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Welcome to the website of YA author Annie Woods! This is the place to be if you’re looking for more information about the Angelheart Saga trilogy or about YA books in general.
In light of the current #knytblus movement in Sweden, supporting the Secretary of the Swedish Academy, Sara Danius, who was forced out of her position when she tried to act on the alleged sexual misconduct of a male major cultural figure, I wanted to focus on some positive strong female role models in children’s and teen’s literature. And what better than to take on the Phenomenal Female Character Book Tag created by Nicole Pierman to shine the light on some awesome women protagonists?
Because role models are so important when growing up. If you only see and read gender stereotype stories that lack girls in prominent positions, where will you as a girl find the inspiration to dream big, to feel strong and bold, and competent to take things into your own hand and speak up for yourself?
Growing up myself, I was blessed with at least one really strong female character in my bedtime stories; Pippi Longstocking.
For this post I decided to take a photo of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins as the main image. When thinking of a strong, kick-ass female protagonist, Katniss Everdeen seems like an obvious choice. But not only for the heroic way in which she faces the challenges, fears and horrors, or how she’s a fighter, a survivor and a hunter, or how she’s stronger and better than most boys, but because she’s not at all dependent on boys or focused on finding love. She doesn’t need a guy to be fulfilled. Yes, I do know that there is not only one, but two guys, that she has feelings for, but it’s not the main focus of the story. Whatever Gale or Peeta are thinking or feeling for her, it does not consume all of Katniss’s mind or influence her decisions or actions. The romance, the love triangle, is there, but it’s happening more or less in the background while Katniss is busy surviving, saving her family and leading a revolution.
When The Hunger Games series was published in 2008, this was something new. Up until then (with the exception of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a few others), most teen stories had female protagonists focusing primarily on their feelings, often fighting passion and lust for the “wrong guy”, and girls not really having any ambitions or wanting or doing anything for themselves, but spending most of her time wondering what the boy was thinking and feeling.
With YA series such as The Hunger Games, Divergent, Throne of Glass, Graceling (above in Swedish version) and ACOTAR we now see a new kind of fierce and independent female characters, who are allowed to be complex, with flaws and typical “masculine” traits.
But now, to the Phenomenal Female Character Book Tag. By answering the questions below I will be sharing some of my favorite women in fiction with you, but please comment with your own favorites or do the tag yourself, so we can help spread some positive female energy together!
1. Your favorite: Who is your favorite female lead in bookish history?
Also, actress Emma Watson is such a role model in real life.
2. The scariest: Who is the scariest female character you’ve ever read? (She doesn’t have to be a villain or evil.)
If a female car counts it would be the car in Stephen King’s Christine… That book sure scared the crap out of me! Also, the witch in Snow White by the Grimm brothers (not the Disney version though...) is scary for real. I mean, hiring a huntsman to cut out your stepdaughter's heart is wicked evil. But I’ll go with Professor Umbridge in Harry Potter for this one. She’s one of the scariest characters ever because she disguises her cruelty; sugar-coating the evil with oily smiles and faking feelings of concern and empathy. What also makes her so sinister is that she’s sadistic, inflicting pain for the fun of it, not as a means to an end.
But the most scary thing about her is that she is a character that I think we all can relate to, a person who has the power vested in her position to take advantage of and harass other persons, similar to how many men have abused their positions in ways we now hear about in the #metoo movement.
4. The Kindest: Which female character is the kindest female character you’ve come across in literature?
This one is hard, I’ve never been that into kind characters. But perhaps Diana in Anne of Green Gables or Primrose in The Hunger Games? They are both kind without being dull or perfect saints.
5. Best Character Development: The female lead that’s changed the most throughout a book series?
She also becomes warmer, more compassionate person with an unwavering loyalty to those who have earned her trust.
6. Sidekicks ROCK: The best female sidekick?
Oh, I would so love to answer Hermione Granger again… But I’ll have to go with Diana Barry in Anne of Green Gables here, since she’s one of the most amazing wingwomen ever, constantly looking out for Anne and saving her from all the problems her wish for adventure and spontaneity causes. There’s even a special term invented for describing the epic ‘kindred spirits’ friendships between them.
7. Your BFF: The one female character you’d love to have as a best friend?
8. Misunderstood: Which female character is the MOST misunderstood?
Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson must be one of the most complex, unique fictional characters, who has been so misunderstood and mistreated her entire life.
9. Save The Day: Who is the one female character you think would always save the day, no matter what she’s up against?
10. I Need More: Finally, which female character do you want to see more of in literature?
I do like characters like Khaleesi in Game of Thrones and Katniss in Hunger Games who are almost supernatural in the way they can fight and survive and handle dragons… But what I’ love to see more of is more real-life female heroes, like Starr in The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, or Amanda in If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, who are dealing with everyday problems and hardship (like racism and gender identity issues) in inspiring ways.
To find out more about the #knytblus movement, please click on the image below or the links to these articles:
Hi! I'm Annie, a Swedish bookworm, YA addict and coffee lover, who writes romantic YA books in English. I'm the author of the Angelheart Saga series (First Came Forever and Forever Disguised).
I'd love to hear back from you! Comment on my blog posts or connect with me on social media. I love to connect with other book lovers!
You are also most welcome to join The Angelhearts (the reader group for my books)!
This book is one of my all time favorites!
The Angelheart Saga Bookmark Collection
Check out the amazing bookmarks with quotes from the Angelheart Saga books at FictionalBoutique here!
Listen to the First Came Forever playlist created by Tea With Rose's Tomes!