11 of the most remarkable YA ladies, inspired by Jennifer Donnelly’s ‘These Shallow Graves’

Josephine from Jennifer Donnelly’s ‘These Shallow Graves’ is driven. She’s incredibly motivated. And she’s a tour de force. Considering the time period she’s living in, she’s pretty darn incredible.

Here we pay homage to her fabulous characterisation, as well as her inspirational attitude towards life, by listing some of our favourite female characters from YA.

1. Hermione Granger – ‘Harry Potter’ by J K Rowling


Might as well start with the obvious, eh? Her commitment to her studies, having boys for best friends, and her awareness of current affairs (SPEW!) shows her going from strength to strength. Who doesn’t want to be Hermione?!

2. Cath – ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell


Cath gave a legitimate, and much needed, voice to the marginalised and ‘poked fun at’ members of the fanfiction and fandom world. She shows that the struggle is real, yo, but it can be weathered.

3. Lyra Belacqua – ‘His Dark Materials’ by Philip Pullman


Lyra might be a little younger than the normal YA category, but she’s no less fierce. Often taking great risks and going on epic adventures. She’s got a ferocious spirit.

4. Sophie – ‘Far From You’ by Tess Sharpe


Strength and inspiration doesn’t mean big blockbuster type action and explosive storylines. Sophie’s story is no less turbulent, but hers is an inner strength to find out the truth. Much like Josephine from ‘These Shallow Graves’.

5. Marina Keegan – ‘The Opposite of Loneliness’ by Marina Keegan

A bit of a curveball. But there’s no reason why an author can’t be an inspiring character too. Marina tragically passed away before she could realise all of her hopes and dreams. Proof of her epic writing talent can be found in this book, published posthumously.

6. Ted – ‘The Look’ by Sophia Bennett


Ted ends up thrust into the world of fashion and modelling, mostly so her poorly sister can live vicariously through her. Her love for her family, as well as her determination is inspiring to read.

Quick fire mentions:

7. Katniss Everdeen – ‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins
8. Tris Prior – ‘Divergent’ by Veronica Roth
9. Etta Spencer – ‘Passenger’ by Alexandra Bracken
10. Kestrel – ‘The Winner’s Trilogy’ by Marie Rutkoski
11. Karou – ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ by Laini Taylor

The list could go on, but if we missed your favourite YA leading lady then tweet us @maximumpopbooks

‘These Shallow Graves’ is now available in paperback. Woo!

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Written by Sarah Clare

Sarah is the Lead Writer and Design Queen here at Maximum Pop! Sarah holds an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University, and a BA in Creative Writing with English Literature from Marjon (BIG UP THE MARJON MASSIVE!). Sarah joined MP! after seeing an advertisement for writers on Instagram – because where else would a design master find their dream job?

Sarah is currently working on an expose on Draco Malfoy in her spare time. But not if his father hears about it.

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