Good books are ones that sweep you away to another world for a few hours, make you relate to the protagonist and ignore your problems for a little while. Great books are the ones that that make you want to be more like the characters, to the point where their words are constantly running through your head. Great books make you want to live in them. They are the ones that force you to keep studying whenever you think of Hermione Granger or ask thousands of questions and look for all the answers because of Callie Vee. Great books are the ones that you come back to again and again because the people in them have inspired you to be a better version of yourself.
I have "met" so many fictional females over the years and all of them have impacted me in one way or another. I could go on for hours about all the characters I love, but I decided to limit myself to my top ten favorite. This was so hard! I was incredibly torn trying to pick between characters, not to mention putting them in order! Eventually, I finished my list, and I'm really happy with it. I'll cherish these heroines for a long time and I hope that you find a new bookish best friend too.
#10: Callie Vee from The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
What the book's about: Calpurnia Virginia, or Callie Vee, is living in 1899 and tired of her mother trying to make her become a perfect lady. Callie would much rather figure out why some grasshoppers are green and some are yellow than bake an apple pie. She teams up with her gruff grandfather to discover the scientific answers to her questions (for example, "Has a firefly ever mistaken a cigarette for another firefly?") while avoiding the dreaded needlework. But her mother's pulling out the big guns - cooking lessons - right when Callie and her grandfather think that they've discovered a brand-new species. Can Callie escape house chores and start on her way to becoming a successful scientist?
Why I love her: Callie Vee isn't afraid to ask questions and make mistakes. She's curious about everything, which makes for a diverse, interesting story. She's also creative, determined, and hilarious. This book made me laugh out loud so often! Her story is inspiring because she knows her own worth and that she can be what she wants to be, but also realistic but she doubts herself along the way. I love this spunky-sassy, inventive heroine and I'll be coming back to this story for a very long time.
#9: Pippi Longstocking from Pippi Longstocking
What the book's about: Siblings Annika and Tommy are thrilled that they have a new neighbor - a kid, no less! But Pippi is nothing like the neighbor they expected. Zany and extraordinarily strong, Pippi marches to the beat of her own drum. She's not afraid to toss bullies into trees or dance with robbers, so with a pet monkey on their side, the three neighbors have an unusual, eccentric year full of funny scrapes and delightful larks. By the end of this charming book, you'll want to jump right through the pages and play an epic game of don't-touch-the-ground with the three friends.
Why I love her: Pippi is probably the craziest, most lovable character you'll find! She demonstrates that you should always live life as wildly different as you want. Why draw on an itty-bitty piece of paper when you have the whole floor to work with?
#8: Morrigan from Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow
What it's about: Morrigan Crow is cursed, so she's used to dirty looks, taking the blame, and her family pretending she doesn't exist. She's long accepted the fact that, like every cursed child, she'll die on Eventide, her twelfth birthday. But Morrigan's grim, solitary world flips on its side when an eccentric man shows up on her doorstep the day she's supposed to die. Caught up in a world of zany smoke rooms, dragon riders, hotels beyond your imagination, and one epic race, Morrigan fights for the chance to be accepted into the thrilling and prestigious Wundrous Society. Read my full review here.
Why I love her: Morrigan is so fun to read about! I love her witty quips when Jupiter's being especially bizarre and her dynamic with her best friend Hawthorne. I think Jessica Townsend did a great job of having Morrigan voice the same thoughts you would have if you lived in the amazing world of Nevermoor. She's just such an enjoyable character. I foresee this book becoming a family favorite.
#7: Ramona from The Ramona Collection
What the series is about: Ramona is like every other little girl; she has to deal with pesky neighbors, her family's financial problems, and a teenage older sister who can't seem to realize how wonderful Ramona truly is. But Ramona is spunky and you can bet she'll figure out how to distract Danny the Yard Ape from bothering her and how to stomp around the block on a pair of tin cans. Watch out world: Ramona's ready for you!
Why I love her: Ramona is so relatable. Every girl can relate to her in one way or another. Hearing about Ramona struggling with the same problems I had in such popular book series made me feel heard. To this day, I love delving into her world. It feels kind of like re-visiting myself from four years ago! I wish I could visit her home on Klickitat Street and eat a big crockpot dinner with this beloved protagonist.
#6: Desi Lee from I Believe in a Thing Called Love
What it's about: Desi Lee is practically the definition of an over-achiever. She excels at everything: school, extracurriculars, soccer. But there's one thing she can't seem to become good at: dating. Christened "flailures" by her friends, Desi has a long and infamous history of doing crazy, awkward things around guys. So when the cutest boy she's ever seen, Luca, shows an interest in her, she's desperate not to flail this time around. When her lovable dad gets her hooked on Korean dramas, Desi Lee creates a step-by-step plan to capture Luca's heart . . . and keep it.
Why I love her: Desi is hilarious! I think I may have laughed harder while reading this book than I have while reading any other. She's driven, and trust me, she'll do whatever crazy thing she has to to get what she wants. Her sweet relationship with her wacky dad is one of the greatest things about this book and you'll cheer out loud when she gets the guy. Desi teaches you to be determined, embrace your flaws, and have a whole lotta fun along the way!
#5: Lara Jean from To All the Boys I've Loved Before
What it's about: Lara Jean may only be sixteen, but she's loved before . . . five times, in fact. When a crush threatens to consume her, she writes a love letter. She won't send it; it's more of a goodbye letter. She hides the letters in a hatbox her late mother gave her in her closet, never to be sent. Predictably, she flips out when she finds that someone has mailed her letters. Desperate to not let her older sister Margot find she had a crush on Margot's ex-boyfriend, she jumps into a fake relationship with Peter, who wants to make his ex jealous. But things get complicated when feelings start to flip and secrets start to become uncovered. Can Lara Jean get her life back to normal or will it get better . . . or worse?
Why I love her: Lara Jean is so relatable. I don't know how Jenny Han does it, but she has a way of voicing thoughts you didn't even know you had through her characters. I also like how Lara Jean appreciates the little things. Her love of curled hair, lockets, and fresh baked cookies make the book seem homey and inviting. The story is fascinating but also has a sort of dream-like quality to it. Lara Jean is delightfully honest. The way she develops throughout the book and her relationship with her sisters is inspiring and makes for a wonderful heroine.
#4: America from The Selection
What it's about: In this dystopian novel Illea, the new-and-improved version of the United States, is divided into castes. America is in the fifth caste, artists, which means her family is barely scraping by. Her mother is desperate for her to marry up, and the Selection is the perfect chance. When a prince is of age, he holds a Selection, where beautiful, talented girls come to live in the palace and compete for his attention and the ultimate prize: the crown. America doesn't want to be part of the Selection; she thinks the prince, Maxon, is a privileged brat. Besides, she already has a secret boyfriend. She only enters to make her mother happy. But when she's selected and meets the prince, her whole life does a cartwheel. The government - and Maxon- aren't what they seem. Can America compete and win to save her country? And who holds the key to her heart?
Why I love her: America is as fiery as her hair! She doesn't put up with injustice and isn't there for power or money. I love, love, love her conversations with Maxon! They're probably my favorite fictional couple. I like that she develops throughout the book as well. Pee-your-pants funny, someone who inspires you to take a stand, and with a heart full to the bursting, America is one of the sweetest protagonists you'll find.
#3: Hermione from the Harry Potter series
What it's about: Orphaned by his parents and living with his aunt, uncle, and cousin who hate him, Harry Potter is used to being forgotten. His small world does a cartwheel when, after hundreds of letters show up at his door, much to the fury of his aunt and uncle, a huge man comes and tells Harry that Harry is actually a wizard. Harry arrives at Hogwarts, a wizarding school, and meets his two new best friends, the hilarious Ron and brilliant Hermione, as well as a lot of trouble. This is an amazing book series! I think it's safe to say that everyone has heard, if not read, about it by now. This fascinating, magical book series will whisk you away to the wizarding world, aka where you'll want to live for the rest of your life.
Why I love her: Hermione, the "brightest young witch of her age" and one of Harry's best friends, has been inspiring young witches and Muggles for years. Hermione is brilliant but a hard worker, teaching girls that it's great to be smart, love books, and be friends with boys. As kind as she is talented, Hermione has a love for all creatures but isn't afraid to put the guys in their place. I love Hermione because I think she's really impacted young female readers and inspired them to live more vibrantly and stick up for themselves. This is a character I'll never forget. I think we're all a little better from sipping butterbeer with Hermione Granger.
#2: Anne from Anne of Green Gables
What it's about: Anne Shirley is an unloved orphan with carrot red hair (though she's praying it turns auburn) when she arrives at Green Gables to live with the Cuthberts. When Marilla Cuthbert discovers that Anne isn't the boy she asked for, she has half a mind to send her back to the orphanage. Can this spirited orphan with a huge imagination convince the old Cuthberts to let her stay?
Why I love her: I discovered this amazing series in second grade. My life has never been the same 😂. Anne is one of my favorite characters of all time! She captured my young mind in a way no other protagonist had. With an imagination as huge as the sky and a tendency for the dramatics, I was quickly head-over-heels in love with Anne Shirley. I adored all of the pickles she got into and her big plans. Anne made me believe that I was smart and creative and loved. I still want to hop on a flight to Prince Edward Island and live at Green Gables. I think I'll always get a warm feeling when anyone mentions the name Anne Shirley.
#1: Juliet from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
What it's about: Juliet is living in post World War 2 London. She's the author of the incredibly popular Izzy Bickerstaff column, which has recently become a book. She's engaged to a smashingly handsome young man and frustrated that her creative juices seem to be dry when she receives a letter from a Dawsey Adams, asking for a book. Caught in correspondence with the same Dawsey Adams, she is enraptured by the literary society he describes in his letters. Suddenly, Juliet finds herself on a ship to Guernsey, the same island on which Dawsey lives, to find out more about this society. Once she visits the island home to immeasurable suffering, rolling oceans, and potato peel pie, her life will never be the same.
Why I love her: This novel is epistolary, or told entirely in letters, and Juliet's letters are some of the wittiest I have ever had the pleasure of reading. She's ridiculously funny! I loved her style of writing. No wonder her column was so popular! It was so sweet to read about how she embraced the people of Guernsey and their customs with open arms. I will never get over her interactions with Isola. It was really difficult to choose which character would get this top spot. I finished this book back in January and the rest of the novels on this list were ones I had adored for a long time. It almost didn't seem fair to say Juliet was the best. But I truly believe she is. Guernsey is a place I'll be residing in my mind for a long time, and Juliet is starting to become a part of me. “Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.” ~The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
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