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!
Thank you for making such a great list. Jessica Jones has sent me into a reading binge as I try to find books that match the tone of the show. I was looking for books about trauma/abuse survivors facing their demons and exploring that process of overcoming it.
You certainly delivered! Thank you!
I’m so glad the post is so helpful! Hope you enjoy the books as much as I did.
Awesome list! You’ve got a bunch of my faves, and a bunch of books I haven’t read but will have to check out because yes of course we ARE binge-watching Jessica Jones right now :).
So glad you liked the list, and cannot wait to hear what you think about Jessica Jones! 🙂