#TopTenTuesday: 11 Books On My (Imaginary) Gender in YA Syllabus!

August 25, 2015 / 17 Comments / Book List, Top Ten Tuesday


I loved this week’s TTT topic so much that I ended up choosing 11 books! I would definitely want to teach a course called Feminism & Gender Identity in Literature for/about Youth, and here’s what would be on the syllabus:


  1. Tap & Gown by Diana Peterfreund – the whole Secret Society Girl series is a course in feminism, but Peterfreund does her best work in discussing sexual abuse, harassment and how to survive in an old boys club in this, my favourite of the four books.
  2. None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio – if this book isn’t already on course curriculums, it should be. It’s one of the best articulations intersex and gender identity in YA today.
  3. Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt – one of my favourite juvenile reads, and I think it would be really great to discuss gender norms, poverty and how YA evolved to what it is today.
  4. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries created by Bernie Su & Hank Green – this one is a total cheat, but I would definitely have my class watch LBD after reading P&P to see modern contrasts, and especially what the creators did to modernize and empower the women in the story.
  5. Shameless by Futhi Ntsingila – out of all the books I picked, this is the one people won’t know about. It’s a book that discusses women’s roles (including prostitution) in South Africa, and it’s one I studied in my MA. This would be a great one to add to the syllabus to discuss gender roles in other societies, and how our views of feminism compare.
  6. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – this would probably be the first book we would study not only because it’s a favourite of women (and men), or because it’s written by a women, but because I really believe that Elizabeth was ahead of her time
  7. Paper Towns by John Green – I recently saw the movie of this, which is a very faithful adaptation of the book (except for the end), and I remembered why I liked it so much. It’s such an interesting deconstruction of the manic pixie dream girl, and I think it would contrast well to have a male protag discussing a female character.
  8. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord – I’ve already talked about how feminist I think Open Road Summer is, and I think it’s a brilliant book to discuss slut-shaming and self-esteem, as well as girl friendship.
  9. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart – if anyone else has this topic today, I can guarantee that Frankie will be on their list. Her take-down of a high-school frat is the stuff of feminist dreams.
  10. Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro –  a collection of short stories I think everyone should read because it’s great writing, but it’sespecially interesting in a course about gender roles because Munro has always been considered a “not very feminine” writer. To me, however, this book is all about discovering how to be a person and woman in a small town (bonus: Canadian content!).
  11. Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald – I haven’t put any critical readings on this syllabus, but wow, does Abby McDonald give them to you in Sophomore Switch, a book about two girls who swap courses. One of them is a casual Californian who ends up in gender studies classes at Oxford and you get to learn criticism right along with her (it’s also a fun, funny, and articulate YA contemp).

Honourable Mentions: A Room of One’s Own and Orlando by Virginia Woolf | any Ally Carter books

What books would be on your gender and YA course? Did I miss any? Which of these have you read or are interested in reading? Would you take my course?


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish to highlight a top ten list related to book blogging, and to get to know fellow book bloggers.

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17 responses to “#TopTenTuesday: 11 Books On My (Imaginary) Gender in YA Syllabus!

  1. Ooh, I’d forgotten about Dicey’s Song. What a great book to pick for this list. And I’d never heard of Shameless so thanks for the heads-up.

    You also now have me looking for those Diana Peterfreund books – I haven’t read them and your description is making them sound like a thing I absolutely want to read. Now. Right now. 😀

    • LAYLA! Yes, please go get Secret Society Girl. Diana is the absolute best (as you know from adding FDSTS to your list!), and that is probably my fave NA series of all time. Also, it’s got swoony romance, sexytimes, take down of patriarchy…it’s just great.

      I feel like Voigt was doing gender stuff in juvenile lit way before anyone was talking about it. Dicey is such a perfect embodiment of someone who doesn’t give a f*ck about gender norms and to see her bashing up against society was really great when I was 12.

  2. I think I would definitely take your course, as I haven’t read most of those books but they all sound interesting 🙂 You have such a lovely blog btw!

  3. I would totally take your course and as I was reading this list, I imagined you walking amongst the student desks, giving a class. Why yes, I have an overactive imagination. I think I’ve only read None of the Above (which I also included on my TTT) and Open Road Summer, but I loved both. Will definitely check out the rest of the books mentioned!

    • Haha, I was totally picturing MYSELF giving a class on this, but probably at the college level? I’m way too excited about this week’s TTT! Really liked your list – you should definitely check out more of these books, they are some of my all-time faves!

  4. I would definitely take your course, Tiff. I actually think my list this week and yours would be paired together well (I did YA Feminism 101). I forgot to include Open Road Summer in my list (HONESTLY I wanted to include like 50,000 books haha and had to narrow it to 10, agh!), but I love that is on your list. And I’ve never heard of Shameless but I am going to add it to my TBR now.

    • Yes, I think we could definitely tag team and teach a course on this! Loved your list as well – there were definitely more I could have chosen, and I wanted to include one on transgender, but I didn’t have a pick. I’m so glad other people are writing lists on this as well!

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