One of my favorite genres has always been fantasy. I read "Harry Potter" when I was around 11 or 12 and it sparked a love for the genre in me that burns bright to this day. I loved the magic and the friendship in the series but something else that resonated with me was Hermione Granger. I was so empowered as a preteen girl reading about another preteen girl who was smart and bookish and brave. She helped me to feel proud of who I was, and as a young girl that was really important to me. The other characters on this list are also fictional girls who I have connected with in this way. My hope is that anybody who reads this list will read these books and have a similar experience to what I felt when I was a kid. Fictional women are amazing and real women are too!
1. Nina Zenik from "Six of Crows"
I love Nina for so many reasons. She is bold, flirtatious, talented, and beautiful. She is passionate about what she loves and fiercely protective of her friends. But most of all I love Nina because she is one of the first characters I ever read that I felt represented my body type! Nina is described as being "tall and built like the figurehead of a ship carved by a generous hand." As a girl who is 5'10 and definitely carved by a generous hand, this was so comforting for me to read. I loved reading about a character who was described to look like me AND be beautiful and desirable. She wasn't afraid to flaunt what she had and that helped give me a little extra confidence too!
2. Isabella Lightwood from "The Mortal Instruments"
Izzy is an icon in my eyes. My personal favorite thing about her is that she often portrays herself as fierce and cold and unattainable but she's actually a huge softie. We get to see moments where she makes herself vulnerable even though it scares her and its so beautiful. Even though her parents are split up and she feels weighed down by secrets, she is able to open herself up to love and healing. We could all learn something from this. I also love how she is super feminine and stylish while simultaneously being an amazing warrior. Breaking stereotypes since "City of Bones"!!
3. Inej Ghafa from "Six of Crows"
Another "Six of Crows" queen (thank you Leigh Bardugo), Inej is in a class of her own. While her skills and resilience are super admirable traits, what I most connected to was her faith. I saw myself in her in the way that she prayed and drew on her faith for strength. This isn't something I see portrayed positively a lot in fantasy so it was refreshing to read.
4. Hermione Granger from "Harry Potter"
The one that started it all, Miss Hermione Granger. I already mentioned her brains, her love for reading, and her bravery, but let's not forget about how she's honest, an amazing friend, and she's cool under pressure to top it off. Could there be a better role model for young girls?