EXILE (AURELIA #2) BY ANNE OSTERLUND (April 28, 2011)
Crown Princess Aurelia stands in the face of exile. Behind her are the sister who tried to kill her and the father who ignored it. In front of her are the entire kingdom and Robert—the friend she can't help but fall in love with. Aurelia may finally be living her dream . . . but danger is not far behind. When Aurelia and Robert are betrayed by the very guards assigned to protect them, their expedition becomes a fight for survival that carries them from frontier to desert sands. Even with a hunter on their tail, the risks—to their lives, the throne, their hearts—only fuels Aurelia's determination to see her kingdom. And when their perilous journey is finally complete, she will discover just how much her people need her, and just how much of a risk loving Robert can be.
By Anne Osterlund
Aurelia, the heroine of my first novel (named after her) and my upcoming third novel, entitled Exile, does not care for the term bossy. “Heroes,” she says, “are never referred to as bossy, only heroines.”
She mentioned this to me the other day, and I asked her if she would care to write a guest blog for Kim, who runs the Book Butterfly site.
“Kim,” I said, “does not care for shy, fumbling female leads who have no idea they are special until they meets the token supernatural guy whom they instantly fall in love with, and then revolve their whole lives around, forsaking their own hopes and dreams for only his.”
“I like Kim,” says Aurelia.
“The sad thing,” I tell Aurelia, “is that Kim thinks she can’t find enough strong heroines in YA books.”
“That is sad,” said Aurelia. “We should help her.”
So Kim, here is our combined list of favorite strong heroines (mine and Aurelia’s) in YA/Mid-Grade novels. Complete with some of our favorite attributes.
Alanna from Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness Quartet. Alanna has purple eyes, red hair, and a wicked arm with a sword. She disguises herself as a boy to become a knight, and when the disguise comes off—watch out!
Blossom Culp from The Ghost Belonged to Me, Ghosts I Have Been, The Deadly Future of Blossom Culp, and Blossom Culp and the Sleep of Death by Richard Peck. Blossom sees ghosts. And travels through time to relieve their suffering. And drags poor, rich Alexander Armsworth through her very own special brand of torture in order to “help” him come to grips with his own gift.
Mara from Mara: Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. Mara is a slave girl with nothing. And nothing to lose. Bought by one of the servants of the queen, and threatened by one of the followers of the king, Mara willingly takes on the role of double-spy and plays the game entirely for herself.
Charlotte Doyle from The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi. Charlotte is a young lady. The only young lady on board a ship rife with murder, mystery, and mutiny. When given the chance to choose her own future, Charlotte chooses . . . NOT to be a young lady.
Kelpie from Witch of the Glens by Sally Watson. Kelpie wants to be a witch. Abused by the gypsy couple who raised her and ordered to steal and spy on their behalf, Kelpie sets out to determine her own future. In the middle of a Scottish War, no less.
Kit (aka Katherine Tyler) from The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. Kit doesn’t fit in in Puritan New England. She likes dresses. And silk. And speaking her own mind. When the Puritan leaders disapprove of her, she makes her own friends. And sets out to change the heart of the town, one child at a time.
Susan from Ann Rinaldi’s The Last Silk Dress. Susan isn’t your typical southern belle. Her mother is abusive. Her brother is a mystery. And Susan has her own beliefs about what should happen in Richmond during the Civil War. Beliefs she has no intention of compromising. For anyone.
Margaret from Margaret by Jane Claypool Miner. Margaret sets out to become a teacher in a frontier schoolhouse in Nebraska. Her ideas, to say the least, are a bit of a shock to the people of Clarksville. She believes in equal pay for equal work, in studying for her profession, and in making sure every one of her students can learn—even if it means riding along with them in a wagon during a blizzard.
Anne Shirley from the Anne Books by L.M. Montgomery. Anne has an imagination, the brains to defeat everyone in the school in Avonlea, and a truly incredible ability to hold a grudge.
Katniss. From The Hunger Games. Enough said.
“Nice,” says Aurelia. “But you forgot me.”
“I didn’t forget you,” I tell her. “You got to create the list.”
“I should be on it,” she says.
“You’re the author,” I point out.
“If I’m the author, I ought to be able to put myself of the list.”
“Because you aren’t a shy, fumbling female lead?” I ask.
“And because you keep having to put up with people calling you bossy?”
Her face darkens, and the lines sharpen along her jaw.
“You know you’re at the top of my list,” I say. “I’ve spend six years listening to you. And I still am.”
“Good,” she says.
Come visit! Aurelia, Robert (who wisely stayed out of this discussion), and I hope you all enjoy their expedition in Exile beginning April 28th!