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21 Reads for International Women’s Day


Happy International Women’s Day! Here at Penguin Teen, we are constantly inspired by not only the strong women we love to read about, but by the incredible women who wrote them. So, here are some of our favorite reads that place women front and center, written by equally amazing authors.


An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir


Kicking off this list is the fierce, defiant Laia. In a brutal world where a step out of line could mean the end of your life, Laia doesn’t hesitate to risk everything to save her family. And she doesn’t stop there. Her resilience is unforgettable and we can’t thank the amazing Sabaa Tahir enough for creating her!


The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus


We absolutely fell in love with Mabel and Audre’s story and the strength within them. Told in two distinct and irresistible voices, Junauda Petrus’s bold and lyrical debut is the story of two black girls from very different backgrounds finding love and happiness in a world that seems determined to deny them both.


The Art of Breaking Things by Laura Sibson


In the tradition of Laurie Halse Anderson, one girl embraces the power of her voice: rules are meant to be broken and she won’t stay silent. We loved watching Skye grow and find her strength in this stunning debut from Laura Sibson.


Seafire by Natalie C. Parker


This book is full of strong women–and not just that, but strong women looking out for one another. Squad goals don’t even begin to describe this epic sisterhood, or what Caledonia Styx will do to keep them safe.


The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh


Celine. WE. LOVE. YOU. Celine’s captivating strength and sharp wit made her an IMMEDIATE favorite protagonist for us in 2019. What can we say? Renée Ahdieh has a knack for creating badass leading ladies.


The Afterward by E.K. Johnston



Girls Save the World in This One by Ash Parsons


The title kind of says it all, amiright?? We love women supporting women, and this book checks that box several times over.


A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

river of royal blood

We love watching a character find her strength, and Eva’s journey to discovering her power is one of our favorites! Amanda Joy’s debut is not one to be missed–and be sure to keep an eye out for the sequel, A Queen of Gilded Hornsout this month!


The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu


You may sob a little (a lot), but Marie’s retelling of Nannerl Mozart’s life is magical and absolutely unputdownable. Watching the prodigy that is Nannerl Mozart navigate her love and talent for composing music in a world that has barred her from doing so simply because she’s a woman is one the world should never forget.


Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh

every body looking

A Finalist for the National Book Award!
When Ada leaves home for her freshman year at a Historically Black College, it’s the first time she’s ever been so far from her family—and the first time that she’s been able to make her own choices and to seek her place in this new world. As she stumbles deeper into the world of dance and explores her sexuality, she also begins to wrestle with her past—her mother’s struggle with addiction, her Nigerian father’s attempts to make a home for her. Ultimately, Ada discovers she needs to brush off the destiny others have chosen for her and claim full ownership of her body and her future.


SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson


I mean, talk about strong inspiring women. Laurie Halse Anderson is a POWERHOUSE and her memoir SHOUT is easily described as essential, timely, and captivating. This searing and soul-searching memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #MeToo and #TimesUp, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. SHOUT speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice–and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.


Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli



We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire by Joy McCullough

we are the ashes

From the author of the acclaimed Blood Water Paint, a new contemporary YA novel in prose and verse. This book is  a searing and nuanced portrait of a young woman torn between a persistent desire for revenge and a burning need for hope that has become an instant favorite on our shelf.

All the Days Past, All the Days to Come by Mildred D. Taylor



Something Happened to Ali Greenleaf by Hayley Krischer

something happened to ali greenleaf


Wicked Fox by Kat Cho


We immediately fell in love with Miyoung’s wit and strength in Kat Cho’s debut. If you haven’t caught up on Wicked Fox, or its companion novel Vicious Spirits, this is your sign to do so!


Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour

WATCH OVER ME enhanced digital cover May 15 2020


This Is What I Know About Art by Kimberly Drew


In this powerful and hopeful account, arts writer, curator, and activist Kimberly Drew reminds us that the art world has space not just for the elite, but for everyone.


Taking on the Plastics Crisis by Hannah Testa

taking on the plastics crisis

In this personal, moving essay, youth activist Hannah Testa shares with readers how she led a grassroots political campaign to successfully pass state legislation limiting single-use plastics and how she influenced global businesses to adopt more sustainable practices. Through her personal journey, readers can learn how they, too, can follow in Hannah’s footsteps and lower their carbon footprint by simply refusing single-use plastics.


Concrete Kids by Amyra León

concrete kids



Looking for more amazing women in YA? Here are some of our favorite sisters! 



Start reading SOME GIRLS DO

From the author of Hot Dog Girl, Some Girls Do is a YA contemporary queer romance about an openly gay track star who falls for a closeted, bisexual teen beauty queen with a penchant for fixing up old cars. Scroll down to read the first chapter! 1 Ruby There’s an art to the extraction. First, I take Tyler’s … Continued
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Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee Sneak Peek

If you loved recently anointed New York Times bestseller The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee, as much as we did, then you NEED to be ready for her upcoming Luck of the Titanic. And don’t just believe us about how amazing it is, believe Marie Lu who said “It’s a story lush with heart, heartache, and … Continued
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A Visitor’s Guide to Callipolis

Just recently picked up Fireborne? Or perhaps you’ve read it twice and are now eagerly waiting on its sequel, Flamefall? Whether you’re a newbie or a die hard fan, we were lucky enough to get you a visitor’s guide to Callipolis from author Rosaria Munda! Visit the world of Fireborne below! Welcome to the island of … Continued
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Celebrated author Sarah Kuhn reinvents the modern fairy tale in From Little Tokyo, With Love, an intensely personal yet hilarious novel of a girl whose search for a storybook ending takes her to unexpected places in both her beloved LA neighborhood and her own guarded heart. Scroll down to read chapter 1!    Once upon a time, … Continued
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Start reading STORMBREAK by Natalie C. Parker

Are you ready to dive into the finale? In this epic conclusion to the Seafire trilogy, which Booklist called “Mad Max by way of Davy Jones,” Caledonia Styx will risk everything–her heart, her crew, and even her life–to defeat Lir and take back the Bullet Seas once and for all. Scroll down to start reading Stormbreak! Caledonia stood high above … Continued
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Excerpt Alert: TELL ME MY NAME by Amy Reed

We Were Liars meets Speak in this haunting, mesmerizing psychological thriller—a gender-flipped YA Great Gatsby—that will linger long after the final line Scroll down to read chapter 1! 1 Ferns are older than dinosaurs. They’ve survived by growing under things, made hearty by their place in the shadows. Sucking up mud. Fern. Barely even a plant. Ferns don’t make … Continued
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Your Historical Fiction TBR

If you’re always on the lookout for that special book that transports to an older world the second you turn the page, we have a few recommendations you’ll definitely want on your list! Welcome to your historical fiction TBR!   The Blossom and the Firefly by Sherri L. Smith From the award-winning author of Flygirl comes this powerful … Continued
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Books to Read for Poetry Month

Stacking your April TBR for National Poetry Month? We have some great recommendations for your list. Here are 7 books to read for Poetry Month, and 3 more to add to your list for later!   The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman  Amanda Gorman’s powerful and historic poem “The Hill We Climb,” read at … Continued
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YA Protagonists who will 100% outsmart you

We all love a badass protagonist, and here are just a few of our favs from YA who are always two steps ahead!   Jo from The Downstairs Girl By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo … Continued
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A dark and intricate fantasy, City of the Uncommon Thief is the story of a quarantined city gripped by fear and of the war that can free it. Scroll down to read an excerpt! SACKED Talwyn was not singing. I sat up. It was past dawn, with a gray sun leaking through the vents of my travel … Continued
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