5 Must-Read Books That Feature Strong, Independent Women

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Self-esteem in women is directly connected to confidence and having a positive outlook in life. Sadly, a poll reveals that 7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or measure up in some way, including their physical appearance, in relationships, and their performance in school or their careers. One of the ways that girls and women get inspired or motivated to believe in themselves is by reading books with strong and independent female protagonists.

Reading a novel with a successful, driven, and resilient woman can do wonders for a lady’s self-esteem. There’s nothing more empowering than reading about a female character who’s gone through betrayals and difficulties, only to come out of it stronger and better. It helps readers remember that if a character can jump through hurdles or get up from an almost impossible situation, that they, too, can overcome anything.

If you’re looking for a book that can inspire and motivate you to become strong and independent, here are 5 must-read books that feature fearless, independent women:

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Written by Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson, this 2005 novel introduced the world to Lisbeth Salander, a powerhouse of a woman who can drive a motorcycle at top speed and derive files from a damaged USB. Despite her past, Lisbeth proved to everyone who underestimated and belittled her that she is a force to beckon with.
The book was famously adapted into a Hollywood box office hit with Lisbeth played by actress Rooney Mara, who flawlessly portrayed the lead character. Today, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is known worldwide as a book that showed a different side to what being a badass woman means.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale

The Nightingale is one of Kristin Hannah’s novels; it tells the stories of sisters Vianne and Isabelle. It is set in 1939 France, at the beginning of WWII, and expresses the viewpoints, struggles, and triumphs of an intimate part of history that is rarely seen, which are the stories of women during the war. It is a story about the indestructible strength of the human spirit, of hope amidst tragedy, and also depicts women who can do and will do everything for their family and their ideals. The book is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and one of 20 Kristine Hannah novels that are being adapted into a movie.

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where The Crawdads Sing

A novel by Delia Owens, this book is about Kya Clark, a woman who survived a decade by herself in a marshland when her family abandoned her. It tells two parts of her story: her abandonment, loneliness, and survival; and the second part where she is accused of murdering a love interest, who was found dead under a fire tower. Spending 32 non-consecutive weeks on The New York Times Bestseller list, it is a moving story about family, loneliness, survival, and resilience despite life’s tragedies.

Circe by Madeline Miller


Circe by Madeline Miller is a story about Circe, the daughter of Heliod, God of the sun. Told over many millennia, Zeus banished Circe into a deserted island after learning about her gift of witchcraft. She soon develops her power of the craft, spends time with mortals, and eventually gets betrayed by both the gods and the world of the living. The book is centered on Greek mythology but readers don’t have to know anything about the topic to relate to a woman’s journey of self-discovery, power, resilience, and soldiering on despite the odds.

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry

This novel written by Swedish Fredrik Backman was published in 2013 and tells the story from the point of view of Elsa, the book’s 7-year-old protagonist. Elsa has always been different as she relates more to adults than kids her age, and her grandmother, who’s 77 years old and her only friend. When Elsa’s grandmother dies, she discovers a series of apology letters written to people whom her grandmother had wronged in the past. The letter leads Elsa to an apartment complex where she meets badass, barrier-breaking women, monsters, and features castles and fairy tales. The book’s themes revolve around life and death, but also about having the right and freedom to be different.

Women and girls are told today to be empowered, strong, and independent. One of the ways we can empower women and inspire them to be the best version of themselves is through reading about strong, powerful female protagonists in novels. If you’re looking for a book to inspire and boost your self-esteem, these 5 books with strong female protagonists are a must-read. Each book will enthrall and surprise, inspire and bring hope, make you cry and laugh, but most of all, make you believe in yourself, as the characters have.

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

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