As much as I love boys, especially the melty ones, a fabulously done female character can totally get me just as much in a book. So after much debate, I've finally narrowed down my top picks for best female characters of the year. Once again, these are from books released in 2012 only, and characters I've met for the first time.
12. Clementine (Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker): Clem got to me in large part because she is such a mess, with this kind of horrible view of herself at the start of the book because of things that have happened. She is so relatable, so real, and just so engaging. She's strong underneath it all, yet she's not at all invincible.
11. Hudson (Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler): First, she is a brilliant cupcake maker. Who doesn't love someone who can create awesome cupcakes? Second, she's hilariously awkward with boys. But also, she's a mess, and I like messy people. And beyond that, she is seriously selfish and jerkish at times and yet, I so got her, I so felt for her, and I so rooted for her. And I think sometimes people have to be horrible to those around them, to get themselves out the hole they're down in, and that was Hudson. And I loved her every step of the way.
10. Dani (All These Lives by Sarah Wylie): This girl is a spitfire, and just comes out life with everything she has. Even it's dangerous. Even if it's not quite right or normal. Add in how much she loves her sister, the guilt she feels at simply being the healthy one, and all the ways she tries to make things as okay as she can, and Dani is that girl who is well on her way to figuring things out, even if she's not there just yet.
9. Nikki (Everneath by Brodi Ashton): This one's hard to accurately explain, beyond just I love this girl. Partly because of the literally emotionless state she's in when she returns, but also because of how she pulls herself back together, and doesn't shy away from the mistakes she's made.
8. Mia (Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt): For starters, anyone who can beat cancer is a winner in my book. But more so, with Mia, what makes me love and appreciate her is how she handles the entire process... and all the ways she messes up on the way. From romance to her family to how she hides the whole situation, she's one of those girls who is really only making things worse, yet once it crashes down, she doesn't actually give up. Even if she wants to.
7. Rose (Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett): Rose is one of the most firecracker characters I've read. She's angry, she's hurt, she's confused. She is such a mess. She also knows when to fight, and when to stand back. And with all this, she's also not quite ready to grow up, at least not as quickly as her friends. She's young and a bit naive, yet she also isn't totally blind either. Truly, words can't even capture all the ways this girl got in my head and my heart, but she's certainly earned her spot.
6. Bria (Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard): Throughout this entire book, Bria pushes herself out of her usual boundaries. She tests herself in so many ways, and while yes, Rowan and Starling push some of it, much of it comes from herself. She doesn't give up, even when she hits plenty of hurdles, and she just has such a huge amount of internal strength, I couldn't help but adore her.
5. Loann (Never Enough by Denise Jaden): Loann is one of those characters I saw at least some parts of myself in... and not necessarily parts I'm always happy with. I connected to her, though, in some big ways. She's insecure, not just about her body though that is part of it, but with other things as well. She's innocent and naive in some ways, but so strong in others. She messes up, but she keeps going. And even though she's always felt sort of second best to her sister, her love for her sister shines so much.
4. Leah (Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols): Determined and fiery. Those are the two main words I'd use to describe Leah. Her home life is horrible, her situation less than ideal. But she will make it on her own, she will get out of the trailer she lives in, she will make something of herself in life. Though she's had to grow up too fast, she is headstrong in that self-motivated way, and she is a girl who captivated me.
3. Calaena (Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas): She's an assassin, so I don't know that I really need to say more. But just in case, I also love her fierceness. Calaena is afraid of things, but she doesn't let it hold her back. She doesn't let someone intimidate her, either. And she doesn't hold back when it comes to what she wants. She is such a stunningly done character, and someone who doesn't need a guy or anyone else to support her, yet she also isn't going to completely turn away from the softer parts of herself either.
2. Amelia (The Space Between Us by Jessica Martinez): Amelia has an almost backwards sort of progression in the book. She starts out selfless almost to a flaw, especially when it comes to her sister, but turns seriously selfish as things progress, particularly as she struggles to understand her sister more. Things then progress beyond that, and she almost comes full circle, except it's a different sort of selfless, the kind that doesn't damage her in the process. And through it all, there is still this strength to her, this drive, that the pain and confusion can't wipe out.
1. Quinn (If I Lie by Corrine Jackson): Quinn is easily one of the strongest characters I've read this year. Her situation is awful, with an entire town turned against her, her own father so angry at her, and almost no one to turn to. She's harboring some big and painful secrets, and is so torn between protecting the person they effect, or herself. She doesn't take any of it lightly, and though she suffers so much in the process, there is still just something so, so endearing, so empowering, about her that she will always stand out in my mind.
So there's the female characters who really stood out for me this year. What are some of your picks?