It's impossible to watch Sex Education without noticing Maeve Wiley — the well-read girl with a chip on her shoulder and a pair of ever-raised middle fingers. The following list contains eight books Maeve has read on Sex Education that prove she's the new Rory Gilmore, with an edge.
The second season of Netflix's Sex Education dropped on Jan. 17, which means that the continued adventures of Otis, Maeve, and their classmates are all anyone can talk about. If you haven't watched the new season yet, don't worry — this list is all about Maeve's bookish habits, and contains no Sex Education spoilers.
Played by Emma Mackey (Death on the Nile), Maeve Wiley is the resident "bad girl feminist" on Netflix's original series. She comes from a dysfunctional family and has been raised by her older brother, Sean, in their parents' absence. Maeve's the classic hard-shelled girl with a heart of gold, and Sex Education gives the character plenty of room to grow. And while we haven't seen a character devour as many classic texts since the heyday of Gilmore Girls — who could forget when Rory and Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) read Howl together — Maeve is far from a prototypical Rory Gilmore-esque book nerd. She's a tough loner and an all-around rebel, who happens to find solace in literature. In short, she's everything that Gilmore Girls' naïve Rory wasn't.
Now, I'm not saying you should toss out your Rory Gilmore reading list, but maybe you should scooch it on over for the new girl in town. Here are eight books Maeve has read on Sex Education:
Emma by Jane Austen
Jane Austen's comedy of manners centers on the eponymous Emma Woodhouse, a young woman who has sworn off marriage, yet amuses herself by making matches — some good, mostly bad — among her group of friends. Hilarity ensues when Emma tries to set up a local vicar with her protégée, only to learn that the bachelor would rather marry the matchmaker herself.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
This beloved classic is worth re-reading this year. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have five daughters who must marry well and soon if they are to survive their father's passing. As eldest daughter Jane finds herself the object of a visiting gentleman's affections, the second Bennet sister, Lizzie, begins nursing a hefty grudge against the gentleman's friend: the unimaginably wealthy Mr. Darcy.
Middlemarch by George Eliot
George Eliot's most famous novel tells stories from people of all walks of life living in the titular, fictional town. One of the book's most compelling storylines concerns Dorothea, a bookish young woman who marries a scholar, only to find that he does not respect her intelligence. Dissatisfied in her marriage, Dorothea tries to be a content and dutiful wife, but hits a snag when she befriends her husband's cousin, the attractive Will Ladislaw.
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Another Eliot novel, Silas Marner centers on the eponymous weaver, a man accused of stealing his church's funds. When the congregation draws lots to determine his guilt or innocence, Silas is wrongfully "convicted" of the crime. Having lost the trust of his community and his own faith in God, Silas leaves town in search of a better life.
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri's second collection of short fiction contains eight stories about the Bengali diaspora. Secrets, betrayals, loves, and losses abound. Pick up Unaccustomed Earth if you're looking for a tearfully good read.
A Passionate Apprentice: The Early Journals, 1897-1909 by Virginia Woolf
Sex Education fans know just how much Maeve loves Virginia Woolf. You can read the tragic writer's personal journals for yourself in A Passionate Apprentice.
A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
One of the better known works from the Mrs. Dalloway author, Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own examines the criteria that must be met in order for women to write and publish their work. It's an eye-opening read that you won't soon forget.
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft
Written by Frankenstein author Mary Shelley's feminist icon of a mother, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman was a rallying call for women's education in the late 18th century. Its argument still resonates today, at a time when women continue to be harassed, underpaid, and undermined in their various spheres of influence.