This edition of Friday Five brought to you by this week's celebration of International Women's Day as well as the current YA-reading kick I'm on. I tried not to repeat books I've put on other lists, but some I just love so much!
Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
This one's obvious. What first attracted me to Katniss was her introversion. She never seeks to make a spectacle. She never wants
to fight. What she does--volunteering in the Hunger Games on Prim's behalf, becoming the Mockingjay--she does out of necessity. A lot of YA I read tends to portray its heroines as brash and angry and vocal
about it, which is understandable since YA's main target audience, teenage girls, so often doesn't have a voice. But Katniss's strength is quiet, and I've always loved that.
Vanessa Dahl, The Engelsfors Trilogy (The Circle, Fire, and The Key), Sara B. Elfgren and Mats Strandberg
Oh, Vanessa. She's one of six heroines in The Engelsfors Trilogy, and while I love them all, Vanessa shines the brightest. She struggles with normal teenage worries in addition to having one-sixth of the fate of the world on her shoulders, but she still finds time to love her two-year-old brother, Melvin, and to forge a deep connection with fellow witch Linnea.
Susan Caraway, Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli
It's been so long since I've read this book, but it still sticks out in my mind as the one that made being different and feeling out of place less scary. Preferring to go by the name Stargirl, she marches to the beat of her own drum, one she's probably made herself. She loves flowers. She cheers for both teams at basketball games. She people watches in the mall and has a happy wagon she uses to keep track of good things that have happened throughout the day. Unencumbered by the normal social restrictions of high school, she doesn't really find a place there, but the point is that she doesn't feel she needs to.
Jo March, Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
Jo is the Lizzie Bennet of Little Women. Who doesn't want to be her? She lets her imagination run freely in order to entertain her sisters. She speaks her mind and goes after what she wants, even if that's moving away from the family she loves to pursue a career in writing. Although her healthy temper means lots of sisterly fights, she loves her sisters more than anything.
Sara Crew, A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett
It's been a while since I've read this one, too, but the thing about Sara that stands out in my mind is her eternal optimism. When she gets word that her father's died, she loses everything. She loses the only family she has left and all the privileges that came with his position, which means she's no longer Miss Minchin's student and is now a servant. And yet, despite this, with her friends at her side, she never loses hope.