Thursday, February 04, 2016

Female Leads That Influenced Me When I Was Growing Up

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I am of the opinion that books are amazing (DUH.) Over the years, I have gained so much knowledge from books and learned so much about the world. Reading hasn’t just been a form of escapism but a way of filling all the gaps in my knowledge. Today, I wanted to dedicate a post to all the amazing female leads who inspired me growing up and who have helped define the person I want to be.


You might know Madeleine L’Engle as my no.1 hero because her books changed my life but it was Vicky in specific from the Austin Family series that really helped me out during my awkward pre-teen phase. In A Ring of Endless Lights (one of the best books I’ve ever read, FYI) Vicky is surrounded by death and doesn’t know if she will ever find the light and the struggle is infinitely real. Vicky isn’t a perfect female lead but the reason she is so relatable is because she isn’t perfect. The way she grows over the course of the series and learns to appreciate herself and those around her is amazing (and her relationship with her siblings is AWESOME-SAUCE.) As a pre-teen, I wanted to be like Vicky. I found strength in her strength and you know, even when it’s just angst you’re dealing with, angst can be a bitch especially when you are a pre-teen.


Stargirl from Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli was another amazing female lead I recall with much fondness. Surrounded by awful middle schoolers, Stargirl didn’t let their awful words get to them. She was just Stargirl, all around awesome and someone who held her head high. I was so inspired by her experience, especially since it can be so hard to not be affected by all the mean things middle-schoolers have to say.


There was also Jenna Fox from The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson. You might know Mary E. Pearson for her Remnant Chronicles series but all I remember is the way Jenna Fox changed my life in eighth grade. This book asked all the complex questions about what it means to be human and how far parents are willing to go for their children. Jenna Fox has lost all her memories and yet even though she is angsty as she pieces together her past, her relationship with her parents remains as she tries to find her way in a world she doesn’t quite remember.



The last book I wanted to mention was Goose Girl, the book I forced so many people to pick up because of my infinite love for it. Why does one do when they are an unloved princess sent off to an unknown land to marry a prince they have never even met? What do you do when half your party conspires against you and leaves you to die? Well, you put on your big girl pants and become like Ani. Ani makes my heart hurt even now with all of her infinite strength. I am honestly so grateful that I got to meet a female lead like her so early on. One who wasn’t thrown off by challenges and worked hard to figure her way out to the top. Who was what every princess should aspire to be and one, who even when rejected by her ‘true love’ didn’t fall into pieces but rather continued to march on. ANI, I LOVE YOU.

So what is the point of this entire post, you ask? To make you add more books to your TBR? Potentially. Mostly, this is just a way for me to commemorate all these amazing female leads I met in a part of my life where I needed awesome female leads to look up to.

What are some female leads that have inspired you over the years? Why? Tell me all the things please.

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Rashika has been tired since 2013. There are very few things that spark joy for her besides a nice cup of tea, warm, baked goods, good books and good TV shows. She is here to pile onto your giant TBRs and to-watch lists. Offer her a cookie and she might be nice to you.

11 Responses to “Female Leads That Influenced Me When I Was Growing Up”

    • Rashika

      I LOVED MEG MURRAY TOO. It was more like, if I had to pick between the two, I would always be a Vicky girl but seriously, Meg is the bomb dot com.

    • Rashika

      SAME! I re-read The Golden Compass in November last year and it was still amazing. Honestly, I love how realistically Lyra is written. She isn’t a romantic version of a child but one that feels real.

  1. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Other than Anne of Green Gables, I didn’t have many positive influences in books growing up – mostly because I read smutty YA contemporaries and comics LOL! But Anne had a HUGE impact on me growing up – I adored and looked up to her^^ Oh I also had this French Historical Duology that I really liked and just remembered typing this: Les Filles the Caleb. Anyway, I still need to read Madeleine L’Engle but she’s been on my wishlist/tbr shelf for a while. Seeing her on your list here makes me want to read her sooner rather than later 🙂 I’ve heard great things about Goose Girl and Stargirl so I need to read those too! Wonderful post Rashika!!

    • Rashika

      HA. WHAT KIND OF SMUTTY YA CONTEMPORARIES. You must tell me because I am now curious. I have always wanted to read Anne of Green Gables because it sounds like the cutest thing in the entire world (I have heard that there are tons of emotions involved though.)

      AND YES YOU NEED TO READ MADELEINE L’ENGLE BECAUSE SHE IS AMAZING. Also you’d like Goosegirl because fantasy 😉

  2. Brit

    Great post! All of these characters are great and were definitely formative in my young life as well (except for Jenna Fox which I have not read).

    Jo March forever! She was probably the single most important female character I ever encountered in literature as a young person. I loved that she was smart, creative, and opinionated. It was great for me to see a character that messed up sometimes because it felt relatable.

    As I’ve gotten older I’ve also gotten to really understand and appreciate her relationship with Bhaer which is cool.

    Also, as a kid I loved Ella from Ella Enchanted. I had pretty intense OCD when I was young (washing hands, light switch flicking etc.) and before I knew how to deal with it I really took comfort in her story because here was another person being compelled by what seemed like outside forces to do things. I really drew a lot of strength from that!

  3. Stella Telleria

    Great books. For me The Island of The Blue Dolphines had a huge impact when I was a kid. I still think about that book and how it has shaped my opinion over 25 years later.