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Saturday, October 09, 2010

YA Bloggers Want...Empowered Girls: Market My Words

Shelli from Market My Words - YA writer, marketing queen, and blogger extraordinaire - is on the blog today to chat about what she'd like to see on the YA shelf.

I can't even remember now how I started following Shelli and her blog, but I was lucky enough to get to meet her in person at BEA 2010 and be interviewed for her blog (curious about how I met my agent, working with readergirlz, or the secrets behind TMAS sale? Shelli has the answers!).

Then check out what Shelli has to say about strong girl characters and comment below to enter to win prizes...

Welcome, Shelli!


I love reading children's books. In fact, I realized recently that I don't read adult books often and trust me - my friends kid me about it all the time. There is so much I especially love about YA. Maybe it's because it was the most memorable time for me. So many things going on at once. First dates, first boyfriends, first experiences, first dances, first car, first job. All those moments combined with the crazy awkward things that impact you so much at the time. I must say that I am ready for shift in YA. I'd like to see more empowered girls in YA. Ones who are not afraid to be strong and independent. Ones that can kick A%$ all on their own with no help from a guy. Ones who know what they are about even though everyone else in school may doubt them. I'd even love to see girls saving guys for once. You know - the modern day wonder woman. I think it is important to have relatable YA characters that teens can relate to but it is to also critical to have strong girl protagonists that have good families, don't care what people think, and aren't revolving around guys. We need girl characters to show us all the possibilities of who and what they can become.Those girls exist, we just don't know much about them.

Shelli's Picks:
Forest of Hands and Teeth series by Carrie Ryan (amazing writing and strong girl characters)
The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting (I love great ya thrillers!)
Devil's Kiss series by Sarwat Chadda (bad a%% girl characters)


Thank you, Shelli!

Readers, what do you think makes a girl character strong?
Independence? Wit? Strength or skill? (I'm reminded of my favorite line from Xena: Warrior Princess: "I have many skills.") Comment for a chance to win this week's book prizes, plus a chance to win the big prize! (US addresses only, one comment/post.)

This What YA Bloggers Want series is in honor of YALSA's Teen Read Week and National Book Month!


  1. I think the most important thing that makes a girl character strong is the determination to go after what she wants no matter what anyone else thinks. She needs to be independent, intelligent, and inspired enough to go for what she wants and what she knows is right. it may be about a guy, it may not be, but ultimately it's about what's right for her to be right with herself.

  2. I think all of the above. There are so many ways that a female character can be seen as strong, for me. However, I think the strongest of them all is one who acknowledges their faults and weaknesses, and still gets by, just keeps on going. Oh, and yes! Heroines who don't need a man to be strong. In other words, independent.

  3. A number of things make for a strong female for me. You odn't need to be unbreakable and completely independent to be a strong woman.
    Sometimes you are strong by asking for help when you need. Sometimes by speaking up about something that's happened, deciding not to be a victim, sometimes by being independent and not counting on a man to do it for you.
    I just need one small strenght in a woman to really connect, I don't need her to be super-human.

  4. I think backbone is what makes a great girl character. She needs to be able to be outspoken and stand up for herself. I hate the girl characters who stand back and let the male lead protect them. This is not Cinderella! We need more strong females in YA.

  5. I agree with Reading Angel. So many strong girls exist but they don't have to be unbreakable and totally independent. Girls have to admit to their faults and weaknesses to really be that way.

  6. A girl who's not afraid to speak her mind, and to be completely unique. One of my fave girl characters is Stargirl in Spinelli's book. She's wesomely weird and wacky, and a girl who taught everyone a big lesson!

  7. All great answers! Determination, independence, speaking up, backbone, self-examination, uniqueness - admirable qualities. What are some of your fave books with strong girl characters?

  8. I love female characters with a lot of personality. Characters that make strong choices/desicions that overall reflect who they are as a person. Charcters who don't expect others to do things for her while she sits back and plays the helpless act. Even if the odds are compltely impossible I expect the character to at least try, rather than let the guy do everything.

    My favorite strong female character is Rose from Vampire Academy. She's amazing. :)

  9. I think a strong female character is one that does what she wants - goes after what she wants, doesn't give up. BUT doesn't do it at the expense of others.

  10. Strong YA protags have many of the characteristics listed above, but I also like those who don't mind being on the social fringes...they don't whine about it or complain about other people...they just are who they are.

  11. A girl who does not define herself based on the boy she's dating..Or, one who learns not to do this. Most of us have gone through a phase like this, no?

  12. One of my favorite subjects, and I never answer the way others might think. I believe that co-dependence makes a female heroine a force to be reckoned with. If the female “Lead” has no opposite, no attraction to a person, or a passion, the character can never show all of her many facets and intruiging qualities. Without the bits and pieces needed to properly display a strong, beautiful, and powerful character you only have one side of the story. Without the supporting cast, you never find yourself in the adventures of the next best book.