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Our Favorite Female Book Characters

To help kick off Women's History Month in March, we've asked our staff members to share some of their favorite female characters in books. There are so many to choose from, but we did our best to highlight a few!

Jane Eyre

From classic literature, Jane Eyre always stands out. Brontë crafted a powerful figure of irrepressible spirit and rebellious self-determination, who pushes against social expectations about class and gender. In more recent books, I've really enjoyed Christjen Avasarala's character in the Expanse series books by James S.A. Corey. Her sharp political insight and irreverent wit make her my favorite character in the page-turning sci-fi books. — Daniel Klayton, branch group manager

Claire Fraser

I am a cheerleader for Claire Fraser from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. She is resilient, open-minded, headstrong, intelligent and a born leader and problem solver. Though she travels backwards 200 years to a time when women are less outspoken, she stands out amongst the crowd as a brave adventurer who is always joining the fight for what is right. — Jodi Conley, Mail Order Library

Francie Nolan

One of my favorites is Francie Nolan from A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I love her perseverance and unwillingness to become disillusioned. She has Anne Shirley's pluckiness minus the mischief! — Magi Clark, Entiat Branch Librarian

Pippi Longstocking

She is everything I always wished I could be! — Sterlene Sena, Omak Librarian

 

Lyra Belacqua

Lyra Belacqua from Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass always inspired me when I was a  young girl. She is cunning, rambunctious, unruly, and sometimes obnoxious. She often has to turn down the advice of her superiors, and listen to her own internal compass. What little girl doesn't need to see examples that female protagonists don't always have to be perfectly likable? Lyra inspired me to not let others dowse my my flame and prioritize my own gut feelings. — Heather Dappen, Graphics Intern

Nancy Drew

Because she's smart, savvy, and goes on tremendous adventures. She makes girls realize the world is their oyster, too. Those books made me love reading, and the first car I ever bought was blue in homage to her zippy little blue roadster! — Brianna More, Human Resources Manager

Jude Duarte

One of my favorite females from literature is Jude Duarte from the Folk of the Air series by Holly Black. She has great strength, snarkiness, and doesn't back down from her ambitions. Jude Duarte is definitely a ride-or-die kind of girl, who would definitely take a few people out before she goes down! — Tommie McPhetridge, Moses Lake Librarian

Malala

The first woman I thought of was Malala Yousafzai. I'm in awe of a young person that has gone through all that she has and still be able to stand up for what she believes in and fight for the right for girl's education all over the world. She has made her voice heard, and her book explains her quest and what she believes in. Her book, I Am Malala, is a true story of how the Taliban tried to silence her by shooting her in the head while she was riding the bus home from school when she was just 15 years old. Her family, especially her father, was very supportive of her dream to change the world. She is a young person that is brave, wise beyond her years, and intelligent. She stood up against some very dangerous people and is still making a different today. In 2014 she won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work. — Cindy Simmons, Manson Branch Librarian

Lizbeth Salander

Personally, my favorite character in all of fiction is Lizbeth Salander from Stieg Larsson's Millennium series because she is smart, tough and takes matters into her own hands, demanding justice for those who hurt and wronged her. She's kind of like a small Norwegian female Batman, but she's even cooler because she doesn't have an issue with playing judge, jury and even executioner to those she deems too dangerous and evil to live. She uses her own pain and brokenness to fuel her crusade for justice and I find the depth and texture of the character intoxicating. She's such a well-written character I still think of her years after reading those books, almost like an old friend I haven't seen in a long time. — Dominick Bonny, Social Media Team

Mercy Thompson

Mercy Thompson from Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. She is a badass shape-shifting coyote/Volkswagen mechanic who was raised by werewolves. Book 1 takes place in Tri-Cities. (Pippi Longstockings and Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird are my junior picks). — Gailene Hooper, Republic Branch Librarian

Vera Stanhope

Ann Cleeves stalwart Vera Stanhope comes to mind. She is the most unglamorous, sometimes annoying female detective who calls everyone "pet" and is like a dog with a bone when it comes to solving a murder. — Deidre Beltran del Rio, Chelan Branch Librarian

Eloise

I simply love the character Eloise, written by Kay Thompson. My family always gave me Eloise books for gifts because SOMEHOW they find us relatable. — Emily Patterson, Curlew Branch Librarian

Olive Kitteridge

Though she is a pill, she is also a great character and you care about her in the novels by Elizabeth Strout. Another unforgettable female character is Eva Luna, a character is two fabulous books by Isabel Allende. Also, Isabella Bird in her own memoirs, especially A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains — such a delightful person and character. Finally, Antonia in My Antonia, such a beautiful hart-breaking character and book by Willa Cather. — Sally Portman, Winthrop Branch Librarian

Ruth

I tend to enjoy unconventional female characters. As a young reader, it was Jo in Little Women and Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird. Currently I am enjoying female characters like Ruth in Louise Penny's novels. — Amy Larsen, Waterville Branch Librarian

Alanna

Alanna from the Tamora Pierce series The Song of the Lioness. She is smart, brave and accomplished at fighting for what is right. The books are young adult, so they are perfect for girls developing their own sense of power. — Sharon Reddick, Branch Group Manager

Margarita

Margarita from The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. What makes her great is that throughout the novel she is willing to endure hardships and even great personal suffering out of love for another ... in this case the Master. This willingness to endure suffering for someone else is a virtue that I believe makes a person a human being. Margarita has great compassion for others. — Michael McNiel, Branch Group Manager

Elizabeth Bennet

I used to be a Jane Austen junkie. I love all the strong female protagonists in her stories. But my favorite is definitely Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. In a time when financial standing was paramount, she always stuck to her guns and never compromised her principals or betrayed her true desires to ensure financial security and social rank. — Caleb Hermans, Soap Lake Branch Librarian

Jeanette Walls

Jeanette Walls from The Glass Castle — amazing perseverance in the face of adversity! — Denise Sorom, Board of Directors

 

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