Life is tough. Whether it’s internal turmoil or external struggle, these books showcase the loud and proud kind of brave. Maybe we’re not all there yet, though—and that’s okay. Each title shares an aspect of bravery: a Brave Point. Maybe we can just take one or two for now.
Books to Read When You Need to Feel Brave
A Heart in a Body in the World by Dab Caletti
Brave Point: Process
Annabelle didn’t have everything, but she had a lot—friends, family, and love. When she meets a boy who initially flatters her with his attention, she’s flattered. That is, until he betrays her in the most intimate way.
So, she runs. From Seattle to Washington, DC. She runs away from the tragedy. She just runs and writes in her journal—process. Sometimes the hardest part of being brave is identifying what we need to be brave for.
The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
Brave Point: Camaraderie
When Grace Salter learns that the girl who used to live in her house, Lucy, was run out of town for accusing the popular guys of gang rape, she knows she has to do something. After the solitude of processing, bravery often bands together. Grace pares up with Rosina, a queer punk girl in a conservative family, and Erin, who may be an android . . . so she thinks.
Together, the young women band together to form an anonymous group of girls at their high school to resist the sexist culture. Bravery often takes the form of groups standing together to help one another.
Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju
Brave Point: Expression
You have your group. Much like Nima in this book, there’s still some identity work to be done. Being brave doesn’t always mean facing an external struggle. Often, it’s facing our inner struggle, too. After immersing herself in the drag scene, Nima not only finds community, but a piece of herself, too.
Being brave doesn’t have to be taking a big stand for big issues. Being brave can be just being yourself. Vulnerability is probably the bravest act of all.
Brave Face by Shaun David Hutchinson
Brave Point: Survival
Shaun was confused . . . and kind of done. After fighting over and over with his inner demons, he was convinced his future wasn’t any better. He was depressed. He was gay. He was sure he would be unhappy and alone forever. He almost made that happen.
Survival isn’t pretty. We often hear, or say, something like “I’m not thriving . . . but I’m surviving.” Quit literally, Shaun put on a brave face and shoveled his way out of despair. And it’s not pretty. It’s really, really hard. That’s why it’s brave.
Period Power by Nadya Okamoto
Brave Point: Education
Nadya Okamoto is passionate about a taboo issue: women’s menstruation. Often seen as gross and inappropriate, it’s time to rebrand the period. Rather than severely reacting, Nadya set out to educate the masses on what menstruation is and why it’s completely natural.
It’s brave to meet ignorance with education. Really, most of us just want to scream until we change the other person’s mind. That never works. Instead, Nadya wrote her part manifest part manual to get her point across.
I Have the Right To by Chessy Prout
Brave Point: Action
Of course, what bravery round up would be complete without a shout-out for all the activists? Chessy took her tragedy and joined a movement to address sexual assault. A strong member of the #MeToo movement, Chessy is showing her bravery by taking tangible steps toward a better future.
Ultimately, bravery is what you can do in your own time. There is no right or wrong way to be brave, so long as you are standing for what is right for you and others. Being yourself, finding your people, surviving, and spreading the word is how everyone can be their own kind of brave.