1. The Classic: Lizzie Bennett, Pride and Prejudice
There's good reason this Jane Austen novel has been rehashed time and time again, from graphic novels to zombie-infested literary works to movies. Even if it was set in Regency England, Elizabeth Bennett carries a surprisingly modern appeal that rings true even today.
She's whipsmart, feisty, and is willing to go against society's rules to stand up for what she knows and believes is right. The other great thing about her is that despite all her upstanding qualities, she's also flawed?just like all of us. She almost let slip a chance to be won over by this amazing dude because of her prejudice against him (then again, despite his handsome face, he was kind of a douche in the start).
Be a Lizzie: When some old, authoritarian, lady tries to bully you by using her sheer moneyed power and you know she's totally wrong, speak up and put her in her place. Stick up for yourself like a lady.
2-3. The Warriors: Tris Prior, Divergent and Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games
Say what you will about how these trilogies panned out, and how the movies did or didn't fit your expectations. Everyone has got a say about J Law and Shailene, and the plethora of eye candy the big screen versions have to offer (and all the goosebump-inducing moments the books give you).
The wave of dystopian-themed books the last couple of years has dished out may seem tired as of now, but you have to admit that aside from blowing our minds with their twisted (albeit, templated) themes, these books have given us new, ultimately kickass heroes to look up to. Tris and Katniss are inspiring because while remaining true to their feminine qualities, they've also managed to (sometimes literally) pierce boundaries, use the 3Bs for the good of the world, win the guy, and oh yeah, save the day.
Be a Dystopian Heroine: Learn archery, train for a marathon like you're running for your life, and if there's some guy who's trying to one-up you, show him up and don't apologize for your bad-assness.
4. The Intellectual: Hermione Granger, The Harry Potter Series
She isn't the star of the show, but she definitely made sure things got done in the fantastical world JK Rowling carved out for her, Harry and the rest of the gang. Fans of the books (and even the movies) will see how Hermione really grew into her own skin?from being a talkative know-it-all to someone who was able to pull people together, and get them out of the toughest trickiest situations, she really came into her own through time. For everyone who's going through the perils of puberty, it?s nice to know that hope is on the horizon. And for the homely bookworms who would rather spend time burying their noses in nerdy pursuits, know that your introversion does carry with it an awesome, out of this world payoff.
Be a Hermione: Hit the books, study, and don't let the boys boss you around.
5. The Anti-Hero: Annika, From This Day Forward
Everyone cheers for the main character of the story (at least most of the time). This book doesn't really have a main character because it?s full of short stories, but to me "The Middle" (which is actually, right smack in the middle of the book) pulled at my heartstrings more than the rest. Annika is not the bride in a story centered around a wedding, she sits at the sidelines and has not-so-good thoughts about the guy who?s about to get hitched.
While Annika was a victim of circumstances?of her soon-to-happen breakup and of the marriage her boyfriend's friend Nicholas is about to embark on, she passes through these negative experiences with stoic, solitary grace.
Be an Annika: Stay steadfast with your morals and always be open to hope.