- Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Hermione is my everything. I don’t care if it’s cliché. Harry Potter made me fall in love with reading. I’d read and enjoyed books before, but these books ignited my voracious love for the written word, and Hermione was the first character of her kind that I’d encountered. Unabashedly bookish, brave, clever, loyal, and all around awesome, I wanted (ok, still want) to be Hermione. I love that Rowling wrote such an unapologetic character. Hermione is muggle-born (a stigma in the wizarding world), she’s a know-it-all, and she’s not concerned about being in style or being cool. She works hard and helps her friends.
Best Hermione Quote: “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things — friendship and bravery.”
- Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
To understand my deep love for Katniss, you have to know that when I read the Hunger Games for a class my freshman year, I was coming off the cultural high known as Twilight. Yes, I too was once swept up in the madness. This, in addition to reading other sappy YA novels left me looking for a girl I could actually admire. Enter Katniss Everdeen. First off, Katniss is a grade A++ badass. She hunts with a bow and arrow, volunteers to compete in the Hunger Games, and wins. More than that, Katniss has two guys pining for her pretty heavily. BUT- She. Doesn’t. Care. She’s got a revolution to inspire, people! Bigger fish to fry than deciding which guy is more of a dreamboat! Obviously, romance comes into play, but I love that Katniss is a female character whose life DOESN’T revolve around guys. FOR ONCE! Plus, Katniss made braids and archery cool.
Best Katniss Quote: “No one will forget me. Not my look, not my name. Katniss. The girl who was on fire.”
- Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Cinder is the vamped up, modern Cinderella. Except, she’s a cyborg- part human, part machine. She’s still Cinderella in the sense that she’s stuck with an evil stepmom and stepsister who treat her like and indentured servant and refuse to let her go to the Prince’s ball. Cinder, however, is also the kingdom’s best mechanic which I obviously love because mechanics are stereotypically male. She also doesn’t cower in the face of adversity. She’s brave, confident, funny, cool, and someone I could see myself being friends with in the event that I happen to live in the distant future where cyborgs are an everyday thing.
Best Cinder Quote: “I’m sure I’ll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on.”
Read my review of Cinder
- Liesel Meminger from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Living under the Nazi regime, Liesel is followed by Death everywhere she goes. Death, the narrator, doesn’t usually stop to pay attention to humans, but Liesel catches his attention. She’s strong. She suffers through the death of her family and moving to a foster home. She steals books before she can even read them. She helps hide a Jewish man in her basement. I don’t even have the right words to describe how beautiful Liesel is as a character. She’s especially important to me because of her compassion and her devotion to the written word, a love I clearly share.
Best Liesel Quote: “I have hated the words, and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
Read my review of The Book Thief
- Lena Haloway from The Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver
Lena lives in a dystopian world where love is treated like a disease. Her society even vaccinates for it. In her world, love is dangerous. You can get infected by it and become an outcast while experiencing the pain that comes with feeling love. Lena is ready to get rid of those pesky feelings. Then a few days before she’s cured forever, she falls in love. I could read about Lena’s life forever, and that’s a true credit to Lauren Oliver. She writes incredible characters. Oliver seamlessly develops Lena throughout the trilogy and writes her with such rawness, that your heart can’t help but be touched.
Best Lena Quote: “I’d rather die my way than live yours.”
It was hard to pick only five! There are, thankfully, a growing number of awesome heroines in YA lit. Please feel free to share your favorites or let me know if my five would match up with yours.
Read a great article from YALSA: “What We Talk About When We Talk About ‘Strong’ Heroines in Young Adult Lit” http://www.yalsa.ala.org/thehub/2013/03/14/what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-strong-heroines-in-young-adult-fiction/
- Great Character: Katniss Everdeen (“The Hunger Games”) (gointothestory.blcklst.com)
- #CatchUpClub Cinder/Scarlet WrapUp (ohmagichour.wordpress.com)
- Feisty Female YA Tournament 2013 – Round Four!!! (cynthia2729.wordpress.com)
- Love Triangles in Young Adult Literature… Why are they prevalent? (ryan41188.wordpress.com)
- Written in the stars (cassiewhittell.wordpress.com)