CHYLDFREE Book Faves of 2023

We did it everyone! We made it through another year, and what a year it’s been! With things wrapping up, we thought we would highlight our favorite books of 2023 that featured vocally childfree main characters, the ultimate literary unicorn. Let’s celebrate representation and dive into some great storytelling!

New to our rating system? Take a look at the guide at the end of this article and our book club welcome post linked here. 

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Cackle by Rachel Harrison 

Genre: Cozy and Witchy

A woman finds herself in a cute little town after leaving a 10 year long relationship. Soon she becomes friends with an enticing and beautiful woman, who happens to be the town witch. Through trauma bonding, healing, sisterhood, tough choices, and subverting societal expectations, a true friendship is born. To top it off, this book features the most adorable magical spiders!

Dive in and read about a vocally childfree, fiercely independent, and awkwardly heartwarming friendship!

& Such Sharp Teeth by Rachel Harrison

Genre: Horror/RomCom 

Please Note: Although the main character is vocally childfree, one of the main plot points is that her sister is struggling through a pregnancy, the pregnancy is regularly discussed so those with tokophobia may want to keep that in mind before diving in. 

A woman returns to her hometown to take care of her pregnant twin sister. After a night out where she reconnects with an old flame, she jumps in her car to head back to her sister’s place. But all of a sudden, she hits a deer! Worried about the state of the poor animal she gets out of her car to investigate, but she soon learns she didn’t just hit a deer, she interrupted someone’s dinner. She is then attacked! Only to wake up the next day with strange wounds and an appetite for raw meat.. 

Follow her journey as she logically navigates her new life as a werewolf! 

 Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao 

Genre: Fantasy/Sci-Fi

A woman enlists into the military in order to avenge the wrongful death of her sister. In a world where dark creatures exist just beyond the boundary of the Empire, men pilot fierce mechanical, transforming beasts in order to defend their people and rise to power and elitism. The catch? In order to pilot these beasts they need a copilot, someone to pull energy from, and eventually overpower into death. These copilots are always women, expendable, but somehow taught that their sacrifice is honorable. 

Wu Zetian has other plans for her time in the military, she isn’t just a copilot; she is fierce, ambitious, unapologetic, and will do whatever she can to topple the Empire. 

Be sure to dive into Iron Widow before the sequel Heavenly Tyrant is released in the spring!

& The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

Genre: Fantasy 

Please note that this is a trilogy, although the first book makes very little mention of pregnancy, the rest entails extreme war crimes, many of which impact women directly. Please be sure to reference the trigger warnings as this series may be difficult for many people. 

To be free of her abusive foster family and extreme poverty, a young woman manages to pass the most challenging exam in the nation to become a student at an elite military academy. Through struggles with classism, gender, and academics, she soon becomes an apprentice to an eccentric and secretive professor, who has identified a deep power within our young protagonist. But soon, war breaks out and chaos ensues. Through three books there is war, violence, magic, trauma, healing, and disaster.

Be sure to add this heavy but compelling read to your list of childfree books! 

& Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

Genre: Fantasy 

Although the main character is childfree, the main character’s sister is pregnant several times throughout the book. There is talk of domestic violence, and miscarriages. Please be sure to check the trigger warnings. 

A princess partners with a witch, her demon chicken, a former prisoner, and a fairy godmother to free her sister from the clutches of an abusive prince. Marra is the youngest of three princesses of a small nation that holds critical strategic power. Her oldest sister, loved and cherished, was married off to a neighboring prince, only to return a few months later, for her funeral. Afterwards, the middle sister was married off to this same prince, who now lives in fear and a state of perpetual pregnancy. In order to save her sister from a horrific end, and to protect her own fate, Marra succeeds in accomplishing impossible tasks, recruits magical misfits, and travels the land in order to free both herself and her sister. 

This is a short but compelling book that will leave you feeling both pensive and joyful!

Our Rating System

The main character is childfree and sticks to it – a winner for our community!
No main character pregnancy or parenting tropes although there may be touches of it here and there for other characters
Main character pregnancy and parenting tropes, but they are relevant to the plot
Filled with pregnancy and parenting or there was a “CF” (childfree) character and they “changed their mind”


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