10 Books I Wish Every Teenage Girl Could Read

The books you read as a teenager stick with you for life. I know it feels like being a teenager is awful, but it's really a time to explore who you are and you want to become. Every moment and every piece of media is a chance to learn something new and profound about yourself. And if you ask me, that's pretty amazing.

Looking back, as a teenager a lot of the information that was handed to me was centered on the straight, white, cis male experience. When I think about that, it feels so limiting. If I could go back, I would want to give my teenage-self books that could show me other women I could relate to, and that would tell me more about what it means to be a woman in this world. I'd want to give myself books about discovering all the different facets about who you are, about empowering yourself, and about being bold.

So that's what you'll find here. Whether you're a teen or a "grown-up," my hope is that these books will give you the language and the tools to better know yourself and the world around you. Being a teenager is scary, thrilling, and everything in between, and the best way to make it through is with some good books to guide you.

'Sex Yourself' by Carlyle Jansen

Let's face it: in-school sex education sucks. But when you're a teenager, you're so curious about your body. I found this book in my 20s, and I wish I'd read it sooner. This is not just a guide for women on masturbation; it's also an excellent resource on how women's bodies and sexualities work. And in my opinion, the more you know about how your body works, the more empowered you are.

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'Sister Outsider' by Audre Lorde

Discovering Audre Lorde's writing is a pivotal moment in any young woman's life. In these essays and speeches, Lorde discusses race, womanhood, intersectionality, queerness, and more. She is expressive, relentless, and will get you thinking about your identity and other people's identities in new ways.

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'Alanna: The First Adventure' by Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce's books meant so much to me as a teenager. Filled with young women who kick ass and don't let the world tell them "no," these books made me feel like I could do anything. In this one, we meet Alanna of Trebond, a young woman who disguises herself as a boy in order to enter knight training.

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'Juliet Takes a Breath' by Gabby Rivera

Juliet is an unforgettable character, full of life and ideas. A queer, Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx, she travels to Portland to intern for the author of a feminist manifesto book that inspired her. As you read about Juliet's road to self-discovery, you'll discover some truths about yourself too.

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'Eliza and Her Monsters' by Francesca Zappia

This book had me crying happy tears and sad tears and all the tears in-between. Eliza is an online celebrity, as she's the anonymous author of a super popular fanfiction story. But IRL, she's a loner. Things get a little crazy when she befriends a boy who is a mega-fan of her work, all the while keeping her identity a secret. This is a book that will reach anyone who has ever felt lost in their own skin.

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'milk and honey' by rupi kaur

When it seems like the world couldn't possibly understand, rupi kaur's poems get you. Simple, intimate, and unforgettable, these poems have an incredible ability to capture the most personal emotions.

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'Here Comes the Sun' by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Don't be fooled by its sunny cover, this book is an intense read that will make you feel so many things. Margot is a young woman who has sacrified everything to ensure that her younger sister, Thandi, can go to a prestigious school. This is unforgettable story about colonialism, queerness, and the fight to live your authentic self.

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'Persepolis' by Marjane Satrapi

This amazing graphic memoir is a modern classic that is sure to blow you away. The story of a young woman growing up in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution, Persepolis is an intense and life-altering ride.

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'Bright Lines' by Tanwi Nandini Islam

This is one of my favorite books today, and I'm certain I would have loved it as a teen. Set in modern-day Brooklyn, Bright Lines follows a Bangledeshi family, as each one of them struggles to define themselves during one pivotal summer.

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'We Should All Be Feminists' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

No matter what age or gender you are, reading this manifesto by Adichie is a great stepping stone to building a world in which equality is a reality.

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