables (like Leigh way up there) and all other books by Montgomery. Then I charged through anything I could find. Hated Lord of the Rings, I think specifically because of the tedium and little girl-importance. Austen and Brontes are both important to younger girls, I think.
Vonnegut was very important to me about that age, which then sent me to Margaret Atwood. Both of whom can be way inappropriate for younger readers, but you said she's covered some rough stuff already.

Granted, very little of what I mentioned is SF/F, but I would still say that other than Jane Austen, fantasy is where I live.
Jen Hill
169. greybon
Oof, lots of suggestions. I'm gonna put my 2¢ in anyway. :P

Dragonsinger and Dragonsong are phenomenal books. I know, she's sick of dragons but they really are *that* good. I'd ignore Dragondrums since it's not about Menolly, the feature character of the first two books, anyway. The main character, Piermur, is a boy and his story isn't all that interesting IMHO.

I've read Maximum Ride and thought it was fun. I plan on reading School's Out someday and have it and all the books I've mentioned here if you want to borrow them.

I'm a Valdemar fan but I never thought if those as YA stories. They are some of the best stories I've read though! Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief is one of my favorite books but it seems very boy to me. The trilogy gets darker as it goes. I enjoyed it but fyi to the dark elements. Ranger's Apprentice is one of my favorite series too but I think it's probably too boy oriented. The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown are on my shelf like the rest of these I've listed. Haven't read them yet but I got them on good recommendation. Sunshine I thought was written for an older audience. I could be wrong though. She's read Uglies trilogy, but has she read Extras?

Hmm. Can't think of anything else off hand. I'll have to think about it. :)
Aaron Bergman
170. ArabiaTerra
A set of books I read at around 13 which hasn't been mentioned so far is "The Saga of the Exiles" by Julian May.

Time travel, Irish myth, telepathy and aliens.

Also, "The Mists of Avalon" by Marion Bradely, is an excellent re-telling of the Arthur myth from the point of view of the female characters.
Cathy Mullican
171. nolly
So many...

One I haven't seen mentioned yet is The Society of S by Susan Hubbard, which is vampires, but not like we expect vampires to be, and very good. It has a sequel, The Year of Disappearances, which I thought was good, but not quite as good.

At 13, I don't think I'd quite dived into genre, though I was certainly reading some. That would've been about 7th grade, and I can't really remember loving any books that year -- Wrinkle in Time was a favorite in 5th or 6th grade; I found Pern between 8th and 9th grade; Bradbury, maybe -- I know I read Fahrenheit 451 in 5th grade, but 7th may be about the time I got a library card for the local community college and read Dandelion Wine and many more. Somewhere in there, I started trying to read through all the interesting anthologies in our public library; also all the interesting biographies. (Had I not gone away to school, I would have proceeded through fiction alphabetically; not reading every single book, but every one that seemed interesting.) I think I started reading Recluce around 13, too, but that's pretty much all male protags.

I read Thomas Covenant between 8th and 9th grades, and lots of Asimov and some Clarke in addition to the Bradbury. That's also about the age I finally got pat the beginning of LotR; I'd read the Hobbit many times, but could never get past the council with the elves.

I bounced off Dune and also Terry Brooks's Magic Kingdom For Sale.
Aaron Bergman
172. A Grown Up who Reads YA
I'm 24 and I almost ONLY read YA/middle grade - it's SO much fun! Here's my advice:

Stay in the YA/Teen section and read the Percy Jackson series! LOVE these books and they are enchanting, magical, educational...and she won't even KNOW she's being educated! It's an awesome series about a boy who is part mortal, part god and immersed in the world of the Olympians - in modern day America!

Oh - and may I HIGHLY recommend Brandon Sanderson's Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians series? These are GREAT and loads of fun, as well!

One more: Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. Lots of excitement, morals, magical creatures, spells...beautiful!

And you can't go wrong with Harry Potter, naturally.
Aaron Bergman
173. A Grown Up Who Reads YA
Oh, how could I have forgotten Madeleine L'Engle's "Wrinkle in Time" books!?

Rewarding if you can get through them...but my favorite was "Many Waters," in which the main characters time travel amongst Noah and his family, although they don't realize it at first.
Adam Miller
174. AdamM
Thinking back to what I was reading around that age, I was starting to get into SF and making the jump to include fantasy as well. That actually started with Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series (remember enjoying the original three as a trilogy more than the additional four). From there I progressed into David Eddings' Belgariad and Mallorean. I also enjoyed the Pern books, we actually read the first one with Menolly (I think that was her name) in Grade 6, I think.

I was also enjoying a lot of the spec fic from Monica Hughes, including the Isis series, the Crisis on Conshelf Ten series, Invitation to the Game, and the ArcOne series.

Now, I'm male, but that's what I was reading, oh, 15-20 years ago.
Aaron Bergman
175. atritty
Robin Hobb has a trilogy of books called The Liveship Traders with a few very strong women in them. one of them is the leading character. the books are in my opinion very good. If she wasnt so picky about them having female leading roles I would also suggest two other trilogies by robin hobb, first one called The Farseer Trilogy (which must be read before reading the other one) the second is The Tawny Man Trilogy. Liveship traders is a trilogy supposed to be read between the other two but is perfectly fine being read by itself without caring about the other two trilogies.

There´s also a book called "Dephts of Madness" written by Eric Scott de Bie that has a strong female elf in the lead.
Aaron Bergman
176. Westerly
i see lots of people recommending Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising sequence, but her standalone Seaward is also very good. a boy and a girl (i guess 15 years old or so) get pretty equal screen time but it's a bit more from the girl's pov than the boy's.

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex is brilliant and hilarious. two main characters are a 12 year old girl and an alien, so it might seem a little young for her now, but she may grow back into it. (i'm 34 and i loved it and plan to gift it to anybody i can get away with.)

and i don't get why people seem to dislike the later books of Earthsea (Le Guin). they're different, for sure, but if the male-dominant assumptions of the first book(s) irks you, definitely try Tehanu, the short story Dragonfly (in Tales from Earthsea), or The Other Wind, all of which have strong female protagonists and wise story-telling on par with any of Le Guin's other work. they do build on previous stories though, so she should try Tombs of Atuan first, as someone upthread suggested.
Aaron Bergman
177. Jim Haley
I'm very late to this party, and at first had looked to see if one of my favorites was already mentioned - and she was - Sharon Shinn.

Archangel is the first in the Samaria series (really the first written, ultimately prequels were written - but the first is the best).

Mystic and Rider is the first in the Twelve Houses series, and like Archangel is a complete novel all by itself, but should your daughter enjoy it, there are more books that can be read. Strong, important, female characters abound.

But my other recommendation only showed up once, and not the book I'd have suggested. Greg Keyes' The Briar King. This is a wonderful fantasy novel - no dragons, just humans and some fantastical creatures - with a fairly broad cast and many important female characters. I believe the main protagonist female begins the first book in her teens. While a little less 'stand alone' than the Shinn books, The Briar King is pretty complete on it's own, with three sequels that finish out the story should she enjoy it.
April Vrugtman
178. dwndrgn
Now I'm super curious as to which books sounded good for the new teen, and which she'll end up reading and enjoying. I smell 'guest post' here!
Aaron Bergman
179. cor-darei4life
Lois McMaster Bujold's vokosigan saga is great, and if she off on the first novel(technically a prequel) one of my favorite female characters ever is the main.

and terry Pratchett is amazing as always


the pern novels start off good...but seriously....Dolphins?
Aaron Bergman
180. Browncoat Jayson
I'd recommend Mur Lafferty's Playing for Keeps. Great introductory novel to the superhero genre, with a strong female lead. A big change of pace from fantasy, but quite enjoyable. Plus, you can get the physical book from Amazon, or hear Mur read it to you herself by Podiobook.

If she isn't disturbed easily, the Sword of Truth series is good fantasy. There are some... questionable... elements to it, but they are rare. Kahlan is a very strong female character, especially in the later books. If you like the books, tho, avoid the TV series.

The Wheel of Time is great, but epic. The first couple books are broke out into two YA books each, so it would be a way to get into the series.
Melissa Ann Singer
181. masinger
Pablo and I are discussing how to best recap this amazing discussion, wherein more than 500 books and series are mentioned. It may take a while to figure out completely, and because of that, I'm withholding the results of our shopping expedition.
Dru O'Higgins
182. bellman
I've already picked up some books mentioned above from the library, and I'm curious to see a recap. Your daughter should also feel free to recommend some books for us. Hey, it's only fair.
Aaron Bergman
183. metaforest
I'd suggest introducing her to Ray Bradbury's short stories as well as a bunch of the essential junior high/high school curriculum reading, like Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World as well as non-fantasy authors like John Steinbeck. This is just so she can enjoy them and get a taste for that sort of literature before there's a need to analyze, deconstruct and write essays about them.
Mary Fraser
184. MeF
I've come late to this thread, so most of my suggestions have already been mentioned multiple times, so I'll only light on a few that I haven't seen.

You've mentioned that your daughter is a budding Trekker. In that universe, I'd recommend Uhura's Song by Janet Kagan, as well as Diane Duane's My Enemy, My Ally (part one of her Rihannsu Saga). Duane's The Wounded Sky is also a favorite of mine, and if she likes Vulcans, then Spock's World would be a natural.

In other fields, I'd also recommend Janet Kagan's Mirabile, Anne McCaffrey's The Ship who Searched, and Sherry Tepper's True Game.

Something else I haven't seen mentioned is Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game. My (now 30+) daughter STILL loves this book, along with The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie (Andrews) Edwards.

Another series (but maybe a bit too young) are the Edward Eager series on magic. I devoured these myself when I was growing up, and passed them on to my daughters, who also fell in love with them. I believe that there are about 7 related books in the series.
MC Z
185. Hapalochlaena
Here are my picks from the urban fantasy genre. All of them have strong mystery elements:

Kim Harrison: Rachel Morgan series. Rachel is a PI/bounty hunter and witch; her partners are a vampire and pixy. The books average 500 pages but the stories are fast-paced and addictive (IME).

Patricia Briggs: Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series. Mercy is a VW mechanic who turns into a coyote and associates with werevolves. Charles and Anna are werewolves.

Ilona Andrews: Kate Daniels series. Kate works for the Mercenary Guild and the Knights of the Order of Merciful Aid. (The first book is *very* gory).

Carrie Vaughn: Kitty Norville series. Kitty is a radio DJ an a werewolf.

Kat Richardson: Harper Blaine series. Harper is a PI who can see and interact with ghosts and other magical beings/constructs.

Charlaine Harris: Harper Connelly series. Harper finds dead bodies.
Aaron Bergman
186. B 'Q' Mulder
I highly recommend the Honor Harrington series by David Weber.
Aaron Bergman
187. dwndrgn
Ok, it has been nearly a month and I'm still dying of curiosity here...put us out of our misery!!
Aaron Bergman
188. Slayne
Yes, C.J. Cherryh's 5 Chanur books particularly and about half of all her other novels have strong female main characters.
Aaron Bergman
189. Cand1date
Wow! I need to log onto this site more often, what a great thread!

I have a couple suggestions. It took awhile, but someone fianlly mentioned Octavia E. Butler. The Xenogenesis books are good.

My biggest recommendation by far, is Sherri S. Tepper's book The Gate to Women't Country. It is one of the best books I have ever read. Strong female lead, and the story is told through a series of flashbacks that start when she is about 12 or 13. Yes, there is some violence, but we really only see 2 moderately graphic death scenes...but they are over pretty quickly and really nothing that any kid who has ever seen a samurai or ninja movie hasn't seen already. There is aome sexual content, butit's not too graphic and is somewhat integral to the story as a whole. From what you mentioned about your daughter, I think she would have no trouble with the content of this book, and the kick ass plot twist at the end is a great pay off.

If she likes vampires, I suggest the Dracula books by Fred Saberhagen. These stories are great, some violence, it's vampires afterall, but there is a lot humor mixed in. The first book is the Dracula tape, and is basically Bram Stoker's Dracula, told from Dracula's point of view. Of course there are some lame female characters, but also, some pretty strong ones as well. Mina Harker is portrayed as a really strong woman (which is why Dracula loves her). I recommend them because I think that they are quite easy to read...a commonality with all of Saberhagen's stories.

And Hey, you work for TOR, so I suggest you take a look at Robert J. Sawyer's trilogy, Hominids, Humans, Hybrids. Those books I thought were quite well done. The 2 main characters are a female university professor...and a Neandertal! A parallel universe colliding kind of thing. There is some sexual content, and the prof gets raped near the beginning but, it's quick and not really graphically described, it follows more her thoughts as it's happening and what she does afterwards, so I think something that could be ok. But you can look at them before you give them to her if you think it may be a problem.

And off genre...one book I really Love is Precious Bane by may Webb. As you said tho, you are wary of books about women who are strong /smart and ugly, and beautiful and stupid. This is not really like that I don't think. It's a preiod novel set in England during the Napoleonic wars...so aroud the same time frame as most Jane Austin books. But it was written in the 1920's. It's a story told by a girl with a Hare-lip, who in every other way is a lovely young woman. good, kind, caring etc. But because of her deformity is often treated ill by the superstitious villagers.
I think it's a great story, and I think the main character is a stong female character. Of course you have to take into account the time setting with regards to how feminist the main character can be. If the Literary teacher is worth his/her salt, they would approve this choice I think for sure.

Anyway, maybe a little late, but please consider these, especially the Tepper.
Joseph Soler
190. travellinguist
I would say Taylor Caldwell. My friend Chrissy introduced me to her. Caldwell started writing her novels as a 13 year old herself, yet they are amazing. Caldwell often spoke of the novels writing themselves through her even... cool stuff and good novels.
Aaron Bergman
191. Librarianne
Another that may be young for her but I (a 60-y-o children's librarian) have been enjoying are the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage. The protagonist is a boy but there are strong female characters too.

I loved McKinley's Beauty which I read right before Disney's movie came out. Disney did it so wrong! Then I read her Outlaws of Sherwood right before I saw Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and that was all wrong too!
Aaron Bergman
192. mcrbryant
I would go with 'The Wheel of Time' here or the Belgariad as many others have suggested. She may have doubts about Polgara until she reads Polgara's stand alone novel.

I can't believe anyone suggested George R R Martin's Song of Ice and Fire for a young teen - incest as a recurring theme, the foulest of language and all sorts of particularly brutal and nasty acts throughout. No doubt that it is some of the finest fantasy out there currently, intricately plotted and with an authentic, gritty feel to it that you can almost smell, but for a teen - no way.

It may be a little old for her yet, but if she is aware of gender issues in books - point her in the direction of Iain M. Banks Culture series. A universe in which you can change sex at will throws the rulebook out of the window and all of the books stimulate serious thought.
Aaron Bergman
193. yvel
Some great reminders of writers I had forgotten and many that I have yet to meet.

When I was young I enjoyed Moon of Three Rings by Andre Norton and "The Weirdstone of Brisingamen" by Alan Garner (and pretty much everything else he wrote too). Colin and Susan pretty much share the adventures and dangers that lurk in the English countryside. Weirdstone was published in the 60's so not sure if it can be found outside used book stores....
Melissa Ann Singer
194. masinger
@192: Not only is she aware of gender issues in books, she's aware of them irl. One of the great advantages of living in NYC is the diversity of our neighborhood and our city. It's not like I walk around with her saying, "this person is gay, this person is straight, this person is transgendered, this person was born female, this person cross-dresses but what does that really mean since women dress like men all the time without anyone commenting on it," (well, actually, we did have that last conversation when we watched Victor/Victoria) but over the years she has developed a greater awareness of these matters, which are not just in her world but in her personal life. Also, she reads a lot of manga, and gender switching is pretty common there, though done for rather different effect most of the time.

In general, gender issues fascinate dd and are part of why she wants to be a sociologist.
Aaron Bergman
195. kenneth clark
im 13 and a strong reader. i recomend "The Warrior Heir" by Cinda Williams Chima.it is a really good and interesting book. the next two books in the series are "The Wizard Heir" and "The Dragon Heir" please read them.kensclark@comcast.net
Jeff LaSala
197. JLaSala
I don't think I could recommend the DragonLance Chronicles, beginning with Dragons of Autumn Twilight, enough. I started with them at around age 13, and while I'm not a girl, as far as I know the female fans are as numerous as the male when it comes to Margaret Weis's and Tracy Hickman's DragonLance work.

It's very approachable fantasy, fast-paced, and as filled with humor as much as serious drama and the requisite combat.
Aaron Bergman
198. Michela
I'm only 11 but I LOVE reading. Some great books I've read are
The Lost Years of Merlin epic by T. A. Barron (and I've heard that his other Merin related books are good. Sorry, has dragons!)
I Am Number Four by Piticus Lore (hope I got the spelling right!) It's about a teenage alian trying to find the few others of his kind.
Witch and Wizard by James Patterson. No dragons!
The Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan. It's set in a medival time period.
Hope you like these books!
Aaron Bergman
201. hestia
she should read Alanna the lioness by tamora pierce fiction very good magic, knights its one of my favs read it like a thousand times its about these twins and thom (the buy twin) does not want to be a knigh but alanna (girl twin)does so they switch places and alanna has to keep her gender hidden from all the boys in the palace
William Fettes
202. Wolfmage
This is only my personal opinion as a now-grown-up precocious young reader, but I would start the transition from YA to adult as soon as possible. If your daughter has passion and enjoyment, the vocabularly doesn't really matter too much except for really advanced literary works which can be so challenging as to be intimidating / frustrating.

IMO most YA is absolute dreck, and though much pulp fantasy and sci-fiction is little better, there are lots works of varying difficulty that are entirely approachable from a young age. You can build confidence just by immersing yourself in such good material even if it isn't necessarily age-appropriate.

Indeed, the thrill of reading adult complexity can be very liberating for a young person. The general media environment is so saturated with inappropraite sexuality without context, that you don't gain anything by pretending it doesn't exist. But I do think there's actually a huge benefit from presenting adult material with a more sophisticated context - as it competes with this context-free stuff.

Then again, my parents were explaining prostitution to me at a very young age in preparation for watching Les Mis - so it's possible I have a warped perspective on these things. :)

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