As a young girl who grew up to be your humble Flavorpill literary editor, I read everything I could get my hands on, but was a fantasy geek at heart, with a healthy amount of ’70s sci-fi thrown in at my father’s behest. I loved The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede for its irreverent leading lady (who would much rather cook cherries jubilee for a dragon and study Latin than be a proper princess) and oh-so-meta fairy tale twists, The Chronicles of Prydain books by Lloyd Alexander for their one-eyebrow-cocked adventures and (I now realize) adaptation of classic Welsh myth, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time for its weird universe and child prodigies, and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series for its sheer beauty and inventiveness. And so many more, of course.
But the trend I notice, at least in these four, is that the books that I loved as a kid and that have stuck with me weren’t simply great adventure stories or novels with strong female characters (though: yes), but books that asked me to think, books that challenged what I knew about storytelling, my world, and myself. So perhaps that’s one of the things that makes a book great for young girls. Or, now that I think about it, for pretty much anyone.
We want to know: What book would you crown as the all-time best book for girls, and why? Leave us your ultimate young lady reading list in the comments.