For today's #summerthrowdown guest post, I have Meagan who has been an active participant in both rounds all summer. Meagan teaches high school English in Northwest Indiana. She always has a book handy and blogs about her reading and teaching experiences at www.paradisaicallife.wordpress.com. Find her on Twitter (@uhohmeagan) and let her know your favorite Fearless Females!
Top Ten Fearless Females, Heroines, and All-Around B.A. Girls
First I’d like to thank Jillian for inviting me to guest post on her blog! I am so grateful to her, Brian, Sherry, and Kathy for #summerthrowdown. I read over 50 books in the first round and nearly as many in the second round (though I stopped updating my totals halfway through, oops). I read. A lot. But Summer Throwdown made me read more. Way more. So without further ado, I present my top ten fearless females, heroines, and all-around B.A. girls and strong fems (in no particular order).
Alina Starkov, Shadow & Bone (The Grisha Trilogy, #1)
War-orphaned Alina struggles with belonging. She overcomes immeasurable fears and ultimately realizes the strength of her own power. She courageously does what must be done. Alina, aka The Sun Summoner, learns that throughout her entire life, she has always belonged with the one constant in her life.
Allie, Breaking Beautiful
Oh, goodness. Allie survives the accident that kills her boyfriend. She struggles to endure with and deal with the guilt and the fifty other emotions she feels. Her little brother, Charlie (who has cerebral palsy), tries to help her. Her small town eyes her and her best friend Blake when their romance begins to blossom. Allie learns a lot of secrets and begins to remember the night of the accident. A realistic contemporary, Breaking Beautiful follows Allie’s shattered world as she tries to keep living and move on. She’s definitely a fearless fem!
Hazel, The Fault in Our Stars
Oh, John Green. Why?? Hazel is ready to die at 13. Her cancer will take her life before she reaches 14. But she doesn’t die. Hazel’s quality of life isn’t all that great – she’s permanently hooked up to an oxygen machine. But then she meets Augustus who really shows her what life is about. While I’m not a fan of the “girl needs a guy to show her she’s worth living for” or “girl needs a guy to make her realize something” plot tracks, Hazel just blows that out of the water. She has so much strength and courage, even when she doesn’t.
Steph Landry, How to be Popular
It’s pretty impossible to follow Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, but remember, these are in no particular order! Steph wants desperately to be popular. She wants to belong, like Alina in Shadow and Bone. She actually makes it, and is pretty much the most popular girl in school – for a week. Then she has to make a decision: maintain her popularity at what sacrifice? She learns that she does belong, with that one constant in her life. Steph isn’t insecure, she’s just a typical teen. I don’t think being popular is all that great, or even something we should all strive for, but the fact that Steph actually set out to do it – and succeeded – makes her a fearless fem.
Bianca Piper, The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
I hate that she runs to slimy Wesley (and does the dirty…several times) as a distraction from the not-so-great status of things at home. Wesley nicknames her the Duff because Bianca isn’t the prettiest or the skinniest of her two best friends. She’s more of a body guard than an equal – and that sucks. I definitely related to Bianca, and I’m sure that many other young girls can identify with her as well. Bianca looks for a distraction (albeit in the wrong place, in my opinion) and finds that her feelings weren’t exactly left on Wesley’s front doorstep. When all is said and done, Bianca actually lets Wesley in. And they bond. Majorly. Way to go, Bianca, you found yourself! Bianca is my B.A. female.
Piggie, Happy Pig Day!
Piggie (yes, Piggie is a girl) is celebrating being a pig. But her best friend Gerald is an elephant. Read: not a pig. He feels left out of the celebrations – but Piggie shows him you don’t have to be the same to be friends! I love Piggie – she is fun-loving, carefree, and just loves everyone. A great role-model and example for beginning readers! (Also, I’ll be sharing this with HS students in a “mutual respect/we belong/love each other” lesson.)
Babymouse, Babymouse series
Oh, Babymouse! There are now 16 books in the Babymouse series (#17 comes out Jan 2013!), and I love every single one of them. Babymouse is silly, sometimes ignorant (but never in a bad way), and is always daydreaming. She encourages readers to dream with her as she set out on hilarious quests – like wanting to be queen of the world, a famous rock star, a mad scientist. Babymouse is awesome, and is definitely a fearless fem!
Esperanza, The House on Mango Street
I had to read this over the summer because it was summer reading for incoming freshman. Esperanza’s tale is briefly and poetically told in a series of vignettes. We watch her grow from a child to a young adult. Esperanza refuses to inherit her grandmother’s defeat, though she did inherit her name. Her life as an immigrant is told simply, and is sometimes painful. She definitely impressed me by opening her own home later in life to those less fortunate and displaced. Heroine and fearless female is she!
Brooklyn Wrainwright, A Bibliophile Mystery series
I do not prefer mysteries. But I couldn’t pass up a book with a strong female lead who loves books! Brooklyn solves murder mysteries which are often inextricably linked to books (either she’s working on restoring one, she’s receiving donated rare books, etc). Though Brooklyn is sometimes portrayed on the silly side (not often), I love that she’s just so B.A. about everything.
Cass, Secret series
This pick comes straight from my sister. She read tons of books with me this summer and we often traded. I was having a difficult time choosing a final Heroine/Fearless Fem so I asked her for some help. She loves how eleven-year-old Cass works through everything she has to. She’s smart and prepared. Her backpack (which she always has) is full of really useful stuff to help her and Max out of any dire circumstance. Cass is anything but normal. I bought this book for my sister when it first came out, and she made me buy her every sequel! We love this series. Cass is awesome!