Sunday, July 10, 2011

Five Girl Power Heroines from Contemporary Fiction

Bianca from The DUFF

Bianca may not always make the best decisions—when things get tough at home, she gets into an ‘enemies with benefits’ relationship with womanizer Wesley Rush—but she never lets anyone push her around. She always sticks up for herself, and I think that’s so much more important than kicking physical butt in terms of girl power; though Bianca certainly kicks some serious emotional butt with her snark!

Piper from Five Flavors of Dumb

One thing about Piper: she’s got serious guts. It some serious bravery to become the manager of a rock band when you’re deaf, stick up to disgruntled band members, and do anything and everything to get a gig (including manipulating the truth. Ahem.) Basically, Piper’s got a goal—make enough money to pay for her dream college—and she’ll do whatever it takes to get there. And that is a serious girl-power trait.

Anna from Anna and the French Kiss
Punted across the world to a city where she doesn’t speak the language, Anna Oliphant has a lot of coping to do—especially when she runs into the charismatic Etienne St. Clair. Who already has a girlfriend. Despite the mass of complications that have been thrown on her, Anna stays kind and pragmatic. She’s not even irrational about the people she dislikes, which I loved. Too often the ‘enemy’ figure is painted as a heartless… erm, witch, but Anna just painted Etienne’s girlfriend as who she was—a normal teen behaving a bit badly. Furthermore, she refuses to be a doormat, especially when Etienne’s concerned, and tries to stick to her principles. Even though no physical or emotional antagonist-butt gets kicked, Anna still cements herself as a serious girl power heroine.

Amy from Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour

Like Anna, Amy’s not your traditional girl-power heroine; she’s not a warrior, and she’s not snarky. What makes her such a strong character is the way that she slowly faces up to her real world problems and copes with her grief, bringing to the surface the things that she’s kept inside her for so long. It’s not an easy transition, and it’s definitely a gradual one—and those things made it all the more real for me.

Vassar from Carpe Diem

Vassar does not start off as a remotely adjusted or even likeable character. Then her boho grandmother whips her off to Southeast Asia on a journey filled with dirt and discovery. Deprived of her self-sanitizing toilet seat and her many pieces of luggage, Vassar has to make her way in the world without the props that have kept her upright for most of her life—and she does it in a way that’s heavy on the hilarity and not so much on the poise. (Hint: her journey involves stomach pumping, being held hostage, and a cowboy with removable sideburns. If that doesn’t make you want to pick up the book, I don’t know what will.)

Who are your favorite contemporary heroines?
Don't forget to enter the Girl Power Bookfest giveaway of Alanna: The First Adventure plus a snazzy 'self-rescuing princess' t-shirt, or my giveaway of Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John!


  1. Ooh, I love Anna but I'm not sure I'd put her in the "girl power" category (she wasn't un-girl-power, she just sort of... was. in the best way, of course, but still). As for my favorites, I might have to go with Abby from Between Here & Forever as a recent one.

  2. Oh man, I think you're the first blogger I've ever seen besides me to mention 'Carpe Diem'!! Isn't that book hilarious and epic? I have so much love for it, probably because it's so unknown.


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