Top Five Friday: Female Characters

Welcome to this week’s edition of Top Five Friday!

Today, we will be discussing my top 5 favorite female characters.

In Young Adult literature, there are so many wonderful heroines to admire that each possess several qualities that make them unique and so realistic to us as readers. It has become more and more popular to include female characters in books who are strong, clever, and can stand up for themselves. I was surprised by how much trouble I had narrowing my list down to just five fabulous females, but these ladies all have a special place in my heart and are wonderful literary role models. I admire different things about each of them, which is what I will be discussing below!

5.) Ruby Daly from The Darkest Minds trilogy

“It rained the day they brought us to Thurmond. And it rained the day I walked out.”

Ruby is such a wonderfully written character. When her story begins she is weak, afraid, and defeated, and when her story ends, it truly does come full circle, except she is stronger, braver, and in complete control of her own choices. Ruby overcomes so many obstacles in her life that she finally learns how to use to her benefit instead of letting them get the best of her. Ruby is motivated and learns to use the gift (or curse) she has been given to defend herself and to help others. Her ability is SO COOL, and she uses it to kick butt and be awesome. One of Ruby’s most unique qualities is her ability to forgive the people who have treated her terribly while still guarding herself and the people she loves.Ruby definitely deserves her place in my Top 5!

4.) Annabeth Chase from Percy Jackson and the Olympians & Heroes of Olympus

“I learned a long time ago: Never bet against Annabeth.” -Percy Jackson

Annabeth Chase never receives as much attention as her male counterpart, Percy Jackson. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Percy (very much) but I think it’s pretty safe to say he wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for Annabeth. Annabeth has always been a clever girl who can get her friends and herself out of any sticky situation by her own common sense. Annabeth is smart, but not in book smarts way. Most of her intelligence comes from her experience in the real world and her ability to think quickly. Not only is Annabeth smart, but she is very persistent. She is always able to convince those around her to do what she thinks is best, which can sometimes prove to be a challenging feat. Finally, Annabeth is confident, which I think is the one quality that young girls who read the Percy Jackson series tend to admire most about her. Annabeth’s confidence never waivers and she is always firmly rooted in doing what she believes is the right thing. Annabeth is such a fantastic role model because she is not perfect, but she believes in herself, and that mindset proves immeasurable value.

3.) Tris Prior from the Divergent trilogy

“Can I be forgiven for all I’ve done to get here? I want to be. I can. I believe it.”

Tris is probably the character on my list who raises the most controversy in the YA world. Yes, she’s impulsive, and yes, she can be extremely annoying, but when you look past that, Tris embodies some really wonderful characteristics too. Readers seem to either hate or love Tris Prior. I find myself in the former category, simply because I think Tris embodies some of the best and most unique attributes of any YA female character.

Just writing about Tris gets me emotional when I think about how Allegiant ends. I think it’s safe to say Tris is one of the most selfless characters ever written. Tris literally dies to herself every day to save the people she cares the most about, even the people who have betrayed her and stabbed her in the back (looking at you-know-who). She always puts others before herself, no matter what the cost. Tris realizes in Divergent that it takes bravery to be selfless. I don’t think anyone can be selfless without being brave, because you have to let go of any interests of self and fully devote yourself to the person at hand. Tris demonstrates this perfectly, because her bravest moments are always driven by selfless motives. There is so much we as readers can learn from that.

Tris is not only selfless and brave; she is a fighter. There is nothing Tris can’t do if she truly puts her mind to it. She really demonstrates how far persistence and hard-work can take you. She also has a really strong faith, which is something I personally admire. I think the reason Tris found her way on my list is probably because she is my personal fictional hero and the character whose best qualities I wish to emulate in my own life. Tris may not be the perfect female character, but her best qualities really outshine any flaws she has and make her someone for readers to strive to be more like.

2.) Celaena Sardothien from the Throne of Glass series

“My name is Celaena Sardothien,” she whispered, “and I will not be afraid.”

I am currently reading the Throne of Glass series, and Celaena is quickly becoming one of my favorite female characters of all-time. There is something about Celaena that makes her so raw and real, even though she is a world-renowned assassin (and fictional, I might add). She truly has all the best qualities you could ever ask for in a female lead.

First of all, Celaena is fearless. Not in the respect that she isn’t afraid of anything, but because she doesn’t let her fear stop her from doing what needs to be done. She is relentless and fiercely loyal to those who mean the most to her, and would go to the ends of the earth for them.She doesn’t take anyone’s crap and can certainly stand on her own two feet. She is well-spoken and a true warrior at heart.

But despite being an assassin, Celaena is still ladylike. So many strong female characters are stripped of all their feminine qualities which makes them unrealistic and difficult to relate to. Celaena still has feelings and isn’t afraid to show them, enjoys chocolate cake and sweets, is a voracious reader, has an expensive taste in clothing, and cares about her own personal hygiene. Not saying every girl has to like dresses and expensive perfumes, but it is refreshing to see these character qualities in a female protagonist who can still kick butt. Celaena is also snarky, clever, and quick-witted, which proves that girls can be both feminine AND smart.

People always seem to address the aforementioned qualities when discussing what an awesome character Celaena is, but most people fail to mention Celaena’s generosity and goodness. Yes, it is true that Celaena’s job may be to kill people, but she actually has a very pure and honest heart. She doesn’t want to become a relentless killer who enjoys inflicting pain on others. She is truly a good person who helps others when she feels compelled (freeing slaves, saving the barmaid in The Assassin’s Blade, not killing anyone she doesn’t have to, etc.)

And finally, Celaena is the epitome of overcoming adversity. She faces so many trials and obstacles in her life that give her the perfect opportunity to give up, but she never does. She never gives up on herself and she never loses hope that things will get better. I just have so much respect for Celaena Sardothien. She is a perfectly flawed and realistic character, and she is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I am so glad there is so much left to this series!

1.) Hermione Granger from Harry Potter

“Actually, I’m highly logical, which allows me to look past extraneous detail and perceive clearly that which others overlook.”

Maybe Hermione is my favorite female character because I can relate to many of her prominent character traits so closely. I have often been compared to Hermione, which always makes me smile, because who wouldn’t want to be compared to their fictional hero? Hermione is admired by so many girls around the world because she was truly one of the first female characters who showed young girls that it was okay to be intelligent… it was admirable, actually. Hermione wasn’t called the brightest witch of her age for nothing.

Not only is Hermione incredibly smart and constantly seeking out knowledge from her various visits to the… you guessed it, library, she is logical and motivated. Yes, she is naturally smart, but she also is very hard-working and truly applies herself in order to succeed. Nothing is going to stop Hermione from reaching her goals. And nothing is going to keep her away from her loved ones.

One of Hermione’s unique qualities that isn’t given to many female characters is her empathy. I suppose empathy is viewed as a weakness, and certainly a strong female character can’t be empathetic. I strongly disagree. It is Hermione’s ability to place herself in other’s pain that motivates her to logically work her way though trouble. Hermione’s trademark maternal (or as some would say, bossy) instinct toward Ron and Harry is the product of her loyalty and empathy toward them. Hermione is strong because she has feelings, because she gets angry, because she cries, and because she can relate to other’s struggles. As said before about Celaena, she isn’t stripped of her feminine qualities.. in fact, many of those are her strengths.

Hermione is also incredibly thoughtful, and is always looking out for others. Also, as Ron said, I think it’s safe to say that Harry and he wouldn’t last a day without her. She is brave and steadfast in what she believes, a true Gryffindor at heart. Hermione isn’t perfect, but she is such a wonderful role model. I am so happy to hear of young girls wanting to be Hermione Grangers when they grow up. I think we need more intelligent, driven, loyal, and steadfast women in the world.

And that concludes my list of my Top 5 Female characters in literature! The one thing that all these ladies have in common is the fact that they are not perfect, but they are each striving to be their best. Humans aren’t perfect either, but we should all be striving to utilize our best qualities to edify others and make the world a better place each day. I like my characters to be flawed, because it makes them real. Who are some of your favorite female characters? Do we have any favorites in common? Do share with me in the comments! I would love to hear from you! 😀

Thank you all for reading. I will see you in my next post!

XXX, Brittany

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Top Five Friday: Summer Contemporaries

Welcome to Top Five Friday! I wanted to begin a unique weekly post on my blog, so I decided that each Friday I would post my personal favorite “top five” books that relate to a specified theme. This week I will be recommending my top five favorite contemporary books to read in the summer!

Summer: school is out, sun is out, and, as most bookworms would agree, books are out. And there is no better book to read in the summer than a wonderfully written contemporary! Here are some of my favorite summer contemporary reads:

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#5: Anna and the French Kiss

By: Stephanie Perkins

“For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.”

Anna and the French Kiss follows a high school student named Anna who is unwillingly swept off to a boarding school in Paris by her wealthy father to complete her senior year. However, when Anna meets Étienne St. Clair, she realizes that Paris might not be all too terrible, and that giving new experiences a chance might be worth a shot after all.

I read this book last summer on a plane ride and I really enjoyed it. Although the book doesn’t take place during the summer (it takes place over the course of Anna’s senior year) there is something truly magical about the city of Paris that gives the entire book a fun, summery vibe. One of my favorite aspects of this book is how easy it is to relate to the characters, even if your own circumstances are not exactly the same as the characters in the novel. The book has a really sweet romance too, and in my opinion, is a perfect summer read!

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#4: Better Off Friends

By: Elizabeth Eulberg

“When you’re comfortable with someone, you don’t always need to fill the void with noise. I liked it when we would just be.”

Better Off Friends follows best friend duo Macallan and Levi from seventh grade to junior year as they grow up and learn about themselves and their relationship with each other. Eulberg tackles and perfectly executes the timeless question: can girls and guys just be friends?

This book is quite honestly adorable. It’s definitely geared toward younger teens, but I love it all the same. There is something extremely touching about Macallan and Levi’s friendship that makes this such a “feel good” book. I also am a sucker for books with childhood friends that fall in love, so naturally I loved this one. Better Off Friends is a fantastic book and I would highly recommend it.

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#3: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour

By: Morgan Matson

“The best discoveries always happened to the people who weren’t looking for them.”

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour is a riveting road trip novel that follows the detours of Amy and her unexpected friend Roger as they travel together from California to Connecticut to move Amy’s car. This book addresses the topics of overcoming fears, putting peace to the past, and mending damaged relationships.

Amy & Roger’s is certainly a cute summer romance, but definitely deals with some heavier topics than the aforementioned novels. Amy struggles with heavy emotional trauma after her dad passes away in a car accident, and a good portion of this novel is dedicated to her overcoming that. This book (if you haven’t already guessed) has a prominent road trip aspect to it that is perfect for the summer. The author, Morgan Matson, actually took a road trip previous to writing this book, so it is very authentic! I would highly recommend this book for the summer.

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#2: We Were Liars

By: E. Lockhart

“Be a little kinder than you have to.”

We Were Liars is truly one of those novels that is better to go into not knowing anything at all. It is one of my all-time favorite books, and I honestly think reading it in the summer enhances the reading experience. The important things to know going into this book are: Don’t expect a prominent romance. Do expect mystery, privilege, and suspense. Don’t go into this book looking for a mindless read. Do expect to be provoked with thought and blown away.

Just read it, ladies and gentlemen. Read it.

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#1: Since You’ve Been Gone

By: Morgan Matson

“I don’t think you have to do something so big to be brave. And it’s the little things that are harder anyway.”

Since You’ve Been Gone journeys through a summer of introvert Emily’s life as she attempts to find her best friend who mysteriously disappears, but most importantly, finds herself. Via a summer bucket list left by her friend, Sloane, Emily discovers so much more than what she ever bargained for. Since You’ve Been Gone is a book about friendship, bravery, and finding yourself that is brilliantly weaved throughout a stellar story. It has a gorgeous cover, too, so that’s a definite added bonus.

I could rave about this book forever, but I’ll save that for another day. However, I will tell you this book is definitely my favorite summer read (it’s my favorite contemporary ever) and I have never related to a book more than this one. It is truly amazing, and I highly recommend reading it this summer. You won’t regret it!