I don’t really have a preference for what gender characters I like to read, but I do love seeing female characters being written well. That’s something that is increasingly more common these days and it makes me so happy to see because there’s so much more to female characters than just pretty girls who are there to benefit male protagonists. I’m in favour of female characters of all types: girls who kick ass, girls who don’t, girls who are heroes, girls who are villains, trans girls, cis girls, just girl characters are awesome. So, to show my love of well-written girls, here are some books that feature well-written girl characters!
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – Blue Sargent is everything I want to be in life. She’s fierce and knows her worth, but she’s also kind and knows how to get things done. Plus, she has to deal with not only four boys, but a whole family of psychics too. That can’t be easy, so I really admire her for that. Also, she gets to hang around Gansey, which I am mega jealous of because I love Gansey.
Fallout by Gwenda Bond – Who’s the protagonist of this novel? LOIS. FREAKING. LANE. A.K.A. my absolute life hero who I love and treasure more than anything else ever. If you think that Lois is nothing more than just a damsel in distress who just sits around waiting for Superman to save her, this book will prove you 100% wrong (so will nearly every piece of Superman media released after the 1960s). The reason why I love Lois so much is that from the beginning she’s been a fierce no-nonsense woman who fights tooth and nail to uncover the truth. She’s hard-headed and tough, she always stands up for what she believes in, but ultimately, she deeply cares for other people and hates bullies. In this book, that definitely shines through.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – I loved both of the protagonists in this book, but I especially loved Dimple. I can’t comment very much on Desi culture and homelife because I’m white, but I love how Dimple is very much an example of a modern Indian-American girl. She understands her mother’s concerns for her, but at the same time shows that there is so much more to a woman’s life than looking pretty in order to find a good husband. Dimple is intelligent, strong, knows what she wants in life and is determined to get it.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – I read this book a couple of weeks ago so it’s really fresh in my mind and ohmygod I loved it 😍 Starr is definitely one of the best characters I’ve read and I loved her personality. Because Angie Thomas herself is black, Starr doesn’t play to the “sassy black girl” stereotype which is acknowledged in the book. Despite the awful experience that Starr has at the beginning of the book, she remains strong throughout and I was constantly cheering for her, especially when casual racism is thrown into her face at school. She stands up for not just herself, but people like her and strongly advocates for black people to have justice, which is incredibly important both in fiction and in the real world.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer – Most of the girl protagonists are strong in the Lunar Chronicles but my mind immediately goes to Cinder. Cinder is pretty much abused by her stepmother and one of her stepsisters but is still strong enough to make steps towards leaving the awful household that she has had to live in. She knows her worth and is never fully submissive towards Adri, which would be expected in a Cinderella retelling.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – I feel compelled to mention that “strong female protagonist” does not necessarily mean “a girl who kicks ass, hides her emotions, and talks back to people”. That’s the Joss Whedon definition of a strong woman and it needs to go away. To me, Lara Jean is a strong character because she’s written so realistic. Some girls rely on their emotions and like “girly” things like clothes and baking sweets, and that doesn’t make them any less strong than girls who don’t show emotions outwards and prefer “boyish” things.
Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky – If there’s one kind of character I love, it’s complicated characters because they’re so much more realistic and two-dimensional to me. Dominique is a character that can be difficult to like because of her complexities, but to me that’s what makes her such a well-written character. She has her bad qualities but she also has her good, just like a real person. There’s no such thing as a perfect character, and even if there was, they wouldn’t be a very exciting one.
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger – I have a love/hate relationship with cynical characters. However, with Biana, it’s mostly love. Like Dominique, Bianca is also a complicated character who can be difficult to like, but again, that’s what makes her strong and well-written. Like I’d said, a strong female character isn’t just a woman who kicks asses, a strong female character can be just a regular person with regular feelings.
Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett – Hey, look! Another regular person with regular feelings. What I love about Rose in this book is that she has every good reason to feel the way that she does, even though everyone else thinks she’s just being a jerk. I was horrendously bullied when I was in school so I could relate to her so much when I first read this novel.
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo – Yes, I know this book hasn’t been released yet and I haven’t read it but this is my list and I’m allowed to cheat my own self-imposed rules because it’s Wonder Woman. Yes. [SINGS 1970’S WONDER WOMAN THEME SONG WHILE TWIRLING IN CIRCLES]