5 Books with Single Main Characters

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Nicole Froio

Staff Writer

Nicole Froio is a Brazilian journalist currently based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She writes about feminism, human rights, politics, mental health issues, pop culture, books and the media. She was born in São Paulo but moved a lot as a kid, which hinders her ability to root down in only one place in adulthood. Her favorite genres of book are fantasy, YA fiction, romance and any book that requires the main character to find themselves. An avid intersectional feminist, her tolerance for bigotry is extremely low. Blog: Words by Nicole Froio Twitter: @NicoleFroio

Valentine’s Day can be super annoying for single people, even if singledom is a source of happiness and comfort. It seems like every single (heh) store and supermarket is trying to drown you with bright red, heart-shaped chocolate and overpriced stuffed bears.

Wouldn’t it be great to escape into a world where being single isn’t seen as a problem by society and where single people thrive? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if society accepted that the only date you want for Valentine’s Day is a book where a single main character kicks ass and gets shit done without worrying about looking for a husband or wife? In order to facilitate this dream world, I’ve prepared a round up of books with single (or widowed) main characters

OutOut by Natsuo Kirino

Technically, the main character Yayoi is married in the beginning of this book, but that soon changes when she strangles her husband to death and recruits her female work colleagues to cover up the crime. The women in this book really don’t care about the men in their lives and are mainly concerned about survival. Yayoi’s complete lack of remorse and her friends’ willingness to cover-up her crime are a recipe for a deliciously cathartic read on Valentine’s Day.


The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)

Private detective Cormoran Strike is called to investigate the death of a troubled young model. Strike, a war veteran, is troubled himself but he is good at his job, despite being forced to live in his office because he just broke up with his long-term girlfriend. Heartbreak doesn’t deter Strike from getting to the bottom of the case and the mystery running through the book will keep you distracted from any kind of negative self-talk.


Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Oh my God, I know it’s cliché to include this book in this round-up, but do you understand how absolutely grueling it is to hike the Pacific Crest Trail as a single woman who was completely unprepared for the physical and mental challenges it entails? Well, Strayed will tell you all about it (and I will, hopefully, never experience it myself now that I’ve lived it through her eyes). This book also has some important reflections on being alone and loneliness, so pick it up if you’re struggling with these concepts specifically.

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

This book is full of single women (and one queer couple) who disguise themselves as men to join the army and kick ass. They all have their own missions which have nothing to do with romance or finding a partner. As all Discworld novels, this can be read as a standalone book.




The Trespasser by Tana French

Detective Antoinette Conway is investigating an oddly familiar case: that of a lovers’ quarrel gone wrong. The victim is found in her living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. Conway is tough but she’s reaching a breaking point: pranks, harassment and a difficult case are bringing her to her limit. Will she be kicked out of the murder squad or will she crack the case in time? Also, Conway is very single.