One of the (admittedly few) downsides to living in Spain is the fact that, although there are plenty of theatres here that show American films, they are usually dubbed rather than subtitled. Since I can’t stand dubbed films (I hate when the actors’ mouths don’t match up with what they are saying!) this means I am going to have to miss out on a film I have been waiting for for a long time: The Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen is one of my favourite female characters to come out of Young Adult fiction recently. In honour of the film’s release (and because it’s always nice to kick back with some light reading), here are five of my favourite awesome fictional ladies from YA books:
Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins): As I said, I think Katniss Everdeen is one of the best recent characters in Young Adult fiction. If you haven’t read The Hunger Games, the books focus on a Battle Royal-like competition in which children are pitted against each other. Going into battle to keep her sister safe, Katniss learns to play the game without going against her ideals, and her bravery and leadership throughout the trilogy is incredible.
Hermione Granger (Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling): In my opinion, no list of fantastic fictional females is complete without Hermione Granger. From the time the Harry Potter series first started being published when I was about 8, to the time it ended when I was 18, Hermione has been an inspiration for me. Schoolwork and intelligence has always been very important for me, to the point that I’ve been seen as something of a nerd sometime, and I always felt like Hermione made that okay, or even cool. She had her nose in a book all of the time, but it didn’t stop her from having adventures with her best friends.
Cimorene (The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Patricia C. Wrede): This series was my and my sister’s favourite when we were kids. Cimorene is a princess who leaves her kingdom because she doesn’t want to get married. Along the way she befriends dragons, meets witches, and politely turns down the knights who just want to rescue her and don’t really want to get to know her. She’s clever and sarcastic and determined to be herself, and the books are a great spin on traditional fairy tales.
Meg Murray (A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L’engle): Meg Murray was definitely one of my heroines as a pre-teen and young teenager. This novel is as much a coming of age story as it is a sci-fi tale, and I think many women can relate to Meg’s insecurities about her looks and her intelligence, her first serious crush on a boy, and her relationship with her family. I like Meg because she isn’t the smartest or the most incredible person, but she’s brave and she does the best she can.
Charlotte Doyle (The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Avi): This historical fiction novel focuses on a 13-year-old girl who finds herself on a ship to Rhode Island. Expecting to be on a passenger vessel, she is instead on a boat where everyone is expected to work for their place aboard. And so she learns to be a sailor. It is hard work, especially in a time when women didn’t have the same career opportunities as men (particularly when it came to physical labour like sailing), but Charlotte learns to do her part and to stand up for herself in the process.
Some honourable mentions: Gemma Doyle (Gemma Doyle Trilogy, Libba Bray), Melinda Sordino (Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson), Ella (Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine), Lucy and Susan Pevensie (The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis)
Who are your favourite ladies from literature? Tell me in the comments!
– Lauren Mateer
LeadHer™ Intern, Campus Calm™
Learn more about Lauren here.