Strange Chemistry Asks: Who is the Strongest Female Protagonist in YA Fiction?

Strange Chemistry is the new YA imprint for Angry Robot, and this morning they asked:

Who do you think is the strongest female protagonist in YA fiction and why?

I thought it would be fun to respond to this, and to ask for your opinions, as well.

I have to say the strongest female protagonist in YA fiction has to be Katniss from The Hunger Games. After reading the books, what stuck with me is Katniss’ love and determination to protect her younger sister,  Prim.  Regardless of the cost.  She was willing to sacrifice herself to keep Prim safe, and to me, that is truly strong and heroic behavior.  Katniss knows that she is walking into a nightmare when she volunteers to take Prim’ place in the Games, but she doesn’t hesitate to do it.  Once she made her choice, she tapped into a strength of character and bravery that she didn’t know she possessed.  I wanted her to succeed so badly, because she was doing everything for all of the right reasons.  She loved Prim, and she would do anything for her.  That’s what being a hero is all about – putting yourself in harm’s way to protect those you love.

Who is your choice for the strongest female protagonist in YA fiction?  What do you think makes a strong protagonist?

5 thoughts on “Strange Chemistry Asks: Who is the Strongest Female Protagonist in YA Fiction?

  • January 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm
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    I was gonna go with Katniss too! Because I really like her will to survive, but I also like her flaws a lot. And strangely enough, character pros and cons are the same thing–her strength. I think that’s what really gets me about Katniss. There are moments where she really cares about Peeta, yet she doesn’t know how to express this without feeling weak and vulnerable, so she doesn’t. And the GIRL POWER! side of me was like, at the end where she hurts Peeta’s feelings, “I get you right now, Katniss.”

    I have to say, though, that Tally from Uglies is a runner-up. I’ve only read the first book, but I really liked her… especially at the end where she volunteers to get the Pretty surgery that will essentially brainwash her and alter her personality so that she has no free will, all to test a medicine that could possibly save people that have been brainwashed. She does this because she feels guilty for betraying her friends, but still, it shows a lot of growth and strength as a character and I lurve it! Cool question!

  • January 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm
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    @Courtney – You bring up great points about Katniss’ strength also being flaws – she has herself convinced that she HAS to be strong, and she can’t let herself have feelings for Peeta because she is going to have to kill him, and that will make if more difficult for her to survive. I hadn’t thought of it like that!

    I haven’t read Uglies – it’s on my wish list, so I am going to have to sit down and read it sooner rather than later….

  • January 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm
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    My first thought was Rose from Vampire Academy. Although part of her problem is that she’s so strong, she acts before she thinks and does some stupid stuff.
    I agree with Katniss except for the fact that she wavers and worries about every move. She’s very indecisive. Then when she does act strongly, it’s almost out of instinct rather than planned.

    I would also suggest the character from Graceling (I forget her name).

  • January 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm
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    @Alison – I have to read Graceling. I have it, but I haven’t found time to read it yet. There seems to be lots of love of it.

  • January 25, 2012 at 1:50 am
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    I really liked Graceling. My only problem with it was that it seemed like the opposite of Twilight in that the MC didn’t need a boy. It’s almost like there was this scorn about the people who settle down with a guy and get married. I’m all for girl power, but I want to be an independent girl with a husband/boyfriend/partner at my side as an equal. But despite that, it was a great story that I really enjoyed.

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