Saturday, 26 June 2010

Top 10 Female Protagonists in Australian YA

The very lovely and very talented Sandy Fussell threw down a challenge on Facebook for me this evening. I needed to devise a list containing ten female protagonists in OzYA (Australian YA). Prompted by the post at CMIS' Fiction Focus Website, she suspected I would be able to come up with a page worth. I tried.

Reading their list I knew immediately that I shared some of their choices (* indicate ones that are shared). I hadn't read some of their sources and I was also shocked by some of their snubs. And then I read their criteria again, top ten female protagonists in recent years. Recent meaning the past two years and the job gets significantly harder (and explains why Melina Marchetta failed to make the list).

Here are my choices:

Bo - Vulture’s Gate (Kirsty Murray)*
Bo is one of the few remaining females left populating a dystopian Australia. She's such a complex and compelling character that it is difficult to finish Vulture's Gate and not have a strong impression remain. She gives her trust easily but she's tough as nails. She's dynamic, intriguing and something new in the OZYA landscape. Review

Riley - Everything Beautiful (Simmone Howell)*
To say I am still dark that this book failed to receive any CBCA recognition would be an understatement. Challenging female protagonists don't seem to be in the judging wheelhouse, luckily Riley is in mine. Prickly, angry, sexually assertive Riley carries her power and heart around like a linebacker. She feisty and vulnerable and the kind of character that reflects what teens are instead of what we'd like them to be. Review

Gemma - Stolen (Lucy Christopher)
How about we grab a girl toss her into the outback with an Australian captor and see how that spins? There so much inner turmoil churning inside of Gemma as she begins to empathise with Ty and yet attempt to flee. She's a character grows as she is shackled and that is an unbelievably unsettling and intriguing growth to observe. Review

Sophie - A Brief History of Montmaray (Michelle Cooper)*
Sophie, Sophie, Sophie is a curious case as she's just Sophie. She's not special or dynamic, she's ordinary. An ordinary girl stuck on an island in the middle of world war two with a crush on an ass and a mystery swirling around her. She's also a reader, something I can get behind :) Review.

Hilda - Hollywood Ending (Kathy Charles)
She's a death hag dealing with her own grief and making friends with a crotchety old dude....nuff said. Review

Darcy - Finding Darcy (Sue Lawson)
The combination of Darcy dealing with her "interesting" family, dealing with the school bully and researching her grandfather's death made for a fascinating read but without this authentic and shaded protagonist none of it would work. Review.

Graceful - Bloodflower (Christine Hinwood)
She's such a dour, depressing sack of nothingness at the beginning and like a butterfly she emerges as an amazingly strong, decisive woman. She's infuriatingly stubborn and it is fantastic. Review

Ava in Pink (Lili Wilkinson)*
Breaking free of the confines of expectation, this lovely lady seeks to embrace pink and her own sexual identity amidst the confusion of teen-dom. Ava's proactive in a way that I love seeing in YA, specially that originating from Australia (and the Rocky Horror mentions didn't hurt either). Review.

Carly in Raw Blue (Kirsty Eagar)
Carly is undoubtedly one of the most damaged and emotionally stunted characters I have had the pleasure (and pain) of meeting. Her life is all about the rigid confines of her cafe adn the freedom of the waves. Carly is a character that makes you ache. Review

Amy - Posse (Kate Welshman)
The second character definite in her sexual identity as a lesbian, Amy knows who she is and that's that. Despite the storm that is her home life (populated by man hating shrews) and the school camp where the the truth is a fluid. Strong, yet vulnerable, Amy remains a fighter throughout. Review

What would you add to the list?


Audrey (holes In My brain) said...

when i saw the title i immediately thought melina marchettas books :P i feel bad i havne't read any of these! haha, i probably should though, those descriptions sound really cool. nice post!

Anonymous said...

I'd have to add Ellie from the tomorrow series! She was awesome!

Nomes said...

I really cant go past Ellis from Tomorrow when the war began

also, LYDIA!!!!!! from Jaclyn Moriarty's books. And Emily isnt far behind. These tow girls are so awesome I think they must be real...

Unknown said...

Audrey, here's what Melina Marchetta said about 'Bloodflower':

‘I can’t tell you how much I loved this novel. I cried through the whole of the last chapter from the sheer beauty of these characters and their world. It may have a cast of thousands, but I’m in love with all of them.’

Excuse me for putting my Editor Selling Books hat on, but this is one of my BABIES and I am so truly truly passionate about Christine's writing, so - yaaay, Melina!

Unknown said...

ps, yaaaaay Persnickety Snark AND YAAAY, CHRISTINE, too! xe