Superpowers, Trauma, and Best Friends: Books for When You’ve Finished Season 1 of Jessica Jones

When I was five, I went as Batgirl for Halloween. Not Batman–Batgirl. As a redheaded ass-kicker, she was the ideal superhero for Kindergarten Annie. Unfortunately, the store only sold Batman costumes, so that’s what I wore, even though it obviously wasn’t the same costume.

I’m still a big fan of female superheroes. (Seriously, Buffy was a major part of my middle/high school experience.) So of course I binge-watched the recent Jessica Jones series, and there was a lot to love–female ass-kicking superhero, lots of action and mystery, and also a fascinating look at trauma and recovery and a fantastic central female friendship.

Of course, all of that reminded me of the amazing YA novels I would recommend as follow-ups to fans of Jessica Jones. Here are a few titles to add to your reading list in your post-binge-watch life:

If you liked Jessica Jones for its depiction of trauma/abuse survivors:

  • Fault Line by Christa Desir: I kept thinking, “Wait, is Christa on the JJ writing staff?” Her debut novel is a powerful take on sexual assault, survival, and anger.
  • All the Rage by Courtney Summers: also about sexual assault, a great look at the idea of who ‘deserves’ to be saved.
  • And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard: quiet but compelling story about surviving a relationship turned abusive, with some excellent poetry.
  • Far From You by Tess Sharpe: with their losses, addictions, sharp wit, and detective skills, I think Jessica and Sophie would get along really well.
  • Pointe by Brandy Colbert: Theo reminds me a little of Malcolm–dealing with abuse and self-harm, and I want to give both of them big hugs.
  • Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein: Rose and the Rabbits survive Nazi medical experimentation in a concentration camp; a very intense story of trauma and survival.
  • Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen: Scarlet carries a lot of guilt associated with her previous abuse/loss.
  • Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly: fantasy, but the theme of being used as a weapon in an abusive relationship is powerful here.

If you liked Jessica Jones for its strong female friendships:

  • Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler: Ally and Vanessa have been best friends forever, and Vanessa’s a real celebrity–this is totally Jessica and Trish!
  • Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy: Willowdean and Ellen’s friendship goes through some rocky patches as they grow up, but they always have each other’s backs.
  • Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma: without other family support, these are sisters who would do anything for each other.
  • Open Road Summer by Emery Lord: another famous/not-famous pair, Reagan and Lilah’s friendship is so similar to Jessica/Trish’s in its strength between two seemingly very different people.
  • Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen, Maarta Laiho: friendship to the max, indeed, even when facing some seriously weird supernatural stuff.
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: even thinking about Julie and Maddie’s friendship guts me.

If you liked Jessica Jones for its irreverent girls with super powers:

  • Croak by Gina Damico: Lex and Jessica would totally hang out in the reaper cafeteria.
  • Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor: a supernatural world lurking behind a contemporary urban setting, with great quips from Karou and questions of whose side is ‘good.’
  • Hexed by Michelle Krys: lots of narrative twists and turns, and no one in Indie’s life is safe.
  • Sekret by Lindsay Smith: even as a psychic spy in the Cold War, Yulia struggles against government control and to understand her own abilities.

Any other reading suggestions for post-Jessica Jones life? Share them in the comments!

A Writer’s Thanksgiving

Since almost Thanksgiving, so it seems like a good time to reflect on what I’m thankful for in the writing/publishing/reading world. As difficult as writing can be, as frustrating and uncertain as the publishing path can be, there are a lot of things I’m so glad to have in my life as an author. And because it’s me, I need to include gifs to accurately illustrate my gratitude. So without further ado, here are some things I’ve grateful for this year:

Coffee: let’s be honest–nothing would happen without you.

My writing group: for giving me the feedback I need, for loving my WIPs, and for being the most supportive group ever.

Twitter: where I procrastinate and talk about feminism.

My fellow YA writers: because they write awesome stuff, and they’re my people.

Sweatpants: I am so glad the writing office dress code is casual.

My agent: for her enthusiasm about my projects and for always being in my corner.

Librarian friends: because I brag about you to my non-librarian friends.

Wine: for making retreats and conferences that much better, and for when it’s been a hard day.

My family: especially my parents, who show up to pretty much every reading/panel I do in the New England area, and my husband, with whom I’m so glad to share the writing life.

Corgis: you keep being you.

My readers and blog followers: without you guys, I’d be shouting into the void; thank you for your likes and comments, and for your general awesomeness.

What things are you thankful for in your writing life? Share your thoughts in the comments, and happy almost Thanksgiving!

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! After a lot of travel, I’m back at home and diving into a new project. Here’s a look at what I’ve been reading and writing in fifteen words or fewer.

ReadingAll the Rage by Courtney Summers
A punch in the gut kind of book about rape culture in a small town.

Writing: “…I offered to make Miles a last-minute saint outfit (bathrobe, sandals, tin foil halo).”
It’s been a while since I wrote from the big sister perspective; already digging this new protagonist.

Links Galore

Lots of links I’ve been saving:

Quote of the Day

Since we’re in Jewish Book Month, it feels right to share another great poem from The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492 by Peter Cole (translator). This one is by Meshullam DePiera, who was writing in the thirteenth century.


I love the intensity here–it makes me feel both cautious and powerful. Words matter, people.

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m kind of stunned that it’s already the first Friday of November–wasn’t it just summer? I was traveling this week and didn’t get a lot of writing done, but I did use my travel time to catch up on some reading, so this week’s Friday Fifteen is a double-dose of micro book reviews:

This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee
A thrilling take on Frankenstein and what it means to be a monster. Miyazaki adaptation, please!

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
Loved this look at long-distance running as I prepare for my first marathon.