Rummanah Aasi

  Welcome to The Reel Shelf, a new weekly feature here at Books in the Spotlight where I imagine what's on my favorite TV/Movie character's book shelves. Today I'm highlighting a beloved character that is loved by many: Buffy Summers, the leading heroine in Joss Whedon's phenomenal TV series based off on his original movie, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BVS). I wasn't a big Buffy fan at first only because I watched an episode here and there, enjoyed it, but I didn't fully understood its brilliance. Last year, I started watching the show on DVD right from the beginning and then it clicked. BVS is funny, light-hearted, but also had its share of darkness and seriousness along with a great characters. The main draw for me, however, was spotlighting a female heroine who is strong in every sense of the word yet vulnerable, approachable and that's why this post is dedicated to the epitome of girl power: Buffy Summers.

Image and Quote from IMDB
Buffy: So here's the part where you make a choice. What if you could have that power, now? In every generation, one Slayer is born, because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men. This woman is more powerful than all of them combined. So I say we change the rule. I say my power, should be *our* power. Tomorrow, Willow will use the essence of this scythe to change our destiny. From now on, every girl in the world who might be a Slayer, will be a Slayer. Every girl who could have the power, will have the power. Can stand up, will stand up. Slayers, every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?

  At the young age of 15, Buffy Summers was chosen to hunt vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness. After the ordeal at Hemery High, Buffy Summers moves to Sunnydale High in hopes of starting fresh. Along the way she finds finds, love, and a Hellmouth full of evil that never seems to stop. Joined with Willow, Alexander "Xander" Harris, and her watcher/mentor Giles, Buffy fights the challenges of High School and saves the world...a lot.
  While watching the show, there were times where I wished I was Buffy. A character who is resilient, physically powerful, a natural born leader, not to mention pretty with a good snarky attitude. It's only when the hard challenges arose, the complete elimination of normalcy, a forced destiny came up did I realize that I could never really be her. I was glad that I didn't have to shoulder the responsibility of the world on my shoulders. The most important thing, however, is that her character showed the world that a woman can be powerful, strong, aggressive (all traits usually assigned to males) while retaining femininity. And for this reason, I will always be grateful of Joss Whedon's creation.
  Please note that the following books contain various definitions of "strong" and by no means a complete list of books. This post would be very, very long if I had to include all of them. I'm always on the lookout for strong female heroines. So if you see glaring holes, please feel free to include them in the comments. The usual site that I use to compose this list is currently out of order so I will try my best to list them here.

The Reel Shelf Presents Buffy Summers

Buffy the Vampire Season 8 (graphic novel) by Joss Whedon and an assortment of writers. The highly acclaimed TV show continues now in the 8th season in graphic novels. I believe there are 8 volumes in this season. The first book in the series is called The Long Way Home which takes place right were the TV show ended Buffy and the gang are facing a new evil called Twilight. (Amazon)


Archangel by Sharon Shinn- The fate of the world rests in the voice of an angel. An age of corruption has come to the planet of Samaria, threatening that peace and placing the Samaritans in grave danger. Their only hope lies in the crowning of a new Archangel. (Amazon)

The Declaration by Gemma Mailey- It's the year 2140 and Longevity drugs have all but eradicated old age. A never-aging society can't sustain population growth, however…which means Anna should never have been born. Nor should any of the children she lives with at Grange Hall. The facility is full of boys and girls whose parents chose to have kids--called surpluses--despite a law forbidding them from doing so. These children are raised as servants, and brought up to believe they must atone for their very existence. Then one day a boy named Peter appears at the Hall, bringing with him news of the world outside, a place where people are starting to say that Longevity is bad, and that maybe people shouldn't live forever. Peter begs Anna to escape with him, but Anna's not sure who to trust: the strange new boy whose version of life sounds like a dangerous fairy tale, or the familiar walls of Grange Hall and the head mistress who has controlled her every waking thought? (Amazon)

The Gate to Women's Country by Sherri Teppers- Tepper's finest novel to date is set in a post-holocaust feminist dystopia that offers only two political alternatives: a repressive polygamist sect that is slowly self-destructing through inbreeding and the matriarchal dictatorship called Women's Country. Here, in a desperate effort to prevent another world war, the women have segregated most men into closed military garrisons and have taken on themselves every other function of government, industry, agriculture, science and learning. The resulting manifold responsibilities are seen through the life of Stavia, from a dreaming 10-year-old to maturity as doctor, mother and member of the Marthatown Women's Council. (Amazon)

Kindred by Octavia Butler- Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned across the years to save him. After this first summons, Dana is drawn back, again and again, to the plantation to protect Rufus and ensure that he will grow to manhood and father the daughter who will become Dana's ancestor. Yet each time Dana's sojourns become longer and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not her life will end, long before it has even begun. (Amazon)

Tithe by Holly Black-Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces the sixteen-year-old back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms -- a struggle that could very well mean her death. (Amazon)

Eon by Goodman- Also Known As: Two Pearls of Wisdom, Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye, and Eon (All the same book just published with different publishers)
Eon has been studying the ancient art of Dragon Magic for four years, hoping he'll be able to apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. But he also has a dark secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been living a dangerous lie for the chance to become a Dragon-eye, the human link to an energy dragon's power. It is forbidden for females to practice the Dragon Magic and, if discovered, Eon faces a terrible death. After a dazzling sword ceremony, Eon's affinity with the twelve dragons catapults him into the treacherous world of the Imperial court, where he makes a powerful enemy, Lord Ido. (Amazon)

 The Naming by Alison Croggon-Maerad is a slave in a desperate and unforgiving settlement, taken there as a child when her family is destroyed in war. She doesn't yet know she has inherited a powerful gift, one that marks her as a member of the noble School of Pellinor and enables her to see the world as no other can. It is only when she is discovered by Cadvan, one of the great Bards of Lirigon, that her true identity and extraordinary destiny unfold. Now, she and her mysterious teacher must embark on a treacherous, uncertain journey through a time and place where the forces of darkness wield an otherworldly terror. (Amazon)

Stray by Rachel Vincent- I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds. Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked. I'd been warned about Strays—werecats without a Pride—constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared. This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back…for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I'm no meek kitty. I'll take on whatever—and whoever—I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays—'cause I got claws, and I'm not afraid to use them….(Amazon)

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong- After years of frequent moves following her mother’s death, Chloe Saunders’s life is finally settling down. She is attending art school, pursuing her dreams of becoming a director, making friends, meeting boys. Her biggest concern is that she’s not developing as fast as her friends are. But when puberty does hit, it brings more than hormone surges. Chloe starts seeing ghosts–everywhere, demanding her attention. After she suffers a breakdown, her devoted aunt Lauren gets her into a highly recommended group home.
  At first, Lyle House seems a pretty okay place, except for Chloe’s small problem of fearing she might be facing a lifetime of mental illness. But as she gradually gets to know the other kids at the home–charming Simon and his ominous, unsmiling brother Derek, obnoxious Tori, and Rae, who has a “thing” for fire–Chloe begins to realize that there is something that binds them all together, and it isn’t your usual “problem kid” behaviour. And together they discover that Lyle House is not your usual group home either…(Amazon)

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow- Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called "the touch." (Comes in handy when you're traveling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie.) Then her dad turns up dead - but still walking - and Dru knows she's next. Even worse, she's got two guys hungry for her affections, and they're not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever - or whoever - is hunting her? (Amazon)

Nobody's Princess by Freiser- She is beautiful, she is a princess, and Aphrodite is her favorite goddess, but something in Helen of Sparta just itches for more out of life. Not one to count on the gods—or her looks—to take care of her, Helen sets out to get what she wants with steely determination and a sassy attitude. That same attitude makes Helen a few enemies—such as the self-proclaimed "son of Zeus" Theseus—but it also intrigues, charms, and amuses those who become her friends, from the famed huntress Atalanta to the young priestess who is the Oracle of Delphi. (Amazon)

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund- Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries. However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student ... an attraction that could jeopardize everything. (Amazon)

Nomansland by Lesley Hauge- Sometime in the future, a lonely, windswept island is populated solely by women. Among these women is a group of teenaged Trackers—expert equestrians and archers—whose job is to protect their shores from the enemy. The enemy, they’ve been told, is men. When these girls come upon a partially buried home from the distant past, they are fascinated by the strange objects—high-heeled shoes, teen magazines, make-up—found there. What are they to make of these mysterious things? And what does it mean for their strict society where friendship is forbidden and rules must be obeyed—at all costs? (Amazon)

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder- I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution. (Amazon)

Intrinscial by Woodland- Sixteen-year-old Yara Silva has always known that ghosts walk alongside the living. Her grandma, like the other females in her family, is a Waker, someone who can see and communicate with ghosts. Yara grew up watching her grandmother taunted and scorned for this unusual ability and doesn't want that to be her future. She has been dreading the day when she too would see ghosts, and is relieved that the usually dominant Waker gene seems to have skipped her, letting her live a normal teenage life. However, all that changes for Yara on her first day at her elite boarding school when she discovers the gene was only lying dormant. She witnesses a dark mist attack Brent, a handsome fellow student, and rushes to his rescue. Her act of heroism draws the mist's attention, and the dark spirit begins stalking her. Yara finds herself entrenched in a sixty-year-old curse that haunts the school, threatening not only her life, but the lives of her closest friends as well. Yara soon realizes that the past she was trying to put behind her isn't going to go quietly. (Amazon)

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon- No one wanted Ai Ling. And deep down she is relieved—despite the dishonor she has brought upon her family—to be unbetrothed and free, not some stranger's subservient bride banished to the inner quarters. But now, something is after her. Something terrifying—a force she cannot comprehend. And as pieces of the puzzle start to fit together, Ai Ling begins to understand that her journey to the Palace of Fragrant Dreams isn't only a quest to find her beloved father but a venture with stakes larger than she could have imagined.
  Bravery, intelligence, the will to fight and fight hard . . . she will need all of these things. Just as she will need the new and mysterious power growing within her. She will also need help. It is Chen Yong who finds her partly submerged and barely breathing at the edge of a deep lake. There is something of unspeakable evil trying to drag her under. On a quest of his own, Chen Yong offers that help . . . and perhaps more. (Amazon)

The Fray by Joss Whedon - Hundreds of years in the future, Melaka Fray learns she has a great destiny that may unite a fallen city and save mankind from a demonic plot to destroy the world. (Amazon)

First Test by Tamora Pierce - In the medieval and fantastic realm of Tortall, Keladry of Mindelan is the first girl to take advantage of the decree that permits females to train for knighthood. (Amazon)

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendra Blake - Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
   When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life. (Amazon)

Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien -  In the Enclave, you scars set you apart, and the newly born will change the future. Sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone and her mother faithfully deliver their quota of three infants every month. But when Gaia’s mother is brutally taken away by the very people she serves, Gaia must question whether the Enclave deserves such loyalty. (Amazon)

Foiled by Jane Yolen -  Aliera Carstairs doesn't fit in any of the cliques in her high school. The only place that makes her feel special and important is her fencing class, however, she seems to be in the spotlight for the handsome, new student Avery Castle. Aliera knows something is not right. Her ordinary and used fencing foil with a large ruby on the hilt that her mother found at a sale is trying to tell her something about Avery and the world around her. What is Aliera's weapon trying to tell her? Who is Avery and why is he so interested in Aliera? (Amazon)
8 Responses
  1. I've never watched Buffy but I could see myself getting into it. Have you seen the movie - came out in 1992 or 1993? I really liked that. It's very different from the TV show I think.

    I just finished Eon and it was quite good.

  2. Jennifer Says:

    Buffy Season 8 is a great series, my husband and I have really enjoyed it. There's quite a few new-to-me books on this list but I'm very interested in FOILED. THE LAST DRAGON was the first Yolen comic that I've read and I loved it.

  3. Loved Buffy!!! One of my fave shows! I'm curious about the graphic novels.

  4. Oh, how I love Buffy! I can totally see ANNA on that list! Great feature, as usual, Rummanah :)

  5. You don't know how many times I've wished I was Buffy, myself. I was her for Halloween several years in a row. LOL

    These are great selections for Buffy, but I'm guessing she'd also enjoy books that give her an escape from the paranormal.

  6. LoriStrongin Says:

    I am giving you a HUGE virtual hug right now! Buffy remains one of my favorite series of all time (including the graphic novel version of Season 8) for so many reasons--strong characters, awesome mythologies, great plot arcs, humor, and villains you hate yet love at the same time (Faith! Spike and Dru!).

    And I'm also hugging you because you highlighted Alison Croggon's Pelinor series which I LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!! Anyone who loves high fantasy should read those books!!!! And surprisingly, it never suffered from mid-series slump--each of the books was as awesome, or even better, than the previous one!


  7. I love Buffy. Forever I wanted to be Buffy. I'm not sure if that's because I wanted to kick butt or if it's because I wanted Angel. Either way, I loved her. I always imagine her reading the occult and then flipping around reading some total romantic contemporary comedy to escape the insanity that was her life. :D

  8. Small Review Says:

    I LOVE Buffy! I'm pretty much obsessed with that show (to the point that I could really geek out over it if I didn't keep myself on a short leash to save myself from mortifying embarrassment). :P

    This list is great! I've only read Rampant and Anna Dressed in Blood so far, but both of those are awesome picks. They totally capture the combination of toughness, humor, vulnerability, and heart that is Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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