My Top Three YA Villains

I think I speak for all of us when I say that we each have that one fictional character we fear. That one bad guy we love to hate. That one villain that strikes fear into our very souls. That one specific baddie that we’ve feared right from page one.

As a kid I used to be afraid of the evil grandma in Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine.

george

She was a wicked old woman. Crazy to the core, a bully to her grandson George, and a generally creepy old lady all round, this granny used to absolutely terrify me as a child. She had no magical powers, she was old and frail, she couldn’t attack anyone, she was not threatening in the slightest… and yet she still horrified me, and that is powerful. I never liked reading the parts with her in it. I remember being baffled why Mr Kranky even let her stay in their home in the first place — but hey, blood is thicker than water, right?

And also, you know, she was a massive part of the story, and a huge part of the book wouldn’t have worked without her…

But I digress.

Villains! They come in all glorious shapes and sizes. I grew up and realised that maybe Grandma Kranky wasn’t actually that scary, and found myself having nightmares of other novel villains, the latest of which being Annie Wilkes from Stephen King’s Misery.

annie

Seriously, if you haven’t read it and you have a strong stomach, give it a go and understand what real fear is…

But dammit, I digress yet again.

Today we’re not just talking about any old villains, oh no. We’re talking about YA villains — three specific ones in particular…! So sit back, grab some holy water and your favourite crucifix, because I’m about to lay down my top three YA villains of all time. And I’m bringing it back Olympic medallist style!

WARNING: THIS BLOG POST HAS BEEN RATED ‘YOWZER!!!’ FOR SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY, THIS IS NOT AN EXAGGERATION. IF YOU HAVENT READ THE FOLLOWING BOOKS THEN DON’T READ AHEAD, OTHERWISE THEY’LL BE RUINED FOR YOU! YOU KNOW HOW WE ALL HAVE THAT ONE FRIEND WHO GIVES AWAY THE PLOT TWIST RIGHT AT THE END OF THE MOVIE? YEAH, THIS BLOG POST IS THE EQUIVALENT OF THEM. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

BRONZE MEDAL: PRESIDENT SNOW — THE ‘HUNGER GAMES’ SERIES, WRITTEN BY SUZANNE COLLINS:

Prez Snow for Fashion Wk

Now, I know what you’re thinking. He look harmless! He looks like your grandpa! He looks like your grandma when she forgets to shave off her lady-stache. He looks like a better-dressed Santa Claus!

Wrong. Well… actually you’d be right, because he does look like all of those things — but he’s not! President Snow is the ruthless and tyrannical dictator of Panem — the dystopian future America — and he has total control of the land he rules over.

After the people of Panem tried to mutiny against Snow and the Capitol — the favoured state in Panem (kind of like your favourite child) — he struck back by founding the ‘Hunger Games’. Every year, to exercise his control over Panem, he holds an annual Hunger Games tournament where he traps twenty-four unfortunate children in a giant arena, forces them fight to the death, and broadcasts it nationwide to terrify the masses into behaving themselves.

This seems like a bit of an extreme yearly tradition. Couldn’t he just give Glastonbury a try…?

But anyway! If you don’t think that makes this guy worthy of his villain status, then let me break it down for you just a little more…

President Snow is not only an evil, manipulative, self-serving asshat of a tyrant — he’s also genuinely terrifying. He goes out of his way to install fear into the hearts of his people, but more importantly, he makes it his business to terrorise leading lady, Katniss Everdeen, and her family.

Snow has had a personal vendetta against Katniss after she screwed up his Hunger Games and became a symbol of hope for the rising rebellion. He starts stalking her family, turning up unannounced at her home. He puts her back into the Hunger Games after she’s already been in there once. He kidnaps the love of her life and brainwashes him to hate her. He wages war against her and the rebellions. He’s the reason her little sister was killed. He’s the reason she slowly lost her mind and descended into madness. This man is pure evil.

And you know what makes him so scary? You know what makes him such a chilling character? He’s completely normal. He’s just a normal guy who was given a tiny bit of power, and it went to his head. He lost his mind to it. President Snow is a regular human being. He has no super powers, no supernatural abilities, no magical influences whatsoever. If anything, he’s an old man who could be knocked down by a stiff breeze. He’s a normal human man, and he has the power to make nations fall to their knees, and that’s why he’s scary, and that’s why he deserves the bronze medal.

Well done, Coriolanus Snow. You’re an asshole.

But we must move on!

SILVER MEDAL: LORD VOLDEMORT — THE ‘HARRY POTTER’ SERIES, WRITTEN BY J.K.ROWLING:

voldy

(Anyone else think he kind of looks like the bad guy from the Da Vinci Code…?)

Oh, Voldemort. You poor little thing. Orphaned as a child, led astray into dark magic as a teenager, growing up in a world where no one understands you and your hatred for Muggles and Mudbloods. You poor, poor misunderstood creature. All you needed was for someone to love you. All you needed was for someone to hold you close and tell you that you’re special. All you needed was someone to hold your hand and tell you everything was going to be alright. Maybe then, you wouldn’t have turned out so evil. So misunderstood…

No, I’m just kidding, this guy’s a dick.

Lord Voldemort is the archenemy of lead protagonist, Harry Potter, and has had a personal grudge against him since the prophecy arose that stated Harry Potter was the chosen one born to vanquish him. In the magical world, no one dares speak his name, referring to him as ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’, ‘You Know Who’ and ‘The Dark Lord’.

For as long as anyone can remember, Voldemort has had an obsession with blood purity, his dream to become ruler of both the mortal and magic world, where he’ll wipe out the Muggles and Mudbloods, sparing only the pure-blood wizards and witches. If you think about it, he’s basically Hitler. Except Hitler would have probably actually been able to kill Harry Potter as a baby, rather than screwing it up. I mean, come on, the kid was like two years old! You could have thrown the little brat out the window! How can you fail that badly? You had one job, Voldemort. And you SUCKED at it.

And the evilness doesn’t even stop there! As well as blood purity, another one of Voldy’s obsessions is prolonging his life. I suppose his one fear — you know, apart from Dumbledore — is death. He’s terrified of dying, and he does some pretty despicable things to prevent it from happening. He splits his soul into seven different pieces with the use of dark magic and traps them inside seven different hidden objects, so that he can never truly die unless all the bits of his soul are killed first.

He also drinks a lot of unicorn blood and lived as a parasite on the back of someone’s head for like a year, which actually makes him sound more pathetic than evil… but hey, everyone needs to start somewhere

However, for all his obsessions and weird beliefs, there’s one other thing that he’s more passionate about than anything else. There’s one thing that drives him to distraction more than Muggles, and Mudbloods, and horcruxes, and that’s killing Harry Potter.

Yep, throughout the whole seven book series, Voldemort is hell-bent on killing off the main character, and putting a stop to Harry before he gets to him first. Voldemort goes out of his way to destroy Harry’s life, by killing his parents, destroying his home, murdering his friends and family, waging war against Hogwarts, and lastly by carrying out the killing curse on him. There are only two things on Voldemort’s mind, and that’s taking over the world, and killing Harry Potter, and a character as cunning, powerful and feared as him might actually get his wishes come true…

Although really, how stupid is it that he couldn’t kill a two year old? How embarrassing for him. He could have smothered him with a pillow or thrown him down the stairs, or something. Why did he have try and be fancy about it? Think about it, Voldemort, on a scale of one to ten (one being stuffed-crust pizza and ten being kicking Hitler out of art school) how bad was your idea, huh?

Bah.

… Yeah, I realise I’ve mentioned Hitler twice so far in this blog post. It’s been a really long week…

But moving on! It’s time for our Gold medal winner! Hold onto your hats, ladies and gents, because I’m about to blow them away!!

…Uh…

GOLD MEDAL: LORD VILE — THE ‘SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT’ SERIES, WRITTEN BY DEREK LANDY:

(Now, there are no actual illustrated pictures of Lord Vile as of yet, but this is roughly what he’d look like…)

lord vile

Even the name sends shivers down my spine…!

Lord Vile, one of the most notorious, evil, and powerful sorcerers of all time among the pages of the Skulduggery Pleasant series, he is a villain that terrifies not only the characters in the books, but also the readers holding the books. I will personally raise my hand and say that I have been emotionally scarred by the turmoil this man has caused, and I will not hesitate to sue for the traumatic damage caused…!

But what’s that you ask? What makes Lord Vile so unspeakably evil? What makes him such a big bad bully? What’s he ever done that’s so bad? Well sit back and get comfortable, because I’m going to go and get my clipboard of ‘Crap Vile Has Pulled’ and enlighten you all…

First off he fights for the bad guys. After being brought back to life by another sorcerer, Lord Vile let his rage and hatred consume him, and he swapped to Mevolent’s side and started fighting against his friends.

His magical discipline is necromancy, and his powers are so vast and powerful that people start actually believing him to be the next Death Bringer (necromancer messiah) and the fear spreads through the magical world like wildfire.

Concealing his true identity (control yourself not to give away the huge spoiler, all you Skuttlebugs out there) behind a suit of armour that contains all his necromancer magic, Vile is not afraid to go up against his enemies, strike down anyone in his way, and torture, kill, and maim his way to getting what he wants.

Behind that armour is no trace of the good man he once used to be. There is no mercy. There is no hint of remorse for the things he’s done. There is no pity, or love, or humanity, and that’s what makes him such a terrifying and effective villain. He doesn’t have to speak to be frightening. He doesn’t have to be a dictator to make people obey him. He doesn’t need to flash his magic around to show how powerful he is. All you need to know is that he’s dangerous, he’s invulnerable, and he has no humanity, and that’s what makes him so scary. Because what’s scarier than a man who’s lost so much, that he’s also lost himself? What’s more chilling than someone who’s got nothing left to lose? What’s more blood-curdlingly terrifying than a villain who’ll watch you burn just because he can, just because he wants to, just because there’s nothing left he wants? What’s worse than a man who kills without a thought?

There’s nothing scarier than a villain who has no conscience, because you know you’ll never stand a chance against them, and that’s why Lord Vile wins the top spot this week as our Gold Medal Winner. You’ve earned it, pal. You’re seriously messed, up and utterly disturbing. Congratulations.

Although, to be fair, if Voldemort fought with a lightsaber instead of a twig, he’d have probably won the gold.

Just saying.

Laura, out.

Photogenic People Cast In New Movie Shock!

THIS is a news report. Kind of.

Not really though.

Ahem.

(Please read the following in the X-Factor narrator’s voice.)

From the author that brought you ‘Cancer Sucks’…

The_Fault_in_Our_Stars

… ‘A Fatalistic Relationship About To Happen’…

Looking-for-alaska

… ‘How To Get Dumped Repeatedly’

katherines

… ‘Is There An Echo in Here?”

will grayson

… and ‘What The Hell Is This Even About?”

paper towns

… John Green brings you his second movie spawned from one of his early modern contemporary books, and this time he’s chosen to force-feed Paper Towns to the public.

Get ready for all the things you love in a John Green novel. Things like: pretentious quotes that don’t make sense…

quote1

… quotes that were obviously meant to be deep, but just sound stupid…

quote2

… and quotes from self-deprecating teenagers who really need to look into group therapy or something…

qute3

Starring all your favourite actors that you’ve never ever heard of. Ever. Including…

This Guy!

nat woolf

Bushy Eyebrows!

Cara-Delevingne

Annoying Accent!

Halston_Sage_Nick-722x1024

Baby-Face!

austin

Female Baby-Face!

meg

Your Girlfriend’s Strict Father

hillmann

And Jailbait!

sinclair

(Seriously, I wasn’t joking when I said you wouldn’t have heard of them.)

Strap yourself in and get ready for the moderately thrilling ride that is going to be Paper Towns, the major motion picture based off the mind-boggling bestselling novel that will be hitting cinema screens everywhere in August 2015. If you like romance, vague mysteries, and teenagers with weird names that make them sound like they’re from the Victorian times, then Paper Towns is the YA adventure for YOU!

And now for the actual news bit.

(You can stop reading in the X-Factor voice now.)

Seriously, if you’re a John Green fan and you’ve read and enjoyed the New York Times #5 best-selling YA book, then this is going to be big news for you. HUGE, even. So even though I’m making fun of it mercilessly, I am actually super excited for all you Nerd Fighters out there, and I’m really happy that you get to see another one of your favourite author’s creations come to life.

Go ahead. Scream, cry, giggle, dance around in little circles — I won’t judge…! Promise!

Paper Towns is Green’s third YA novel, published on October 16th 2008, winner of the 2009 Edgar Award for best Young Adult Novel, and was announced by Green himself on March 24th 2014 that it was being adapted into a film.

Since then and now, few juicy details have been parted with about the upcoming movie. We know that the screenplay has been written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, that Fox 2000 own the rights to the film,that Jake Schreier will be directing it, and that Green himself is the executive producer, but apart from that things have been very hush-hush.

However, a few months after the movie deal was announced, Green revealed that model and actress Cara Delevingne will play leading lady Margo Roth Spiegelman, and even more recently, on October 9th (just a few days ago) Green also revealed that Justice Smith, Austin Abrams and Halston Sage will also be starring in the movie. COOL!

Of course, all of Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook are abuzz, desperately waiting for Green to spill some more secrets, but seeing as the film isn’t coming out until next August, they’ve got a pretty long wait ahead of them.

Is that it? Am I done now?

Oh, thank God for that.

Alright I can stop being sensible now. News report is over. I should probably end this blog post on a joke. I need to think of something really clever, and witty, and funny to say. Something that people will remember me by. Something that really captures my intelligence and sophistication. Something that illustrates my skill and comedic writing talents.

Okay I’ve got it.

Ahem.

Poo.

Nailed it.

Laura, out.

Caelan VS Cullen

I kissed a boy and now I’m immortal. Sound familiar, anyone…?

No, I’m not talking from personal experience. There was no fatalistic, mid-semester, high-school romance for me as a teenager. There was no pale, lanky, gormless guy in my life. Okay, don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of gormless guys in my life — but none quite like the boys I’m thinking of. I’m thinking of a very specific type of boy in particular. You know the one, tall, dark and handsome…

Oh and you know, dead.

Yep. I’m talking vampires. Because apparently all teenage girls really dig that trashed-homeless-chic look that almost every YA male protagonist seems to sport. Because, speaking on behalf of all women on planet Earth here, if there’s one thing we females can’t resist, its douchebag seventeen year old boys who always look constipated and sparkle in the sunlight. Now that’s what I call a real man.

Yes, I am talking about the one and only Edward Cullen.

edward

About three things, I was absolutely positive. Firstly, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him — and I didn’t know how dominant that part of him might be — that was a massive tool. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably sick of him after the first page.

Yes, Edward Cullen, the possessive, controlling, whiny (but totally sweet and perfect, apparently…?) leading male protagonist spawned from the dark, miserable, and roach-infested recesses of Stephenie Meyer’s mind — also known as The Twilight Saga.

Am I being too harsh? Good.

Okay, let’s get one things straight. Ladies, you do not want a man like Edward Cullen in your life. You all deserve SO much more than that. The relationship that Bella and Edward has — apart from being creepy, impractical, and downright irritating — is just unhealthy. This boy stalked her, broke into her bedroom to watch her sleep, and tried to kill her on multiple occasions. If this guy had a theme tune, it would probably be Every Step You Take by The Police, because this asshat is way up there with Lindsey Lohan and Charlie Sheen in the crazy charts.

But why doesn’t this relationship work? Why does Bella and Edward’s love story repel so many readers?

I know what you’re all thinking. It’s because it’s stupid. And it IS! But that’s not why this ‘romance’ is a complete shambles.

This partnership shows all the top seven signs of being in an abusive relationship. No really, it does. Edward Cullen is an emotionally and verbally abusive bully. If you think I’m exaggerating, then just let me break it down for you…

  1. Destructive criticism and verbal abuse (mocking/shouting/name-calling/threatening):

Examples of Edward displaying this behaviour:

“Bella it’s not my fault if you’re exceptionally unobservant.”

“Ordinary people seem to make it through the day without so many catastrophes.”

  1. Pressure tactics (sulking/threatening/intimidation):

Examples:

“Don’t be difficult, Bella.”

‘Edward turned on her in fury, his voice a blistering snarl. “There-is–no–other-option!”’

  1. Disrespect(mocking/putting down/ignoring):

Examples:

“Don’t be offended, but you seem to be one of those people who just attract accidents like a magnet. So try not to fall into the ocean or get run over or anything, all right?”

“Must I always be the responsible one?”

  1. Breaking trust(lying/breaking promises/jealousy):

Examples:

“Your boyfriend seems to think I’m being unpleasant to you—he’s debating whether or not to come break up our fight.”

“I warned you I would be listening.”

  1. Isolation (blocking & monitoring phone calls/won’t let you see friends or relatives)

Examples:

[BELLA WANTS TO VISIT JACOB]

“Then I’ll have to stop you.”

  1. Harassment(following/checking up):

“I followed you back to Port-Angeles.”

“I feel very protective of you.”

  1. Threats (physical/mental/emotional intimidation):

“I wanted to kill you.”

“Now relax before I call the nurse back to sedate you.

See what I mean?

The fact that this kind of relationship has been so romanticised and idealised to the point where seventeen year old girls are running around looking for their own Edward Cullen is almost a little bit sickening. Stephanie Meyer has produced the most toxic, harmful, and unrealistic expectations for young girls of what a relationship should be, that it’s very nearly damaging.

In conclusion:

Edward Cullen — Official Douchebag of the Decade.

Bella Swan — Official Idiot of the Decade.

Bedward (Is that their OTP name or did I just make that up?) — A car crash waiting to happen.

Stephenie Meyer — Deluded.

Also, Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight was the inspiration for Fifty Shades Of Grey, so there’s another strike against her.

Ahem.

Now, let’s move on. We’re going from Cullen to Caelan and his story, or what I like to call: How Twilight Should Have Gone.

Caelan (surname unknown), the pale, lanky, whiny, creepy man-child of a vampire (déjà vu, anyone?) from the Skulduggery Pleasant book series, written by Derek Landy.

Caelan

Caelan is a vampire of many talents. He has the ability to be a total hottie and complete weirdo at the same time. He has no qualms about professing his undying love to a girl he’s only just met. He can run fast and jump from really high stuff…

Okay, so he’s a little lame. But here’s the thing — he’s supposed to be lame. Unlike Stephanie Meyer, Derek Landy writes his character to be totally unaware of how weird, and eerie, and obnoxious he is. In Caelan’s mind he’s a regular old Romeo when it comes to love and romance, but actually, from an outsider’s perspective, he’s just a giant creep. And he’s meant to be! Whereas Edward Cullen is meant to be all moody, and broody, and irresistible, Caelan is just meant to be an ass. And that’s why it works.

Derek Landy’s storyline with Caelan falling in love with leading female protagonist Valkyrie Cain is a subplot of beauty. And it works because Valkyrie, unlike Bella, is a take charge, no nonsense, level-headed, stubborn, assertive, independent woman who won’t even let the authorities tell her what to do, let alone a boy she just met and only kind-of likes.

Valkyrie doesn’t take any crap from Caelan. Nope, the moment he starts to irritate her, or get on her nerves, Valkyrie is super-quick to lay down the law, and put him in his place. Whether or not he’s professing his undying (and unwanted) love for her, or if he’s just being generally annoying, Val doesn’t hesitate to knock him down a peg. Caelan actually become so insufferable that she (spoiler alert!) ends up having to kill him off…! Good girl!!

Also, it’s just funny. Unlike Twilight, this storyline will actually bring joy to your life. Every scene with Valkyrie and Caelan is just so funny, and poor Caelan doesn’t even know it. Some of his scenes have produced some of the most quotable lines in the book…

(The following quotes were taken from https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/15121049-death-bringer)

“I swear, talking to you is like talking to a really good-looking and mildly stupid brick wall.” — Valkyrie Cain to Caelan.

“Get away from my ex-girlfriend, you moany little whinge-bag.’ 
Caelan took a deep breath, like he was in pain, and stood up. His voice was low, guttural. ‘I was hoping I’d get the chance to kill you.’
‘You won’t be killing anyone, you sad little emo git.’
‘You’ve stood in the way of our love for long enough.’
‘Just listening to you makes me want to top myself, you self-pitying Paranormal Romance novel reject.’
Caelan glared. ‘Stop insulting me.’
‘Why? If you cry will your mascara run?”
— Fletcher Renn to Caelan.

“He looked at her. “We’re meant to be together…”
“And this is exactly what I mean.”
“Our love is written in the stars.”
“And there you go again.”
“I love you.”
“You bore me.”
— Valkyrie Cain to Caelan.

“You say one more thing that sounds like it’s ripped from the pages of a really bad gothic romance and I’m out of here, are we clear?” — Valkyrie Cain to Caelan.

“I love you.’
‘I’m a little stuck for words here,’ she said. ‘I’m just trying to get my head around it, trying to find the right way for… Okay, yeah, I have it now. Caelan, cop on to yourself.’
‘But I love you.’
‘Here we go.’
‘When will you admit that you are in love with me too?’
‘I swear, talking to you is like talking to a really good looking and mildly stupid brick wall. Look, I like you okay? I think you’re cute. You could probably ease up on the brooding self-loathing, though. That stopped being attractive a while ago. But, I mean, on the whole, I like you, and you like me-‘
‘I love you.’
‘Yeah, well…’

You make my heart want to beat.’
‘That’s nice and creepy. But I’m with Fletcher. Also, these proclamations of your undying love for me are getting kind of… it’s a bit much to be honest. Just hold back a little.’
‘But my love for you is eternal.’
‘That’s exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about.”
— Valkyrie Cain to Caelan.

I have honestly never laughed so much as I have reading these scenes. If you’re looking for a good laugh, then get yourself down to your local book store and treat yourself to the Skulduggery Pleasant book series. Fun times guaranteed!

Also, the best part? Their love story isn’t the main focal point of the book. Because unlike Stephenie Meyer, Derek Landy seems to have a realistic grasp on what young adults want to read, what they’ll enjoy, and what they want to get from reading a YA novel.

And the other best part? Girls who read this book will see how Valkyrie Cain responds to being in a relationship with this kind of controlling, obnoxious weirdo, and hopefully grasp the concept that this isn’t a normal relationship, and know they need to stay away from guys like Caelan.

Boys who read this book will see how Caelan behaves, see the utter revulsion from Valkyrie, and realise that this is absolutely no way to treat women, and hopefully understand that you don’t need to be a mysterious, brooding, Heathcliff-like figure in order to win a girl’s heart.

In conclusion:

Caelan — so, SO wrong, but in ALL the right ways.

Valkyrie — the perfect role model for girls who find themselves in the arms of an asshat.

Caelkyrie (seriously, is there even an OTP name for this??) — A realistic portrayal of what being in a relationship with an aggressive, dominating, slime-ball is like.

Derek Landy — 100% in touch with his audience and YA readers everywhere.

Both of these boys are nasty pieces of work, but at least Caelan was written that way on purpose. Edward is just an idiot for the sake of being an idiot.

So, Caelan or Cullen? Who is the better Vampire? Who is a better character? Who has more of an impact on the storyline? Who has a better character arc? Who would win in a fight? (Ha, neither, they both suck.) Who actually has a purpose in the story? YOU decide and let me know in the comments.

To be honest, I think everyone should have just tried to hook up with Fletcher. He was a babe.

Laura, out.

My Top Three YA Female Characters

When you were a child, was there ever a book character you really wanted to be? A character you looked up to or thought of as a role model? A character that you used to pretend to be at lunchtimes during primary school, in your spare hours when you weren’t glueing your hands together or running into walls?

For me it was Matilda.

matilda

Matilda, the children’s novel written by Roald Dahl, was an epic tale of adventure. I think I read almost all of Dahl’s novels when I was younger. His books were the stepping stones for me into the world of reading (after Mog, of course), and it lead onto all sorts of other iconic children’s fiction. Goosebumps, Horrible Histories, Harry Potter — you name it, and I was probably reading it.

But the character Matilda really resonated with me as a child. Not because I was a poor, misunderstood outcast of an eight year old, nothing like that — you won’t find a childhood sob story here. I loved Matilda for an altogether more obvious and shallow reason…

Matilda was cool.

She had telekinetic powers — actual magical powers…! She could look at an object and send it flying across the room at a single thought!! Do you have any idea how badly I wanted that power as a kid?? I used to purposely sit in the living room with my older brother and silently will the books with the power of my mind to fly off the bookshelf and hit him in the head! I used to run around the playground at break time trying to make trees topple over onto the teachers! I wanted to be Matilda so badly!

But alas, that never happened. I grew up, as was the style at the time, and I found new heroes — or heroines, in particular — to fall in love with and idolise. Fair enough, when I first found these three lovely ladies I’m about to introduce you to today, I wasn’t running around my house trying to be them (much) because I was considerably older. But if I was still eight years old and trying to dress my cat in my Baby Anabelle clothes, then I’d have probably been pretending to be them at playtime too…

So, let’s hear it for the girls! Much like my last post My Top Three YA Male Characters I will be counting down my top three YA female characters, and I’ll be doing it, once again, in Olympic Medallist style. Get your socks on, because I’m about to knock them off. Here are top three my favourite heroines of all time:

(SPOILER ALERT: This post has been rated ‘Good God!’ for spoilers.)

BRONZE MEDAL: KATNISS EVERDEEN — THE “HUNGER GAMES” SERIES, WRITTEN BY SUZANNE COLLINS.

hunger games

Katniss Everdeen, the Girl On Fire! Rebellious, stubborn, stoic, noble and wise beyond her years, Katniss is a character who comes with heaps of light and shade to her personality.

Katniss is a sixteen year old girl who, after her father died, became the main provider for her starving family. She risks her life every day, hunting in the forbidden woodlands so her mother and younger sister won’t go hungry. On the day of the 74th Hunger Games Reaping (a ceremony where they pick the two poor kids from each district who will take part in the annual child-killing tournament) Katniss’ younger sister is picked as the female tribute for District Twelve, and Katniss volunteers to take her place, therefore sparing her life.

I’ll skip over the parts where she gets one of the highest scores out of all twenty-four contestants in their training, and the part where she survives mostly alone in the games, doing all her hunting and killing with a single bow and some arrows, and how she saved Peeta’s life, and all those other cool things she did. You want to know what really makes Katniss a top notch heroine? She’s a girl that knows her own mind.

Yep, when Katniss Everdeen was being created, there was no skimping on the bravery or intelligence. Katniss knows how to get what she wants and what she needs to survive. She’s a strong-willed, independent, headstrong woman who is the perfect balance of being selfish when she has to be, and being selfless when she needs to be. Unlike most other YA female protagonists, when trapped in a love triangle, Katniss doesn’t bow down to the romance subplot and spend the rest of the story picking a boyfriend, (not that her choice between cake-boy and baby Thor would be that difficult — one is extremely hotter and taller than the other…) and instead she ignores her love life, only including it when it’s helpful to her and not a hindrance, and gets the job done. Katniss is a take-no-prisoners protagonist and a strong, competent, likeable role model to girls everywhere. Rock on, Girl On Fire!!

…Oh and did I mention she wins the Hunger Games? Twice? #JustSaying…

SILVER MEDAL: HERMIONE GRANGER — THE “HARRY POTTER” SERIES, WRITTEN BY J.K.ROWLING.

DeathlyHallowsCover

Hermione Jean Granger, a Muggle-Born witch and the only child of Mr and Mrs Granger, who on her eleventh birthday learns she is a sorceress and is sent off to Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry to learn about casting spells and quidditch…

Wait, I’m getting a touch of déjà vu here. Anyone else feel like we’ve been here before…?

Nevertheless, Hermione is a world-class heroine. Apart from the fact that she helped Harry and Ron find all the horcruxes and played a huge role in bringing down the evil dark Lord Voldemort, and apart from saving Harry and Ron’s lives numerous amounts of times, ensuring they don’t die a horrible, bloody death in each book, there are actually several more reasons why Hermione is a kick-ass protagonist.

Firstly, let’s look at her achievements. In her first year at Hogwarts, Hermione helped Ron and Harry defeat the giant troll that overtook the girl’s bathroom and knocked it unconscious before it could kill anyone. In her second year she solved the mystery of how the Basilisk was moving through the halls of Hogwarts going unseen. By her third year, Hermione’s understanding of magic was skilled enough for Dumbledore to entrust her with the Time-Turner, enabling her to go back in time and help Harry save his Godfather Sirius from a lifetime in Azkaban. During her fourth year she became an advocate for House Elf Rights and by her fifth year she was putting together her vigilante group, “Dumbledore’s Army” so the students could fight back against Professor Umbridge. By the time sixth year rolled around, Hermione found herself in her first combat during the Battle Of The Astronomy Tower, and by seventh year she was fighting again in the Battle Of Hogwarts, and helped Harry Potter defeat Voldemort once and for all.

Also, she dated Mr Hottie, Victor Krum, for a little while, so there’s that.

But even all that isn’t what makes Hermione such a great character. What truly makes Hermione a great heroine and a role model for girls everywhere is her strength, her bravery, and her love for learning and bettering herself. Hermione is a protagonist that teaches girls everywhere that it’s okay to be yourself and it’s okay to dream big and aim high.

Also, she dated Victor Krum.

Ahem.

GOLD MEDAL: VALKYRIE CAIN — THE “SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT” SERIES, WRITTEN BY DEREK LANDY.

Darkdays

Oh, Valkyrie Cain. You good guy, wrapped up in a bad guy, wrapped up in a black jacket. What are we going to do with you? We’re probably going to pick you up, try giving you a stern talking to (trying to destroy the world isn’t nice, young lady!), but we’ll probably eventually just let you off the hook and back into our hearts, because you’re awesome and we love you.

For any of you out there that are currently glowering at your computer screens wondering what the hell I’m going on about, let me break it down for you…

Valkyrie Cain, formerly known as Stephanie Edgley, is the lead protagonist in the Skulduggery Pleasant book series, and a heroine truly worthy of the Gold Medal in my eyes.

Valkyrie is a teenage sorcerer who specialises in elemental magic and necromancy (until you get to the last book in the series), who joins forces with the infamous skeleton detective, Skulduggery Pleasant, and accompanies him throughout this nine-book series, saving the world, beating up the bad guys, slaying monsters, and even vanquishing a few evil Gods too. She is a take-charge, no nonsense, confident, capable, young woman who doesn’t hesitate at running head-first into danger as long as it ensues a good adventure and the world’s safety.

As well as being pretty, funny, intelligent, strong, courageous, witty, likeable and brave, Valkyrie Cain was also written with arrogance, egotism, selfishness, unkindness, coldness, complete narcissism and the ability to be a complete asshat at times. But wait, Skulduggery fans! Before you start throwing things at me, hear me out! I say all this with love! LOVE!

What I’m saying is, she is realistic. She is a genuine, believable, grounded character — something hard to come by in your typical YA heroines these days that are all big blue eyes, goodness through and through, and size D boobs. Her personality and character traits have been written with such a perfect balance of both the good and the bad, she becomes the perfect protagonist. She’s relatable and that’s why it’s so easy to become completely enamoured with her, even if she can sometimes be super annoying.

But then of course, there’s so much more to her than that. As we all know, behind a good hero is a dark, crippling, heart-wrenching backstory that the author (yes, you, Derek) has put in there purposely to break your heart and rip out your soul. Valkyrie is no exception to the rule. Do you remember what I said earlier about it not being nice to try and destroy the world? Yeah, you keep that in mind when you pick up the first book in the series, and you fall head over heels for adorable, plucky, big brown-eyed Val.

Remember, this good girl was born to be bad. Everyone has a dark side, and Valkyrie has the darkest side of them all…

So, let’s put together all the ingredients that make Valkyrie Cain and see if she deserves that spot in first place for my Top Three YA Female Characters:

She’s a strong, likeable, fun heroine with a big secret and an even bigger dark side, who can still manage to capture our hearts and is so relatable we began to actually believe she’s a real person. She is exiting and interesting to read about, an ideal role model for girls everywhere, and she makes you want to actually know her and be her friend.

Alright, it’s official. Valkyrie Cain, go sit atop your throne and accept your Gold Medal, because you are my number one YA female character, and you deserve all the accolade you get.

Although I haven’t actually finished the last book yet. She could still turn out to be a complete dick.

Laura, out.