Good morning book ghouls!
Today, I want to talk about really awesome adventure books. Books filled with ancient artefacts, spooky supernaturals, mysteries and mayhem—all starring dashing and daring leading ladies! The middle-grade serials written by Rick Riordan comes to mind when I consider elementary-level novels for the kiddos—Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Chronicles of Kane, etc. While these are extraordinarily fun reads, they are missing a crucial ingredient for some young readers out there: an independent and relatable young girl as the protagonist.
When I was at the age, I was constantly told by people that didn’t really matter (i.e.: relatives who aren’t my parents) that I couldn’t do this or that simply because I was a girl. My being of the female species immediately made certain hobbies or activities impossible for me. I hated it. I hated being told I was a lesser being simply because I was lady. I didn’t want to be a lady, I wanted to be an adventurer, goddammit. These notions were further emphasized whenever I picked up a book with a guy as the hero, or the saviour of the universe. As the time arrives for me to settle down and build a family of my own, I don’t want my daughter to experience such ridiculous sexist notions.
So, this triggered an extreme bout of curiosity and the hunt began. I researched a pile o’ books with female protagonists who go on marvellous adventures to save the day; heroines who kick ass beautifully and inspire those that pick up the bound piles of paper that they reside in. After checking a few of these out myself, I’ve narrowed down the list to my top 5 to check out as a great introduction!
- The Case of the Missing Marquess (Enola Holmes #1) by Nancy Springer: A historical, Victorian era mystery series with this title being the first instalment. It revolves around a young lady named Enola Holmes, the much younger sister to brilliant detective, Sherlock Holmes. When her mother disappears, Enola knows that she is the only person who can find her. Disguising herself as a grieving widow, she embarks into the heart of London to solve the case of her missing mother! What makes this book a gem is that Enola has a fun and sassy personality with lots of resourcefulness. Her skills set her apart from her male relatives and illustrate that women are extremely intelligent and capable beings.
- Theodosia and the Serpent of Chaos (Theodosia Throckmorton #1) by R.L. LaFevers: Theodosia Throckmorton is a busy little 11-year-old who’s helping her father in London at the Museum of Antiquities. She has the special ability to see black magic and ancient curses that are remnant on old artefacts. Unbeknownst to her dad, Theo uses Ancient Egyptian magic to purify the artefacts so they won’t hurt her father, or anyone else. However, when her mum returns from a dig with an ancient amulet infused with the darkest magic, she has to call upon everything she knows to prevent chaos from rising up to destroy the British Empire! This is slightly reminiscent of Matilda as Theo is a young girl that no one takes seriously due to her age. But she’s filled with insight and rich knowledge of things most adult brains can’t comprehend. Theo is an adorable and quite creative young heroine. Her self-awareness of her abilities make her a delight to read about as it illustrates head-strong attitude and humbleness.
- Serafina and the Black Coat (Serafina #1) by Robert Beatty: Serafina is a girl who lives on the large property of Baltimore Estate, where her father works as a maintenance man. Out of concern for his daughter, her father asks her to remain on the grounds of the Estate. With the house being so grand, Serafina obliges as there’s so much to explore already. But then children at the estate start to disappear. Having seen a horrifying man in a black cloak stalking the corridors of the Estate at night, Serafina immediately knows who the culprit is. Teaming up with an unlikely friend, Serafina hunts the man down into the depths of a forest that’s laced with magic. Can she save the children, as well as herself? Elements to love about this book consist of the old-fashioned atmosphere that’s quite ominous, character-driven storytelling, and our female protagonist. She is charming, curious, impulsive and her solitude gives her personality a lovely amount of depth.
- Going Wild by Lisa McMann: The first instalment of the Going Wild series, this book focuses on a lady named Charlie Wilde. Her family is getting ready to make a big change—moving from Chicago to suburbia Arizona. Right after the move, she discovers a bracelet. Like any ol’ curious kiddo, she puts it on and everything begins to change. New abilities—super speed and crazy strength—find their way into her body. At first she’s nervous about these abilities, but then Charlie begins to get excited. However, she still has no clue how the bracelet is doing what it’s doing. With her friends along for the ride, Charlie works hard to unravel the ambiguities of the bracelet: where did it come from, why was it sent to her, etc. Charlie is a relatable character, which makes her very appealing. She moves to a new neighbourhood and struggles with identity and making friends. But once she does, the way that everyone works together to help each other, especially Charlie, is a great example of friendship. Plus, there’s plenty of superhero-esque facets that will be interesting to a range of kids.
Well, those are the four serials that I’ve found so far, all starring females who exhibit independence, intelligence, and creativity. Girls can go on adventures, solve crimes, and save the day just as well as any boy… probably even better. 😉 If you’ve come across any middle-grade or young adult novels with badass girls, please share them down below! I’d love to add them to the list.
Happy reading! ♥