So fairly recently I started reading Vampire Academy. I'll admit, when I first met Rose, I didn't think much of her. I thought she was one of those faux tough girls. You know the sort - the kind that goes out of her way to prove she's tough but, in reality, she really isn't.
I don't mind admitting, I was wrong.
What Rose is, however, isn't something I come across often in YA books.
She's a flirt, teasing the guys and dressing somewhat provocatively. She likes kissing guys. In fact, at one point in the book she has a make-out session with a guy that DOESN'T become her boyfriend. She has this awesome guy friend that, she realizes, has a huge crush on her and she feels guilty because she doesn't reciprocate. She thinks she's pretty. She's a bit of a party animal and has been both drunk and high. She has a short temper and starts fights. She doesn't like reading or studying. She complains about running out of her favorite lip balm.
Now, are you asking me yet why we need more girls like this? Because, after all, I've not really described her in the best light, have I?
The fact is, she's real. She acts like a teenage girl so often, but she is also something of a role model. She takes charge of her life and does things about the situations she finds herself in. She doesn't wait passively for someone to help her. Even though she get's so angry she wants to punch someone, she controls her temper and walks away. She stands up for herself and those she cares for. That aforementioned guy she was getting hot-and-heavy with? While they were kissing, he took her shirt off and she told him then and there that she wasn't having sex with him. (Yay for girls that know where this is headed and put their foot down.)
How many times have we read YA books where the first guy the girl ever kissed becomes her boyfriend - with strong hints that they will 'live happily ever after'? How often is the girl a little bit of a pushover, someone to be lead through the story by the guys? (How often does she have a best girl friend that she'd do ANYTHING for?)
Girls need role models. Girls and women to look up to that are strong and loyal - but beyond that are flawed people. Ones that make mistakes. Ones that a teenaged girl can actually relate to.
So, this is why I think we need more girls like Rose Hathaway as the main character in YA books.