#WW Heroes I Want to See In YA

In the real world, heroes come in all shapes and sizes. They can save the world, or they can save one person. Heck, they can even just save themselves! But every hero we read about has a different story to tell, a background unlike any other, and most of all, a story to tell.

However, in young adult fiction, heroes aren’t always so diverse. So, here are three heroes I’d like to see more of in YA fiction.

1. Introverted Protagonists

I want to see more Hermiones as the protagonist instead of the sidekick. You know, the kid who reads or observes from the sidelines and saves the day. Think Velma from Scooby Doo. More quiet heroes who save through intellect over throwing punches. Which brings me to my next point…

2. Fight with Brain instead of Fists

I LOVED The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski. Though there was violence, especially in the last book, most of the warfare was puzzles and mysteries and alliances. The characters were often observing rather than fighting, and through trickery or other brainpower fighting tools, they could solve their problems. As much as I love a girl with a sword, I would love to see more brainpower used and less literal violence.

Heroes in YA
Heroes in YA

 3. Bisexual Protagonists

Of course I would love to see protagonists across the entire LGBTQIA spectrum, but I would really love to see more bisexual protagonists, because I think bisexual people are often labeled incorrectly due to who they “choose” in the end. If you’re unfamiliar with this discussion, please read Goodbye, Bad Bi: The Lose-Lose Situation of Bisexual YA. Personally, I LOVED Mark in Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. Him as the protagonist would be the best.

There are so many different types of heroes I want to see, including heroes with disabilities, heroes across the entire LGBTQIA spectrum, heroes that are people of color, and heroes who come from different religions and backgrounds.

What are some heroes you would like to see?

Who are some of my favorite recent heroes in YA? Grace in See How They Run by Ally Carter, Mercy in Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee, Marguerite in Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray, and Joana from Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. (Click any links to read my reviews.)

Also, if you have any recommendations, feel free to share!


Here are two of my FREE books:

Bad Bloods: November Rain

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Minutes Before Sunset

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18 thoughts on “#WW Heroes I Want to See In YA

  1. I want to see some overweight heroes and probably some scrawny ones. Male characters are always fit and toned to some extent even if they eat like poor college students and only work out in the first chapter. This probably wouldn’t work for high action adventures though unless it was a group thing.

    I wonder if an Introvert protagonist would work as a solo act. That sounds like something that would work better in a team environment. Not so much a sidekick, but heroes that share the focus. Though this depends on the extent of introversion, which is hard to figure out since the term has been abused so much over the years. Seems everyone I know is claiming to be an introvert, including those who obviously aren’t.

    As for the bisexual character, I keep waiting for one of those. Yet, I think I know why they’re rare. Authors tend to bring a relationship to a ‘final choice’, so a bisexual character would eventually ‘fall’ on one side when they choose a long-term partner. This isn’t how it works in reality, but people don’t take to fictional open relationships and polygamy very well. The point is that instead of making a clearly bisexual character, you could end up with one that people argue about. So, it’s very tricky to draw a clear line about this. Sure there’s a way though. (A quick search shows that this seems to be used predominantly for female characters than males too.)

      1. Looks like that’s a DC subdivision too. Curious to see how that goes as time moves on. Wonder if there are any male equivalents that aren’t sidekicks. That’s something I’m still wracking my brain on.

        Like how Faith’s power is telekinesis too. Always a fun one to play with.

      2. Well, they’re purposely being daring by featuring an overweight woman, but your statement about men always being buff still stands. The only plus-sized man in comics that I can think of is The Kingpin. But it’s been made clear over the years that a lot of Kingpin’s bulk is really muscle, not fat.

        Hmmm, where would you place The Penguin in this?

      3. This actually reminds me of a Spider-Man villain from the mid/late 90’s. Her name was Stunner and she was the muscular blonde bombshell. Her role was girlfriend and bodyguard for Doctor Octopus. It was revealed that she was really an overweight woman in a machine that projected the other one. Not the best example, but it was hinted that Doc Ock knew and was interested in her instead of the projection. The whole thing fell flat because of the Spider Clone Saga.

        Kingpin is a good one, but muscle. You have ‘The Blob’ from X-Men villains. The Penguin is a tough one because sometimes his portly and other times he’s slender. Why are these always bad guys?

      4. I don’t remember Stunner, but I haven’t followed Spidey as closely as others. There was also a background between Doc Ock and Aunt May, so perhaps the creative team decided to go with that one.

      5. They dated or something if I remember correctly. Never got the actual comics of that, but I had a set of ‘Spider-Man History’ comics that went over all the stuff that came before me.

    1. Yeah! I would love a lot of those same things as well! In regards to the bisexual issues, that’s what the article Bad Bi covers. It’s a fantastic read, and so true. I guess that’s why I want to see it tackled more – to get rid of that “who they choose defines them” stigma.

      1. It’s definitely a tough stigma to crack. Probably take a lot of whittling over the next couple of years. I guess an easy way to do it is to start with characters that don’t end up in long-term romances. Then ease it into that category. Might depend on the overall genre. Fantasy has a history of fluid sexuality when using fictional races, so I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing in this.

  2. Definitely I’d like more main characters who are humble and hard working, rather than brilliant with some innate gift or born as a Chosen One. Although I understand that violence has a visceral appeal, I’d like more effort to solve problems without violence at all.

      1. You have to be careful of the Mary-Sue factor, though. It’s like that song, “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful.” So many characters are presented as thinking they’re plain, while everyone else knows they’re gorgeous. Which more or less undercuts the whole “humble” thing.

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