You is Kind. You is Smart. You is Important. Celebrating Powerful Women in Young Adult Fiction

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Happy International Women's Day! Today we celebrate all women; we celebrate their strength and bravery and kindness; we celebrate the battles they fought - and still fight - in the search of equality. To mark this day I decided to compile a short-list of powerful female characters in young adult fiction.

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games

"Fire is catching!" I am shouting now, determined he will not miss a word of it, "And if we burn, you burn with us!”

Why Katniss? She does start a rebellion that takes down Panem's government. And, in my opinion, Katniss revolutionized the female figure in young adult literature.

No list celebrating powerful women could be completed without Katniss. She volunteers as tribute to save her sister, even if it meant sacrificing her own life. She wins the Games by defying the Capitol. She knows how to use a bow and hunt. Moreover, she becomes the Mockingjay while dealing with PSTD. Katniss is a force to be reckoned with.

Laia from An Ember in the Ashes

“You are full, Laia. Full of life and dark and strength and spirit. You are in our dreams. You will burn, for you are an ember in the ashes.”

Why Laia? She's not your typical heroine.

A lot of readers trash Laia because she's weak and makes bad and irrational decisions. However, that's why I love her. She has lost everyone and her brother is all she has left. Even though she is afraid, she will do everything in her power to save him. She suffers at the hands of the Commander and she is manipulated by the rebels, but Laia never gives up. A girl who goes through hell to save her brother deserves to make this list.

Honourable mention: Helene Aquilla

Penryn from Penryn & the End of Days

"You are nothing but a bird with an attitude. Okay, so you have a few muscles, I’ll grant you that. But you know, a bird is nothing but a barely evolved lizard. That’s what you are.”

Why Penryn? She lives in a world of monsters and scary angels.

Angels descended from the skies and with them the Apocalypse. In new vicious world, Penryn must take care of her crazy mother (who may not be that crazy) and protect her young sister, who is kidnapped by a warrior angel. And, her only companion in a world of flesh-eating monster is an angel whose wings were stolen. Penryn ends up being a brave badass (I apologize for my language) character, who does everything for her family.

Diana and Alia from Wonder Woman: Warbringer

“Sisters in battle, I am shield and blade to you. As I breathe, your enemies will know no sanctuary. While I live, your cause is mine.”

Why Diana and Alia? Perhaps because Diana is the freaking Wonder Woman? Or maybe because Alia is a diamond in the rough? Also, their friendship shows how powerful female friendship can be.

First of all, this book is an ode to strong women. Diana and Alia go on a journey of self-discovery, along with a few other spoiler-ish motives as saving the world from eternal war, and there is nothing their friendship can't defeat.

Honourable mention: Nim. 

Vasilisa from Winternight Series

 “All my life, I have been told ‘go’ and ‘come.’ I am told how I will live, and I am told how I must die. I must be a man’s servant and a mare for his pleasure, or I must hide myself behind walls and surrender my flesh to a cold, silent god. I would walk into the jaws of hell itself, if it were a path of my own choosing. I would rather die tomorrow in the forest than live a hundred years of the life appointed me.”

Why Vasilisa? I think the quote above explains why I chose Vasilisa.

Vasilisa grew up without a mother, who gave up her life so that her daughter could be born. Her stepmother hated her. She became an outcast among her people because she could see all the magical creatures who surrounded their world. However, she never bows down and fights for the right to choose the life she wishes even if it means defying her father's orders.


  1. Wow! Very innovative and thoughtful post!!! I'm going to check out The Bear and the Nightingale.

    1. Thank you. The Bear and the Nigthingale is a magical book. I hope you like the story as much as I did. Happy readings! ;)

  2. I support all of these female characters! This is such a cool post and I'm so glad you did it!

    1. Thank you. These girls deserve all the love.

  3. It's so awesome to have so many strong female characters in books. Great list!

    1. Thank you. It's very empowering. Happy readings, Sam! :)

  4. Beautiful post! I totally agree about Alia and Diana - they are an incredible pair. And I love Katniss, as well.
    I'm hoping to read An Ember in the Ashes soon, too!

  5. Good choices :) when it comes to the Winternight trilogy though, I think I would choose Olga - but I'm basing that off the second book (don't remember if you've read that yet?) Because Olga was the quiet kind of strong - just holding her ground and not letting anyone step on her pride despite what they make her do. I really liked that character!

  6. I have always loved and admired Penryn! She is probably my favorite female YA character of all times (together with Nina from Six of Crows). Penryn is survival-smart and badass and compassionate, she is the best :)