Kick-Ass Girls in YA Fiction

I have been asked to contribute a blog post toward Libby Heily’s Kick-Ass Girls in YA blog tour event. Hop to the other blog posts at the end of my post!

I love writing about strong female characters, and few of my girls are shrinking violets. They do have different kinds of strengths; some of them would literally kick your butt, such as Kelli in Making Her Mark or June in June & Justin. Others are not so strong physically, but have the internal strength to find their way out of tragic or challenging situations, like Nadie in Questing for a Dream, Chloe, and Justine in Stand Alone. Still others have the quiet strength and compassion to support and sustain friends in crisis. Since I can’t choose one of my gals over the others, I thought I would introduce you to a few of them!

Breaking the Pattern

Appearing throughout the Breaking the Pattern series, Sandy is a hooker and junkie who is given up by her mother and traded by her father. Despite her somewhat loveless upbringing, Sandy has compassion for Henry and no pretenses about who or what she is in Deviation. Diversion sees her trying to break away from her life and make a new place for herself in the world against incredible odds. And in By-Pass, she is a mother, supportive and wise, trying to help Bobby find his own way.





Between the Cracks

The title-character girls in the Between the Cracks series battle to overcome the effects of sexual abuse and predation in their lives, to rise above their abusive pasts and poverty-stricken upbringing to become something better and find some semblance of happiness and family. All of them battle homelessness, continued violence, mental illness and personality disorders caused by their histories, and trying to understand their own feelings and reactions toward the men in their lives. Chloe especially just blows my mind with her dauntless strength in the face of so much evil. I can’t leave the Between the Cracks series without mentioning Marty, a support character in Ruby who is wise beyond her years and beloved of many readers.

Don’t Forget Steven

In a book almost completely filled with boys and men, Sasha plays a quiet supportive role in Don’t Forget Steven. Adopting Steven as her best friend in kindergarten, Sasha has provided Steven with food and shelter from the storm countless times. Despite the fact that Steven can’t return her affection the way she would like, she is his staunch supporter and advocate before, during, and after the events covered by the book.

Stand Alone

There are few characters with stronger, more stubborn minds than Justine Bywater in Stand Alone. No matter what anyone else has to say, Justine’s sense of self overwhelms everything else in her life. Up against incredible odds, she is determined to be the person she really is inside.

Tattooed Teardrops

Tamara in Tattooed Teardrops is often seen as a weak, wishy-washy, easily-influenced girl who would have no place in a blog about kick-ass girls. But you really do need to know where a person has come from before you can make judgments about them, and Tamara has survived abusive caregivers and juvenile detention with a sadistic cell-mate. She has learned to fight back against those who would hurt her, and really only has one more person she needs to escape.

Cynthia Has a Secret

Cynthia, having lived a sheltered life, suddenly finds herself out on the street and fending for herself. She’s no fighter, but she’s lived with illness all her life, and she’s a lot stronger than she or anyone else thinks she is.

Questing for a Dream

Growing up in the direst poverty, Nadie has been a strength in her community and helping with the other children in her home. But devastated by the death of her cousin, she sets out to find a life elsewhere. She will need more strength than she thinks she has if she’s going to survive.


Intersexion is filled with strong girls and women. While I prefer not to give any spoilers; like Justine, the main characters in this story must reach deep down inside for the courage to protect and maintain their identities in a world that does not easily accept differences.

Medical Kidnap Files

Renata, one of the main characters in the Medical Kidnap series lives a life with severe physical and mental illness. But in spite of all she has gone through, she reaches out to others who are sick and oppressed and goes to extreme lengths to rescue them and give them a better life.

Making Her Mark

Jujitsu-trained Kelli Munroe is one of the girls who is physically as well as mentally strong. She has a strong sense of self-preservation, or she wouldn’t have made it as far as she has.

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