Top Ten Kick-Ass Heroines

Posted November 6, 2012 by Tara in Review /// 13 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers from all around create lists based on the chosen topics, and post links to the host blog to share our love of books. This week is a freebie week, so I’m picking up last week’s topic. I was too caught up in homework to post about it, but this topic was MADE for me:

Top Ten Kick-Ass Heroines

[aka the best list ever]

So what makes a book character kick-ass? I like realistic characters who have strength and interests of their own, but also have flaws. I like to see the character grow throughout a story. “Kick-ass” can mean actual ass-kicking and action scenes, or the character can be kick-ass in different way (intellectually, character, leadership, etc).

1.) Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Sometimes she’s a little bit too hard, but it would be hard to say that she didn’t kick ass. It was a fight to the death MULTIPLE TIMES OVER, for goodness sake. Katniss holds her own and has more bravery in her little pinkie fingernail that I’ll ever have.

2.) Kristy Thomas in the The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin

Here’s my example of kicking ass through leadership. Homegirl was a successful business woman at age twelve. Plus she kicked ass on the softball field.

3.) Tris in Divergent by Veronica Roth

She’s in a faction called DAUNTLESS. They run and jump on the subway, and zipline off skyscrapers. Fearless, tough, and loyal…a kick-ass combination.

4.) Cammie Morgan in The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter

Cammie is a spy at a boarding school for teenage spy girls. She goes all James Bond and stuff. I’m pretty sure she actually literally kicks an ass at some point in the series.

5.) Valentine Wiggin in Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Not only is she brilliant, she also has a big heart (which is what keeps her out of Battle School). Plus she accidentally takes over world politics. Whoopsies.

6.) Frankie Landau-Banks in The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Frankie doesn’t like that she can’t do what the boys do, so she infiltrates their secret society and plays some massively awesome pranks on her boarding school’s campus. She’s smart and stubborn. I’d give her a high five.

7.) Kate Wetherall in The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Again — she carries a BUCKET full of tools and she does all kinds of crazy shit with them. She can do anything.

8.) Kyra in The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

It’s one thing to have guts when you are trained to have guts and fight for your life in a society where women have power. Kyra finds her strength in a society where women are given no power — a polygamist cult. Her bravery and strength in going against her family and trying to get away are admirable.

9.) All of the Ladies in Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Get it, girls! Fight the patriarchy! Be sexually free! Wear bikinis…if you feel comfortable doing so! Blow some stuff up!

10.)  Amy in Across the Universe by Beth Revis

She may not have immediately popped up in your mind, but she did in mine. When Amy was unfrozen, she could have settled back and enjoyed life on the space ship. But she doesn’t. She’s on a mission for answers, and she finds them.

Which kick-ass characters are your favorite? Why?


Tara is a PhD student studying education. Her dissertation will be on digital book communities as public pedagogy (ask her about it!), though she often takes a break from all of that to read books about oppressive governments and sassy teenagers. In a former life, she was a middle school teacher and middle school librarian. In her future life, she's a professor of YA lit. In her free time, she drinks a lot of coffee while planning her next grand adventure (there's always something).

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13 responses to “Top Ten Kick-Ass Heroines

  1. Scarlett O’Hara. Despite her whiny flaws, she is a woman who knows what she wants and does everything in her power to get it no matter who is in her way! 🙂

  2. Ooh, great list! I love comparing all the different choices out there; there are so many great definitions of “kick-ass” when it comes to heroines!

  3. Valentine Wiggin! I’m so thrilled to see her on your list. I was going to sneak her on to mine but there were so many heroines she got bumped out of the list. I absolutely love her character! 😀

  4. Alanna the Lioness from Tamora Pierce’s series, Elena Michaels from Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series, and of course Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice!

  5. Katara, Suki, and Azula from Avatar (the show, not the god awful movie); Arya and Dany from A Song of Ice and Fire; Merida from Brave; Eowyn from LOTR; Maerad from The Books of Pellinor; Artemis from Young Justice; and Violet Baudelaire from A Series of Unfortunate Events.

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