The website Associates Degree put together a list of 50 books that they beleive every young woman should read. There is a list of some of the books that appear. To see the complete list, you can go here.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: With a strong-willed main character, struggling to define herself in Victorian society where women were often denied many of the rights we enjoy today, this book was a bit scandalous in its own time. Today, it provides young women with a love story that, while romantic, is filled with intrigue, drama and girl-power aplenty.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: This well-known read showcases a time period when marriage was as much about economics as it was about love.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: In this dystopian fable, Atwood creates a future world where women have no rights and are separated into distinct classes.
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: While the movie is certainly a classic worth watching, read this book to get the real take on this epic tale of love in the South.
Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger: In this tale by award-winning author Salinger, Franny experiences a period of disenchantment with the world around her, eventually experiencing a bit of an existential breakdown. She finds aid with brotherly advice from Zooey.
Fantasy and Sci-Fi
These stories may be based in fantasy, but the lessons they teach and the stories they tell touch upon feelings and emotions that are human and real.
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman: Women young and old alike will be inspired by the heroine, Lyra, as she battles evil, explores the universe and tries to unravel the secrets that could turn her world upside-down.
Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede: At the center of this book – the first in a series – is Princess Cimorene, a girl who runs away from her life of eyelash batting lessons and crochet to live with the dragons.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle: Girls are so often depicted at being poor at math, but not in this novel. Meg Murray travels through space and time to save her father, growing from young girl to a woman in the process.
Coming of Age
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden: Taken from her family as a young age, Sayuri comes into her own as a woman and as a geisha in this story set in pre-WWII Japan.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: In this novel, young Scout learns about the injustice the world can offer, but also the good that resides in people if you know where to find it.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith: Readers will fall in love with Francie Nolan, a young girl growing up in Brooklyn– a story based largely on the author’s own life.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: Follow the orphan Pip as he attempts to break free from his past and become a true gentleman in this classic novel.
Young Adult and Children’s Lit
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Peterson: This heartbreaking read was based on a real-life friendship and has loads to teach readers of any age.
Matilda by Roald Dahl: Parents can be hard to deal with even when you’re not a little kid anymore. This classic tale turns parenting on its head and creates a protagonist who’s simply hard to resist.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: When an orphaned girl finds the key to an old abandoned garden, she turns it into a private paradise, healing not only herself, but her newfound family as well.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell: Readers will be inspired by the strong-will and survival skills of the young Karana, a girl living alone on an island.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White: While this might be a children’s book, the lesson it has to teach about life, love and loss are worth reading about at any age.
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder: Based on her own childhood memories, these children’s novels will draw young women into what life was like for farming families in the late 19th century.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros: In this novel, a young woman grows up in Chicago, dealing with her family and the challenges of her Latino community.