It was International Women’s Day last week, March is Women’s History Month, and here in the UK, we just celebrated the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. HOT DAMN. Here are ten more kickass YA heroines who can’t and won’t stay still. (Read last year’s list here.)
1. Starr Carter, The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas). I feel like any list of kickass YA heroines written post-2017 needs to have Starr at the top. Now, full disclosure, I haven’t finished reading The Hate U Give yet, but I’m already totally in love with Starr. She doesn’t sugarcoat the racism or poverty that she faces, and in the face of those enormously disheartening things, she does her best to do what’s right.
2. Willa Dixon, Mistwalker (Saundra Mitchell). NO I WILL NOT SHUT UP ABOUT THIS BOOK. IT IS A GOOD BOOK. No-nonsense Willa is as tough as the harsh sea that she loves. She’s too clever to be seduced by silly promises, and too brave to back down from a fight.
3. Sophie Collins, The Infernal Devices (Cassandra Clare). Sure, Tessa Gray is the heroine of the series, and with good reason. But I’ve always had a real soft spot for Sophie. She’s a fighter. Even when she’s constrained by her socioeconomic status, Sophie’s not here for anyone’s nonsense. Plus, she’s incredibly kind despite the crap that life has given her.
4. Maddy Whittier, Everything, Everything (Nicola Yoon). Maddy is just. So. Good. She’s clever and curious and incredibly kind. Honestly, the ocean does not deserve such a pure cinnamon roll. I cried like eight times reading this book.
5. Diana, Wonder Woman: Warbringer (Leigh Bardugo). IT’S WONDER WOMAN. WONDER WOMAN IS THE PHYSICAL EMBODIMENT OF KICKASS. THIS MAJESTIC WARRIOR IS MY HERO.
7. Desi Lee, I Believe in a Thing Called Love (Maurene Goo). Desi is involved in a million after-school activities and headed straight for the Ivy Leagues. She knows where she’s going and how she’ll get there and she won’t let anything stand in her way. You’ve got to admire her time management skills and can-do attitude.
8.Sophie Mercer, the Hex Hall series (Rachel Hawkins). Sophie is just…such a salty little witch. (And when I say she’s a witch, I mean she’s literally a witch). I love her snappy, self-depricating sense of humour and the way that she just rolls with the crap that happens to her. She’s unflappable.
9. Fei, Soundless (Richelle Mead). Fei is all kinds of freaked out by the terrible things happening in her isolated village. But instead of sticking her head in the sand, this intrepid court painter sets down her brushes and rappels down a freakin’ cliff to find out what’s up.
9. Suze Simon, The Mediator series (Meg Cabot). And oldie but a goodie, Suze Simon is the heir apparent to Buffy Summers. Move to California? Check. Befriends the school losers? Check. Beats the crap out of paranormal entities while worrying that her makeup will get smudged, and then decides that she doesn’t care about her makeup because the world needs saving? Check, check, check.
10. Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen). She’s not technically a YA heroine, but COME ON. I’m convinced that meeting Lizzie Bennet is a pivotal moment in every book lover’s life. She’s smart, wry, observant, and hilarious. She handles Kardashian-level drama, she critiques oppressive norms nonstop, and she marries Colin Firth. She is peak kickass heroine.
It’s Women’s History Month. Get out there and do what makes you feel powerful.
Who’s on your list of kickass YA heroines? What sorts of kickassery would you like to see more YA heroines do? How are you celebrating Women’s History Month?