Saturday, 4 July 2009

My Top YA Girls

Last weekend I posted my top 5 YA boys after reading the posts of some of my fave blogging gal pals and Trish Doller. In the interest of being equal, here are my favourite girlies. Note - I will only choose one character from an author's accumulative work.

Big 5
1. Francesca (Melina Marchetta - Saving Francesca)
I cannot pretend there aren't similarities between myself and Francesca. Unfortunately one of those commonalities isn't Will Trombal but my mother suffered severe depression during my teen years and I usually have argy-bargy interchanges with boys I like. Francesca is a strong, Australian protagonist who managed to make me relate to her intensely as she learnt what she was really made of. It helps that she's also a big Colin Firth (Pride and Prejudice specifically) and Buffy fan, she's got great taste. Most of all, I'd like to be her friend.

2. DJ Schwenk (Catherine Gilbert Murdock - Dairy Queen series)
What's not to love? She challenges gender stereotypes without being a cliche. She plays football. She runs her parents' farm. Most importantly, she doesn't whine or whinge. DJ sucks it up and keeps on keeping on which is enormously refreshing in YAverse. If only she would ditch Brian...

3. Jo March (Louisa May Alcott - Little Woman)
Jo is everything I wanted to be as a child. It still disappoints me greatly that she ended up with Professor Bhaer but it doesn't diminish her in my eyes. She was a writer with a wild imagination and I wanted both of those things. I always wanted to be bold like her...I think I am getting there :)

4. Alanna of Trebond (Tamora Pierce - Song of the Lioness Series)
Alanna was my entry into fantasy. Alanna was strong, intelligent, incredibly diligent, loyal, gifted and a worthy friend. She also crossdressed (which was great); I learnt everything there was to know about chest binding from her. She also had a cat, which I will forgive her for. Even better, she was stubborn beyond belief and had a fiery temper - I would cackle mirthlessly when she'd erupt.

5. Riley (Simmone Howell - Everything Beautiful)
Riley doesn't filter and I love her for it. She's a big girl with a big mouth who does everything a teen isn't supposed to do. Her journey to find herself is real, there are no cliches here. She's unique and unapologetic. Love her.

Ring In - Kurt (Melissa Walker - Violet in Private)
He's beyond a category but I wanted to include him, having forgotten to in the previous list. I love him. I wrote an email to Melissa immediately after finishing the novel saying how much I loved him. Yes, it's fangirl bad. He's my Edward, equally as shiny, nowhere near as pale. Probably as likely to bite :P

Girl Grievances
1. Bella (Stephenie Meyer - Twilight)
Two things bug me - 1) Her dad lived alone for fifteen years and yet she needed to look after him? Tell Charlie to get off his butt and cook something, anything. 2) Why would you curl up next to a cold, marble-like body in your sleep? Doesn't make sense. Obviously there are other glaring reasons but mine are petty.

2. Laurel (Aprilynne Pike - Wings)
Not her in particular but the whole 'woe is me' cliche - I am perfect and beautiful.

3. Ginny (Maureen Johnson - 13 Little Blue Envelopes)
I thought Ginny was a complete dunderhead for not breaking her promise to her aunt. She endangered herself with her stubborness and didn't really possess much of a spark. (Thankfully I am very much enjoying the girls in Suite Scarlett, even little Marlene).

4. Daisy (Meg Rosoff - How I Live Now)
Great book but I detested the protagonist.

5. Sister Tabitha (Carrie Ryan - The Forest of Hands and Teeth)
She's not a girl but she's female and evil so she'll do. The lady makes my blood boil which is a testament to great writing but I still loathe her.

What about you? Who do you love and loathe in terms of the females in YA?


Michelle B. said...

Jo and Alanna! I love both of those female characters. :) Alanna was my hero when I was 15.

And ugh, Bella would also be at the top of my "Girl Grievances" list.

Mik said...

Boo to Bella. She's just so whiny and Edward-obsessed. I about killed her myself in New Moon. (because that's totally possible...)

Mik @ I am Nonfiction

Steph Su said...

Eeeee Francesca and DJ! If only there were Wills or Brians in your life... *sigh*

lib_idol said...

I wasn't a huge fan of Riley at first - she was so bratty and selfish that I was worried that it was going to turn into one of *those* YA novels... of course, as I learned more about her, and through the way she finds her "redemption", I definitely warmed up to her.

I don't think I could possibly narrow it down to five. However, I recently read The Hunger Games, and the character of Katniss Everdeen stuck with me. I'm looking forward to seeing what she does in the next book...

lib_idol said...

Oh, oh, and Leslie Burke from Bridge to Terabithia. But then again, she was probably my first ever YA literary crush...

Trish said...

I love 13 Little Blue Envelopes, but I have to admit that Ginny is not one of my favorite characters either. She never felt like an active participant in the quest, but rather pushed along by people and circumstances. She let things happen, but never MADE things happen.

Thao said...

I only know Francesca from your list and I love her so muchhhh. I'm glad I'll have a chance to meet with DJ soon too.

Anonymous said...

what did you hate about daisy?? (jus' askin') :)

ps- yay for riley!

Holly said...

Yes, yes, yes to Katniss, a million times yes. Just tucking into the sequel Catching Fire and it's nice to see she's lost none of her amazingness.

And Dru, from Strange Angels. She does Tai Chi, knows how to tell the difference between a ghost and a poltergeist, and just blew her zombie dad's brains out with handgun. Nice to see a heroine in the supernatural genre who's not only mouthy but kicks ass.

KristynReading said...

Jatta , from the fantasy Jatta, is an unsettling heroine I just can’t make up my mind about. She’s a werewolf. But if you’re looking for FEISY, she’s not it. I’ll scream if I have to meet another FEISTY heroine.
Jatta’s the opposite. She starts out naïve and painfully shy. Her only girlfriend bosses her around and she has this little-sister-crush on her hunky brother. Then the werewolf kicks in, and suddenly she’s even less popular. You watch her grow. She’d creative and smart and determined, but at no point does she stop being raw and fragile. Frets she’ll murder hunky brother. Almost does. Gets betrothed to a freaky sadist. Then things really get bad for her. I like her, I even have some sympathy for her werewolf. I’m just used to heroines achieving psychic nirvana by the last chapter. This is more real, it takes some adjusting to.

mare-bear said...

Have to say, I loved Bella -- thought she was a solid girl. I'm currently a little annoyed with Gemma from A Great and Terrible Beauty. She has some great moments, but often lets her friends boss her around too much.

Anonymous said...

Man, Bella has to be one of my least favourite female characters ever. So two dimensional and blah. She was such a pushover. I have to admit that I didn't have much of a problem with her at the beginning but as the series progressed, she really began to get to me.