Posts Tagged ‘strong female characters’
Description: Miki is ready for adventure and romance. She is tired of being a pushover and vows that her senior year of high school will be different. She will be confident and in charge. Her senior resolution is called into question when Miki sets her sights on Hiro, a tall, handsome new boy at school who is determined to be antisocial. Miki thinks Hiro is putting on a show and hiding a dangerous secret, but what is it? Miki is determined to find out.
Review: Miki Falls is exactly what I needed at the moment. After reading a few titles that left me in a “blah” mood, Miki Falls is a fresh of breath air for me and I’m so glad that I picked it up. As the story begins, Miki is both literally and figuratively falling out of a window and possibly in love too. We learn that Miki threw herself outside of a third story window. The reason is not given, however, we think it has to do something with Hiro, the mysterious and distant new boy that enrolled in Miki’s high school as Miki beings to explain on how everything happened.
Miki is a extremely likable teen. She is trying to confront her insecurities and no longer wants to be passive. She wants to take charge of her life, which at times makes her impulsive and stubborn especially when she refuses to be avoided by Hiro. She goes out of her way to be nice to him and to speak to him even though he has continually expressed his disinterest in anyone yet Miki sees a vulnerability in Hiro, a person who is much like herself- a rule follower and not living life.
Hiro is your typical brooding love interest who is hiding a secret. I liked how his revelation is an odd twist and something that I didn’t guess. Crilley does a great job in building suspense and mystery surrounding Hiro’s past and his mood swings. I can’t wait to see how the supernatural aspect of the book develops in the next three series.
I really enjoyed Crilley’s manga-like format. Unlike manga’s the book does not read from right to left nor are the illustrations squeezed into panels. A lot of the illustrations are crisscrossing sequential panels that emphasize art as well as furthering the plot, which allows the story’s emotion, humor, and drama unfold in front of the readers. My favorite part of the illustrations are the focus on the eyes of the characters that are cut in between dialogue to heighten the characters’ sense of vulnerability, confusion, and shock. Crillye’s light shading and unique facial features give the book a softer and romantic feel.
If you are curious about manga but a bit afraid of it’s format, I would highly suggest to pick up the Miki Falls series not only to read a great story but also to experience what reading a manga might feel like. Even though the characters are in their teens, I think this series has a wide age appeal very much similar to the Twilight Saga due to a chaste yet passionate love story. It’s definitely worth checking it out.
If you like this book try: Miki Falls Volume 2: Summer by Mark Crilley
Description: Aliera Carstairs doesn’t fit in any of the cliques in her high school. The only place that makes her feel special and important is her fencing class, however, she seems to be in the spotlight for the handsome, new student Avery Castle. Aliera knows something is not right. Her ordinary and used fencing foil with a large ruby on the hilt that her mother found at a sale is trying to tell her something about Avery and the world around her. What is Aliera’s weapon trying to tell her? Who is Avery and why is he so interested in Aliera?
Review: In Foiled, Yolen has fabulously blended the trivial times of high school with fantasy. Aliera is a strong heroine who minds her own business. She sticks to her routine of fencing practice, homework, and role-playing games. Her main goal is working her way to the National Fencing Championship as she wins her way at defeating those in her class. Aliera seems to be safe in her own skin until she is sidetracked by the cute, new boy at school named Avery Castle. Avery takes interest in Aliera which immediately makes our heroine suspicious because she’s not the type guys fall for. Initially she keeps her distance from Avery and abides her fencing coach’s rule, “Protect your heart”, but Avery’s charms slowly holds her interest.
I kept flipping the pages as Yolen keeps us in suspense about Avery and the uniqueness of Aliera’s weapon. We are given little hints that are sprinkled in the graphic novel. Before reading this graphic novel, I knew next to nothing about fencing and found myself intrigued with learning about the sport, which complimented the banter between Avery and Aliera.
Cavallaro’s artwork demonstrates Aliera’s monochrome existence, both literally and metaphorically. I was pleasantly surprised when the graphic novel bursts to life in color when she finally sees the hidden faerie world. The explanation and importance of Aliera’s status of the faerie world isn’t defined, but it sets up wonderfully for the next installments of future volumes. I can’t wait to find out more! Foiled is a must read for fantasy lovers and those who are big fans of Tamora Pierce’s works.
If you like this book try: Fray or Buffy the Vampire Slayer series by Joss Whedon, Cold Fire by Tamora Pierce
Description: In order to save the family from financial ruin, the Stephenson sisters try to change their destiny. One contemplates a loveless marriage while the other casts a love spell to summon her true love. Kat, the youngest of the Stephenson sisters, comes up with her own plans for her sisters’ suitors after discovering that she has magical powers herself.
Review: Kat, Incorrigible is a delightful read that mixes adventure, mystery, romance, magic, and humor in all the right doses. Readers are transported to Regency England, where the social mores that are present in Jane Austen novels still rule society.Though set in the past, the female characters very much have a 21st century perspective on how they want to live their lives.
Kat is our lovable heroine and narrator. She is spunky, hilarious, adorable, and ready to be unladylike if that means she can save her sister from marrying a cad. When Kat’s plans to disguise herself as a boy and get a job are dashed, she stumbles upon her magic powers, which are very powerful. In addition to saving her family, she also on the radar for a powerful group called the Guardians who are trying to recruit her. Kat’s magic isn’t really explained besides being inherited from her family, but I hope we get more information about this and her late mother in later installments of this series. I loved how Kat interacted with her sisters, which very much rang true as they get into constant arguments and make-up while still doing anything to help each other out.
I also loved the other characters of the story too, which included Kat’s lovable but oblivious father, her prim and proper Stepmama who hates her family’s disreputable history, and the various male suitors for her sisters. I thought they were well developed and came alive. Out of all the secondary characters, I loved Kat’s sisters.
While the plot for Kat, Incorrigible is multifaceted, it does not drag the book down. Each plot thread is woven nicely and I didn’t get bored with any of them because there was plenty of humor and action. The humor of the book reminded me very much of Princess Bride, which is very hard to do.
Despite a quick wrap up of the many plotlines, there is a lot we don’t know about Kat and her world. I can’t wait to find out what mess Kat finds herself in the next book. Tweens, teens, and adults alike will absolutely love this book
If you like this book try: Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R. L. LaFevers, The Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray or The Agency series by Y.S. Yee
Description: Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green ones.With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, she figures out that the green grasshoppers are easier to see against the yellow grass, so they are eaten before they can get any larger. As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.
Review: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is a delightful book that crosses a wide variety of genres: coming of age, historical fiction, and even feminism. Calpurnia, more commonly called Callie by friends and family, is a spunky, adventurous, and curious girl. You would most likely find her out in the fields with her journal detailing the insects and other species she’d encounter rather than hosting parties at home. Growing up with six brothers in rural Texas in 1899, Callie realizes that her aversion to needlework and cooking disappoints her mother. Still, she prefers to spend her time exploring the river, observing animals, and keeping notes on what she sees. Callie’s growing interest in nature creates a bond with her previously distant grandfather, an amateur naturalist of some distinction. I absolutely loved Callie’s grandfather who is incredibly funny with his one liners and has impeccable comedic timing.
After they discover an unknown species of vetch, he attempts to have it officially recognized. This process creates a dramatic focus for the novel, especially with how Callie mother inspects her to grow up to be: a woman who is to be married and uphold her own family. While the scientific observations are interwoven with the daily life of Callie, the main focus of the book is Callie’s gradual self-discovery as revealed in her vivid first-person narrative. While some become bored with the book’s lack of a plotline, I was immediately taken by Callie’s family and friends. Her bonds with her siblings, the conversations she overhears, and the meddlings that Callie gets herself into are all told wry humor, warmth that allows the characters and its setting come to life. While the book doesn’t dismiss domestic work as unnecessary or demeaning, it allows young girls to realize that they should not restrict their talents and dreams to society’s expectations. Callie is admirable and a role model that I think many young girls would like. I, for one, would love to have her as my friend.
If you like this book try: Charles and Emma by Deborah Heiligman, Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth by Jay Hosler, Kevin Cannon, and Xander Cannon
Description: Nya, a fifteen-year-old war orphan, becomes a pawn in a bigger political game when her uncanny–and dangerous–ability to draw out people’s pain and then give it to someone else turns out to be the only weapon she has to save her sister.
Review: The Shifter is a fast paced, action-packed fantasy with a strong leading female protagonist. Nya is a Taker, a person who has the ability to take away ones pain but instead of transferring it to an enchanted metal, she can “shift” it to someone else. Her secret ability makes her a hot commodity in the Duke’s dark plans to take over nearby lands. When her sister, Tali, is kidnapped Nya must bargin her ability to save her sister, but how far will she go? If you had Nya’s powers, how would you use them? How do you decide which and whose pain to take? And just because you can take them away, it is the right thing to do? Hardy’s characters ask these tough questions along the way, making the reader wonder he/she would do if he/she were in her characters shoes. The Shifter is an intriguing tale about love, family and choices. There are currently three books out in the Healing War series.
Calla Tor has always known her destiny. She is an alpha werewolf of the Nightshade Pack and is to be mated with Ren Laroche, the male alpha werewolf of the Bane Pack. The plans for their impending union, designed to create a new pack, are upset by the arrival of Shay, a human, when Calla impulsively saves him during a night on patrol. With this one simple decision, Calla has changed everything. Her fascination and attraction to Shay will cost her everything that she has held so dear-including her own life.
Nightshade may sound like an ordinary paranormal romance with a forbidden love story, however, its supreme world building, mythology, and intrigue sets this book apart. There is a hierarchy and social class structure in Calla’s world. Guardians, what we call werewolves, are created by magical creatures (who, in my opinion, are very similar to witches and warlocks) called the Keepers. The sole purpose of the Guardian’s role is to serve and protect the Keepers against their enemy, the Searchers. Humans are the lowest class and not given any importance, which is why Calla’s disobedience in saving Shay is so striking. In addition to the social structure of Calla’s world, we also learn about the customs and traditions of the pack. It is through her increasing fascination with Shay and his challenges to her traditions that catalyzes Calla’s rebellious attitude. From the werewolf books that I have read, this mythology of magic and power is refreshing and intriguing.
Calla is a strong heroine that I’m sure many will like and her love interests, Shay and Ren, are equally well developed and fascinating. Cremer does a great job in describing the individuals that make up the two wolf packs. I loved watching them interact with one another and how they responded to their alpha’s call. Don’t miss out on this well written paranormal romance!
Availability: Nightshade is available through My Media Mall.
Read alikes: Wolfsbane (NightShade #2; available in 2011) by Andrea Cremer, Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Dark Divine by Bree Despain, or Matched by Ally Condie
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
[Juvenile Fiction (Paperback and Hardcover)]
[Electronic Resource (MyMediaMall eBook)]
[Electronic Resource (My MediaMall eAudiobook)]
Ani was never cut out to be a crown princess. She lacks confidence and is far more at home chattering to swans and horses than holding court. When Ani’s mother decides that Ani is unfit to rule Kildenree, she is sent to far off Bayern to marry the prince as a peace-keeping ploy. On the months-long journey to Bayern, Ani’s lady-in-waiting, Selia, and a treacherous inner circle of guards stage a mutiny. Barely escaping with her life, Ani is forced to find work as a goose girl while Selia takes Ani’s rightful place in the palace. Will Ani be able to reclaim her title before it’s too late?
A word of warning: you will not want to put this book down until you’ve reached the very end, so clear your schedule. The Goose Girl is captivating in the rare way that makes you leap to your feet and shout “No!” at the most climactic moments. But the real strength of The Goose Girl lies in its protagonist. Despite her royal background, Ani is relatable and fiercely believable. Her search for identity and struggle to accept herself are both well-rendered by Shannon Hale.
If you like The Goose Girl, be sure to check out the sequel, Enna Burning. Fans of Shannon Hale might also enjoy books by Robin McKinley, Donna Jo Napoli, Tamora Pierce, Gail Carson Levine, Edith Pattou, and Diana Wynne Jones.
Pros: Charming, original, and masterfully told, The Goose Girl will delight all lovers of fantasy.
Review by Martha
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
[Electronic Resource (My Media Mall eAudiobook)]
Long before Mary was born, her village was surrounded by a fence. The fence keeps the villagers safe from the Unconsecrated, the ravenous undead that roam through the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Mary has already lost her father to the Unconsecrated and when her mother becomes infected, she has little choice but to join the Sisterhood and devote her life to the Scripture. When her village is breached by the Unconsecrated, Mary must journey into the Forest where she begins to discover that her world is not quite what she thought it was.
Thrilling and gripping, The Forest of Hands and Teeth provides an interesting take on a dystopian future. The book’s strongest feature is the humanity of its main character in her struggle to realize her dreams while restricted by the narrow scope of her world. The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a rewarding read for fans of post-apocalyptic dystopian books.
If you enjoy The Forest of Hands and Teeth, you might also like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, and Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder. The Dead-Tossed Waves, the sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth, is available via Interlibrary Loan.
Pros: Strong female protagonist, good development of protagonist, thrilling story.
Cons: Relationships between characters lack sufficient development.
Review by Martha
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
[Young Adult Fiction]
[Electronic Resource (My Media Mall eAudiobook)]
Alanna of Trebound wants to be a knight more than anything in the world. The problem? Girls aren’t allowed to be knights. But a few pesky rules aren’t about to stand in the way of Alanna achieving her dreams. With a haircut and the new name of Alan, Alanna enlists as a page and begins her unlikely journey to knighthood. But as Alanna develops her skills as a warrior, her gift for magic begins to make itself apparent, ultimately forcing Alanna to make a difficult choice: to expose herself for who she really is or risk the lives of everyone in the castle.
Alanna: The First Adventure is merely the first installment in a fantastically written quartet. Alanna is a memorable character, remarkable in both her strengths and her flaws. Pierce deftly handles all the tribulations and self-doubt that comes with being eleven in a way that is realistic and relatable. Pierce also succeeds at writing a book with strong feminist leanings without beating the reader over the head with her beliefs. The entire quartet is a beautiful coupling of adventure and growing up.
If you enjoy Alanna: The First Adventure, check out the second book in the Song of the Lioness quartet, In the Hand of the Goddess. Readers who enjoy the Song of the Lioness quartet might also enjoy Pierce’s other books, including her follow-up quartet The Immortals, which begins with Wild Magic. Fans of Tamora Pierce might also enjoy the works of Robin McKinley, Patricia C. Wrede, Shannon Hale, and Donna Jo Napoli.
Pros: Strong female protagonist, accurate portrayal of the trials and tribulations of growing up.
Review by Martha
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
[Electronic Resource (My Media Mall eBook)]
Aislinn has always been able to see faeries. Not benevolent, wish-granting faeries—these faeries are mischievous at best, cruel at worst, and more likely to twist your arm than grant your wish. Aislinn’s gran has three rules for dealing with such creatures: don’t stare at them, don’t speak to them, and don’t ever attract their attention. But her gran’s strategy of avoidance soon becomes irrelevant when the faeries begin paying attention to Aislinn. Keenan, the Summer King, believes his centuries-long search for a Summer Queen has ended with Aislinn. Together, they would be able to finally defeat the tyrannical rule of the Winter Court. Too bad Aislinn has no interest in being the Summer Queen. She has her own life, her own romantic interests, and her own aspirations, all of which have nothing to do with faeries. However, with the involvement of the treacherous Winter Queen, Aislinn is forced to make a choice between her life and her humanity.
Urban fantasy meets Celtic folklore in Melissa Marr’s stunning debut novel. Marr is very adept at mixing folklore with an original and compelling story, successfully building a world that is intriguing as it is captivating. In addition to her compelling setting and premise, Marr also successfully creates a female protagonist who is a far cry from a damsel in distress. Readers who are looking for an original and well-crafted urban fantasy novel will enjoy this book.
If you enjoy Wicked Lovely, check out Ink Exchange, the next book in the Wicked Lovely series.
Pros: Wonderfully original and inventive., deftly avoids cliches prevalent in its genre.
Review by Martha