Top 10 Favorite YA Heroines

By Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

This list only includes Young Adult (YA) heroines of books written within this decade (2010-2013) that I’ve enjoyed reading so far. I’m sure there are plenty of other books that ought to make this list. Feel free to offer any recommendations. 

Here’s my top 10 favorite YA heroines list (in no particular order):

1. Courier’s Daughter Series by C.J. Redwine: Rachel Adams

                  Defiance, a book written by C.J. Redwine. Published by Balzer + Bray and sold by HarperCollins Publishers.   Deception book written by C.J. Redwine. Published by Balzer + Bray and sold by HarperCollins Publishers.

This redheaded heroine is supposed to be obedient and well-mannered in this dystopian world where the women are expected to have a male protector at all times. These women are given few rights and privileges. When most girls were playing with dolls, Rachel was training and learning to fight, survive, and hunt in the wild. She’s a feisty warrior who’s courageous, impulsive, and loyal.

2. Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth: Beatrice Prior (AKA Tris)

Divergent written by Veronica Roth. Publisher is Katherine Tegen Books and Sold by HarperCollins Publishers.   Insurgent written by Veronica Roth. Publisher is Katherine Tegen Books and Sold by HarperCollins Publishers.   Allegiant written by Veronica Roth. Publisher is Katherine Tegen Books and Sold by HarperCollins Publishers.

This little lady is defined as someone who doesn’t fit in any of the five factions within her dystopian world. Of course Tris chooses the most dare devil one, the dauntless (or the brave), where she’s trained to jump on/off moving trains and to master self defense and weaponry. She can also shoot stuff with guns, too. Need I say more?

3. Graceling Realm Trilogy by Kristin Cashore: Lady Katsa (Book 1 and 3)

Graceling written by Kristin Cashore. Publisher is HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (September 7, 2009). Sold by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.   Fire written by Kristin Cashore. Publisher is Firebird (October 5, 2009). Sold by Penguin Group (USA) LLC.   Bitterblue written by Kristin Cashore. Publisher is Dial (May 1, 2012). Sold by Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

Imagine a Wonder Woman type of heroine. That’s Katsa. Her grace (or special ability) is survival. She’s so strong she can fight and defeat most men. This trained killer works as her tyrant king uncle’s thug until she defies him, fighting for what she knows is right.

4. His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers: Ismae 

 Grave Mercy written by Robin LaFevers. Publisher is HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 3, 2012). Sold by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.   Dark Triumph written by Robin LaFevers. Publisher is HMH Books for Young Readers (April 2, 2013). Sold by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

What would you do if your parents forced you to marry at the tender age of fourteen? Ismae decided to run away from home and joined a convent for missionary nuns who in secret train young girls to be death’s assassins. Crazy. I know. When under disguise, she’s got style and grace. But when she sees the death’s mark on someone’s body, she has no problem killing them.

5. Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer: Cinder Linh (AKA Cinderella) 

 Cinder written by Marissa Meyer. Publisher is Feiwel & Friends (January 3, 2012). Sold by: Macmillan.   Scarlet written by Marissa Meyer. Publisher is Feiwel & Friends (February 5, 2013). Sold by Macmillan.   Cress written by Marissa Meyer. Publisher is Feiwel & Friends (release date: February 4, 2014). Sold by Macmillan.

Before she figured out how to use her “special” powers, Cinder was a strong character who fought for what she believed was the right thing to do. I love the fact that she’s a mechanic and a cyborg! Trust me. You don’t want to make this futuristic character mad. She’s not afraid to get down and dirty. Overall, she’s a good retelling of a fairytale character who’s not your stereotypical Disney princess.

6. MILA 2.0 Series by Debra Driza: Mila

MILA 2.0 written by Debra Driza. Publisher is Katherine Tegen Books (March 12, 2013). Sold by HarperCollins Publishers.   MILA 2.0: Renegade written by Debra Driza. Release date is in 2014.

Mila is a typical sixteen-year-old girl—at least she thinks she’s ordinary until she’s hurt in an accident, which reveals that she’s something more—an android disguised to look like a teen girl. While she may have feelings, thoughts, and basic human biological needs, her robotic defense mode allow her to track and attack any threat in her way. She even has a built-in mechanism that flashes red in her mind with the words “target down.”

7. Poison by Bridget Zinn (1978-2011): Kyra

Poison written by Bridget Zinn. Publisher is Disney Hyperion (March 12, 2013). Sold by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Meet Master Potioner, Kyra, AKA Princess Killer/ Poison Assassin. She’s one tough girl trained at the Potions Academy, who’s not afraid of assassinating her enemies—she’s even willing to kill her best friend! Oh and there’s more to this poison specialist than meets the eye. I recommend this one for anyone who enjoys fairytale-like stories with strong female characters. This is not your traditional princess story.

8. Reboot Series by Amy Tintera: Wren Connolly

Reboot written by Amy Tintera. Publisher is HarperTeen (May 7, 2013). Sold by HarperCollins Publishers.

After being shot to death, Wren stayed dead for 178 minutes and came back as a zombie/robot known as a reboot. The longer they stayed dead as humans, the stronger their powers become as reboots. Since Wren holds the record for being dead, she’s feared as being a ruthless weapon.

9. The Fifth Wave Series by Rick Yancey: Cassiopeia (AKA Cassie)

The 5th Wave written by Rick Yancey. Publisher is Putnam Juvenile (May 7, 2013). Sold by Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

Cassie’s a heroine who learned karate before the first wave of alien invasion. Once the waves began, Cassie’s father taught her how to survive against the enemy and the wilderness. He teaches her that it’s a dog-eat-dog world, fight to the death or be killed.

10. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins: Katniss Everdeen

The Hunger Games written by Suzanne Collins. Publisher is Scholastic Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 2009). Sold by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire written by Suzanne Collins. Publisher is Scholastic Press; Reprint edition (June 3, 2010). Sold by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay written by Suzanne Collins. Publisher is Scholastic Press; 1st edition (August 24, 2010). Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

In order to save her little sister, Katniss volunteers to compete as a contender in a deadly realty TV show game set in a dystopian society. Not only can she hunt, but also she has excellent aim with the bow and arrow. Although she’s not charismatic, she’s a strong rebel fighter.  

So that’s my top 10 list. What’s yours? If you have any better suggestions, please mention them in the comments section below. I’m always looking for more exciting heroine characters to read about.

Next month, I will release a giveaway for signed YA hardcover books. Stay tuned and as Katniss would say, “may the odds be ever in your favor!”

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One Response to “Top 10 Favorite YA Heroines”

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