LitClub:  Strong Female Leads
Chicago, Illinois

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A  "FRIENAISSANCE" is how these young women describe their book club. Friends from high school, they decided to start meeting on a regular basis to engage in more thought-provoking conversations.

Your name—Strong Female Leads—does it refer to yourselves or book characters?
Both, actually. We're a group of strong personalities, and we all love books with great female protagonists.

And you're a fairly new group.
Yes, we started in 2014.

So what Strong Female Leads have you been reading about lately.
Here's our list over the past year (which is our first year):

Gone Girl
Girl on the Train
Light Between Oceans
Luckiest Girl Alive
In the Unlikely Event
Not That Kind of Girl
Pocket Wife
Nineteen Minutes

Any all-time favorites?
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Piccoult—we loved the way she made us see all sides of the story and see each character for who they are.

How about disappointments.
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll—while it kept us all  intrigued, we felt the author put her heroine through too many extreme situations, primarily for shock value. Nor were we thrilled with the ending: it left us annoyed with the protagonist.

Did any lead to really great discussions?
In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume made each of us feel we could relate to some part of the main character. Plus, we all grew up reading Blume's books.

Strangely enough, we had a good discussion for Luckiest Girl Alive. Even though—or maybe  because—the book wasn't a favorite, we had a lot of opinions flying around.

Tell us about your club operations?
We meet monthly at one another's apartments. Everyone comes with recommendations for the next month's book, and then we vote.

Do you have any club rules?
Just two:
1. If you don't finish the book, you can't be angry if the ending gets ruined.
2. If the groups selects your book suggestion, you have to bring the discussion questions.

What about special activities?
We had a themed meal, based on Lena Dunham's book, Not That Kind of Girl. We made all of the food she loves: steak, Doritos, and partially frozen Sara Lee pound cake.

Also, if one of the books we read gets made into a movie, we all go see it.

You've also done some community work. Tell us.
We've taken part in an Alzheimer's Walk. During the holidays we sponsor a child on behalf of Chicago Lights, a charity that provides gifts for needy children.

Finally, what else would you like us to know about your club?
We each have our own Strong Female Lead nickname:
Becca - The Opinionater
Emily - The Enforcer
Maggie - The Spark Plug
Krista - The Bubbler
Carolyn - The Think Tank
Alex - The Outsider (in a positive way)
Julie - The Lover
Allison - The Socialite.

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