I love a good heroine. And I love a badass heroine even more.

An awesome female protagonist is so much of what draws me in, and ultimately makes me fall in love with a book. I read hundreds of new Canadian fiction novels every year for Book Box Love, and the books I choose to feature all have captivating heroines.

My favourite fictional women could not be more different from each other. The only thing they have in common is that they are all very much their own woman. They’re all courageous, compassionate, and live life by their own rules. And they trust their own instincts when under great pressure. I’d like to introduce you to some of the best heroines I’ve met:

1. Billie Jean Fontaine in Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey

We were captivated by Billie Jean, and by the way those who loved her described her. As author Claudia Dey explains, “She holds so many secrets, and lives by the belief that a woman carries and can express multitudes; I think this comes from a sense of ingenuity as well as a capacity for love.” The fierceness of Billie Jean’s wild spirit and deep heart haunted us long after closing the covers.

2. Sarah in Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson

Everyone thinks Sarah is a weirdo. She couldn’t care less. Sarah is a high school student who dresses in full costumes reflecting her daily mood, confidently quotes books none of her classmates have heard of, and is always brutally honest. She is passionate, political, and charming in the most unexpected ways. She’s also a complete disaster, and it doesn’t make us love her one bit less.

3. Eleven in Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah Selecky

This woman captivates huge crowds with an almost superhuman allure. As author Sarah Selecky describes, “Eleven brings sparkle and possibility into every room, and she knows how to project her energy. She believes everything she says — that’s the special thing about her. This high level of authenticity is really seductive. Especially now, when we’re all craving a feeling of hopeful connection. Eleven knows how to make someone feel loved and seen — and this is what everyone really wants.”

4. Ayesha in Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Ayesha is smart, creative, and bold. Despite pressure from her boisterous Muslim family, Ayesha does not want to marry. She’s also level enough to know better than to judge herself by external pressures of money and vanity. She values her own standards, and lives life her own way.

5. Priya in The Boat People by Sharon Bala

Priya thought she wanted a cushy corporate law job, but when her experience of life opened up, she saw another path. When faced with the chance to legally help Sri Lankan refugees arriving in Vancouver, she found herself responding and stretching in ways she didn’t anticipate. She knew herself, trusted herself, and went with her heart.

Picturing all of these fictional ladies in a room together, I can’t imagine the conversations they would have!

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