Book Recommendations Inspired by Barbies

I watched the Barbie movie in theaters last weekend (Don’t worry, I wore pink.) and absolutely loved it. It has everything a movie needs: It’s funny, emotional, empowering, immersive, relatable, and nostalgic. This post will include minor spoilers by the way, so if you somehow haven’t watched the Barbie movie yet, I recommend you watch it immediately and then come back to read this!

For this week’s post, I decided to recommend books to different Barbies from the newly released Barbie movie. I considered including recommendations for some of the Kens, but who cares about them when there’s Barbie? I tried to pick books that reminded me of each Barbie’s personality and role in the movie while also selecting books with empowering messages and strong female protagonists.

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Stereotypical Barbie – A Study in Drowning by Ava Reid

Photo: Warner Bros

Note: A Study in Drowning isn’t published until next month, but I think it fit Stereotypical Barbie perfectly, so I decided to include it anyways. You can check out the ARC review of it I helped write for The Young Writers Initiative here.

Stereotypical Barbie is the main character of the Barbie movie. She has the perfect life in Barbieland: dance parties, girls’ nights, and she’s always happy, believing that the existence of Barbies has successfully ridded the world of misogyny and inequality. As the movie progresses, her eyes are opened and she realizes that the world isn’t the perfect place she once thought.

In A Study in Drowning, Effie works to redesign the manor of her hero, late author Emrys Myrddin. Effy has been haunted by visions of the Fairy King, a main character in one of his books, since she was a little girl. She wishes to be an author herself, but the prestigious literature college doesn’t accept women. At the architecture college, she is still belittled and harassed because of her gender. As the novel progresses, she discovers how other women have also been silenced by men. Both of these characters realize that change will not happen on it’s own and they must take matters into their own hands, even if they don’t initially want to.

Weird Barbie – Enola Holmes Series by Nancy Springer

Photo: Warner Bros

Weird Barbie has scribbles on her face, a jagged haircut, and is often in the splits due to being played with too hard on Earth. She’s judged by the other Barbies for not being perfect like them, but she grows to not care what they think. She stays true to who she is, even though her actions and appearance contradict the social expectations in Barbieland.

The Enola Holmes series follows the younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, Enola. She is very different from many girls in the 1800s. She’s opinionated, independent, and skilled in combat. After her mother goes missing, her older brothers try to send her away to a finishing school to learn to be a good wife. Instead, she runs off to London and becomes a detective herself, hiding right under their noses. Like Weird Barbie, Enola refuses to conform to society’s expectations for her and instead creates a space for herself in a world that tries to alienate her.

President Barbie – Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Photo: Warner Bros

President Barbie is, as the name suggests, the President of Barbieland. In a sharp contrast to the real world, President Barbie is not only a woman, but also a person of color. She is the leader of the Barbies (and Kens but who cares about them?) and has a sweet sash to prove it.

This is the only book I chose that doesn’t have a female protagonist. Instead, it follows the First Son, Alex, and the Prince of England, Henry, who are forced to be friends in front of cameras even though they really can’t stand each other. However, as they get to know each other, feelings begin to grow that complicate everything even more. Alex’s mother, Ellen, is the President of the United States. Alex also hopes to run for President in the future and is mixed-race, as his father is hispanic.

Writer Barbie – Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Photo: Warner Bros

Writer Barbie is a prize winning author. She is also one of the first Barbies to see through Ken’s patriarchal brainwashing. Afterwards, she helps Stereotypical Barbie and Weird Barbie to get other Barbies to see through the facade the Kens have created.

Where the Crawdads Sing follows Kya, a young woman who grew up in the marshlands of North Carolina. She is suspected of murder after Chase Andrews, a young man that had associated with her is found dead. When she was younger she was taught to read by Tate, the love of her life until he went away to college and left her. She is an author that writes books about the flora and fauna of the marsh. However, she’s stilled viewed by the townspeople in the novel as uncivilized and wild. They overlook her achievements, just like the Kens overlook Writer Barbies’ achievements.

Mermaid Barbie – Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Photo: Warner Bros

Mermaid Barbie lives in the ocean and can be seen from the beach of Barbieland. She lives with other mermaid Barbies behind the plastic waves of the sea.

This book is set in a world full of pirates, sirens, and betrayal. Alosa allows herself to be taken captive on an enemy ship so she can search their ship for a missing piece of a map for her father, the ruler of the seven seas. Alosa is often underestimated or overlooked because she is a female in the male-dominated field of piracy. This series also connects to Mermaid Barbie even more, but if I go into any more depth I’ll end up spoiling something so you’ll just have to trust me.

I hope this post gave you some book recommendations or that you at least had fun reading it. I definitely enjoyed writing it. Let me know down below who your favorite character from the Barbie movie was. Mine was probably Stereotypical Barbie. (I know, I’m basic.) Ken was really hilarious though. Especially during the “I’m Just Ken” song. I mean, if all patriarchal leaders were this iconic, I might not be quite as much as opposed to the idea of it lol. (I’m not sure that was what I was supposed to take away from the film though.) As always, I hope this post finds you well and you’re having a great day!

6 thoughts on “Book Recommendations Inspired by Barbies

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