I've been reading a lot of really good books lately, and one theme I have been loving is the young, female protagonist in adult literature. Not that there aren't a lot of these protagonists, but just that these books -- and these authors-- are being heralded as SERIOUS. As LITERARY.
Because too often, I feel like the young female as protagonist doesn't get her due. Critics and reviewers want to give it some label like chick lit or something that devalues it. Marks it as fluff. However, if a novel has a male protagonist, a young one in his teens, such as THE ART OF FIELDING or CATCHER IN THE RYE, well, of course, that book is hailed as the NEXT BIG THING! Don't get me wrong, I loved those books, but we need to see young females as important as well, as having a lot to offer to the world of serious literature.
Well, these books below are getting the respect they deserve, and they have young female protagonists. These book have universal, coming-of-age-type plots, and they are being lauded as the REAL DEAL, and I am so glad. Being a young girl, having one as an MC, these things do not automatically equal frivolous and supercilious.
Okay, enough with my rant.
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Such a real, authentic teen voice. And a heartbreaking relationship between sisters, set in the 80s. It's just a study in family relationships and what it means to grow up and know your parents and elders as people. I loved it.
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson
This book was spellbinding. Just the kind of book I love, realistic, contemporary, with an edge of sci-fi. Oooh, it was creepy and cool, hitting a little too close to home at times. And the narrator was a teen girl, with a real, interesting, three-dimensional voice. I think I just read this is getting made into a movie. I hope so!
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
Just so good. The setting is a character in this book, and it is done so well. The swamp itself alienating the kids works on so many levels. The narrator's voice in this one, as she grows up, losing her innocence, I can't think of a better character arc, better writing. This book is HOW IT'S DONE.