Well this is probably the neatest tag title I’ve seen. Who doesn’t love a kickass YA girl? In the last decade, the genre is flooded with really awesome female characters. I’m okay with this… even if sometimes they’re a little repetitive. This topic ties in really well with my Top Ten Kickass Female Characters post from a couple weeks ago, so lets continue the discussion!
This tag was stolen from Kyera @ Kyera’s Library back in July. Thanks for sharing it, Kyera – I love it!
- Thank the person who tagged you.
- Mention the creator Krysti at YA and Wine
- Match at least one YA girl with each of the themes below.
- Tag as many people as you like!
Alanna of Trebond disguises herself as a man for her entire training so that she can be trained as a knight. It is all she has every wanted, and she is willing to do whatever is takes and then some to assure she will be Tortall’s first lady knight. While Lioness Rampant is more Children’s or Middle Grade, Alanna is definitely a warrior and deserves the recognition.
Princess Raisa is exactly my kind of princess. She cares about her people, has pretty dresses and knows all the right dances… and she’s growing to be fairly formidable with a sword. As of The Exiled Queen (which is where I’ve left off in the series), she’s attending a school undercover to become a warrior.
Girls Who Fight With Their Mind
So, of course Hermione Granger is going to pop up in this section. She was inspiration for so many of us bookish girls. Hermione’s default hangout is the library, she brings half a bookshelf with her when they go looking for Horcruxes. I want to highlight Hermione’s contribution in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in particular. I am constantly amazed (and heartbroken) about the way she dealt with her parents. She’s also incredibly resourceful, making sure everyone is fed and researching everything.
A newcomer (who is also someday supposed to be played by Emma Watson!) is Kelsea Glynn. Kelsea fights to the best of her ability, but her intellect is her greatest weapon. When she unintentionally breaks a truce with her neighboring kingdom, it is Kelsea’s intelligence and the loyalty of her people alone that stop a full-blown invasion. While Kelsea is a bookish girl for the entire trilogy, I think her intelligence is fiercest in the first book, The Queen of the Tearling.
Girls Who Fight with their Heart
Celia Bowen knows who she is and what she has to do, but she never plans to fall in love. In The Night Circus it is love that keeps Celia going and love that keeps the Circus alive. The greatest of its exhibits are the result of her love. Throughout this entire book, love is the fuel that keeps everything running smoothly… whether it’s a love of victory, a love of the Circus, or love for another person.
Love doesn’t always have to be romantic. The one driving force that pushes Scarlett Dragna through Caraval is a love for her sister. Even though she knows that the Caraval is supposed to be a game, she also knows that bad things can happen. When she and her sister reach the island and her sister promptly disappears, Scarlett will do whatever is takes to get Donatella back.
Girls Who Are Trained Fighters
We can say an assassin is trained, right? Celaena Sardothien is a formidable foe. In Throne of Glass she is plucked from the quarries – the prison for the worst of villains – she is pitched as a candidate for the post of King’s Champion. Calaena fights her way past some of the most dangerous warriors in the kingdom to save her own life and secure her freedom.
While Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies is not strictly YA, Elizabeth Bennett is another kick-ass girl. In a world where Victorian England has been taken over by zombies, the children of small settlements are often trained from a young age to defend themselves and kill the vermin. Elizabeth’s skills are well-praised by those who see her practice (or kill zombies), although most agree that she’s entirely unladylike.
Strong Girls of Color
I know she’s not a protagonist, but I want to give some major props to Rue from The Hunger Games. I know everyone loves her, but she’s also resourceful and nimble. She’s accustomed to living a tough life. She’s used to having a nation’s worth of food in front of her and feeling hunger because her own rations are insufficient. She’s the youngest player in the game that year, and she holds her own for a long time.
Often in her sister’s shadow, Dovasary Balitang is the “smart” sister, not the beautiful one. This is, more or less, how she becomes entangled in a plot to overthrow the throne and bring the Raka back to power… with herself as queen. It’s not Dove’s idea (don’t worry, she’s not that narcissistic) but in Trickster’s Queen, she becomes an important player in the planning as well as their connection to the nobility, since Dove can blend in better with the ruling class. She’s clever, she’s kind, and she settles very comfortably in her new position.
Girls Who Fight to Survive
100% Katniss Everdeen. Do I even need to explain this one? Katniss positively shines in Mockingjay as she and the other traverse the trap-ridden Capitol.
As a carrier of a corrupted gene, everyone assumes Aoife Grayson is going to lose her mind when she turns sixteen. In The Iron Thorn she learns the truth about who she is, what happens to her family, and comes out determined to live.
Girls Who Are Weapons Masters
She doesn’t mean to be, but Tiger Lily excels at many things she ought not, as a girl. At least, this is what all the boys in Tiger Lily think! She is an excellent hunter and often out-performs others her age – even the boys, who hate her for it.
Sometimes weapon’s aren’t just killing devices – swords and bows and the such. Lyra Belacqua has an amazing ability. She can read an aliethiometer. There are only three of these devices in the world and Lyra is the only person who can read one without a book to guide her. It’s an incredible gift and as the aliethiometer can reveal the truth about anything, the answer to anything, it’s not a device to take lightly. In fact, in The Golden Compass she is told not to reveal the device or her ability to anyone, it is so valuable.
Girls Who Don’t Conform to Gender Roles
In ancient times, it was customary that men managed the manors and rode out in battle. Llianna from The Tapestry of Light and Dark will have none of that. Her and her husband rule as equals, and when he dies, she refuses to lay down her power to the point it is forcibly taken from her.
This one is a little out of the YA realm as well and into the quirky adult British humor something, but Thursday Next just sort of rolls her eyes at anybody who tells her to do anything. Ever. In The Well of Lost Plots her husband has been erased and Thursday’s pregnant and she’s supposed to be lying low, but isn’t. And she does just fine.
Also, mentioned above, Alanna and Tiger Lily are great examples of this as well!
Girls with Kick-Butt Magical Powers
While any of the ladies in Harry Potter qualify for this (and I was highly considering using McGonagall, but I’d have to use Deathly Hallows again), Ginny Weasley has a really impressive Bat Boogey Hex. It’s enough to get Professor Slughorn to notice her in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince even though she doesn’t have any impressive connections.
Beatrice Shakespeare-Smith can make anything come true – all she has to do is write it down. She sets herself and a cast of characters off in as a traveling troupe of players, with the power of the pen at her fingers. Her abilities are a mixture of her parentage… which is what she sets off to find out in Perchance to Dream.
Strong Girls in Contemporary Novels
My contemporary game is a little weak – I’m working on it, I promise! These are… not super fantasy heavy women set in out proper world! … However, they are historical fiction. I promise, I have two brand new contemporary books I just ordered….
Flora wants so much from the world, but between a lack of money and a lot of racism, the chances of her ever getting it are almost none. Despite arrests, fires, stones thrown through windows… in The Game of Love and Death Flora remains amazingly pragmatic and does whatever she needs to do to survive.
Halfway across the world there is a little girl who lives with her foster parents, pretends to love the Kaiser, and steals books. Liesel Meminger will steal your heart in the first chapter, but when you consider the world she’s living in and all she goes through, she’s a pretty cool girl. QUADRUPLY SO after the events at the end of The Book Thief, because it would take some SERIOUS strength to pick up the pieces after that….
Seriously Fierce Girls
Have y’all read Feed? It’s an older book now, and it’s one that I have spent HOURS defending my opinion of. Violet Durn is such a smart, strong girl. As we watch her progression in the story, you have to have some respect for how crazy hard she fights.
Delilah Marlow is a force to be reckoned with. Raised as human and later learning that she is something more… her other self is vicious, dangerous. Even in her human form, though, Delilah won’t stand for the way magical creature are treated in her world and is determined to do something about it. For her dignity and theirs. Menagerie is the first book in this series, as she is discovering herself and starting to plot.
Most Anticipated Book with a Strong Leading Lady
Doesn’t Reign of the Fallen sound incredible? And this book just came out, but I have been RIDICULOUSLY looking forward to Moxie! I think both of these will both fall into the “strong women” categories. Reign is due January 2018, and Moxie was released last month.
Feel free to steal this tag!
Who are some of your favorite ladies in YA?
Have you read any of these books?
Are you looking forward to Reign of the Fallen or Moxie?