Tor.com content by

Rae Carson

Five Can’t-Miss SFF Books by Diverse Authors

There’s so much amazing literature being written right now from so many rich, wonderful perspectives, and I’m going to talk about a few of them right here. Five, to be exact, but if Tor.com had a regular feature called “Fifty Books About” or “Five Hundred Books About,” then trust me, we’d have no trouble coming up with a list.

For now, here are a few amazing titles everyone should be reading and talking about—and hopefully, we’ll get more great recommendations in the comments.

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Series: Five Books About…

Five Books about Girls Disguised as Boys

I saw Star Wars for the first time when I was four years old. Sure, I thought Princess Leia was awesome. But the character I identified with most was Luke Skywalker. I left the theater certain the Force was strong with me, that I could train to be a Jedi and wield a lightsaber just like Luke. Later, I wanted to be Apollo from Battlestar Galactica—so I could fly a Colonial Viper. In the ensuing years, I wanted by turns to be the Kwisatz Haderach, one of the Three Investigators, Alec Ramsay of The Black Stallion series, and a blue dragon rider (because: Blue. Dragon.).

But I never wanted to be a boy.

I grew up in a cloistered, conservative culture that adhered to strict gender roles. So it’s easy to understand why the “girl dressed as a boy” trope resonated so much. In a world that didn’t want to give people like me adventures or significance, books with cross-dressing girls were treasures. Those fierce, fictional females had the respect and freedom I yearned for. Some of them knew deep down that they were girls, no matter what they wore. Others questioned and explored their gender identity. [Years later, the trope still resonates]

Series: Five Books About…