Need more fierce YA female characters in your life? These are the ones that inspire debut author Coco Ma (and will inspire *you*) the most.
There’s no such thing as too many fierce YA female characters, as we all could really use a large dose of badassery every now and again. That’s what make YA books so great: They’re chock-full of bold women, both young and old. These women do their best with what they’re given and fight tooth and nail to better themselves and the worlds around them.
While we may not be able to directly relate to their struggles (as none of us have been a professor at a school of witchcraft and wizardry nor have we served as a vampire’s bodyguard… that I’m aware of), there’s so much to be gained from reading about their experiences and their reactions to predicaments.
It’s no secret that fierce YA female characters inspire us. And so, we’re always looking to shine a light on them and their badassery. Coco Ma, debut author of Shadow Frost, feels the same.
Check out her top picks for formidable YA female characters that you’d want on your side in case you ever found yourself in a precarious situation (or who would just make for an exciting hang).
8 fierce YA female characters that wouldn’t stop fighting even if hell froze over
Hey, Hypable! This is Coco, 19-year-old debut author of Shadow Frost, a YA-fantasy novel about a princess who only has one job: to kill a demon that cannot be killed.
My biggest inspiration in writing Shadow Frost stemmed from fairy tales and fairy tale retellings. I grew up on the older Disney princess stories — Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella. And I loved them, but I always felt like the princesses were somehow… lacking.
Also, I could never really relate to those girls in general. The first time I fed a horse, it bit my hand. Like, my whole hand. I spilled food on my dresses and got candy stuck in my hair on the daily. My teachers reported that I talked too much in class and was extremely bossy (nothing has changed there, FYI).
There came a day when my parents told me that unless I behaved like one of those Disney princesses, no handsome men would ever want to marry me. Eight-year-old me narrowed her eyes. She smelled some serious BS.
Even back then, I had already decided that I didn’t have the patience to wait around for fate to grant my wishes or kiss me awake. Fast forward a few years! I read some life-altering YA novels and suddenly my dreams were filled with girls who befriended not-so-evil dragons and broke out of their own towers to conquer the world… princes be damned. It felt so comfortable. So right. It was only natural that the female characters in my first book would be strong, independent leads more than capable of holding their own in society and battle.
But more than that, I think that all of the women in Shadow Frost, while all unique from one another, share one common mentality. A mentality that allows them to overcome hardship, seek out purpose, fight for all hell’s worth for what they stand by, and find strength and wisdom in the face of unbeatable odds. I’m sure that Asterin and Luna and Rose would get along with most of the females in YA lit these days, but I’ve made a list of a few specific badass ladies that they would definitely be inspired by.
Lysandra Ashryver, the Throne of Glass series
“She was fury, she was wrath, she was vengeance.”
Let’s face it, none of us really liked Lysandra at the beginning. She was a pesky thorn in Aelin’s side. But then we learned her true backstory and watched her blossom into one of the fiercest and most badass warriors in the entire series. She calculated every choice right from the start, and even as a child she fought not only to survive, but thrive.
13/10 would recommend for ghost leopard cuddles and/or ripping out enemies’ throats.
Arya Stark, the Game of Thrones series
“The world doesn’t just let girls decide what they want to be. But I can now.”
Disclaimer: I have not watched Game of Thrones. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT THE HECK EVERYONE (characters & viewers) SUFFERED IN THE LAST SEASON, AND I DON’T KNOW IF I WANT TO KNOW. Anyway, when I first met Arya while reading Game of Thrones, I vowed to protect her with my life (spiritually). I very quickly realized that such sentiment would most certainly not be necessary as she grew and struggled and triumphed and evolved into the legend she is today.
16/10 would recommend as a guest at your worst ex’s wedding.
Inej Ghafa, the Six of Crows series
“She was not a lynx or a spider or even the wraith, she was Inej Ghafa and her future was waiting above.”
Inej, for me, is the ultimate personification of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” She could have given up. So. Many. Times. Her childhood backstory nearly broke me, for Saint’s sake. And the first half of Crooked Kingdom? Heck. While she may not outright laugh in the face of adversity, you can be absolutely certain that the Wraith is slinking right up to it (silently, of course), knives out, and emerging victor every single damn time.
12/10 would recommend for waffle date and/or for breaking into the impenetrable fortress of Kaz’s heart. Oh, yeah, she did that. Like, the ending of Crooked Kingdom? I cried for days. He is so soft for her and I will fight you on that until the end of time.
Lila Bard, the Shades of Magic series
“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”
Lila is the voice on my shoulder. Whenever I have doubts about doing A Thing because There Will Come Many Consequences, I can always trust her to give me an answer. Is it the right answer? Probably not. Is it the answer that invites utter catastrophe to my doorstep? Almost definitely. Is it the answer that I will one day regret? Never.
14/10 would willingly allow her to pickpocket me.
Jude Duarte, The Folk of the Air series
“Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.”
JUDE. JUUUUUUDE. Yo. This girl. Literally poisoned herself on a daily basis to arm herself against someone poisoning her. Like, can you imagine constantly living like that? Not to mention everything she has to deal with on top of that, which I won’t talk about because *spoilers*.
But what I admire most about Jude is her bullheaded determination to control everything, which I relate to on a spiritual level. It’s not because we want to control everything, of course. It’s because we just don’t trust anyone except for ourselves to do it right (although, in Jude’s case, she probably just doesn’t trust anyone to do anything at all in general, and I don’t blame her). Once Jude takes matters into her own hands, you know shit’s about to get real.
12/10 would nominate for an Oscar every time she pretends to be glamored.
June Iparis, the Legend series
“I will hunt you down. I will scour the streets of Los Angeles for you. Search every street in the Republic if I have to. I will trick you and deceive you, lie, cheat, and steal to find you, tempt you out of your hiding place and chase you until you have nowhere else to run. I make you this promise: your life is mine.”
Legend was one of the first YA books I read. My friend bought me Champion for Christmas, and I was like, hold up, does this mean I have to buy the first two as well? On the one hand, thanks for helping set me on the path I walk today, but on the other hand, thanks for my current book buying addiction.
Reading Legend made me realize how much I wished female characters were more frequently portrayed like June. And how much I wished to be like her — scarily intelligent and incredibly capable.
11/10 would recommend for anything and everything, regardless of the situation. She is the acetate in any superglue-grade sticky situation. If that sounds oddly specific, just know that it was extremely relevant to me, personally, a few minutes ago.
Also, I’m extremely excited for the surprise fourth installment of the Legend series, which actually releases on the same day as Shadow Frost! You know, in case you need to meet that free shipping minimum. *wink wink nudge nudge*
Minerva McGonagall, the Harry Potter series
So, listen. Can you imagine Professor McGonagall giving up or letting someone else get their way in any sort of situation, anywhere, ever? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
15/10 would recommend having biscuits with.
Rose Hathaway, the Vampire Academy series
When I was writing Shadow Frost, Asterin’s original name was actually Rose. Her character and personality pays homage to Rose Hathaway, even if her actual name no longer does. Vampire Academy was a very, very special series to me when I was younger, and Rose was the Certified Badass™ that I always wished to become. No matter the situation thrown at her, she always prevailed in the end, staking hearts and decapitating heads along the way with her trademark sass and timeless cheek.
Personally, the only situation in which I’ve ever had the courage to say “Checkmate, bitch,” was after I got 111 points in Scrabble for the word “SEQUOIA.” (The Q was on a triple-letter score square and one of the other letters fell on a triple-word score square, in case you were wondering, which I’m 99% sure you were not.) I rode off the high of that victory for nearly two full moon cycles.
12/10 would love for her to meet Asterin. 15/10 would like to see them train hand-to-hand combat against one another. 20/10 would like to see them take down Strigoi and/or demons… together.