Best Kick-Ass Female Characters From YA and Children's Fantasy and Science Fiction

A list for voting for the best kick-ass female characters in YA and children's fantasy and science fiction books.

When adding books, please make sure they are in YA or children fantasy or science fiction. Books marketed to adults and non-fantasy/science fiction books will be removed.
201

by
4.23 avg rating — 16,990 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
202

by
3.99 avg rating — 54,304 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
203

by
3.69 avg rating — 484,686 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
204

by
3.96 avg rating — 22,043 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
205

by
4.15 avg rating — 170 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
206

by
4.30 avg rating — 432 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
207

by
4.44 avg rating — 64 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
208

by
3.81 avg rating — 6,352 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
209

by
3.89 avg rating — 167,511 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
210

by
3.81 avg rating — 56,172 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
211

by
3.93 avg rating — 207,122 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
212

by
4.05 avg rating — 5,095 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
213

by
3.93 avg rating — 139,543 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
214

by
3.98 avg rating — 91,813 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
215

by
4.31 avg rating — 296,000 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
216

by
4.04 avg rating — 29,319 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
217

by
3.59 avg rating — 70,655 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
218

by
4.05 avg rating — 57,553 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
219

by
3.92 avg rating — 88,334 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
220

by
3.88 avg rating — 1,415 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
221

by
4.39 avg rating — 38 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
222

by
3.64 avg rating — 606,066 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
223

by
4.07 avg rating — 11,147 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
224

by
3.86 avg rating — 5,640 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
225

by
3.97 avg rating — 16,803 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
226

by
4.34 avg rating — 32,466 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
227

by
3.83 avg rating — 12,293 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
228

by
3.81 avg rating — 9,354 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
229

by
3.97 avg rating — 19,250 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
230

by
4.07 avg rating — 20,925 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
231

by
4.50 avg rating — 467,794 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
232

by
4.06 avg rating — 117,238 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
233

by
4.32 avg rating — 1,740 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
234

by
4.07 avg rating — 70,411 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
235

by
4.25 avg rating — 79 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
235

by
4.05 avg rating — 38,174 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
237

by
3.89 avg rating — 3,919 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
238

by
4.40 avg rating — 262 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
239

by
4.12 avg rating — 29,144 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
240

by
4.50 avg rating — 148,886 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
241

by
4.20 avg rating — 112,335 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
242

by
3.73 avg rating — 2,231 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
243

by
4.11 avg rating — 6,836 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
244

by
4.56 avg rating — 101,524 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
245

by
4.15 avg rating — 18,179 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
246

by
4.14 avg rating — 232,927 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
247

by
3.85 avg rating — 14,636 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
248

by
4.75 avg rating — 36 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
249

by
4.59 avg rating — 220,556 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
250

by
4.47 avg rating — 179 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
251

by
3.55 avg rating — 6,267 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
252

by
3.96 avg rating — 14,725 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
253

by
4.28 avg rating — 9,696 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
254

by
4.02 avg rating — 47 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
255

by
3.99 avg rating — 143 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
256

by
4.12 avg rating — 83,425 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
257

by
3.97 avg rating — 18,394 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
258

by
4.09 avg rating — 28,899 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
259

by
4.07 avg rating — 27,280 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
260

by
4.09 avg rating — 6,885 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
261

by
3.64 avg rating — 15,942 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
262

by
3.76 avg rating — 63,483 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
263

by
4.62 avg rating — 28,445 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
264

by
4.29 avg rating — 141,666 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
265

by
4.20 avg rating — 11,662 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
266

by
3.67 avg rating — 1,075 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
267

by
3.99 avg rating — 249 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
268

by
3.72 avg rating — 3,041 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
269

by
3.82 avg rating — 4,976 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
270

by
3.91 avg rating — 7,553 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
271

by
3.96 avg rating — 9,577 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
272

by
3.97 avg rating — 18,729 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
273

by
3.89 avg rating — 16,728 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
274

by
3.83 avg rating — 109,124 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
275

by
3.79 avg rating — 6,015 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
276

by
3.89 avg rating — 93,159 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
277

by
3.77 avg rating — 13,748 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
278

by
4.12 avg rating — 73,165 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
279

by
4.32 avg rating — 407 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
279

by
4.43 avg rating — 56 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
279

by
it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 12 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
282

by
4.10 avg rating — 940 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
283

by
4.22 avg rating — 137,324 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
284

by
3.80 avg rating — 37,991 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
285

by
4.07 avg rating — 30,476 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
286

by
3.92 avg rating — 79,221 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
287

by
4.54 avg rating — 149,538 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
288

by
4.16 avg rating — 58,854 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
289

by
4.18 avg rating — 10,204 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
290

by
3.82 avg rating — 7,811 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
291

by
4.16 avg rating — 94,679 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
292

by
4.35 avg rating — 29,011 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
293

by
3.98 avg rating — 17,799 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
294

by
4.18 avg rating — 29,424 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
295

by
4.08 avg rating — 181,293 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
296

by
3.96 avg rating — 105,204 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
297

by
3.56 avg rating — 3,571,723 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
298

by
3.98 avg rating — 90,247 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
299

by
4.22 avg rating — 78 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
300

by
3.71 avg rating — 5,911 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
flag this list (?)
2,164 books · 7,459 voters · list created June 29th, 2008 by Jennifer (votes) .
523 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Jennifer 1854 books
50 friends
Caitlín 1525 books
87 friends
Agata 726 books
62 friends
Heather 1534 books
37 friends
Haley 2870 books
42 friends
elissa 1780 books
324 friends
Sarah 352 books
24 friends
Rita 3153 books
41 friends

More voters…


Comments <span class="mediumText">(showing 57-106)</span>





message 106: by Tate (new)

Tate Yay!


message 105: by Seth (last edited Aug 10, 2008 06:30PM) (new)

Seth Hey, this is a really, really great list idea and I love the votes so far. Some of them are for books that are most definitely *not* YA, however (for example, Kushiel's Dart does have a kick-ass female protag, but she's a sexual submissive who sleeps her way through the more sexually perverse ends of the her kingdom, in sometimes-explicit scenes, to spy on nobles).

Any librarian can remove them, but it seems worth discussing first. Any opinions?

The ones I'd recommend removing as of 20080810:

- Kushiel's, for the above-mentioned reasons. Not shelved as YA and many/most readers/parents/librarians wouldn't want it to be.

- Mists of Avalon. Great book and protag, but not shelved as YA anywhere. Might be acceptable, though, since the content is within the YA range for today's students (one slightly explicit sex scene, but that's all that comes to mind as possibly objectionable).

- Weetzie Bat. Okay, I'd love for this one to stay (it's a favorite), but it isn't fantasy.

- Poison Study. Nothing from Luna (the original publisher) is intended for YA--it's Harlequin's fantasy imprint. I would certainly give this to a tween to read*, but I wouldn't call it YA. (It's a great book, though)

- Equal Rites. Not necessarily worth removing, since he didn't have a YA line going at the time, but it's part of the main (not-YA) Discworld series, not the newer YA spin-offs (Maurice and his educated rodents and the Tiffany Aching books)

There are idiots out there who would take a book's presence on a list like that as evidence that it's appropriate for some particular reader, and I'd hate to put the kid through dealing with their adult when they discover what was in the book. I'd love them to read these books, but not to get in trouble over it.


* I'm hard-pressed to think of what I wouldn't give a tween to read, so maybe I'm not the best judge of that side of things.


message 104: by Seth (new)

Seth Okay, I'm going to remove Kushiel's Dart.

It was place #29 and had 4 votes:
T ranked it 3/5 with the comment: phedre!
Otto ranked it 4/6
Willa ranked it 3/4
Laura ranked it 2/4 with the comment: I just wouldn't put this in the "children's" category...

Again, I'm yanking it because the list specifically says YA and while there are books on the list that are not marketed or shelved as YA, Kushiel's isn't even close. It's a good book and the heroine is certainly kick-ass, but generally she's kick-ass by having her ass kicked during an explicit S&M sex scene.

I would hate for someone to be surprised after assuming a book being on this list is YA-appropriate. Well, actually, I'd love them to be surprised by that because they shouldn't be handing their YA-age kids books they haven't looked at, but getting Goodreads involved is not cool.


message 103: by Cindy (new)

Cindy I'm not quite sure how Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle qualifies. I mean, I love the books, but kick-ass is NOT how I would describe her, exactly.


message 102: by Michael (new)

Michael Bialys It has to be 12-year old Makenna Gold. The Virago!


message 101: by Seth (new)

Seth I added Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle to my list when I saw her here. "Kick-ass" can mean a lot of things, so I decided that--for her at least--it means uncompromising, unstoppable, clever, caring, and an altogether excellent role model for a young girl (or boy) who won't grow up accepting that things have to be bad.

Kinda makes me want to play a game of cleaning-the-house or something.


message 100: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A I think it's worth noting that Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder will be released as a YA title, along with one of its sequels, Magic Study, this Nov/Dec. I don't think I'd recommend it to anyone younger than 15 as there is some explicit violence. I think YA is appropriate, and I love the main character--she's inspirational for those of us who have suffered abuse and refused to let it defeat us.


message 99: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Any of the Discworld books are appropriate for a YA audience if they are willing to read them. My two sons are age 7 and 10 and listen to the audiobook versions on road trips. They love them and ask to listen to them over and over.


message 98: by Stephen (new)

Stephen What? None of my Catriona books from the Dragonlance YA line? Guess I need a better publicist -- or Cat does. ;-)

Oh, and some of you might be surprised what my wife the librarian shelves as YA and Children's books (including the entire Lord of the Rings - Go Eowyn!). Times have changes, and kids books have gotten "older."

Keep the lists going. (Though there are almost too many choices on 'em.)


message 97: by DaNae (new)

DaNae After Making this list it is clear that I should have a name with a double letter.


message 96: by Wealhtheow (new)

Wealhtheow Jane Austen probably shouldn't be on this list, given that she didn't write fantasy!


message 95: by Jakki (new)

Jakki Wow i really needed this list haha!!! Tamora pierce and trudi canavan are great!


message 94: by Alexa (new)

Alexa Well, I like a Wrinkle In Time. I have read it at least 15 times, and it never gets old! I love Mrs. Whatsit!!!


message 93: by Tamora (new)

Tamora Pierce Seth wrote: "Okay, I'm going to remove Kushiel's Dart.

It was place #29 and had 4 votes:
T ranked it 3/5 with the comment: phedre!
Otto ranked it 4/6
Willa ranked it 3/4
Laura ranked it 2/4 with ..."


I think it's a good call to yank. I love the author and think the series is phenomenal, but YA it's not!



message 92: by Tamora (new)

Tamora Pierce Call me a wedge@ss, but most of the books on page 3, albeit featuring phenomenal female heroes, are adult books, not YA. There are so many great YAs out there with female heroes--it would be nice to see them get a fair share of recognition!

And thanks, everyone who put ALANNA at the top of the list (for today, at least)! You've made my day!


message 91: by Brooke (new)

Brooke Wizard's First Rule is not a YA. I see it listed near rank 8. There are some pretty heavy torture scenes in that.


message 90: by Denae (new)

Denae Christine I don't know if they rate as fantasy or not, but I'm extremely surprised the Maximum Ride books aren't on here (at least, not that I saw through my skim)


message 89: by Merenwen (new)

Merenwen Twilight should not be on this list. The only strong female characters in that book were the vampires, and they played very small roles in the book!


message 88: by Emma (new)

Emma ^ I agree with that statement: Bella is anything but kickass.

I say add in Candy Quackenbush from the Abarat series by Clive Barker!!! She's awesome! Probably my favorite female character ever.


message 87: by Isaac (new)

Isaac Why is Lyra of His Dark Materials at the top? She just lets Will do all the work.


message 86: by Sarah (new)

Sarah this is an AWESOME list. Not just awesome because it claims to be a list of best women protags, but because it pretty much actually is. unlike a lot of goodreads lists. and check out all that fantasy!


message 85: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Wow, I was surpised to find that I've read close to half these books and they're all great choices.


message 84: by Alyce (new)

Alyce Adding my voice to the chorus that the Twilight books should not be on the list. The books (rightly or wrongly) are popular, they are fantasy but they surely dont qualify as featuring "kick-ass female characters".


message 83: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 03, 2009 08:45PM) (new)

what about valkykrie cain or Tanith low they both kickass in skulduggery pleasant


message 82: by Melisa (new)

Melisa There are some really good books on this list. I'd like to suggest The Order of Odd-Fish.


message 81: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn I'll join the consensus in saying that there is no 'kick-ass' female heroine the Twilight books, so I'm going to remove them.

I'm also going to remove the Maximum Ride books by Patterson, since those are not fantasy, they are science fiction (genetically engineered children with wings set in 'today's world).



message 80: by Adam (new)

Adam Graceling, The Hunger Games, The City of Ember, The Wizard of Oz and The Chronichles Of Narnia. (there are about half sci fi and half fantasy here)


message 79: by Adam (new)

Adam As well as Uglies, Midnighters, Double Identity, Runnign out of Time and Found.


message 78: by Reed (new)

Reed I agree with adam. The Hunger Games should definatly be up here! I love the protagonist in that book!


message 77: by Carolyn (last edited Nov 17, 2009 08:16AM) (new)

Carolyn The Hunger Games, City of Ember, and Uglies are all science fiction though, so they shouldn't be on this list. Can't speak to Double Identity, Running Out of Time, or Found (the latter two are on the list already, on the last page.)


message 76: by Adam (new)

Adam Carolyn wrote: "The Hunger Games, City of Ember, and Uglies are all science fiction though, so they shouldn't be on this list. Can't speak to Double Identity, Running Out of Time, or Found (the latter two are on t..."

Yeah, I know, but half of these are already sci fi, so what the heck? you might as well vote.


message 75: by Adam (new)

Adam Carolyn wrote: "The Hunger Games, City of Ember, and Uglies are all science fiction though, so they shouldn't be on this list. Can't speak to Double Identity, Running Out of Time, or Found (the latter two are on t..."

Yeah, I know, but half of these are already sci fi, so what the heck? you might as well vote.


message 74: by Adam (new)

Adam Carolyn wrote: "The Hunger Games, City of Ember, and Uglies are all science fiction though, so they shouldn't be on this list. Can't speak to Double Identity, Running Out of Time, or Found (the latter two are on t..."

Yeah, I know, but half of these are already sci fi, so what the heck? you might as well vote.


message 73: by Chara (new)

Chara wow! GREAT LIST! not really surprised 2 realise i've read at least half of these. anything and everything by Tamora Pierce sould be at the top though! she rocks! also, ancient future trilogy by traci harding and obernewtyn chronicles by isobelle carmody should probably b on here somewhere! they're awesome! and so is white tiger by kylie chan!


message 72: by Adam (new)

Adam Hunger Games defintetly numba one. where is it???


message 71: by [deleted user] (new)

ADD SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT BECAUSE OF TAIHITH LOW AND VALKYRIE CAIN THEY KILL EVERYTHING


message 70: by MissSusie (new)

MissSusie Just curious what strong female is in The Graveyard Book.Great book but doesn't seem to go here.


message 69: by Imani ♥ ☮ (new)

 Imani ♥ ☮ pippi longstockings?


message 68: by [deleted user] (new)

VALKYRIE CAIN


message 67: by Katherine (new)

Katherine As wonderful as From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is, it's not really fantasy...


message 66: by Emily (new)

Emily Where's the Hunger Games? That series has one of the strongest female characters I've ever read!!!


message 65: by Jenn (new)

Jenn How are Series of Unfortunate Events on here?! Defintiely not fantasy! Same with True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle! Yes, the girls in these books are amazingly kick ass, but not fantasy!


message 64: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Newell Unfortunately, "Anne Frank" is not a fantasy. This world would definitely be a better place if what happened to the Frank family (and too, too many others) was a work of fiction, but it's not.

While I do think the book is *absolutely* a great choice for YA readers, may I politely request that it be removed from this list of fantasy characters?


message 63: by Frank (new)

Frank Exactly how is Artemis Fowl a heroine book??? And it is ranked 19 as well!!


message 62: by Jane (new)

Jane Jenn wrote: "...Same with True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle! Yes, the girls in these books are amazingly kick ass, but not fantasy!"

I was slightly confused myself how True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle is fantasy. YA, yes. Fantasy? erm... if you dream in pirate??? It has a lot of votes but I read it and I wouldn't count it on this list.


message 61: by Kiki (new)

Kiki Who the heck voted for Luce?


[I wish Kagome was on this list...]


message 60: by Lemur (new)

Lemur Susie wrote: "Just curious what strong female is in The Graveyard Book.Great book but doesn't seem to go here."

i guess it does have Death as a woman....not that she shows up too often...


message 59: by Kaitlyn (new)

Kaitlyn I am overwhelmingly pleased at the lack of Twilight on this list.


message 58: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Kaitlyn wrote: "I am overwhelmingly pleased at the lack of Twilight on this list."

I really wanted to like that comment, but then I realized that I'm not on Facebook...


message 57: by Lianne (last edited Nov 30, 2011 07:00PM) (new)

Lianne Love the list. Alanna and Katniss rule. Can't wait to read the titles that are new to me.

What, no Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith? Maybe I missed it on the first pass.

Some newer titles that deserve to be included:
Starcrossed and Liar's Moon by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Among Others by Jo Walton


« previous 1 3
back to top



Anyone can add books to this list.