March, on the other hand, is Women's History Month, so I thought I'd share with you my Top Five YA Heroines! The ladies mentioned here are just a small selection of some of my favourite heroines of all time, but I decided to only share with you my favourite heroines from YA today, otherwise this list would be huge!
So, in no particular order, here are a selection of my favourite heroines!
from The Lunar Chronicles
by Marissa Meyer
I love all the heroines on this list dearly, but if my life depended on picking an absolute favourite then right now it would be Cinder.
Going into this series I never expected to love it as much as I do - in fact now it's one of my favourite series, up there with Harry Potter and The Hunger Games - and I certainly never expected to love Cinder as much as I do. I love my fairy tales, and I love fairy tale retellings, but I never really had strong feelings either way when it came to Cinderella. Sure I felt sorry for her, but I just couldn't comprehend why she would let her stepmother and stepsisters treat her the way that they did, and I was always baffled that no one else in the kingdom shared her shoe size.
For me Marissa Meyer's take on the fairy tale gave Cinderella the personality I'd always wanted her to have when I was a little girl. Cinder is a gorgeous lead character. I love that she hasn't been interpreted as this stunningly beautiful young girl, but as a growing teenager who is incredibly independent but still full of so much fear. She feels like a real girl, and I love that she's a cyborg.
I just love her.
from The Hunger Games trilogy
by Suzanne Collins
Forget Team Peeta vs. Team Gale, I'm a proud member of Team Katniss!
If there's one thing I hate about The Hunger Games franchise, it's the way the media has tried to turn it into more of a love triangle than a statement about the sacrifices that come hand in hand with war. A lot of people don't seem to realise that fans of the books, or the films, aren't fans because they're rooting for Peeta or Gale to 'win', but because they're rooting for Katniss.
She's a stunning character. She's fantastically flawed, something most of us can relate to, and fiercely brave. And yet even though she goes through so much, even though she kills others, even though she is permanantly changed by what she sees, everything she does comes from a place of love. Like I said, forget Team Peeta or Team Gale, the love I'm most fond of in this trilogy is the love between Katniss and Prim.
I could write an entire post about this woman - maybe one day I will! - and she will always be one of my favourite heroines.
from the Dust Lands trilogy
by Moira Young
I love Saba because she's angry. There's something deliciously raw and honest about her that I absolutely adored when I read Blood Red Road last year.
One of the things I love most about her is just how vulnerable she is underneath the layers of strength she's built up around herself. Throughout Blood Red Road she is constantly changing; in searching for her brother she ends up finding herself, too, and realises that she's a person worthy of account with or without her brother beside her.
I love her, and I can't wait to read the rest of her story. I haven't read Rebel Heart yet; I'm waiting until the release of Raging Star so I can marathon the rest of the trilogy!
from the Harry Potter series
by J. K. Rowling
One of the ladies from Harry Potter just had to be on this list, and honestly I had a hard time choosing only one of them. I love Hermione, Ginny and Luna, all in different ways, but there's always been a special place in my heart for Tonks, and I don't think she gets enough credit as a character.
Perhaps she doesn't belong on a YA Heroine list, but when we first meet her in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix she's only around 22 years old. She might not be a teenager, but she's hardly old either.
Although we don't see as much of her, I think Tonks is just as much of a role model as the other HP ladies. Tonks was born with a gift that means she can change her appearance, and rather than make herself ridiculously thin or stunningly beautiful, she gives herself short, bright pink hair, and even uses her gift to give herself a pig's nose or a duck's beak to entertain her friends. She has a gift a lot of insecure young girls, and boys, would kill for, and she uses it to accentuate her own individuality, rather than change her body to meet the expectations society and the media place upon young girls and women. That, in my opinion, makes her a wonderful role model.
Not to mention her relationship with Lupin, a man who is stigmatised for what he is, and who she falls in love with anyway because she literally doesn't care. And if that's not enough she also has a brilliant sense of humour.
Tonks was always one of my favourites, and I think she needs more love than she gets!
from The Old Kingdom trilogy
by Garth Nix
I think anyone who, like me, became familiar with The Old Kingdom trilogy (also known as the Abhorsen trilogy) during adolescence felt some form of kinship with Lirael.
The poor girl was desperate to be a seer, desperate to be like the other girls around her, but her name was never called. Add to that that she even looks different from everyone else, and severely feels that this matters, and you have a heroine young people from all over the world can relate to.
What I love most about Lirael is that she's a real champion for friendship and independence. She doesn't have a love interest, though I think there's the beginning of something hinted at between her and Nicholas Sayre later in the series, and in fact the idea of romance appears to make her uncomfortable. She even rebukes Sameth's attempts at flirtation (which is for the best, considering he later turns out to be her nephew) and I appreciate that Nix didn't decide to make her have a sudden change of heart in which she realised romance is wonderful. She's still finding herself and she enjoys her independence, and I don't think we see enough of this in YA.
Really the main love story in Lirael is the friendship that grows between Lirael and the 'Disreputable Dog', who also happens to be one of my favourite sidekicks in YA. The two of them make a wonderful duo, and the Disreputable Dog becomes the kind of mentor Lirael always needed.
I love Lirael, and I think I might have to reread this trilogy some time this year.
So there's my list! Who would be on yours?