Middlemarch Madness

Middlemarch Madness III: Nominate Your YA Heroines

Today and tomorrow, we’re taking nominations for YA heroines in both categories. 

Logo for Persephone Magazine's Middlemarch MadnessReview the fine points of this post, then share all your favorite YA ladies in the comments. Keep in mind, Hermione, Minerva McGonagall, Anne Shirley, and Scout Finch are ineligible. Also, we’re only going to be able to take one character per author into the bracket, so plan wisely.

One more note: make sure to mark whether your nominations fall under the literary fiction or sci-fi/fantasy/dystopia categories. The P-Mag elves know a lot of things, but we aren’t always familiar with every lady character who gets nominated. Help us out and label your noms. Thanks!

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

46 replies on “Middlemarch Madness III: Nominate Your YA Heroines”

Sci-fi/Fantasy YA

Sabriel, the Abhorsen series
Lirael, the Abhorsen series
Jane Drew, The Dark Is Rising series
Guinevere, The Dark Is Rising series
Ginny Weasley, HP
Luna Lovegood, HP
Annabeth Chase, Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Thalia Grace, Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Clarisse La Rue, Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Rachel Elizabeth Dare, Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Saphira, Inheritance series
Nasuada, Inheritance series
Arya, Inheritance series
And none for Cassandra Clare, bye.

In the YA science fiction/fantasy/distopia category I also back:

Keladry of Mindelan – Protector of the Small series by Tamora Pierce

Lyra Belacqua- His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman

And in the YA Literary Fiction category I submit:

Liesel Meminger – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Sci-fi/fantasy/dystopia YA

Zahrah (PoC) – Zahrah the Windseeker

Meliara – Crown/Court Duel

Raisa ‘Ana Marianna (PoC) – the Demon King, the Exiled Queen (still working on the Gray Wolf Throne =)

Ai-Ling (PoC) – Silver Phoenix, Beyond the Kingdom of Xia

Luce – Lost Voices Trilogy

Lady Fire – Fire (Cashore)

Sci-fi/fantasy/dystopia – Adult

Mercedes Thompson (Hauptman) (PoC) – Mercy Thompson Series

Literary Fiction YA

Shabanu (PoC) – Shabanu Daughter of the Wind

Dimple Lala – Born Confused

Charlotte A. Cavatica–Charlotte’s Web–E.B. White
Frances Purcell–Sisters of the Quantock Hills–Ruth Elwin Harris
Violet Baudelaire–A Series of Unfortunate Events–Lemony Snicket
Betsy Ray–The Betsy-Tacy Books–Maud Hart Lovelace
Petrova Fossil–Ballet Shoes–Noel Streatfeild
Anastasia Krupnik–Anastasia Krupnik–Lois Lowry

Alice–Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland–Lewis Carroll
Scraps the Patchwork Girl–The Oz Books–L.Frank Baum
Odge Gribble–The Secret of Platform 13–Eva Ibbotson

I’m officially coming out of (mostly) lurking for this year’s Middlemarch Madness. My favorite thing about this is it inspires me to read books I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t read!

Weetzie Bat of Weetzie Bat
Hazel Grace of The Fault in Our Stars
Marjane Satrape of Persepolis
Harriet the Spy of Harriet the Spy
Dicey Tillerman of Homecoming
Jo March of Little Women
Isabel of Chains
Alice of Alice in Wonderland
Matilda of Matilda
Coraline of Coraline

I know a lot of these have already been nominated, but I already had a list, so here goes (in no particular order.) I am nominating a few who are both by the same author, but I figure they can get sorted out when we vote on who actually makes it in. Also, one guess as to what most of my reading consists of…

YA Literary Fiction

Ramona Quimby – Ramona Quimby books (Beverly Cleary)

YA Sci-fi/Fantasy/Dystopia

Harry – The Blue Sword (Robin McKinley)

Keladry of Mindelan – The Protector of the Small Quartet (Tamora Pierce)

Beka Cooper – Provost’s Dog Series (Tamora Pierce)

Cimorene – Enchanted Forest Quartet (Patricia Wrede)

Bitterblue – Bitterblue (Kristin Cashore)

Katsa – Graceling (Kristin Cashore)

Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games trilogy (Suzanne Collins)

Lyra Belacqua – His Dark Materials trilogy (Phillip Pullman)

Amy – The Ordinary Princess (M.M. Kaye)

Elda – The Year of the Griffin (Diana Wynne Jones)

Menolly – Dragonsong/Dragonsinger/Dragondrums (Anne McCaffrey)

Tiffany Aching – The Wee Free Men series (Terry Pratchett)

Urdda – Tender Morsels (Margo Lanagan)

Elisa – The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Rae Carson)

Lirael – Lirael and Abhorsen (Garth Nix)

Lirael fistbump. I wish so much that I’d had that book in middle school; as much as I loved the goofy Piers Anthony Xanth stuff I was devouring, Lirael would have made me feel like I was understood somehow. Like there was a place, if I daydreamed with the Many Worlds theory, that I could have been Lirael’s bestie, and she mine. That novel would have meant the world to me.

Ann from Hexwood
Meg Murray

New nominations:
Tess from Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series (fantasy)
Luna Lovegood (fantasy)
Alanna from the Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce (fantasy)
Nancy Drew (lit)
Kaye from Tithe by Holly Black (fantasy)
Tally from Uglies by Scott Westerfield (dystopian)
Danica from Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Boston Jane by Jennifer L. Holm (lit)
Menolly from Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey (fantasy)

YA sci-fi/fantasy/dystopia:
Princess Cimorene – Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede
Make me a third vote for Lyra Belacqua- His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
Sabriel, the Abhorsen- Old Kingdom Trilogy by Garth Nix
Also, not sure if she belongs here or in litfic, but Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood- We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Yes, but half the joy of that book is taking the twists and turns without any idea of how much more awesome it’s going to get as it goes on. And really, I think we all find new books (or rather new to us books) on here every year. I know last year I picked up the Tiffany Aching books because of her supporters last year.

Ok, I found a few spoiler-free reviews/summaries. This one made me laugh quite a lot:

The blurb begins with a quote, which I will reprint here and leave you to think a moment about the sort of book you might expect to see upon reading it.

“All I did was ask you for a role-playing game. You never warned me I’d be pitched into it for real! And I asked you for hobbits on a Grail quest, and not one hobbit have I seen!”

To tell you how out-of-context this quote was taken, let me mention that it was spoken on page 340 (the book is 384 pages long) by an incidental character that the other characters in the scene immediately dismiss as insane. If you go into this book expecting a Grail quest, a role-playing game parody and hobbits, you’ll be disappointed. There will be no hobbits. (the rest of the link does contain spoilers).

A more straightforward one:

In a small village near London, a teenage girl, Ann Stavely, recovers from a serious fever. While ill, she talks with the four voices in her head: The King, The Prisoner, The Boy, and The Slave. Through her window, she witnesses some mysterious comings and goings at nearby Hexwood Farm Estate; a van, with a symbol like a pair of unbalanced scales on the side, pulls up and people go in, but they do not come out again. After many different people go in, but none come out, Ann becomes curious, and is determined to find out more.
The next day, greatly recovered, she explores the tiny woods beside Hexwood Farm. When she enters it, she finds that the woods have expanded, and she encounters a futuristic chamber with a famished, exceptionally tall and skeletal man inside. He claims he has been asleep for centuries, but Ann knows she saw him enter Hexwood Farm just a few days ago. (spoilers at the link).


Tiffany Aching- Terry Pratchett
Veralidaine Sarrasri- Tamora Pierce
Princess Celie- Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
Ella- Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
September- The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherine M Valtente

Literary Fiction:

Matilda- Roald Dahl
Claudia Kincaid- From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Turtle Wexler- The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Oh hell yea. In no particular order (except for Lyra):


September – The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland…
Harriet the Spy
Cassie – Roll of Thunder
Leslie – Bridge to Terabithia
Meg Murray – A Wrinkle in Time
Dicey Tillerman – Homecoming
Winnie – Tuck Everlasting
Turtle Wexler – The Westing Game
Ramona Quimby
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Hazel – The Fault in Our Stars
Claudia – From the Mixed-Up Files of MBEF
Sherri (Cherry) – The Outsiders


Cassandra – I Capture the Castle
Ninah – The Rapture of Canaan
Carla Jean Moss – No Country for Old Men
Ada – Cold Mountain
Elizabeth – Light a Penny Candle
Alice – Farundell
Claudia – Interview with the Vampire
Taylor – The Bean Trees

Damn, I separated by YA/Adult rather than Sci/Lit. (That’s because I can’t tell the difference between the two.) Here is the list again, to the best of my ability, following the same order as above:

Sci: September and Meg Murray (and maybe Lyra, Winnie, Matilda, Alice, and Vampire Claudia?)
Lit: Everyone else

We have extensively discussed some of these, and the consensus is Lyra, Winnie, Matilda and Claudia are all s/f/d, but I’m not familiar with this Alice. Basically, anything related to the supernatural (a broad spectrum of zombies, vampires, werewolves, wizards, witches, ghosts, genies, etc.), the future, time travel, magic, robots (both killer & friendly), aliens, space travel, dragons and/or unicorns, or examines life in some sort of horrible post-democracy wasteland lands a book in the s/f/d category. Everything else is literary fiction.

And that’s just our classification title, we’re not saying books in the s/f/d categories aren’t literary, by a long shot. We just needed a quick way to say “stuff without killer robots, et. al.” that everyone would “get.”

Obviously, we obsess as much over MMM as y’all do. ; )

Thanks so much for clarifying! I got so overexcited that I didn’t even read the instructions properly, let alone think through the definitions. That’s what happens when MMM only comes once a year!

So YA s/f/d:

September – The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland…
Meg Murray – A Wrinkle in Time
Winnie – Tuck Everlasting

YA lit:

Harriet the Spy
Cassie – Roll of Thunder
Leslie – Bridge to Terabithia
Dicey Tillerman – Homecoming
Turtle Wexler – The Westing Game
Ramona Quimby
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Hazel – The Fault in Our Stars
Claudia – From the Mixed-Up Files of MBEF
Sherri (Cherry) – The Outsiders

Also, funny sidenote: I thought, “Oh, then Leslie is s/f/d too because, duh, Terabithia was totally real and…oh wait…the whole point of the book was the power of imagination.”

But Terabithia is totally real, y’all! IT IS!

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