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!