I’ll be co-hosting Femathon in March; come join in! Check out the other posts in this series because I have a lot more recommendations for this category that aren’t directly listed here.
Looking for a modern, witchy YA fairytale? Check out The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab. I absolutely adore this book. And, fun fact, the hardback reprint has a built in ribbon book mark – the original might have one too, but I’m not really sure since I don’t personally have a copy of the first edition. This could also count in Fem Positive and Fems Fight Back.
The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.
And there are no strangers in the town of Near.
These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger-a boy who seems to fade like smoke-appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know-about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.– Goodreads Book Blurb
Does a middle grade novel about a girl whose best friend is a ghost count as a platonic fem relationship? I think so. If you’ve like the show Ghost Whisperer then you’re sure to like City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab. Also if you take the dust jacket off of the hardcover you’ll find an adorable cat motif pressed into the cover. Did I mention this is part of a trilogy which finishes coming out this year? This could also count in Fem Positive and Fems Fight Back.
Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspecters, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.– Goodreads Book Blurb
When The Inspecters head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.
The cover of this book really says it all. A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher is a gloriously dark and moody middle grade novel about a wizard whose magic only applies to baked goods. If a somewhat sentient sourdough starter that helps save the day sounds like a good time, you should totally give this book a try. This could also count in Fem Positive and Fems Fight Back.
Fourteen-year-old Mona isn’t like the wizards charged with defending the city. She can’t control lightning or speak to water. Her familiar is a sourdough starter and her magic only works on bread. She has a comfortable life in her aunt’s bakery making gingerbread men dance.
But Mona’s life is turned upside down when she finds a dead body on the bakery floor. An assassin is stalking the streets of Mona’s city, preying on magic folk, and it appears that Mona is his next target. And in an embattled city suddenly bereft of wizards, the assassin may be the least of Mona’s worries…– Goodreads Book Blurb
Colleen Doran’s graphic novel adaptation of Snow, Glass, Apples is STUNNING. Imagine a horror retelling of Snow White, but it’s told from the step-mother’s perspective.
A chilling fantasy retelling of the Snow White fairy tale by bestselling creators Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran.– Goodreads Book Blurb
A not-so-evil queen is terrified of her monstrous stepdaughter and determined to repel this creature and save her kingdom from a world where happy endings aren’t so happily ever after.
I already gushed enough about The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin over on my post on Fem Positive recommendations. The Stone Sky is the third book in this series – just read them all. You need to.
I would say Pet by Akwaeke Emezi is by far one of my all time favorite magical realism with a dash of horror and social commentary YA novels. Check the content warnings before you get into it (I still don’t pick up on a lot of that sort of stuff yet to give you an all-encompassing warning). This could also count in BIPOC Rep, LGBTQIA+, and Fems Fight Back.
Pet is here to hunt a monster.– Goodreads Book Blurb
Are you brave enough to look?
There are no more monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. With doting parents and a best friend named Redemption, Jam has grown up with this lesson all her life. But when she meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colours and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question — How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig – a Twelve Dancing Princesses YA retelling? Yes, please! This could also count in Fem Positive and Fems Fight Back.
In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.– Goodreads Book Blurb
Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.
Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?
When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.
Sula by Toni Morrison is another book I found out about through an Ink and Paper Blog video. I think this could be considered as a modern classic, but I’m not sure what other categories this might fall under since I haven’t read it yet.
This rich and moving novel traces the lives of two black heroines from their close-knit childhood in a small Ohio town, through their sharply divergent paths of womanhood, to their ultimate confrontation and reconciliation.– Goodreads Book Blurb
Nel Wright has chosen to stay in the place where she was born, to marry, raise a family, and become a pillar of the black community. Sula Peace has rejected the life Nel has embraced, escaping to college, and submerging herself in city life. When she returns to her roots, it is as a rebel and a wanton seductress. Eventually, both women must face the consequences of their choices. Together, they create an unforgettable portrait of what it means and costs to be a black woman in America.
Did any of these books spark your interest? What are you reading in March? 💜