Random Thoughts: On Being a Heroine

Once again I’m taking part in the YA Sisterhood’s tournament. This time, instead of favorite crushes, it’s HEROINES.

While I would have preferred villains, as they are so much more complicated and exciting to write about simply because they are so diverse and so wonderfully wicked – the sexy but evil villain, the repulsive but evil villain, the sexy villain looking for redemption or the sympathetic villain who is totally misunderstood – there are still so many amazing female characters that are true heroines that will make – and have already made – this competition exciting.

Many awesome female characters were nominated, not all of whom made the final cut, sadly. Some of my favorite heroines didn’t and some of my least favorites did. And while many of the female characters that made it into the top thirty-two are some of my favorite characters, not all of them embody the spirit of being a heroine, as I see it.

TO ME, being a heroine means being brave. It means being someone who is honorable and loyal and puts the needs of others before herself.

It means taking risks when she doesn’t have to. It means relying on her own strength and not on someone else’s to defend her.

It means finding hope where all hope seems lost and giving that hope to others who might not have it.

It means being smart but humble, and confident but not over-confident. It means making choices for the betterment of those she loves even if they’re not to her benefit.

And it means choosing what’s right even if it breaks her heart.

While the requirements for the tournament did not specify that this was the type of heroine that is required – after all, according to Merriam Webster there are two definitions:

1 a: a mythological or legendary woman having the qualities of a hero

1 b: a woman admired and emulated for her achievements and qualities


2 a: the principal female character in a literary or dramatic work

2 b: the central female figure in an event or period

I believe a true heroine meets the criteria of the first definition. She should have the “qualities of a hero” or be “admired and emulated for her achievements and qualities.” Simply being the main female character should not make her a heroine for purposes of this competition.

By that definition, a whiny, self-serving or evil female main character could be deemed a heroine. Or a spineless, weak and helpless female main character could be crowned the winner in this tournament. And to me, that seems somehow wrong.

While there are varying degrees of heroism in many of the characters in this competition, not every female character who made the nominations ticks all the check boxes for the qualities I seek in a heroine. But there are a few that do.

Characters like Kaylee Cavanaugh, who I chose to defend even though I know the likelihood of making it past round one is slim, and past round two is near impossible. Or Rose Hathaway, whose heroism could never be questioned and yet will face an enormous battle if she wants to come out victorious. Or Alex Andros, Juliette, Janie or Calla who are also heroines to me, but yet have enormous odds against them in this competition.

There are a number of other female main characters that I most likely would think of as heroines, but because I haven’t yet read the books, I can’t state that with certainty. Katniss or Tris are two of the prime examples here.

And while I think of Clary as meeting the definition of heroine in many aspects, because of her enormous following and support from the author AND because I think there are a few heroines, like Rose, who deserve the title far more, I am not championing her in this tournament. But I do love her to pieces.

By the same token, while I love Tessa, she is going to have enormous support and just steamroll her competitors and I also feel that she hasn’t yet done enough to rise to the level of bravery and selflessness that I seek in a heroine, though after reading Clockwork Prince, she has come a long way.

I do plan on defending my character, Kaylee Cavanaugh, with everything that I have, because I truly believe her to be a heroine and no less worthy than any other. And I will also be supporting another favorite heroine who I’ve known and loved longer than I have Kaylee, and that’s Rose Hathaway. Though, if by some freak chance the two should meet in this competition, I will be voting Kaylee FTW.

And while this post is not my advocate post for Kaylee – which I’ll be posting at just after Midnight, Eastern on December 14th, at the same time voting goes live – but simply my thoughts on heroines, I can’t pass up the opportunity to at least highlight some of her qualities. And if you haven’t yet read the series and had a chance to meet Kaylee, be sure to check out my post here and on the YA Sisterhood’s blog on the 14th to learn a little bit more about her.


Loyal, brave, trustworthy, selfless, honorable, kind, generous, smart, determined, persistent and exhibits courage in the face of the most dire of situations.

She always puts her friends and loved ones first.

She gives those she loves second chances to redeem themselves.

She doesn’t give up on someone just because things are difficult for them or for her.

And she doesn’t stop fighting for herself, her friends and her family, no matter what.

The same can also be said for Rose Hathaway, another of my most favorite of heroines.


A warrior, a fighter, loyal, kind, smart, clever, fiercely determined, protective, courageous, daring, incredibly brave.

She is passionate about what she believes in and about the people she loves.

She is incredibly strong, and has not only physical strength, but strength of character.

She refuses to give up on those she loves, even when the odds of winning are insurmountable.

And she is headstrong and unbelievably brave and takes great risks for those she cares most about.

Both of these amazing female characters embody the spirit of being a heroine to me. While they may be fictional, I would be proud to know either one of them and wish I had one-tenth the qualities of heroism that they do.

So, if you would like to show your support for either character, feel free to cast your votes in the tournament on their match days.

Or grab a button or change your avatar to help them in their fight! As difficult as it may be to believe, even Rose Hathaway is the underdog in this tournament!

Vote Kaylee

YA Sisterhood
Besides, how can YA Crush Tourney boys like Tod Hudson and Dimitri Belikov be wrong in their belief that these two girls are true heroines!


  1. I like your definition of a heroine! I was nodding along to everything I read, so it seems we’re on the same wavelength there.

    Also, I haven’t read the Soul Screamers series yet so I can’t cheer on Kaylee but I will whole-heartedly shout my love for Rose from the rooftops! THAT is a heroine.

    On another note: I’m so sad that Juliette didn’t make it further! She totally embodies my favourite kind of heroine.

  2. I agree completely! It just seems as though some of the Heroines were chosen because they were the leads in a YA novel not because they embodied the ideal heroine.

    Just to let you know I just finished Soul Screamers vol 1 so now I’ve read about the qualities you are describing in Kaylee. I hope she goes through I will vote for her but if she goes up against Rose I’ll have to choose Rose. As she is my top heroine.

  3. Great Post! I feel bad for some of the heroines and who they have to compete with. Some advocates can just throw something together tweet about it a few times and they have a guarantee win. Others with the underdogs have to try their hardest for every vote. I love Clary and Tessa but will not be happy to see them totally take over the tournament. They are both greay but there are a few other girls who I think are totally more worthy of the title. People should really read the posts and not just vote for the popular one. I love the competitions where its a close battle not when one girl is so in the lead there is no hope.

  4. I’ll be voting for Kaylee! She’s very cool. And, if Tod says to, then for sure I will.

    I agree with you that some of the heroines in the Tourney hardly deserve the title, “heroine,” but it’s more about being a main female character in a novel than anything. That’s why they’ve been nominated, but that doesn’t mean they’ll win. Hopefully, whoever wins will deserve it.

  5. Great post, I’ve been thinking some of the same things too.
    I’m Calla’s advocate for the tournament and I have a bad feeling that I’m going to be steamrolled because the first round is against Izzy from the Mortal Instruments series. I’m still writing my advocate post too, trying to not have a whole books worth of info. 🙂

  6. Ana Lucía says:

    Ha, yes you are right about what a heroine should be, I agree 100% and not be “heroine” just because she is the main character of the book.

    I nominated Riley from The Demon Trapper’s Daughter but sadlu she didn’t make it. I think she meets the criteria even if I haven’t read book #2.

    And Calla too!! I hope she makes it past round 1 🙂

  7. Agree as well – I think too often the heroine in YA is really just the damsel in distress. I always feel sad the the popular characters win just because they’re popular, and not because the have any real amazing qualities. I almost with it was a blind testing – Do you like this characteristic or this one? and see who REALLY comes out on top.

  8. I prefer villains too… *evil grin* to talk about anyway! Lol

    The only thing I can’t stand us a WISHY WASHY heroine… The kind who just goes with the flow, never actually having her OWN opinion on things!!

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