Tis the season of end-of-the-year lists and HSA is no different! This list is a roundup of some of the best feminist books we read in 2016 (though not all were necessarily published this year). Of course there were many amazing feminist books published in 2016, but we couldn’t get to all of them! We also tend to read feminist science fiction and fantasy novels, so our list leans toward those genres. For the best feminist literary fiction or books on feminist theory, check out Independent, Feminist Campus, or Bustle for some more great recs.

Best in LGBT+

Summer Love

Cover of Summer Love, with title in white letters on blue and yellow background
Summer Love

This collection of short stories features LGBTQ teens on journeys of romantic discovery.

“The collection is a lovely roller coaster whose only direction is up. I absorbed the book in three days, savoring the sweet romance and optimism. I can’t think of a more enjoyable summer read than happy love stories set during, well, the summertime.” –Lindsey



Best in Graphic Novels

The Hues

Cover of Volume 1 of The Hues, featuring protagonist Samhita and a blaze of magical light against a black background of many colored lights
The Hues

A Kickstarter-backed project about a diverse group of young women with strange powers.

“The Hues has all the trappings of a full blown manga series that is heading toward its own anime. As a longtime Sailor Moon fan with high standards for magical girls, the first volume in this comic series satisfied me.” –Lindsey




Cover of Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, featuring Nimona and two other hand drawon characters on a blue background

A graphic novel (released serially but collected here) by Noelle Stevenson, co-author of Lumberjanes.

“Based on the cover art I assumed the story would contain the following: fantasy, strong female protag, comedy a’la Lumberjanes, and a dollop of sisterhood for good measure.

Does it have some of these elements? Yes and no. Nimona took me completely by surprise in the best possible ways. It is refreshing and truly delightful to read.” –Lindsey


Best in Fantasy

Memoirs of Lady Trent

Covers of each of the first four books in the Memoirs of Lady Trent series. Each features a different kind of dragon with various scientific notations around it
Memoirs of Lady Trent, image via Tor.com

Quickly becoming one of my favorite adult fantasy novels, this series follows Isabella on her journey to becoming one of the most respected dragon naturalists in her world.

“A youthful obsession slowly becomes Isabella’s career as she finds ways to travel the world studying dragons, though the path is not easy. Like our world, women are expected to be satisfied as wives and mothers and no more. Isabella, however, has other plans.” –Cecelia

Sorcerer to the Crown

Image of Sorcerer to the Crown cover, showing a chest and fairy familiar
Sorcerer to the Crown

Zacharias and Prunella face lots of opposition–racist, sexist, magical, murderous–while trying to solve the mystery of Britain’s declining magical resources.

“When we think of “unlikable female characters” someone like Amy Dunne from Gone Girl might come to mind. In Prunella, we have a different interpretation. Unlike, say, a villainess you love to hate, Prunella makes difficult sacrifices in difficult situations, so you can empathize with–or be disgusted by–her choices.” –Cecelia


Best in Science Fiction

Blood’s Force

Cover of Blood's Force, featuring young white woman in modern clothes with a sword, a boy with bow and arrows and a spaceship in the background
Blood’s Force

This sci-fi/fantasy romp follows space-knight Jess on an adventure to a planet that fears science.

“I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys sci-fi/fantasy genre blending. I absolutely loved the interplay between “magic” and misunderstood science. The way Jess manipulates ignorance in others to accomplish logical goals was engaging to read. I am definitely reading book two when it is finished!” –Lindsey



The Stars Change

Cover of The Stars Change, featuring a university skyline and the stars above, raked through by a long white slash
The Stars Change

This short erotica follows characters on the night of an attack on their university.

“That’s what I love about sci-fi–it can and should push boundaries of our own world. Mohanraj, who identifies as poly and bi herself, is clearly showing her feelings on love–that it can exist in many, many forms.” –Cecelia





Cover of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, featuring an orange explosion with some parts whited-out as if censored.

My review is forthcoming but I HAD to include this novel on my list! It was fascinating and I have a lot to say so watch out for the review. It just goes to show you shouldn’t write your “Best of” lists too soon, you might read something great five days before the new year 🙂

Edit: My review is up! Click the title for more on Illuminae.


What other amazing reads did you get through this year? Leave us a comment, we’re always looking for more great feminist books!

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