Heroines (fiction)

Front Lines

Here's a list of some of our favourite stories with inspiring heroines for older girls and young teens.

Check out our list of real life heroines

  • Front Lines

    Author: Michael Grant
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 14+
    Reading age: 14+

    It's an alternate history where girls are subject to the military draft in the US. Fast-paced, clever and with incredibly relatable characters, Front Lines is a fresh take on the second world war, while also letting females be kickass.

  • Bindi Babes

    Author: Narinder Dhami
    Publisher: Random House
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 9+

    Narinder Dhami has a light touch which girls in particular will enjoy.

  • Coraline

    Author: Neil Gaiman Illustrator: Dave McKean
    Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
    Interest age: 12+
    Reading age: 11+

    One day Coraline unlocks a mysterious door that opens onto another world, a twisted parody of Coraline's own dimension.

  • Pirates!

    Author: Celia Rees
    Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 11+

    Pirates! traces the adventures of Nancy Kington and Minerva Sharpe as they sail the high seas, often fighting for their lives, in the hope of gaining glory and riches.

  • Matilda

    Author: Roald Dahl Illustrator: Quentin Blake
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 7+
    Reading age: 8+

    This modern fairy-tale with a brilliantly inspiring young heroine is one of Roald Dahl's best loved stories.

  • The Story of Tracy Beaker

    Author: Jacqueline Wilson Illustrator: Nick Sharratt
    Publisher: Random House
    Interest age: 8+
    Reading age: 8+

    Tracy lives in a children's home but constantly hopes that her absent, glamorous Mum will come and take her away.

  • Chains

    Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 12+
    Reading age: 10+

    A brilliantly told, exciting story, with a brave and dignified heroine, which reveals the complexities of this chapter of American history.

  • The Hunger Games

    Author: Suzanne Colins
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 13+
    Reading age: 13+

    Welcome to Panem: its Capitol repressively rules twelve satellite Districts, enslaving the populations as workers and controlling them through hunger.

  • A Most Improper Magick

    Author: Stephanie Burgis
    Publisher: Templar
    Interest age: 10-12
    Reading age: 10+

    A 21st-century take on Jane Austen's world, entertainingly viewed through the eyes of a 12-year-old heroine who discovers she has inherited her mother's magical abilities.

  • Howl's Moving Castle

    Author: Diana Wynne Jones
    Publisher: Harper Collins
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 9+

    Sophie Hatter is cursed with an old body by the Witch of the Waste and the spell can only be broken by the dreaded Wizard Howl who lives in his moving castle and likes to eat the souls of young girls.

  • Twelve Minutes to Midnight

    Author: Christopher Edge
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 11+

    Every night at precisely 12 minutes to midnight, the inmates of Bedlam, London's notorious madhouse, all begin feverishly writing - incoherent ramblings that Penelope quickly realises are in fact terrifying visions of the new century to come.

  • Etiquette and Espionage

    Author: Gail Carriger
    Publisher: Atom
    Interest age: 11+
    Reading age: 11+

    Sophronia is horrified when her mother decides to send her to an exclusive finishing school - but on arrival she realises it's not quite what her mother expected.

  • Am I Normal Yet?

    Author: Holly Bourne
    Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
    Interest age: 14-16
    Reading age: 12+

    This is a powerful and engrossing read that successfully informs, shocks, reassures and entertains in equal measures.