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Friday, March 9, 2012

My Favorite Girls in YA

Happy Day After International Women's Day! Yeah, so I would've done this yesterday, but then I ended up sleeping the entire afternoon, so that didn't work out.  Today's close enough.

In any case, this seems a fitting way to celebrate the sheer fantasticness that is the female gender on a book blog.  This post was inspired by Meagan and Michelle's posts (both of their blogs are really wonderful so you should totally check them out), and as they both agreed, who doesn't love a nice list?

So here we go.  Some of my very favorite females in YA, in no particular order.


Harper Scott from Saving June

Harper Scott is not by any means flawless.  In fact, one might even argue that she is not a good person.  She is judgmental, abrasive, often contemptuous.  She's not often sensitive and she's not always kind.  But she's Harper: a girl more broken by her sister's death than she can ever let on; a girl who knows she has problems and knows she'll have to deal with them and tries; a girl who will do anything, however crazy, for those she really loves.  At first, Harper may seem to live inside an impenetrable shell, but that's not quite true.  As we read, we see the little flashes of beauty, the little moments that show you she's so much more than she'd have you believe.  Harper may not be the best person you will ever meet, but she tries and she cares and I loved her for it.

Amy Curry from Amy & Roger's Epic Detour


Posting this right after Saving June made me realize how very similar these are, in a way; two girls, embarking on cross-country roadtrips after a devastating loss.  Very different in very many ways, but both completely and entirely beautiful.

Amy has every reason to be messed up.  Her dad is dead, her brother's in a rehabilitation center, her mother's across the country, and she has to spend several days in a car with a boy she scarcely knows.  She could've made a great fuss.  She could've been awful about it.  She wasn't.  She was so lost and sad and painfully guilty, but she went on despite it.  She fought to move past it, and to live with herself.  She fought to make things better both without her and within.  Amy did more than survive her grief; she did something about it.  Reading her struggle to deal with her life and her loss and move on was more powerful than I can fully express.  I don't think I'll ever forget this book, and I don't think I'll ever forget Amy.


Hazel Grace Lancaster from The Fault in Our Stars 

The world dealt this girl a shitty hand.  No one should ever have to deal with the knowledge that they are going to die, and soon, let alone a sixteen-year-old girl.  But Hazel has terminal cancer; that knowledge has always been her reality.  She will die, and she will die young.

It would be so easy for her to be that tragic-but-beautiful image of a cancer patient that so many books paint today, the dying child who has suddenly gained great wisdom and insight on the real meaning of life.  It would be so easy for her, as a person, to become exceptionally dark and gloomy; impending death doesn't do a lot for the spirits.  But that's not Hazel.  Hazel is just a girl who knows she's going to die and wants to live her life until she does.  Who can still laugh about the silly things as well as the illness that's killing her.  Who wants to withdraw from others so as to hurt them less when she is inevitably gone.  Who believes that we can't all leave a mark on this world through our grand gestures and heroic deeds, that sometimes we leave our mark just by living our lives.

That's the girl I read through, and cried with.  That's the Hazel Grace that I loved.


Gemma Doyle from A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing


Holy character development, Batman!

When this trilogy begins, Gemma is not the greatest role model.  She is judgmental, unaware, even bratty.  Sometimes she is spirited in a good way, and sometimes it's quite the opposite.  She is distrustful.  Often insensitive.

But throughout the trilogy,  she becomes so, so much more.

She does everything for those she loves.  She does everything for what she believes in.  She fights for a safer world with her every breath.  In a society where women were so oppressed, scolded for even dreaming of something other than their strict, closeted lives, Gemma's fire and independence are all the more incredible.  She resists what society demands of them, stands up for her beliefs, makes a statement, saves the world.  No matter the cost. (No matter if the cost is Kartik.) 


Finally, Hermione Granger from Harry Potter 


I can't imagine writing a Favorite Girls in YA post without including Hermione Granger.

Just like Michelle, I have always been the Hermione.  There are so many girls in YA that I love and respect, so many that I can identify with in some way, but I have always been the Hermione type.  And I have always, always loved her for showing millions of girls that it's okay if they love books, it's okay if they're intelligent, it's alright to be the one that knows the answers.  Hermione being the smart know-it-all is what saved their asses time and time again throughout the series.  She took her intelligence and made it something she could use to save lives.  She, Hermione, the greatest witch of her grade, is one of the most truly fantastic heroines you will ever read.  She is one of those characters; the ones I know will never leave my mind or my heart.  So stay wonderful, Hermione.

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That's it for me! There are certainly many other YA and middlegrade girls out there who I adore, but I can't possibly list them all.  These are the ones that really resonate with me, the ones I don't think I'll ever forget.

Who are your favorite girls in YA?

8 comments:

SM Johnston

I wish I had done one of these for IWD!

Well, of course, I can't go past Hermione. She's just all kinds of awesome and so much more than just the glue for HP, but the brains and a strong role model.

I also love Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy, Anna from Sweet Evil, Clementime from Dark Inside and Elizabeth Bennet from P&P.

Jenni

I totally agree on all the ones you've chosen!
Hermione is just the epitome of brilliance and Hazel Grace is so strong :)

You have an awesome blog!
-Jenni

Michelle

HAAAAAAAAZEL.
I feel like my attempts at repressing that book for the safety of my emotions made me forget her. :(

Fantastic list, Lexie. :D

Giselle

LOVE Hermione! I haven't read the other books but I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on Saving June!

Meagan

I'm so happy that you wrote a list too, Lexie! And thank you for the link, too. I love that we all can't say enough good things about Hermione Granger. JK Rowling did something so, so right by making her as powerful and smart and good and awesome as she did. I recently read Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, and I can absolutely see why so many people like her, too. She's also a really awesome character.

Sam

Can't disagree with Hermione. She is just the perfect YA heroine and I love everything about her. Great list! :)

Amy

I love Hermione! I also absolutely love Alex from Jennifer L Armentrout's Covenant series, and June form Legend by Marie Lu.

Zoe

Hazel! Hermione! Ahh, they're both so awesome.
I love how bookish Hermione is.
And, Hazel is just amazing. She's one of my favorite book characters.

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