As a young woman who loves reading, I’m sure it’s not a surprise when I tell you that I was once a little girl who loved reading. And as a bookish little girl, I loved finding books about strong, funny, smart, adventurous girls. These literary gals were my role models as I was growing up and spending all my time reading. So I had a lot of fun scrolling through Flavorwire’s list of 20 Classic YA Literature Heroines and remembering reading about them.
I was very pleasantly surprised to find that number one on Flavorwire’s list was Emily Byrd Starr from the Emily of New Moon series. When I first stumbled upon the Emily books — which are written by L.M. Montgomery, who is more well-known for Anne of Green Gables — I was delighted to find a girl who enjoyed writing at such a young age. And, as Flavorwire says, Emily was “delightfully weird.” She just appealed to me and I still have fond memories of reading those books.
Numbers two and three on the list are also very formative heroines for me — Harriet the Spy and Anastasia Krupnik. Though I was more connected to the film version of Harriet, I count her among my favorite heroines. Anastasia Krupnik is, as far as I know, very obscure. I’ve never met anyone else who has read that series, but I adored the books starring her. Anastasia is a feisty pre-teen who has lots of creative, crazy ideas about life, love, and family, and who kept endless lists that inspired me to do the same in my notebooks. I’m still on a quest to find and purchase all the books in that series (with the original, 1980s-style covers, not those modern ones).
The list also names some more modern heroines such as Hermione Granger (another really important one for me) and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games series. There’s Jo March from Little Women, Meg from A Wrinkle in Time, Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, and Nancy Drew. It’s a formidable list and I think everyone named deserves to be there.
Go check out the list on Flavorwire and share in the comments who your favorite literary young ladies are!
— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan