THIS POST MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!!
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Hello sassy people!
Today I bring a list of books that, in my opinion, get 5 stars in the feminist analysis category. If you’ve read my reviews before, you know that my main point of analysis in a book is if it brings good examples of characters and relationships. I love to talk about how a character is decent or not, how he or she was sexist, or respectful, I love to talk about how the relationship presented in a certain book is a good example of what a healthy relationship should be and most of all, I feel the NEED to talk consent and how it is reported.
I believe books have a great influence on society in general and I believe we should value the ones that may have a good influence.
That is why, last year I started the hashtag #feministromancechallenge, and I sent this “call to action” to a lot of bookstagrammers I know, but most of them answered me that they did not know any books that fit the description of the challenge, and honestly, that made me really sad. I myself don’t have a lot of them yet, but you guys will hear me talking about these ones nonstop.
So to start this list, I’m gonna talk about a book that I’ve talked about a lot already in this blog (even though I don’t even have many posts…):
1 – A Lie for a Lie by Helena Hunting
This book has one of the most respectful male characters that I’ve ever seen. Rook makes mistakes, obviously, and he may be overprotective and a little possessive sometimes, but what strikes me is how he can be aware of his actions, of the moments where he is getting in “caveman mode” and how he searches for help (of his sister mainly) in his journey to prove himself worthy.
Also, this book brings such a strong female lead. Lainey is a woman who went through trauma in her life, but she still is so brave and takes risks that a lot of people wouldn’t, to make the best out of her life. I love how she is strong and faces her challenges and how leaning into Rook in some moments of need does not make her dependent, because that is the last thing she will ever be.
She becomes a single mom, who can take care and provide for herself and her baby and I absolutely love how difficult it is for her, to accept Rook back in their lives and to lose the control she had, to allow herself to be taken care of.
I also love that Rook has to learn to be a dad, a dad who helps and is present and active in his child’s life. I know that that is the minimum he has to do, but let’s face it, in real life, not on books, how many guys actually do that? I just like that he makes the effort to learn and be there and be the best dad he can.
One last thing, that is sometimes hard to see in books, Lainey is not submissive, and in one particular scene, I love that she has the dominant hole, something that in 99% of books is a male hole.
So, these were just the highlights, if you read the entire book, the whole vibe is respectful and awesome, really, so it deserves the 5/5.
The next one I already talked about a lot here, and even read it again last month, because it is just so good!
2- The Dugout by Meghan Quinn
So, this one is a 5/5 for me, not only because of the good, communicative, cute, and overall healthy relationship hole model but also because it features something that sometimes is hard to see on books.
I’m a huge fan of Sports Romance, and in real life as well as in most books, sport is a lot of times treated as a man’s subject. I read a lot of these books, where the guy is an athlete and the girl knows nothing about the sport, a lot of times clueless, and the guy has to explain everything to her. Not saying that these girls do not exist, if I was put to watch a game of baseball, I wouldn’t be able to explain one play. But I also know that there are a lot of ladies who love sports, a lot of ladies who play sports, and also a lot of ladies who go through prejudgment while talking about sports.
The Dugout was the first time I read a book where the female lead was a sports fan, and not only a fan, a specialist. Milly is a girl who loves that sport so much, she knows everything about it, she knows stats, she knows the technics and she also knows how to play (even though baseball is a male-dominated sport). Also, she is the only hope that Carson has, to get back at playing baseball the way he did before his injury. That fact, for me, is already enough to have a good score, but you partner that up whit a super nice and decent guy, who is able to recognize his sexist moments and correct them.
I don’t expect all guys to never again make a sexist comment, or never again have a douchbag moment. I expect them to realize them and change that behavior, apologize and try to recognize those moments in the future, and that is exactly what Carson does.
Last but not least, their relationship is one of the healthiest ones I’ve read in this series. They are honest, they communicate, they have so much in common and you understand and believe their connection.
For that, and honestly, so much more, this book deserves a 5/5.
The next one is an important one, that brings a lot of major subjects and honestly, it is just amazing.
TRIGGER WARNING: this book features victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence. The book does not bring explicit details of their experiences but brings up the topic in a respectful and light-hearted way. I wouldn’t say it is a heavy book, but I understand that some people might not want to read this type of content.
3- The Deal by Elle Kennedy
I’m sorry if I scared you with that trigger warning. In my opinion, it is not a heavy book, especially because I like reading books about how people who went through such horrible situations overcome them, and try to be happy and live their lives in such a strong way. And that is exactly the kind of experience this book brings. Hannah, a victim of sexual abuse, is a strong, wonderful woman, who is in college and is trying to regain control of her love and sex life. As you may imagine, despite being so strong, her experience has a lot of influence on her actions and reactions and they shape, in a lot of ways, how she lives her life.
That on its own is amazing, but I also love the male perspective in this book. Obviously, his struggle is not as strong, but I love seeing how Garret adapts, how he deals with the situation, how he is respectful and just adorable.
Just writing about this book is making me want to read it again…. so obviously 5/5.
The next one, which is also a book that I’ve already mentioned here, is a 5/5, but the reasons are not so obvious…
TRIGGER WARNING: This book features mental health problems and PTSD.
4 – Hearts In Darkness by Laura Kaye
The story of this book builds around the fact that this couple, Makenna and Caden, met while trapped in a dark elevator for 4 hours.
For me, the fascinating part is that this couple falls for each other without ever having seen one another. Their relationship starts and is based on their conversations, their interactions, what they have in common and how they create this amazing connection in those 4 hours.
The book contradicts the most common instalove plotline. Most stories about love, at first sight, are based on looks. These couples “fall in love” because the other person is hot, or at least interesting. Here, this is not the case. Obviously, these 4 hours don’t make them soulmates who will get married tomorrow, but unlike any of those other stories, this couple is getting started whit a pretty solid foundation.
One thing that Caden thinks about a lot during the book is the prejudgment he receives because he is a man full of tattoos and piercings. He is also shy, closed off, and sometimes a little antisocial, which means that in a normal situation, in his mind, a woman like Makenna would never give him a chance at first sight. The fact that the looks element doesn’t exist there means that she gets to know him, the person he is, his personality, and some of his deepest secrets without judging his appearance first.
Also, Caden suffers from severe anxiety and PTSD, which again, I love seeing people who went to such hard situations overcome them, but I also love that this is a male character, dealing with mental health, which is a major problem for a lot of men. A lot of them have difficulty to ask and accept help, and even a lot of times acknowledge that they even that a problem.
For all of these, this book deserves one hell of a 5/5.
Last, but not least…
5 – Hooking Up by Helena Hunting
This a book I read recently (last month to be exact) and I had a struggle to choose between this one and some others that were on my list, but this book brings something more than just a healthy and cute relationship.
This is the second book in the Shacking Up series, and because I read the first two in order, I already knew the female lead, Amalie, from the first one. In it, she was engaged to Armstrong, who from chapter one, was already categorized as a major jerk and abusive boyfriend, in my head. Throughout the book, in the many interactions Ruby (the Shacking Up lead character) had with the couple and even more in Amalie’s descriptions of their relationship, we could see how he slowly took away her confidence, her personality, her power, and how it was subtle, that even Amalie didn’t realize it until it was too late and she was married to him.
In Hooking Up we see how her past relationship fails made her subject herself to such horrible treatment because he wasn’t like the guys she dated before, he was safe.
This book shows a fact, that even if some of us already know that, I believe a lot of people don’t realize, abuse is not only physical. These people can destroy someone else’s life just with their words and actions, and it is always important to be aware of signs of abusive relationships because just like Amalie, a lot of us can be in one and not even realize it until it is too late.
One other thing that gets my attention in this book is Armstrong’s opinions on marriage, relationships, and how he saw his own actions. While reading a lot of them, we think to ourselves a lot of times, “how is he so ridiculous?” “No one with a sane mind would think like that”, but unfortunately, I believe a lot of men out in the world do think like that and do explain their situations and actions as he does.
The book has a lot more because the awesome couple that Amalie and Lexington are is just so good to read, but, for me, just the abusive relationship portrait is enough to earn 5/5.
Those were all the books on my list for now. I hope that this list keeps growing and growing and I will definitely have a #2, #3, #4, and beyond.
One last thing…. having sexist characters and portraiting unhealthy relationships does not make a book a bad book, I just think that we should always be aware of these characteristics and not romanticize them. Just because Christian Grey is hot and the story is kinda cool, it does not mean we should see his actions as something acceptable (Fifty Shades is just one of the many examples….). It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t read it, just means we should always know, and that is my ultimate goal in this blog, to always know and let you know about these tiny, sometimes unnoticeable details.
If you know any book that fits this description, please leave it in the comments or post it on Instagram with the hashtag #feministromancechallenge.
That is all for today, I hope you like this post, hope you enjoy these books if you decide to read them. Feel free to leave your opinion about them in the comments and I will see you next time!
Bye sassy people!
- I know that some comments I make about decent guys on my posts are the bare minimum a guy should do, so no, they don’t deserve to be treated like gods for doing the minimum, but at the same time, I’ve read a lot of sexist books and I appreciate authors who make characters that can serve as role models and examples of how a decent guy acts and what a loving and respectful relationship looks like. I believe we should always encourage these authors and bring attention to the ones that still write sexist characters and stories.
- I make a lot of comments about sexism and healthy role models in books, but a lot of times these characteristics don’t make the book a bad book and definitely don’t make the author a bad author. Please never shame these authors and these books for these comments, I simply feel that we need to have awareness of the less than ideal situations some books bring us, and not use the romanticized problem as examples of what a relationship should be. Most of these authors are still amazing and the content they write doesn’t reflect directly with their personal views and opinions. Always make sure to respect and be kind to everyone, even while criticizing their content.
Find Me In
Brazilian architecture student and book lover
One of my goals in analysing my readings was to talk about important topics, like feminist and consent, because literature, art and culture influence us, and I believe we should always encorage authors who talk about this topics.
Come check out my Goodreads Reading Challenge!
Goodreads Reading Challenge 2020
I read 148 books in 2020, come see them!