Adrienne Young’s ultra-buzzy debut novel Sky in the Deep hits shelves tomorrow, a high-octane Viking fantasy about shattered loyalties, family ties, and forbidden love. After spotting the brother she believed to be dead fighting on the side of their enemy clan, warrior girl Eelyn must survive a frozen season alongside her rivals. But even more dangerous is a third clan, out of legend, that emerges as an attacking force that could bring down her life as she knows it. With the help of her brother’s intriguing, mistrustful friend, Eelyn must find a way to unite her people and her foes against the greater threat.
Here’s author Young to share five of her own inspiringly badass YA women.
These days, it feels like there’s no shortage of badass women in young adult fiction, and it couldn’t make me happier. Give me all the weapon flinging, roaring girls who don’t mind a little blood spatter on their dresses—if they wear a dress. Here are a few of my favorites in recent YA fantasy books.
Jude (The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black)
How could I not kick off with this hand-stabbing, body-hiding, poison-drinking mortal? Raised as a human in Faerie by the man who murdered her parents in front of her, Jude is a character who just wouldn’t let me go after I turned that last page. Determined, stubborn, and rebellious, this girl is one do-or-die moment after the other in pursuit of what she wants. And she’s just as cunning as she is fierce, calculating and moving pieces on the chessboard of the story in a way that had me gasping more than once.
Inej (Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo)
My favorite thing about this little spider wraith is that she’s incredibly fierce but doesn’t need to prove it. And although she’s had her fair share of pain and suffering, she hasn’t let it control her. All of that, and she scales up the sides of buildings and bridges, disappears in the dark, and names her many knives after Saints. Her loyalty, bravery, and humanity make her one of my absolute favorite YA characters.
Asha (The Last Namsara, by Kristen Ciccarelli)
I mean, the girl SLAYS DRAGONS. After her father arranges for her to marry, Asha takes control of her own fate by striking a deal to bring him the head of the most powerful dragon. She’s flawed, but breaks free of being used as she begins to think for herself and opens her eyes to the world around her. Major Khaleesi vibes here.
Emelina (Ruined, by Amy Tintera)
The opening scene of this book will have your jaw dropping at Emelina’s badassery. She’s an expert swordsman who takes every risk without flinching and literally has nothing to lose. Consequentially, she’s willing to do anything to save her kidnapped sister and her people from extinction. Her murderous plotting and fearless strategy had me wickedly grinning pretty much the whole time I was reading.
Lada (And I Darken, by Kiersten White)
A feral, rabid creature of a girl, Lada commanded my attention from page one as an “ugly,” screeching baby. But she stole my heart the moment she beat up the boys picking on her brother. She’s savage, relentless, and filled with a deep, passionate love for her homeland, which is the guidepost for everything she does. But she’s a wildfire that doesn’t stop burning, and I can’t wait to see where her story ends.
Sky in the Deep hits shelves April 24 and is available for preorder now.