Marissa Meyer's Top 5 Heroes in YA Fiction

Renegades is the new book by Marissa Meyer, and it's simply overflowing with superheros... and anarchists!

We can't wait for you to discover this high-stakes world of adventure, passion, danger, and betrayal, and today on the MKB blog we're keeping up the hero theme as Marissa shares her top 5 heroes in YA fiction.

Take it away, Marissa!


When my publicist first sent me a request to write some blog posts for MyKindaBook, I was excited to have a chance to talk about my newest novel, Renegades, and to take readers through some of my inspirations in writing it. But I have to admit—when I saw the list of requested topics and arrived at this one, I grimaced, just a little.

My top 5 favorite heroes in YA Fiction? Really?

How can anyone be expected to choose just five?!

But after much debating, soul-searching, and library-scouring, I have done my best to narrow down the list. It wasn’t easy, as I’m sure every booklover knows. And my opinions could change tomorrow. But for today, here are my Top 5 Heroes in YA Fiction.


Ella (Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine)

I have loved classic fairy tales since I was little, but this classic was one of my first forays into fairy tale retellings, and it cemented my love for the genre forever after. Mostly because Ella was so unlike the Cinderella I knew from Grimm or Disney. She was spunky, determined, and more interested in politics and human rights than marriage and balls. Plus, she ultimately breaks her own curse, which was such a refreshing twist on the story and put fairy tale heroines in a whole new light for me.


Katsa (Graceling by Kristin Cashore)

This book came out around the same time as The Hunger Games, and I think that the success of both largely speaks to how we readers were craving female role models who could be strong emotionally AND physically. As the king's personal assassin, Katsa is skilled in weaponry and combat, and I loved seeing the respect the demanded in this fantasy world. At the same time, she craves affection and acceptance as much as any red-blooded human, and this made her character so real and relateable. (Plus, seeing the way Po admired her positively melted my heart.)


Liesel (The Book Thief by Markus Zusak)

Though Liesel and her story might be a work of fiction, the fact that it is set in World War II Germany brought a truth to her story and character that made for a truly life-changing experience. Though only a child, Liesel is constantly defying Nazi rule, and her choices reminded me of so many real-life stories I've heard about people doing what they felt was right, even in the face of great personal danger. Liesel's strength and resilience made her one of the most unforgettable characters I've ever read about, and reminded me that even in the most horrific times, humanity can still surprise us through acts of bravery and compassion.


Elisa (Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson)

There are some characters who transformation over the course of a book (or, in this case, a trilogy), are so remarkable, yet so believable, that it leaves me in awe of the writer's talent. Elisa is one of those characters. At the start of this series, she is about as unheroic as one can imagine. Weak, pampered, overweight, and an overall disappointment to her people. But through a series of trials, she emerges as an intelligent and compassionate leader. I think part of what I love most about her story is that it is as much about proving her worth to herself as to those around her, and anyone who has struggled with self-image will find a powerful connection to this hero. (I certainly did!)


Neville Longbottom (The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)

He may not be the main hero of these books, or even in the top three heroes of these books, yet there is just something about that moment when Neville stands up to Volemort during the Battle of Hogwarts, and then pulls the sword from the Sorting Hat and beheads Nagini... it truly gives me chills every. single. time. I think it's one thing to be heroic when everyone is telling you you're the chosen one, but Neville proves he's heroic when everyone has told him he's not, and that remains one of my favorite moments of the whole series.


So now I’ve narrowed down my list, it’s only fair to ask you to do the same! Who are some of your favorite literary heroes? Let us know @mykindabook!