Sunday, March 9, 2014

Inspiring Female Characters

One of the things that catches my attention the most about YA novels these days are the strong female characters that leap out of their pages. Sure, YA books have always focused mostly on female characters, but I do not feel like they have always been as strong, independent, and brave as they seem to be now. My coworkers and I often talk about this - how happy we are that our middle school girls are growing up with these characters, learning at a young age that you don't always need a guy to help you through everything, that sometimes you're strong enough on your own. This isn't to say that I don't love the male characters, I do, but I feel like this is a strong message we are sending to girls. With all of the negative they see on television and in the media, it's about time we find a way to get some positive inspiration to them as well. Now, we just have to get them to open the books. So, to continue with my thoughts on this, I decided to share some of the female characters that have inspired me the most.

1. Hermione Granger - Harry Potter series
Now if I'm being honest, it would be no shock that Hermione has found her way into the number one spot on my list of inspiring females. She is, by far, my favorite character ever. Not only is she brilliant, and does not feel the need to flaunt it, but she is brave, sincere, fiercely loyal, and relateable. She is the girl that doesn't want to get into trouble (read me in school), but she is also willing to throw herself directly into the same trouble if it means helping her friends and saving innocent people. She cares for others, even if they might not deserve it, and that is something that I can respect.

2. Beatrice "Tris" Prior - The Divergent Trilogy
Tris is a character that I absolutely love, and also envy because I know that I could never be here. From the very beginning she is told to conform to one faction or another, when that is one of the most difficult things for her to do. She is determined to figure out who she is, but she also has guilt about possibly leaving and hurting her family. She is brave, selfless, sometimes a little careless, but always seems to want the best. She goes through so much, loses so much, and is still willing to stand up and do what she knows is right up until the very end.

3. Angela Chapman - Pretty Girl-13
This is a book I just finished yesterday, and I really cannot stop thinking about it. It was so haunting and beautiful, and I have to give most of the credit to Angela, as she is the main character throughout the novel. Well, mostly here-and the different personalities she has to deal with. Not only does she have to deal with a kidnapping that she cannot remember, but she has to struggle with the problems her own mind is causing. I know that I could never handle things the way she did, and that is why she is an inspiration. I believe that she is a character that could help another person that went through something like she did, even if her story is fictional.

4. Katniss Everdeen - The Hunger Games
Honestly, I was a little hesitant to put Katniss on the list, but then I realized that this is supposed to be about characters that could inspire others, even if they might not necessarily inspire me. Along with that, I shouldn't take my feelings out on Katniss for she is an innocent character. I am not fond of how the series came to be, and so the whole thing is a sore topic for me. Still, I do realize just how inspiring and brave Katniss is as a character. She goes through so much, and continues to fight because she knows she needs to. She needs to protect those she loves, and that is all that matters to her.

5. Liesel Meminger - The Book Thief 
If you have read this book, you already know how amazing Liesel is; how much she goes through, and how she still seems to manage some faith in humanity. I feel like I would have given up if I were in her position, but that is why she is an inspiration. You fall in love with her, with everything about her, despite everything that she is struggling with. I believe that it shows young readers, and readers in general, that you can make it through life no matter how difficult it might become. She gives hope to people who are struggling.

I decided to keep the list at five this time, though if I'm being honest I could go on and on. As I think about the books I just read this week I can think of how each female lead could have made it on this list for one reason or another, and I LOVE that thought. That thought, on its own, is an inspiring one for me.

What about you? What do you think about YA heroines lately? Any that have inspired you that are not on the list? I would love to know!

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