Fiction Books With Plucky Non-Typical Female Leads

Dec 13, 2022

Growing up, I found it difficult to find contemporary novels with female leads who were a bit unusual and didn’t quite fit the mold of the typical gendered roles that women are written into all the time. Of course, there were the classics like Anne of Green Gables, but curiously I couldn’t find any contemporary novels that do it just as well.

However, that seems to be changing. I’ve read a few books in recent years that have not only accomplished creating a complex and unique female lead but are well-written with a well-developed storyline. This list contains those books. Enjoy : )

P.S. Did I miss one? Tell me in the comments what books should be on this list!

The Lies I Tell

She’s a con artist who becomes whoever you need her to be. Somehow, with ease, she gets you to tell her everything she needs. But nothing about her is real. And by the time she’s gone, you’ve likely lost everything.

Kat, a local journalist, has been waiting for this day. It’s been 10 years since this woman upended her life and she’s determined to be the one to expose her.

This twisted domestic thriller explores the psyches and motivations of two women and their quest for justice, but each in their own way.

I really enjoyed this read! Two strong female lead characters with just the right amount of twists and turns that kept me interested until the end.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant is a bit of an odd bird but who can blame her? Dealing with one’s past is always messy business but Eleanor has gotten along just fine, thank you, as an accounts manager at a graphic design agency in the city. She’s grown accustomed to relying solely on herself but when circumstances weave her into other people’s lives, Eleanor must adjust and confront her fears which means comforting her past.

Because of Eleanor’s eccentricities, I found myself really drawn to her. I mean, at one point she considered getting a face tattoo. Seriously, can we be friends? This is one character that I felt a kind of kinship towards. I loved how Eleanor was logical and self-reliant. Her oddities only endeared her more. I had my eye on this book for a few months and am glad I finally picked it up!

Lessons in Chemistry

I initially resisted picking this book up. It’s insanely popular and the cover kind of turned me off. But once I read the synopsis and a few reviews. I decided to check it out. And I’m so glad I did!

This is exactly the type of fiction I like – one that features an unusual, plucky, intelligent, and a bit socially awkward female lead.

This book touches on gender roles, sexism, workplace harassment, sexual assault, single motherhood, education, religion, and more with such strength and insight. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for an empowering read of a woman who doesn’t fit the mold and never quite cared to anyways.

“Whenever you start doubting yourself, whenever you feel afraid, just remember. Courage is the root of change—and change is what we’re chemically designed to do. So when you wake up tomorrow, make this pledge. No more holding yourself back. No more subscribing to others’ opinions of what you can and cannot achieve. And no more allowing anyone to pigeonhole you into useless categories of sex, race, economic status, and religion.”

“Chemistry is change and change is the core of your belief system. Which is good because that’s what we need more of—people who refuse to accept the status quo, who aren’t afraid to take on the unacceptable.”

“But people need to believe in something bigger than themselves.”

“Why?” Calvin pressed. “What’s wrong with believing in ourselves?”

The Maid

It’s been a minute since I found a fiction book I fell in love with! This one did the trick. Molly the Maid is smart, refreshing, and eccentric in an unforgettable way.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

With Love From The Inside

Loved this book! Everyone thinks that Grace Bradshaw poisoned her infant son and she spent the past 17 years on death row to pay for it. Even her own daughter believes her guilt. With new technology comes new findings, but is it too late? I thought I knew how this book would end but I was surprised. The book switches back and forth between the perspective of mother and daughter, which I love because it shows the struggles and inner workings of both main characters.

Grace Bradshaw knows the exact minute she will die. On death row for murdering her infant son, her last breath will be taken on February 15 at 12:01 a.m. Eleven years, five months, and twenty-seven days separate her from the last time she heard her precious daughter’s voice and the final moment she’d heard anyone call her Mom. Out of appeals, she can focus on only one thing—reconnecting with her daughter and making sure she knows the truth.

Buy On Amazon

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

I read this book years and years ago, but it still comes to mind when I think of books I’ve loved. She’s quirky, she’s odd, she’s cerebral, and she’s no where to be found.

“Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect; and to 15-year-old Bee, she is her best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette vanishes.”

by | Dec 13, 2022


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by chaucee

Hi, I’m Chaucee, the hands behind the words on this screen. I started this blog as a college freshman in 2008 as a creative outlet while studying for my bachelor’s. Since then it’s grown into a way to document things I love and things I’m learning. Welcome : )

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