Katniss. Katsa. Tris. These seem to be names most commonly offered as examples of strong heroines in young adult fiction. Katniss, the protagonist of The Hunger Games, volunteers to take her sister’s place in the deadly Hunger Games, where she uses her intelligence and hunting skills to survive. Katsa, the hero of Graceling, is graced with the power to survive against all odds, making her the very definition of strength. Tris, the main character from Divergent, conquers her own fears and joins the Dauntless faction, where physical strength and courage are the paramount values.
These characters are all strong, in their own way, and their stories are all compelling and exciting. When so many forms of media are dominated by men and masculinity, I love that in the world of young adult fiction, there are so many examples of strong female characters. It’s awesome there are so many action-packed novels where it’s the girls who are saving the day.
Katniss, Katsa, and Tris are undeniably excellent examples of strong heroines in young adult fiction. But they aren’t the only ones. In honor of Women’s History Month, I’d like to offer some suggestions of contemporary, realistic, and historical young adult fiction with strong female protagonists.