Rejected Princesses by Jason Porath

Posted October 12, 2017 by Amber in Reviews / 16 Comments

Rejected Princesses

Rejected Princesses

by Jason Porath

Publisher: Dey Street Books on October 25, 2016
Genre: Biography, Feminism, History, Non-Fiction, Short Stories
Target Age Group: Adult, Childrens, Middle Grade, New Adult, Young Adult
Rating: ★★★★½

Check out this book on Goodreads

Blending the iconoclastic feminism of The Notorious RBG and the confident irreverence of Go the F**ck to Sleep, a brazen and empowering illustrated collection that celebrates inspirational badass women throughout history, based on the popular Tumblr blog.
Well-behaved women seldom make history. Good thing these women are far from well behaved . . .

Illustrated in a contemporary animation style, Rejected Princesses turns the ubiquitous "pretty pink princess" stereotype portrayed in movies, and on endless toys, books, and tutus on its head, paying homage instead to an awesome collection of strong, fierce, and yes, sometimes weird, women: warrior queens, soldiers, villains, spies, revolutionaries, and more who refused to behave and meekly accept their place.

An entertaining mix of biography, imagery, and humor written in a fresh, young, and riotous voice, this thoroughly researched exploration salutes these awesome women drawn from both historical and fantastical realms, including real life, literature, mythology, and folklore. Each profile features an eye-catching image of both heroic and villainous women in command from across history and around the world, from a princess-cum-pirate in fifth century Denmark, to a rebel preacher in 1630s Boston, to a bloodthirsty Hungarian countess, and a former prostitute who commanded a fleet of more than 70,000 men on China’s seas.


I finally finished this book and I wish I had more.

I’ve been slowly making my way through this book all year and I want everyone who reads this review to know:  it’s not because of the book.  I struggle through essays and short story collections.  This isn’t because they are horrible.  It’s because they’re missing a consistent plot line.  As far as short stories go?  Rejected Princesses is awesome.

I want to throw a little love at Jason Porath.

Jason Porath is, in his own words, “A straight white dude from Kentucky.”  He’s not a likely candidate to be writing books of female-driven histories.  This isn’t a collection of twenty women who are often overlooked in history.  Rejected Princesses outlines dozens of badass women.  He dissects mythologies and biased biographies of women and offers the reader a perspective sharing views from multiple sources.  He writes in a witty, engaging matter.  Even the women with the most vile reputations are offered with a grain of salt.  Elizabeth Bathory I’m talking to you. Seriously guys, he’s even got Elizabeth Bathory in here.  Granted, she’s at the end, with the particularly twisted stories, but she’s there!

I have been promoting this book since I started it.  Between the detail of the artwork to the depth at which Porath researches the woman, this is really a must read.  And he’s made it really user-friendly.  There are trigger warning for abuse, rape, and violence at the beginning of every chapter so you can avoid the triggers.  Stories are rated from G-R, just like movies, so you know which ones are suitable for children.  In most of the entries, he even explains the artwork and the subtle nuances he’s included.

There are so many incredible women in these pages.

While there were definitely plenty I recognized (Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Bathory, Joan of Arc), the majority of this book was made up of women I’ve never heard of.  Like Noor Inayat Kahn.  She was this incredible double-agent spy during World War II.  She was Muslim, an author, and there’s a bronze bust of her in London.  She worked with some of the earliest wireless radios.  She was executed at a concentration camp.  Women like Noor are role models, the women too outlandish to be translated into a Disney film, but far too incredible to be forgotten.

For those who are excited about collections such as Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli… I implore you to give Rejected Princesses a try.  It’s inspiring.  I want to write a modernized tale for each and every woman in this book.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★ 1/2


Rejected Princesses Stays on the Shelf

While this sort of encyclopedia may not be the type of thing I’ll pull out and read often, I genuinely enjoyed the individual stories and there are so many figures in here who deserve more than they were given by historical memory.  I probably won’t read them all in one sitting but… you know… sometimes there’s that drive for a good story.  For an inspirational figure.

For moments like those, Rejected Princesses is perfect.


Who is your favorite kick-ass woman in history?

Do you know who Elizabeth Bathory is?

How quickly do you read short story collections?

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16 responses to “Rejected Princesses by Jason Porath

  1. Wow, this sounds AMAZING!! I love any excuse to learn more about ladies who kick butt. Goonight Stories for Rebel Girls was awesome, so this is definitely going on my list too! I admit that I had to Google who Elizabeth Bathory was and W-O-W. DEFINITELY know who she is now. You weren’t kidding when you said twisted. ?

    I’m the SAME WAY when I read short stories! Man, I thought it was just me. But it always takes me FOREVER, even if the book is really good. If I have a good place to stop where I don’t wonder about what’s going to happen next, I’ll get sucked up into everyday life and not read it. So glad I’m not alone!

    Loretta recently posted: Sneak Peeks: Once and for All
    • Amber

      I’m not sure why I hinged so hardcore on Bathory when writing this review. XD Really, there are loads of awesome (and twisted) women in this book. AND THE ARTWORK. I love his style.

      THANK YOU. I am so glad someone understands the length of time short story collections take! They’re amazing, but they’re small slices with complete plotlines, and I don’t feel guilty taking a long time. 🙂

  2. Wow, this book sounds fantastic! I’m like you, where I don’t really read short stories, essays and the like, so I probably would have skimmed passed this book without a second thought. So thank you for giving it a chance and really letting us know how amazing it actually is! It definitely sounds like a keeper and I’m intrigued enough to check it out. Maybe I SHOULD read more books like this since I never seem to have the time to get through a full length novel anymore!

    Rebeccah recently posted: Beautiful Books: My NaNoWriMo Novel
    • Amber

      I think once I settle myself to being “okay” with having a long running book, I really like the short stories. I almost NEVER pick them up because I know I won’t sit and read them through, but I had been following Jason Porath for a couple years before this book came out and 1.) I liked his work; and 2.) I wanted to support him. It ended up being the sort of thing I read when I only had a couple minutes before I had to run out the door for work, so it took AAAGES… but so worth it!

    • Amber

      Aaaah, I’m sorry! No more reviews until Sunday, though, and that’s just Sleepy Hollow. XD

      Still, I’m glad you’re finding things you like. 😉

  3. I’ve had my eye on this for a while now, and I’m super eager to say that it ended up being really good. I love what you said about the author, and I totally feel confident about reading this now. I always do have a bit of a struggle through short story collections as well even when they are rather good! Wonderful review, Amber! 🙂

    Mandy recently posted: The End of the Summer Book Tag
  4. This sounds like pure MAGIC. I’ve not heard of it before now but the title really grabbed my attention and now, after reading your review/more about it, I am 100% intrigued by it. I feel like this really could be a new favourite for me and I’m definitely looking into it… like, right NOW.

    Jessica recently posted: Ten Years of City of Bones: Week One
    • Amber

      I’m so glad my review inspired you! Honest to goodness, I’ve never gotten so much interest in a book review! But this is a book that definitely deserves it – the women are so well and fairly represented even if it isn’t in an #ownvoices situation, it’s amazingly done and I loved it and I hope you do too!

  5. I need this?? History about badass ladies? Yes please. I feel you on short stories though – it takes me a while to get through them, no matter how well written they are. Usually once I finally get into them they’re already over haha. Definitely giving this a shot though! 🙂

    • Amber

      Definitely pick this one up!!! Porath’s short story style writing is the perfect way to get a little insight on these women without it becoming overwhelmingly a history book. Plus the snark and GORGEOUS illustrations?! Yes please.