As a woman, it’s important for me to find strong but also relatable heroines in literature. Luckily, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of those in many of the books I’ve read! Here are my top ten favorite heroines—if you haven’t read their books yet, you should!
- Veek from 14 by Peter Clines. Veek is your typical computer nerd, who runs the building’s wireless networks and was the first to begin probing into the Kavach Building’s many oddities. She’s withdrawn and guarded, not least because she may or may not be doing some shady computer projects for shady people, but she’s a great character and refreshingly free of Manic Pixie Dream Girl tendencies.
- Alice Quinn from The Magicians by Lev Grossman. Alice is your typical painfully shy, super-smart girl…until you get to know her. Quentin may be the main character, but Alice is truly the hero of The Magicians. You have to read it to find out why, though—I’m not going to spoil it for you.
- Lettie Hempstock from The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Lettie is one of those characters who you’ll wish was real. Her selflessness, her bravery, and her wit and humor are just a few reasons why everyone—literally everyone—should read The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
- Beverly Marsh from It by Stephen King. Beverly is the very definition of spunk. She can hang with the guys while also retaining her femininity; she escapes from not one but two abusive relationships, giving the abuse back tenfold in at least one case; she can shoot a slingshot with the best of ‘em. She’s basically a huge badass, even at only eleven years old.
- Daenerys Targaryen from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. If there’s such a thing as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl in the fantasy world, Dany would be it. Young, beautiful, incredibly strong but also witty and intelligent, all the men in her world pretty much want her—but her only interest is in reclaiming her lost throne (and in her dragons, of course). Getting through A Song of Ice and Fire can be a slog, but reading about all of Dany’s badassery is what gets me through.
- Blythe Hallowell from Above by Isla Morley. Blythe is kidnapped and kept in an underground bunker from the time she is sixteen years old until she finally (spoiler alert) escapes, almost two decades later. But things have changed beyond anything she could have expected, and Blythe is left to make a life for herself—and her son—in an unfamiliar and unwelcoming world. I’ve gotta say, for as much shit that goes down in Above, Blythe handles herself pretty admirably.
- Kathy from Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. A tragic heroine if there ever was one, Kathy is just hope personified, despite her dreams being constantly dashed. If you haven’t read this one yet, you really should.
- Sarah from The Never List by Koethi Zan. This book is incredibly haunting, as is its protagonist, Sarah. Living as a recluse under an assumed name after she escaped from the cellar dungeon where she was held for three years, she now must confront her captor, who is up for parole from prison.
- Krystal Weedon from The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling. Krystal is another tragic hero, who most people probably won’t think is a hero until close to the very end of the story. Easily one of the most heartbreaking characters Rowling has ever written.
- Wendy Torrance from The Shining by Stephen King. Make no mistake: book-Wendy is nothing like sniveling, cowering, Shelly Duval movie-Wendy. Book Wendy is a bit unsure of herself, but ultimately does what she needs to do to save her son from the evil lurking inside the Overlook.
Who are your favorite heroines?by