Wild Things: YA Grown-Up discussion

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Book Recommendations > Need suggestions for strong female leads

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Jeannie | 24 comments Hello! I started reading the book discussions bks in August & love this group! I am currently working on a grad level research paper and need some suggestions. I am looking for a book with strong female character that I can compare to Bella from Twilight. I am hoping for a fairly contemporary bk. I am trying to show that the use of fairy tale archetype female characters in YA lit for young women is changing from the helpless Cinderella/saved by a prince type to a stronger take care of yourself woman. Any suggestions? ( I see Bella as a Cinderella). Thanks!


Laura (apenandzen) Hmm... how about Alaska in Looking for Alaska?


Catie Gemma from Great and Terrible Beauty.


Allison (The Allure of Books) (inconceivably) Katsa from Graceling might be good, or even Fire from Graceling's companion book Fire.

or Katniss from The Hunger Games.


Malcolm Walker (MalcolmWalker) | 76 comments Sally Lockhart from any of the Pullman novels: Tiger in the Well, Ruby in the Smoke, etc; Zanna and Deeba from UnLunDun by China Mieville. Meggie from the Inkheart trilogy; Maddy Smith from Runemarks; Harry (yes, she's a girl) Hamilton from Margaret Mahy's The Tricksters (last one might be difficult to get as Mahy's a New Zealand author - but quite brilliant when she's on form).


message 6: by Misty (last edited Oct 18, 2009 07:13AM) (new)

Misty | 1505 comments Also:
Mary from Witch Child
Dashti from Book of a Thousand Days
Singer from Singer
Eff from Thirteenth Child
Anahita from Anahita's Woven Riddle
Aslaug fromMadapple
Val from Valiant A Modern Tale of Faerie
Tally from the Uglies series, more so later in the series, but in a weird way...
Miri from Princess Academy
Jena from Wildwood Dancing
Aerin from The Hero and the Crown
Alanna from the Song of the Lioness series

Okay, I think that's enough.


Misty | 1505 comments And that's just the YA list. Don't get me started on adult FIC...


Devina Tan | 2 comments Bianca from Evernight series.
Quite close comparison to Bella, I feel. She started out in the 1st book unsure of herself. By the 2nd book emerged stronger and sure of what she wants.

Both female characters are contemporary except that
in Twilight Saga, Bella wants to be a vampire.
In Evernight, Bianca is trying not to be one.


Jeannie | 24 comments Thank you so much! Please keep them coming! I immediately started reading Looking For Alaska, but will try many of the others, too! I'm filtering the characters through the Cinderella archetype, so some are working, and some are still too Cinderella.:)I was drawing a blank on my own, but all your help has re energized my research!


Heather Ohana (blackdotbug) Don't forget Ash by Malinda Lo. It's a contemporary retelling of Cinderella with queer themes. I don't know if Ash is the strongest character in the beginning but her mom and her female love interest definitely are.


Heather Ohana (blackdotbug) Malcolm wrote: "Sally Lockhart from any of the Pullman novels: Tiger in the Well, Ruby in the Smoke, etc; Zanna and Deeba from UnLunDun by China Mieville. Meggie from the Inkheart trilogy; Maddy Smith from Runemar..."

I love Maddy!!

Oh and did anyone mention Mibs in Savvy or Kiki and Ananka and crew in Kiki Strike Inside the Shadow City?


Tahleen | 229 comments I am listening to Savvy right now on CD and I'm loving it... I'm looking forward to how her character grows and matures!

What about Elena from The Vampire Diaries? And not the TV series. I thought she was a nice comparison to Bella, since they're both main female characters in vampire novels.


Misty | 1505 comments Ooh, Mibs is a good one. And the older woman (can't think of her name).


Tahleen | 229 comments Lil. I just finished it and I loved it!


Fiona (bookcoop) Going to move this to the recommendation folder


Kaion (kaionvin) | 38 comments Some great recommendations already!

Well, you mentioned Cinderella, so obviously any women in Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister come to mind- "strong" definitely, perhaps even forced to be by their circumstances- perhaps even more striking that they aren't forced to be "good" or "evil".

The Oz books are another example of ambiguous strength (Baum's quite the feminist writer). I've only recently reread the first three, so I will mention The Marvelous Land of Oz has very radical ideas (Tip and Mombi) and even goes into the idea of responsibility that comes with that strength (see Glinda's army vs. Gingur). Dorothy and Ozma in Ozma of Oz are unquestionably fallible heroines (assuming the true heroine, Bilbina the chicken doesn't qualify).

I don't read horror/urban fantasy much so I can't think of a more direct comparison to Bella (I mean, other than Buffy the Vampire Slayer- you absolutely *must* see the video "Buffy vs. Edward" if you're familiar with either).


message 18: by Heather (last edited May 17, 2010 08:51AM) (new)

Heather Ohana (blackdotbug) buffy vs. edward is hilarious! LINK!


Fiona (bookcoop) Haha that is fantastic. I miss Buffy sometimes.


Kandice | 939 comments I'm a bit late, but the entire Maximum Ride series by James Patterson, including the two "adult" novels that proceeded it.

When the Wind Blows
The Lake House
The Angel Experiment
School's Out - Forever
Saving the World and Other Extreme SportsThe Final Warning
Max
Fang


Caroline Havenhand | 88 comments Aw, I love Max =]
I wasn't so pleased with her character in the Maximum Ride series though - maybe that's because I read When the Wind Blows and The Lake House before...

Okay, my recommendation would first and foremost be for you to read This Is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn. Cordelia starts the 'pillowbook' at the age of 16 and documents all of her achievements/trials up until the age of 20. She's an incredibly strong character, and does everything the way that she wants to, discussing it so matter of factly in her pillowbook. You can draw a lot of comparisons between her and Bella.

In addition to this, here are some other books with strong female leads:
Kestrel in The Wind on Fire Trilogy: The Wind Singer/Slaves of the Mastery/Firesong
Sabriel and Lirael in The Abhorsen Trilogy Box Set
Tilja in The Ropemaker


message 22: by Bhumi (last edited May 18, 2010 05:10PM) (new)

Bhumi | 274 comments Yelena from Poison Study by Maria Snyder.


Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy) (alybee930) | 446 comments Heather wrote: "Don't forget Ash by Malinda Lo. It's a contemporary retelling of Cinderella with queer themes. I don't know if Ash is the strongest character in the beginning but he..."

But Kaisa, the Huntress is definitely a strong character.


April (booksandwine) | 312 comments Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead is a strong character


Jeannie | 24 comments Heather wrote: "buffy vs. edward is hilarious! LINK!"

Kaion wrote: "Some great recommendations already!

Well, you mentioned Cinderella, so obviously any women in Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister come to mind- "strong" definitely, perhaps even forced ..."


I loved this link! Thank you...it added much needed humor to my thesis writing.I think Buffy was much cooler...:)


Andrea (alwright1) | 4 comments There have been some great suggestions so far. I'm usually a fantasy person, but I really liked Frankie in The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks for a realistic book.


Arya (Izlandzadi) | 686 comments Heather wrote: "buffy vs. edward is hilarious! LINK!"

Hahahaha. . . that is hilarious. Pretty unatainable girl Edward was chasing eh? Seeing as how she knew from the beginning what he was . . . Buffy is so COOL!!


message 28: by Arya (last edited May 20, 2010 10:09AM) (new)

Arya (Izlandzadi) | 686 comments Poison from Poison
Jessica from Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
Katniss from The Hunger Games
Isabel from The Named
Rochelle from The Key
Lena from Beautiful Creatures
Kate from Old Magic
Jez, Maggie and Keller from Night World, No. 3: Huntress, Black Dawn, Witchlight
Actually pretty much any female characters (besides Poppy) in all of the L. J. Smith books). . .

And most definitely Buffy and the Charmed sisters. . .


Rita Webb (ritawebb) | 183 comments Jeannie wrote: "Hello! I started reading the book discussions bks in August & love this group! I am currently working on a grad level research paper and need some suggestions. I am looking for a book with strong f..."

How about Cammie in the book I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You? It's a recent read, so it's on my mind.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Looking for Alaska (other topics)
Fire (other topics)
Graceling (other topics)
The Hunger Games (other topics)
Wildwood Dancing (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Malinda Lo (other topics)
Katherine Hannigan (other topics)