Wonder Woman is the superhero we’ve been waiting for. I may have already seen it three times in theaters, but I still walk out ready to smash the patriarchy every time. Diana Prince is everything—kind, loyal, brave, and selfless. Watching this Amazon take her hero’s journey—a journey usually awarded to male superheroes—is life-changing. Wonder Woman joins fellow Amazons Xena, Buffy, and General Leia Organa as a symbol of girl power. Seeing her on the big screen was a dream come true, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for our Amazon princess next.
But while we wait for more Wonder Woman movies, there are some equally kickass novels that need to be read. Sometimes being a hero is straightforward: you get your powers and you’re called to action. But sometimes, being a hero means having different kinds of strength, like facing your fears and doing the right thing when no one else will.
These Vicious Masks, by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
Wonder Woman begins in a contemporary setting, with Diana Prince getting a mysterious package from Batman himself. Through a picture of Diana and her squad, we drift back to the past where it all began. For those who love their superheroes in a historical setting, These Vicious Masks is perfect for you. Pitched as Jane Austen meets X-Men, this witty and magical novel follows a rebellious heroine named Evelyn. When Evelyn’s sister goes missing, she disobeys her parents, traveling to London in search of Rose. However, Evelyn isn’t the only one on the hunt. A mysterious young gentleman, Sebastian Braddock, believes both sisters have special healing abilities. Though she doesn’t trust him, Evelyn doesn’t have many other leads. Sebastian is her gateway into a world of mysticism and meeting others with strange powers, and soon she discovers she must find Rose before losing her forever.
Bonus: the sequel, These Ruthless Deeds, is ready and waiting for you to continue this fast-paced Victorian adventure.
Not Your Sidekick, by C.B. Lee
Here is a superhero novel that channels Diana’s bright and hopeful spirit. In Not Your Sidekick, C.B. Lee envisions what the world will look like in the 22nd century, including World War III and meta-humans who got their powers through solar flares. In Andover, superpowers and the heroes who wield them are common—but 16-year-old Jessica Tran, daughter of superheroes, is normal. “Normal” life wouldn’t be so bad, except she finds herself interning with her crush (yasss!), for her parent’s nemesis (nooo!). The book features an incredibly inclusive cast of LGBTQ+ and racially diverse characters, grounding it in reality. The humor and high stakes make this superhero novel fun for all.
Fate of Flames, by Sarah Raughley
Sarah Raughley’s debut features elemental magic and a world terrorized by massive beasts called Phantoms. The only ones who stand a chance against these monsters are the Effigies, four girls, each in control of a single element. They’re protectors, and similar to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when one Effigy dies, another one rises in her place. Maia becomes the next Fire Effigy, but resists the call to this new power: she’s more content watching heroes than being one of them. But when a man comes to their city with the power to control the Phantoms by channeling the same power as the Effigies, Maia must put aside her fear and become the warrior she was meant to be.
Dreadnought, by April Daniels
Dreadnaught is a superhero who has fallen from the sky. His last act is to give his power to Danny Tozer, the only witness. Danny Tozer is transgender, and Dreadnought’s superpowers transform Danny’s body into what she always knew it should be, but the happiest time of her life is disrupted by the responses of those around her. Her father tries to “cure” her, and her best friend feels he’s entitled to her beauty—not to mention her low rank among the other superheroes. Danny is who she is, but the world isn’t keeping pace. But when Dreadnought’s murderer returns, Danny must find focus and get in control of her powers, or humanity will become extinct.
Want, by Cindy Pon
Not all heroes wear capes or have superpowers. Sometimes, being a hero means standing up to corruption and crime. The latest from acclaimed author Cindy Pon takes readers to a futuristic Taipei. In this sci-fi world, corporations and the rich are the only ones with the means to survive. The very air they breathe is deadly toxic, and only Jin Corp manufactures the suits necessary to live in this polluted atmosphere. After his mother dies from the toxicity of the city, Jason Zhou takes it upon himself to find a way to bring those responsible to justice. He infiltrates Jin Corp, but can he do it without compromising who he is?
Miles Morales (Spider-Man), by Jason Reynolds
From award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds comes the novelization of superhero alter-ego Miles Morales. Miles Morales is just your friendly neighborhood kid…and, oh, yeah, he’s Spider Man. When his powers lead to a misunderstanding that gets him sent to detention, Miles has to question who he is. His dad and uncle both have criminal records, so what if he can’t avoid the same path? No matter what he does, it feels like his spidey senses are out of wack and the systems in place are against him, even if he is a superhero. When Miles uncovers a dangerous plot that puts his neighborhood at risk, he must find the strength to rise up.
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, by F.C. Yee
Like most reluctant heroes, Genie Lo starts off with an ordinary life. Every moment of her sixteen-year-old existence is consumed with grades and getting into her top colleges. Then her power awakens, and she discovers she’s a celestial spirit with immense powers. She can bash through the gates of heaven with her fists, and that’s just one of the many talents she needs to nurture. The person to help her is Quentin, a transfer student from China whose demeanor and guidance is more Castiel than Giles. Yee’s debut YA novel is inspired by Chinese folklore, and features an ass-kicking heroine ready to battle some hellspawn.
Warbringer, by Leigh Bardugo
The list would not be complete without this beauty. One of four planned DC Comics novels based on iconic characters, Warbringer is Bardugo’s take on our favorite Amazon princess. The novel follows a different story line (sorry Steve), in which Diana seeks to prove herself to her sisters. The mortal she saves is the extraordinary Alia Karelis, a Warbringer, direct descendant of Helen of Troy. Alia can only mean doom for the world, but Diana will not give up on her. Together, they face a slew of enemies, each determined to destroy the Warbringer. With these powerful young women fighting side by side, the world better get ready.
I know I am.