February 3

3 Young Adult Heroines Defined By Adventure Not Love


young adult heroineBarbie is finally getting a makeover! No longer hampered by her plastic seduction factor, she is free to become a self-respecting young woman with action-hero qualities at last. And so it seems a fitting time. With the rise of the phenomenal young adult heroine makeover that has trampolined its way from the page onto the big screen in one blockbuster after another, the kickass heroine has become the new norm.

Young women are hungry to accomplish extraordinary feats of their own. Who wants to grow up to be a flight attendant when you can be a warrior, the leader of a perilous quest, or captain of your own ship? From magical enchantresses, to girl-next-door heroes, the new young adult heroines are all about fearlessness and self-sufficiency. Always exceptional, but never lacking in compassion, they don’t sit around waiting for a fairy godmother to appear. Instead, they get busy in the world they’ve been thrown into and make things happen. Like true survivalists, they learn and adapt while battling catastrophic threats, and forging their identities through struggle and triumph.

The lovestruck heroine, manic in her quest for a man’s attention, no longer strikes a chord in the hearts and minds of young women who are changing the rules about coming of age in a man’s world.

Here are my three picks for young adult heroines defined by their lust for adventure, not by their desperate need for a man’s affection:

Katniss Everdeen: The Hunger Games

What’s to admire about her?

A girl who could easily have gone under the radar and lived by the rules, she sacrificed everything to bring about change.

Ways she breaks the mold

Breadwinner in the family, skilled with weapons and a true survivalist.

Best Qualities

Brave, ruthless when she has to be. A scrapper, tough, resilient, relatable as a sister, a daughter and a friend. Humble despite celebrity status. Fully loaded with gumption and passion.

Hermione: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

What’s to admire about her?

A girl who selflessly erases her parents’ memory to spare them heartache. Overachieving nerd with grit who teaches us to be real and embrace who we are.

Ways she breaks the mold.

Voice of reason instead of irrational thought processes. Logical problem solver.

Best Qualities

Tenacious, determined, passionate, wise, brazen, and devoted to her friends. Indomitable spirit.

Tris: Divergent

What’s to admire about her?

Defends those in positions of weakness and sacrifices for others. Changes and grows, like a coming of age story should. Wrestles with her emotions, finds her place in the world, and stays true to herself.

Ways she breaks the mold.

Willing to die for what she believes in. Rises up the leaderboard despite low expectations.

Best Qualities

Curiosity for life, brave, selfless, humble, strong-willed, and independent. Analyzes her thoughts and reflects on her actions.

Do you think the new breed of young adult heroines teach us to be real, or is it another form of an impossible standard?


Barbie, Divergent, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, young adult heroines

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