So the kids in your life loved The Hunger Games trilogy, and you did too. After all, who doesn't love a feisty heroine, especially one who sparks the overthrow of tyranny?
But Katniss Everdeen isn't the only teenage girl challenging despots in the far-off future. The Hunger Games’ popularity has pushed publishers and booksellers to stock up on tales of teens toppling the power structure. Here are 10 other girls who are bringing down repressive regimes:
1. Lena Haloway in The Delirium Trilogy
Seventeen-year-old Lena lives in a society where romantic love, or deliria nervosa, is considered a disease and “cured” by brain surgery. In addition to curing love, Lena’s government also decides each person's career, spouse and number of children. Lena looks forward to the day of her own operation — until she meets Alex, a member of the resistance movement. Being with Alex pushes Lena to question her government’s propaganda against love and emotion, then into the heart of the resistance.
2. June Iparis in The Legend Trilogy
From one of the Republic's most elite families, 15-year-old June is also its most talented military student. In contrast, Day, the Republic's Most Wanted, is from the slums. When June's brother is murdered and all evidence points to Day as the culprit, she sets out to catch him — but as she gets closer, June uncovers a web of government deceit … and begins falling in love.
3. Deuce in The Razorland Trilogy
Deuce, 15, lives in an underground enclave. Outside its protective walls lurk hordes of Freaks, flesh-eating zombie-like creatures; inside, the enclave's elders rule with an iron fist. When Deuce questions one of their decisions, she and her hunting partner Fade are banished. They attempt to escape the Freaks by travelling aboveground, where Deuce realizes that nearly everything she learned below was a lie.
4. Allison Sekemoto in The Blood of Eden Trilogy
The Red Lung virus has turned vampires, humans and animals into increasingly vicious creatures. To protect both themselves and their human food sources, the vampires have created walled cities, and in exchange for this protection, humans must now register and give blood monthly to their vampiric masters.
But not Allison Sekemoto. She remains unregistered, exempt from the monthly bloodlettings. As food becomes scarce, Allison ventures outside the city to scavenge. When she encounters a vampire, she vows not to let him take her without a fight. She does eventually become a vampire, and then, well, let's just say that the old overlords now have a threat to their rule.
Created in tanks, GENs (Genetically Engineered Non-humans) are little more than slaves in the strict hierarchy of the planet Loka. Fifteen-year-old Kayla bristles at the daily limitations and injustices she and other GENs face, but challenging them never crosses her mind — until, that is, a plot involving the disappearance of human children leads Kayla to uncover the true history of the GENs. These revelations have the power to crack the foundations of Loka’s stratified society, and they rest in Kayla’s hands.
6. Kira Walker in Partials and Fragments
Humanity has been decimated by both an incurable virus and a war with the Partials, artificially created beings with strength superior to normal humans. Holed up in Long Island, the war’s survivors are safe from the Partials, but the virus still wreaks havoc, killing newborns within days. Partials, however, are immune.
Sixteen-year-old Kira is a medic-in-training in the maternity ward, watching baby after baby die. Determined to find a cure, she sneaks off Long Island towards the long-abandoned borough of Manhattan to capture a Partial, hoping to cure the virus and save her kind.
7. June Canto in The Summer Prince
On the surface, the matriarchal Palmares Tres doesn’t seem like a dystopia. Every five years, a Summer King is elected — but at the end of that year, the Queen slits his throat. In his dying moments, the King places his bloody hand on the woman who will reign for the next five years.
The Queen and aides have always lived comfortably on the top tier of Palmares Tres’ pyramid-shaped city while its poorest are confined to the bottom with the algae vats. June has never thought about these inequalities until Enki is elected Summer King. He is wildly popular — and provocative. When Enki and June cross paths, they team up to create public art rebuking the Queen for her indifference to the poor, setting into motion a challenge to centuries of unquestioned tradition.
8. Lozen in Killer of Enemies
After a mysterious silver cloud renders all technology useless, humans retreat into remote settlements. A prison in the pre-cloud world, Haven is now a settlement controlled by four dictators and their armed guards. To ensure the safety of her kidnapped family, 17-year-old Lozen is forced to work as their hired gun, slaying the genetically engineered monsters that were once their pets. Lozen frequently draws on her parents' Apache teachings as well as her own mysterious powers to survive both the beasts' attacks and, as her success heightens the dictators’ fear of her power, new assassination attempts.
9. Pressia Belze in Pure
Seven-year-old Pressia was clutching a doll when nuclear attacks, known as the Detonations, decimated the planet. Pressia survived, though with the doll’s head permanently fused to her hand. She and her grandfather now live in the ruins outside the Dome, a bubble that protects the powerful from the Detonations’ fallout. When she reaches 16, Pressia can be conscripted into the military — but teens deemed unfit to fight are used as target practice, and with her doll's head, Pressia is afraid. As she flees conscription, she meets Patridge, a boy from the Dome, and together they begin to unravel the truth behind the Detonations and the government’s plans for survivors.
10. Iliana in Diverse Energies
Although most of this anthology's stories feature male protagonists, pick it up anyway. You won't be sorry.
K. Tempest Bradford's "Uncertainty Principle" is told by Iliana, a girl whose world is constantly changing. Literally. Each time Iliana experiences a roaring sound and a pain in her chest, something abruptly transforms: Her best friend ceases to have ever existed, surroundings suddenly change, a curfew pops into existence as if it was always there. Even worse, each change makes the world more hostile. Neighborhoods go from friendly communities to places of fences where people barely speak. And no one else remembers that, seconds before, things were drastically different. To say more would unfairly unravel the plot, so just read it. Then read it again. Hopefully the story won't change on you.
This list is by no means meant to be all inclusive, but you can help us improve it! Know of other teen girls toppling repressive regimes in literature? What would you recommend to fellow readers? Tell us all about it in the comments below!
Victoria Law is a writer, photographer and mother. She co-edits the zine Tenacious: Art and Writings from Women in Prison and is the author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women (PM Press 2009). She frequently writes about conditions and organizing within the U.S. prison system. To escape these realities, she enjoys reading dystopic fiction and printing black-and-white photos of streetscapes.
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