We’ve all gone through moments of feeling insecure about our bodies; it’s especially easy now when magazine headlines are screaming at us to get our bodies swimsuit ready and celebs are on Snapchat talking about their “festival diets.” Luckily, we have the antidote to all that noise, and it comes in the form of nine seriously empowering Young Adult (YA) novels. These kick-ass authors are not about that body-shaming life. Instead, they write to lift women up, no matter their age, shape, size, race or ethnicity.


1. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy ($11): We were immediately smitten when we read the summer-body motto of Willowdean, Dumplin‘s heroine: “How to have an ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body.” Dumplin’ tells the triumphant tale of a self-proclaimed fat girl’s journey as a beauty pageant contestant in her small, Texas town, where she proves her haters — and herself — wrong.


2. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Anne Brashares ($10): We all know the story — but have we all read it? There’s no greater unifier among friends than fashion, and when a single pair of hot jeans fits everyone in the group — even better. Sisterhood is a funny, touching, coming-of-age tale about friendship and self-love. It’s definitely magic, and it’s definitely worth a read.

3. Pretty Face by Mary Hogan ($8): Sometimes, to truly learn how to accept ourselves just the way we are, we have to make a major change. And that’s just what Hayley does when her parents send her to Italy for summer vacation. It’s there she learns to embrace her curves, eat pizza with abandon and accept love. Sounds fab!


4. 45 Pounds, More or Less by Kelly Barson ($10): Ann’s life is all about numbers right now: her current dress size, her aunt’s wedding date and how many pounds she wants to lose before she walks down the aisle as a bridesmaid. Barson’s debut novel is funny and totally relatable — no matter what your age.

45 pounds

5. Wonder by R.J. Palacio ($17): August Pullman was born with an extraordinary face that forced him into a special school and to be treated differently when all he wanted was to be ordinary. Wonder is a book about bullying, compassion, acceptance and understanding; lessons we can all afford to be reminded of occasionally.


6. The Other Me by Suzanne van Rooyen ($15): Sometimes the reason we’re uncomfortable in our own skin is because we don’t feel like we should have been born in that skin. The Other Me follows 15-year-old Teresa Prescott as she learns about her own identity through that of her friend, Gabriel. Themes of self-love, transformation, deceit and mystery flow throughout, which makes for some seriously captivating reading.


7. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger ($11): Nicknamed the “designated ugly fat friend” of her friend group by Wesley Rush, Bianca Piper thinks she hates the guy. That is, of course, until they share a kiss and she realizes she has feelings for the jerk. The DUFF is a well-rounded portrait of what it means to be a teenager and shows that we all have our insecurities — no matter our size or gender.

the duff

Which of these body-positive YA books are you most excited to read? Tweet us @BritandCo and tell us your favorite!

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