YA literature is full of amazing, kick-ass heroines. From fantasy to historical, and everything in-between, you can certainly find great main characters to look up to. However, since we have so many awesome heroines with all kinds of abilities and personalities out there, I would love to share with you a few of my favorite heroines that are both strong AND independent (meaning they are absolutely fine without a male hero to watch their back). These heroines absolutely SLAY inside their stories and they deserve to be in the spotlight.
Katsa from Graceling by Kristin Cashore
I only just met Katsa despite Graceling having been published a long time ago (almost ten years!), but she immediately won first place on my favorite YA heroine list. Katsa is graced with the ability to KILL and most certainly knows how to kick-butt, however, that is not why I admire her. It’s because Katsa fights hard to SURVIVE and never gives up. You can throw her up a mountain and she will certainly climb and cross to the other side. She is fierce but has a great heart and she doesn’t wait for anyone to save her–she saves herself.
Inej from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Inej Ghafa is another wonderful YA heroine who I met a few months ago and I cannot stop admiring. With an upbringing in a family of acrobats, Inej learned to walk the high wire and also stealthily climb buildings, which proves to be quite useful once she is working in a band of thieves from the Dregs in Ketterdam. Despite working with a band with a horrible reputation, Inej is a character who demands respect. Even after she is kidnapped by slavers and sold to a pleasure house, she manages to survive with her own wits and become a force to be reckoned with.
Audrey Rose from Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
I love many things about Audrey Rose Wadsworth, but my favorite has to be how she doesn’t care what the Victorian society thinks when it comes to doing what she loves the most–studying forensics. She goes against her father’s wishes and helps her uncle study corpses and those unfortunate to be the victims of Jack the Ripper. She does accept the help of the infuriatingly handsome Thomas Creswell, but not in a damsel in distress manner. She definitely does not need it. She’s smart and quite capable all on her own. Audrey definitely displays girl power in this book!
Freya from Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
Long May She Read is the last book I read, and while is not one of my most favorite reads, the main character definitely did make it into this list. Freya starts off as a girl only wanting to study science, far away from court, but after a mass murder during the King’s birthday celebration, she suddenly finds herself sitting on the throne. Through trial and error, Freya incredibly grows from someone naive to someone fit to be Queen. Not even her feelings for someone are enough to sway her from her duties and to do what she must to protect her new kingdom. For that, I believe she’s an admirable character.
Zahra from The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
One of my favorite heroines of all times! Zahra is the jinni in this Aladdin retelling, and wow, such an amazing character. Truly. I fell in love with her personality, her greatness. She’s the kind of character I wish to have as a friend, as a mentor. Despite her power, she suffers greatly for those she loves and fails to protect, making her even more human than those who are indeed ‘human’. With that said, I’m keeping my fingers crossed if the author ever decides to write more of Zahra. ♥
Hope from Dead Girls Society by Michelle Krys
Last but not least, I cannot leave without mentioning Hope from Dead Girls Society. Hope is a character to be admired because even though she has cystic fibrosis and every day it’s getting harder for her to breathe, she keeps on going trying to make the best of it. I love how she is patient with her mother who is overprotective of her for she understands that it’s just her mom loving and taking care of her. Most characters in YA literature don’t understand that and they are often pretty harsh on their parents. But not Hope, she’s amazing and most importantly, a fighter.