1. Darla from Ashfall and Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin
Why: Because she is strong, fearless, and flawed. But above all, she is memorable. I have a tough time remembering characters, and I will admit I didn’t exactly warm all that much to Darla in Ashfall. But in Ashen Winter, I became a huge fan of hers. She is pretty much the reason that Alex is still alive. Feel free to disagree with me, but Alex is pretty much a $*@^ up.
2. Saba from Blood Red Road and Rebel Heart by Moira Young
Why: Saba is not perfect. In fact, she makes quite a few mistakes. But she owns them. She knows when she has screwed up. She’s a fighter. She fights for her friends and family even when they are treating her like crap. But Saba is flawed. She’s a bit selfish, but part of the reason I love her so much is because she truly feels like a real person. She constantly has an inner battle going on and her voice is utterly realistic to me.
3. Kami from Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Why: I am mostly a fan of Kami’s humor and personality. I like her no nonsense attitude and her ability to call bullshit when she sees it. She’s never afraid to speak her mind, and as a YA heroine she is an unusual one. Not a Mary Sue, not pining over a boy to unspeakable levels, and definitely not needing to be rescued by a man, she is one that stands out way more than almost any other protagonist I have read lately. Kami fits the title of bad-ass to completion.
4. Suzume from Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott
Why: To answer this one, I am just going to take a quote from the review I wrote earlier this year. “She was flawed like we all are, for one. She was beautiful, determined, and highly intelligent. She was maddening at times and I wanted to choke her for the bad decisions she was making. The thing is though, even though they were terrible decisions, I can understand her motivation and why she was making them. Her life was tragic. Some very bad things happened to her and her family, and she would not rest until she was able to get revenge on the person that did this to them–even if she had to sacrifice true love to do it.”
5. Katniss from The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Why: Ummm…Duh? Do I really need to explain this one? Katniss’ kick-assness is epic. And yes, I know that is not a word. I will admit that Katniss has the potential to get a little whiny and she’s a little too much of a martyr for me, but she’s still pretty much the most awesome heroine out there besides my next one.
6. Hermoine from the Harry Potter Series
Why: Again, this is pretty self-explanatory. I’m not gonna go off on a rant about how awesome Hermione is or how I am sure she will be on almost every list this week, but I will say how much I admire her for being intelligent, nerdy (this is a good thing), and a bad-ass all at the same time. She is the heroine that makes me feel proud to be a female. And I wish all female characters were as special as her. But they aren’t. Because no one writes like JK Rowling.
7. Trella from Inside Out and Outside In by Maria V. Snyder
Why: I’ll admit I haven’t read Outside In yet, but it’s coming up in my tbr pile and I can’t wait to get to it. But that is beside the point. I only needed to read book one of this duology to know how much I love Trella. She’s tough, she’s a fighter, and she is never afraid to fight for what is right. She’s a strong heroine but she’s also introverted and perhaps that is why I related to her character so much. Of all dystopian heroines, I think I would react to my world ending a lot like Trella did. I can’t wait to meet up with her again shortly.
8. Chiyo/Sayuri from Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Why: Often a book that causes debate amongst my peers and I, for me, Memoirs of a Geisha is a book that truly changed my life. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the main one is because of the protagonist Sayuri. I fell for her plight completely and I have never been drawn into a book quite like I was drawn into this one. I truly felt as if I was standing next to Sayuri as she fought back against the society she was expected to conform to. I watched her grow, make decisions (good and bad), and finally change her life for the better. Her story and character resonated with me in a way that no other has since.
9. Mac from the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning
Why: It’s hard not to like Mac. Not every reader does, but for me, I liked Mac because I was a fan of her personality, but mostly because she is fearless and unwilling to quit fighting no matter what situation she faces. Mac goes through a hell of a lot in this series, so much in fact, that most people would break down and probably end up on a funny farm. But not Mac. Never Mac. Because she is possible one of the most determined-to-succeed characters I have ever come across in fiction.
10. Yelena from the Study Series by Maria V. Snyder
Why: Another Snyder series? Are you surprised? Yelena is sneaky and she spends a lot of time in this book plotting. I love it. She is determined, passionate, and strong. She’s courageous and I love how she interacts with the world around her. But mostly, I love how she loves. Her friends, her family, and Valek. Her heart is huge and no matter what she goes through, there is always there for the ones she cares for.