The most important thing to me when reading a book is how many female characters are featured and how well written they are. I think it’s so important to have diverse characters in fiction that represent the real world, especially in YA as the majority of readers are teenage girls. Disappointingly, a lot of female characters end up being nothing more than stereotypes. Thankfully though, we do have some amazing female characters that are well written, relatable and defy those stereotypes. Here are some of my favourites:
- Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins) – Katniss is the ultimate YA heroine; she’s strong, brave, selfless and caring. I love that she isn’t just the typical special snowflake heroine who everything goes perfectly for; she actually earns her skills, makes difficult decisions, and experiences real losses. She really stands out to me in the sea of boring Mary Sue female characters that we unfortunately face in the YA genre.
- Hermione Granger (Harry Potter by JK Rowling) – Hermione is probably the first female character that I really looked up to when I was younger. She’s smart, brave, kind and made reading cool! Let’s be honest, she’s the real MVP of the Harry Potter series. Harry and Ron would be nowhere without her. I love that young girls reading have a character to look up to and Hermione really is the perfect role model.
- Juliette Ferrars (Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi) – When I first started reading the Shatter Me series I thought Juliette was going to be one of the boring Mary Sue characters that I was just ranting about, but Tahereh Mafi is a genius and totally twists standard YA tropes. The way Juliette’s character develops throughout the series is so refreshing and exciting.
- Sydney Sage (Bloodlines by Richelle Mead) – even though Bloodlines is all about vampires and witchcraft, Sydney is one of the most relatable YA characters I’ve read. One of my biggest pet peeves is when characters make ridiculous decisions in books, which is especially common in YA where characters rush into terrible plans without thinking anything through. Sydney, however, is basically a genius who makes smart, realistic decisions that advance the plot whilst actually making sense! It’s depressing how unusual that is.
- Celaena Sardothien (Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas) – When I read that Throne of Glass was about a beautiful, teenage female assassin I thought we’d get one fight scene involving her at the start of the book and then that’d be it. Normally in YA the heroine is set up as an incredibly skilled person who sounds amazing but then never uses her skills and irritatingly normally ends up relying on their male love interests to do all the cool stuff. Not Celaena, she’s a total badass throughout the entire series and relies on no one. I desperately want to be her.
- Johanna Mason (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins) – in a series filled with amazing characters Johanna still manages to be one of the funniest and most heartbreaking. One minute she’d have me laughing with her sarcasm and then I’d be crying reading about the awful things she’s had to endure. Her and Katniss’ friendship is also one of my favourite things about the series. Yay female friendship!
Honourable Mentions: Feyre Archeron (A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas), Fleur Delacour (Harry Potter by JK Rowling), Effie Trinket (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins), Wanda (The Host by Stephanie Meyer), Helene Aquilla (An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir), Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin), Allison Sekemoto (Blood of Eden by Julie Kagawa)
I will literally read anything that has well written female characters in it, so if you know any that I haven’t included on the list then please, please let me know!