#1: Alina Starkov from Shadow & Bone (Leigh Bardugo)
There is not one heroine in the YA world right now that I relate more to than to Alina. It's not even that I, too, am a rare Sun Summoner in a Tsarpunk-like Fantasy world, but — believe it or not — it's her personality that is so similar to my own. I've said this before, but I liked Alina instantly because she reminded me so much of myself. That may sound arrogant, but that's just how it is. Alina is like me, I am like Alina and we'd probably be the best of friends. I'd praise her qualities to heaven and back at this point, but after saying she's so similar to me, I think some people might see that as self-praise, so I'm not going to do that. Just know that I love Alina to the death. She's my pal.
#2: Meghan Chase from The Iron Fey (Julie Kagawa)
I'm sure this came as a real surprise to all those who know me, right? The heroine of my favorite book ever?! Who would have guessed?! But it's not even because these are my favorite books, I think it's more the other way around: These are my favorite books because of Meghan (and, maybe, Ash). The plot and setting and all of that have been taken into account as well of course, but it's really the characters that make this series outstanding, and I have loved Meghan for so long now, she's also one of my pals. Meghan is great, because she's not a whiny little princess, she's not complaining about having to fight the big bad in her prom dress, all the while fighting epically and looking fabulous while beating the villain. Meghan is persistent, enduring and tough, while still maintaining enough wit and snark to be absolutely hilarious. Basically: Everything I look for in an awesome heroine.
#3: Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices (Cassandra Clare)
Tessa is one of those girls that, despite all her faults and flaws, I can't help but sympathize with. She has been through so much and she's taken it all in stride, being a key pawn in the whole play and having to do a lot of things she doesn't want to do, seeing things she doesn't want to see, while wearing corsets, dresses and behaving like a lady. And not only is Tessa extremely brave and tough, she's also intellectual and a book lover. Now I know the book lover trope is something a lot of YA authors use to appeal to the readers, who are also (in most cases) book lovers, but in Tessa's case, her infatuation and fascination with books seemed so genuine and was so palpable, I was instantly on the same wave length as her. Tess and I, we just fit.
#4: Sydney Sage from Vampire Academy/Bloodlines (Richelle Mead)
Like Tessa, Sydney is also a very smart and intelligent character, and I'm so very intrigued by those kind of characters. Especially Sydney though, mostly because Mead excels so much in making Sydney such a believable nerd and genius, I can't help but admire her and envy her of her geniality. I want to be as smart as this girl. I want to be able to be the best at sports because I can calculate the velocity and angle at which I have to throw in the blink of an eye, too. Besides making me strive for more intelligence myself, which I think is good, I can also relate to Sydney very well because of some her world views that I share. Overall, I grew from simply being relieved at finally having another narrator than Rose, to outright loving being in Sydney's head.
#5: Tris Prior from Divergent (Veronica Roth)
Tris is also someone I admire, because she is aware of herself. What? Yes, she is self-aware. She questions whether her actions are right, whether they are justified and she worries about being too selfish, about not being selfless and kind. That is something I struggle with every day that I live, and I strive to be a better person, but some days are harder than others, and those questions that Tris asks herself are questions I ask myself, or reprimand myself on, daily. You're not kind enough. You're being selfish. The way Tris deals with these things have helped me a lot and I'm thankful for that. Plus, Tris is a very admirable person in all, especially seeing how much she has developed, because at the end of Allegiant, Tris has become such a good, brave person it's hard to believe she's the same Tris she was in Insurgent, let alone Divergent.
#6: Gwendolyn Shepherd from Ruby Red (Kerstin Gier)
We're coming onto a more superficial layer again with this character, because it's not any deep philosophical questions about personality and what not that I like in this one, it's just that Gwen is extremely funny and witty. I love being in her head and hearing her snarky remarks and hilarious dialogue. There aren't many heroines that can reach her level of funny and she's such a pro. Besides, she's so clumsy and helpless and likable, there's no other way — you can't not like this girl. I mean it. I bonded with Gwen very early on in the book and I've always loved her throughout the entire series.
#7: Aria from Under The Never Sky (Veronica Rossi)
Aria is, again, the epitome of what I look for in an amazing heroine: the ability to adapt to different, possibly harder, circumstances without constant whining and bitching, independence, capability, the ability to fight for what she wants and all that. Aria has that; she gets thrown into completely unknown territories and she adapts quickly without moaning about it and she marches on bravely, putting on a straight face and staring fiercely at everything that gets thrown in, or stands in, her way. This girl knows what's up, and I love her for it. Aria is such a star heroine.
#8: Sophie Mercer from Hex Hall (Rachel Hawkins)
Much like Gwen, it was Sophie's sassy attitude and hilarious banter that drew me right in. She had the ability to make me crack up at a moment's notice and she always managed to get a laugh out of me at any given moment. But Sophie isn't only funny, she's also very courageous and ambitious, not backing down and owning up to the lemons life is handing to her. She has determination in spades, and is willing to sacrifice her own wants and needs for the sake of the greater goods, something that I seriously miss in a lot of heroines nowadays, and admired in Soph.
#9: Penryn Young from Angelfall (Susan Ee)
Now, Penryn here combines a lot of the traits I like: one, the hilarity that I've already mentioned a couple of times and second, the complete badassery and epicness, of both her fighting skills and her personality. Penryn takes matters into her own hands and she literally owns them all. She's not afraid of anything, especially if it means saving the ones she cares about and she realizes a lot of important things in life early on and acts accordingly. I fully endorse all of the decisions she has ever made, further proving that she's also very smart and cunning, and Penryn is just overall such a kickass heroine I can't even start to describe how awesome she is. Just read Angelfall and see for yourself.
#10: Tana Bach from The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (Holly Black)
Tana had already won my heart when she decided not to freak out and huddle in the corner after discovering all the people were dead, and instead still staying true to her character and saving the ones she could save in face of it all. Her life just becomes one disastrous event after another, but Tana takes it all in stride and doesn't care, and all the while she's still so incredibly cool and awesome, I'm kind of jealous of her. I mean, yeah, her life kinda sucks, but her attitude is so steely, she's like "Yup throw it all at me, bro, I'm throwing it right back at ya." I could definitely learn a lesson or two from Tana on how to handle all the shit.
#11: Clara Gardner from Unearthly (Cynthia Hand)
Clara is one of the heroines that I've liked because she's so real. She feels like she could actually be the girl next door, the one that I could just hang out with and talk. She does face her own supernatural problems and inconveniences, of course, but despite it all, she still maintains her air of normalcy and ordinary, thinking the most mundane thoughts and mulling them over. I don't know, but Clara had that kind of something that made me think that she's not that different from the rest of us mere mortals, despite being two thirds angel.
#12: Emerson Cole from Hourglass (Myra McEntire)
I was so devastated when I learned that the second book in this series wasn't written from Em's perspective, because I had already looked forward to being in her head again so much. I like Emerson because she is again a character that I can relate to a lot, especially the things she says feel like she took the words straight out of my mouth. She and I, we understand each other on a deep level. Beside our mutual understanding, Em is also really funny and snarky, too, so she gets bonus points for that as well.
#13: Lena Haloway from Delirium (Lauren Oliver)
Aaand, the same in green with Lena: I can relate to her. Her world views about a lot of things, like love, friendship and family, are views that I share. I have always thought that everyone will always leave us in the end, intentionally or not, or maybe not even of their own volition but because we ourselves push them away or forget about them, but I could understand Lena so well in that aspect, as well as many others — like how, really, we are just a blip on the whole timeline and the world will go on just fine without us. Like I said, these are just examples and there are many, many more things that I agree on with Lena, which makes her very likable to me.
#14: Ruby Daly from The Darkest Minds (Alexandra Bracken)
I'm not sure what exactly it is about Ruby that I like so much. Maybe it's simply that I enjoy her narrative tons, maybe it's that she's kind of different— she owns up to her messes in her own way. It doesn't make much sense, I know, but there's a uniqueness to her that makes her special (well, duh.) I can't explain it, but I like her personality and overall character arc, as well as her narrative, as I mentioned. Ruby is a cool kid. And it seems, this just introduces the one thing that I haven't yet listed as a reason: Simple, sweet subjectivity.
#15: Olivia Silber from Silber (Kerstin Gier)
Another sassy little shit. I do seem to prefer the funny ones, I have to admit. Maybe because I myself am not a very funny person, I can't come up with witty remarks on the spot for the life of me, so I deeply admire and envy the people who can. I swear it's a superpower and/or special ability that just eludes me. Or maybe it's genetics that haven't been passed onto me. Whatever it is, Olivia Silber has plenty of it, which makes her narrative an experience of its own and it was a privilege to accompany her on her story. I am eager to deepen our acquaintance in the next installment.
#16: Allison Sekemoto from Blood of Eden (Julie Kagawa)
Ally is a very badass, katana-wielding sort of heroine again, one that can slice up her enemies in style and go out for waffles afterward (hey, we know that quote from somewhere, don't we? Told ya I can't come up with my own jokes). Anyway, I loved Ally's initial conflict of beliefs, when she has to choose between humanity, death and bestiality. Those are always my favorite, when beliefs or morals clash and it's, for once, truly a hard decision, and I admire Ally for having the strength and determination to choose as she did. I probably would have chosen the same. And, oh yeah, did I mention that she is kickass times ten?
#17: Karou from Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Laini Taylor)
She has blue hair. And a family of chimaeras. I think that is all I need to say here and if you're not convinced then you either haven't read this series yet or you're wrong.
#18: Charlaina di Heyse from The Pledge (Kimberly Derting)
Charlie has to battle and fight her own inner demons too, so it's again a relating-thing. There's a darkness inside of her that makes her do and think terrible things, and I understand that. I understand the struggle.
#19: June Iparis from Legend (Marie Lu) & Mara Dyer from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Michelle Hodkin)
June is, again, a perfect combination of intellectual, cunning and badass, with her military training and prodigy genius status. I liked how focused and clear-headed she was too, especially considering the conditions under which she has to operate in both the first and the second novel (I haven't read Champion yet). That's truly a great feat of strength, both physically and mentally. Mara, on the other hand, shines via putting up with all the shit she has to go through and not bending under the pressure, instead remaining standing through it all.
#20: Annabeth Chase from Percy Jackson & the Olympians (Rick Riordan) & Kaylee Cavanaugh from Soul Screamers (Rachel Vincent)
Special mention: Daenerys Targaryen (I didn't know where to rate her, so she's getting an honor shout-out) from the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. :)
Take care <3