Best Book Ever: Strong Female Leads

Welcome to Best Book Ever!  Every week we pick a new theme and authors, bloggers, and book readers decide what is their favorite of all time!  This week we are talking about girls:
Week 10: Strong Female Leads

You can only become a mermaid when something horrendous happens to you. Rape. Attempted murder. Severe abuse. Surviving any of these would make any character strong and an over-all kick ass hero, but Luce in Lost Voices is incredible. She fights the urge to be a murderous siren. She dares to break all of the rules, even if it means being killed. She challenges all norms and never loses her humanity. This is an amazing mermaid story! It’s like Lord of the Flies meets The Chocolate War… with mermaids!
Alanna @ The Flashlight Reader

My pick for this is a great book by Indie Author, Caroline Hanson. It's the first in her Valerie Dearborn series, LOVE IS DARKNESS.
I chose this because, though Caroline herself told me she doesn't see Val as sassy, I do. She's a brilliant character and I would love to be like her. She's sassy and has a smart-mouth. I was hooked by this book and had in fact cried twice by the first 25-30%.

I first read Graceling the same week I read Hunger Games -- it was a very good week for books -- and was struck by the fact that they both featured such strong, capable heroines. In the end, however, I chose Katsa over Katniss for this week. The thing I admire most about Katsa is not not only her survival skills, but also her ability to keep perspective.

In so many YA novels, the heroine's life centers around a boy. Not only is the hero the center of her life, but she believes him to be the most important thing in the universe. Katsa falls in love and has a beautiful relationship with Po, but she doesn't lose sight on the bigger issues threatening their kingdoms. She understands that young Princess Bitterblue's safety needs to be her main concern and concentrates on that, even though it means leaving the man she loves behind. I'm not going to give away the ending, but I was thoroughly impressed by Katsa throughout the novel -- she's a strong heroine, a brave one, and importantly one who uses her strength and courage for others.
Tiffany Schmidt, debut author of Send Me a Sign (2012 by Walker- Bloomsbury)

Most of the books I really love have strong female protagonists, so it's hard to pick just one. So many of my favorite books could hit this list. But, the strongest female protagonist out there is Katsa from GRACELING by Kristin Cashore so that's my best book ever this week. I love how Katsa is practical and fast-thinking, plus she can outwit and kick the butt of any guy out there. She's a female main character that girls and guys can love because she's so tough.
Elizabeth Norris, author of Unraveling (2012, Baltzer and Bray)

DEERSKIN by Robin McKinley is not about your typical kick-butt heroine. Lissar has an incredibly difficult journey, but she learns to survive and overcome her trauma. (This book has content that may be too mature for younger readers.
Jodi Meadows, debut author of Incarnate (2012, Harper Collins Children's)

I am thrilled that I’ve had such a hard time singling out one strong female protagonist to talk about. I’ve settled on Flora Segunda by Ysabeau Wilce, because I’m greatly anticipating the impending release of the third book in the trilogy, Flora’s Fury. Most of what you need to know about young Flora Fyrdraaca is distilled into the whimsical subtitle for her first adventure: “Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog.” It’s pretty much as advertised, but it doesn’t do the book and its sequel justice, because there’s so much more for readers to discover.

The book has inventive world building and a rich and lively cast of characters, including Udo, Flora’s aforementioned, self-obsessed boy sidekick, and most notably, Flora’s parents. Her father is an unstable war hero, and her mother is a perfect role model for Flora, as Commanding General of the Califa Army, but Flora isn’t much good at falling into line and meeting other people’s expectations. Instead, she always seems to get herself into trouble, especially after she wanders around her magickal home, Crackpot Hall, where she unearths a family secret that could tear them all apart. Fortunately, she’s resourceful enough to get herself out of the messes she makes—usually. Best of all, Flora’s actions have real consequences not only for her but for for their entire country, and plot developments in the second book reveal even more nuances in the first. These books are fun, fast-paced, humorous, and full of heart.

E.C. Myers, debut author of Fair Coin (2012 Prometheus Books)

   When I saw that this week's topic for Best Book Ever was Strong Female Leads one book immediately came to mind; Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. In my opinion Melinda is the epitome of a strong female lead. She grows so much throughout the book & shows so much courage. The fact that she goes through so much struggle & manages to find her voice is inspiring. No matter how many times I read Speak it never fails to remain one of my favorites.

At first, I was thinking along the lines of "warrior princess" or "saving her people/true love/family"-type strong female leads. And then I realized I wanted to promote a quieter (though no less revolutionary) strong female lead. This Girl is Different is the story of Evie, a girl who had been homeschooled her whole life, and then took public high school by storm. She's strong in her convictions and knows who she is. But when things start challenging her assumptions, she's strong enough to step back and take a second look. Maybe not a warrior, but a fighter nonetheless.
Rebecca @ A Word's Worth

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