As always I’m fashionably late to the celebrations, but Happy International Women’s Day & Women’s History Month! What better way to celebrate IWD than with a rundown of some of the most epic YA heroines, I ask you? That was a rhetorical question: There is no better way. Let’s get this thing going, shall we?
Viola Eade, Chaos Walking Triology
Nope, I’m not getting off of the Chaos Walking bandwagon anytime soon, I’m afraid. At 13 years old, Viola is made of tougher stuff than most women double her age (including me, I have no probs admitting it). She’s thoughtful, intuitive and she never ever gives up. She’s also admirable to me because she often makes mistakes, but she always owns up to them. It takes a lot to be honest with other people, but much more courage to be honest with yourself.
Hermione Granger, Harry Potter
BEFORE YOU SAY ANYTHING – I KNOW. I know that Hermione is about the most obvious choice for a list of this kind other than Katniss Everdeen. HP is full of brilliant women and I could have quite happily put together a similar post just about those characters but for me, Hermione is the ultimate role model. Lets be honest: Harry and Ron never would have never lived past the age of 12 (or worse: been expelled) if it wasn’t for Hermione. From the minute she appears in the books, she’s brave, clever, a loyal friend and most importantly: never afraid to be herself, even if that means being ‘uncool’. Not bad for a supporting character, huh?
Matilda Wormwood, Matilda
Matilda is, in my opinion, one of Roald Dahl’s most enduring characters. She’s also a hella good practical joker, ginormous bookworm and has the power of telekinesis (but not in a creepy Carrie kinda way) – if those aren’t things to aspire to then I don’t want to live in this world anymore, tbh. She consistently feels out of place, but she never loses her sense of humour or spirit. Matilda proves to us all that you’re never too young to stand up for yourself, something I still find hard to do in my twenties.
“Matilda said, “Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable…”
― Roald Dahl,
Lyra Belacqua, His Dark Materials Trilogy
Lyra is a completely standalone character in children’s fiction: she isn’t moral, funny or even particularly likeable at many points in the books. However, what Lyra does prove is that girls should never have to be defined by their cookie-cutter qualities, girlishness, charm, looks or as a love interest. We are all different, and so much better off for it. Her single-minded nature and sense of determination makes her a compelling heroine for young girls and the rest of us slightly older ones…
Violet Baudelaire, A Series of Unfortunate Events
Sister, protector, inventor, sharp-minded engineer: Viola is the perfect YA role model for a world that always tells women what they can and can’t be. Plus, she just bloody well gets on with stuff, even if that stuff happens to be a crazy fake Count following you around for a number of years in order to murder you and your siblings. And you thought you had problems, right?!
“To those who hadn’t been around Violet long, nothing would have seemed unusual, but those who knew her well knew that when she tied her hair up in a ribbon to keep it out of her eyes, it meant that the gears and levers of her inventing brain were whirring at top speed.”
― Lemony Snicket,
Keep doing it for yourselves, sisters! 👊