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Not Your School’s Reading List 11: Thoughtful Reads for Young Women

Not Your School’s Reading List 11: Thoughtful Reads for Young Women

At Intellectual Takeout, we strive to offer not only commentary on current events but also tangible advice for engaging with our increasingly chaotic world. That’s why we’re proud to present this ongoing series of literature recommendations.

Perfect for girls over 14 years old, these books are a mix of fiction and non-fiction with stories and topics fitting for any girl approaching adulthood. Between a variety of engrossing tales and discussion of challenging topics, there’s something here to interest any young lady.

Read the previous list here.

1. Jane Austen. Northanger Abbey. 1817.

“A wonderfully entertaining coming-of-age story, Northanger Abbey is often referred to as Jane Austen’s ‘Gothic parody.’ Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers give the story an uncanny air, but one with a decidedly satirical twist. The story’s unlikely heroine is Catherine Morland, a remarkably innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage.”

2. Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Scarlet Letter. 1850.

“Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, Massachusetts, during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and will not reveal her lover’s identity. The scarlet letter A (for adultery) she has to wear on her clothes, along with her public shaming, is her punishment for her sin and her secrecy. She struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity.”

3. Maria Susanna Cummins. The Lamplighter. 1854.

“An immediate best seller in 1854. … Mistreated and abandoned as a child, Gerty’s angry and violent disposition gradually becomes virtuous as she learns the lessons lived by the meek and gentle lamplighter. But there is much more to this story than meets the eye! As the plot thickens you will be tempted to read ahead – but don’t do it! The surprise will be worth the wait.”

4. Louisa May Alcott. “Lost in a Pyramid: The Mummy’s Curse.” 1869.

“‘Lost in a Pyramid; or, The Mummy’s Curse’ is a short story written by American author Louisa May Alcott and first published by Frank Leslie in 1869. After an expedition to Egypt with his colleague Professor Niles, Paul Forsyth returns to his fiancée Evelyn with a mysterious box of scarlet seeds. He warns her that the story of their origin will haunt her, but her naïve curiosity prevails.”

5. Ileana, Princess of Romania. I Live Again. 1952.

“Ileana, Princess of Romania and Archduchess of Austria—who in later life became Mother Alexandra, founder of the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration in Pennsylvania—wrote this memoir shortly after relocating to the US in the 1950s. It tells the story of a life full of suffering, tragedy, and exile, but all is suffused with the author’s deep faith, hope, love, and even joy.”

6. Ray Bradbury. Dandelion Wine. 1957.

“The summer of ’28 was a vintage season for a growing boy. A summer of green apple trees, mowed lawns, and new sneakers. Of half-burnt firecrackers, of gathering dandelions, of Grandma’s belly-busting dinner. It was a summer of sorrows and marvels and gold-fuzzed bees. A magical, timeless summer in the life of a twelve-year-old boy named Douglas Spaulding—remembered forever by the incomparable Ray Bradbury.”

7. Jack Canfield et al. Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul. 1997.

“Stories of Life, Love and Learning. … This first batch of Chicken Soup for Teens consists of 101 stories every teenager can relate to and learn from — without feeling criticized or judged. This edition contains important lessons on the nature of friendship and love, the importance of belief in the future, and the value of respect for oneself and others, and much more.”

8. Alice von Hildebrand. The Privilege Of Being A Woman. 2002.

“Women historically have been denigrated as lower than men or viewed as privileged. Dr. Alice von Hildebrand characterizes the difference between such views as based on whether man’s vision is secularistic or steeped in the supernatural. She shows that feminism’s attempts to gain equality with men by imitation of men is unnatural, foolish, destructive, and self-defeating.”

9. Nancy R. Pearcey. Total Truth. 2004.

“Is God a public figure? Does Christianity have a legitimate role to play in the public realm of politics, business, law, and education? … A razor-sharp analysis of the split between public and private, fact and feelings. She reveals the strategies of secularist gatekeepers who use this division to banish biblical principles from the cultural mainstream, stripping Christianity of its power to challenge and redeem the whole of culture.”

10. Allie Beth Stuckey. You’re Not Enough (and That’s Okay). 2020.

“We’re told that the key to happiness is self-love. Instagram influencers, mommy bloggers, self-help gurus, and even Christian teachers promise that if we learn to love ourselves, we’ll be successful, secure, and complete. But the promise doesn’t deliver. … Alone, we are not good enough, smart enough, or beautiful enough. We’re not enough–period. And that’s okay, because God is.”

Intellectual Takeout does not necessarily endorse any particular publisher. All credit for these descriptions goes to the original sources.

Image credit: Picryl-Daniel Huntington, NC



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  • Avatar
    April 7, 2023, 4:42 pm

    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is better and more rewarding than the entire collections of Austen or Alcott put together.

  • Avatar
    Lisa S
    December 17, 2023, 9:26 am

    Young men should be reading these books too.


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