List

Girls You Wanna Meet--Sassy, Smart, and Full of Spunk

By Mary Simon

Young women who inspire and delight us--that's what this list is about. Whether found in books or movies (or both), they constantly provide a fresh perspective, laughable dialog, heartbreaking pathos, muted strength, or a nuanced performance.

  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel

    2012 by Semple, Maria

    Bee Fox! Who wouldn't want Bee Fox as a daughter, friend, confidante? Her wonderful, wacky, complicated mother and her patient, understanding father rely on her to bring them back together, as they once were. She's an amazing character!

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  • To Kill a Mockingbird

    2010 by Lee, Harper

    I've been looking for Scout Finch throughout my lifetime, from the moment I met her in the novel to seeing her captured on screen opposite Gregory Peck. She is so innocent, full of vinegar and adventure, and is a terrific tomboy. And her depth and purity of spirit shine for all to see.

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  • Booksmart

    2019

    I'd like to meet both of the main characters in Booksmart. They are superhype, insecure, down-to-earth, smart, tenacious, flawed, and hilarious. I wouldn't want to cross them in a debate or mock trial situation either, because they would bring me to my knees.

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  • Little Women

    2014 by Alcott, Louisa May

    Jo March! Everyone loves one of the characters in Little Women. For me, it was and will always be Jo March. Independent, strong-willed, vulnerable, and smart, she served as the compass for her sisters and mother. I strongly encourage my readers to see the newest feature film version under the excellent direction of Greta Gerwig.

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  • No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference

    2019 by Thunberg, Greta

    Greta Thunberg! Time Magazine's Person of the Year! (Shouldn't she be Person of the Decade?) Full of wisdom, as well as stubborn and tenacious. Don't give up hope, Greta, and above all, don't work on your anger management problem and then go to a good old-fashioned movie with a friend! And above all, DON'T Chill Greta, DON'T Chill! as one climate-denier (who happens to be a key world leader) would encourage you to do.

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  • Malala: My Story of Standing up for Girls' Rights

    2018 by Yousafzai, Malala

    The Nobel Prize winner defines values that should be considered important for all international communities. Despite the terrible events in her life, Malala represents the indomitable spirit of sisterhood in the 21st century and echoes the message that education is a human right--not qualified by gender, race, sexual orientation, class, age, or disability.

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  • Leave No Trace

    2018

    Based on a true story about a father and daughter who lived in Portland's huge urban forest (Forest Park), the story of Tom Foster and her father provide ample evidence that living with a military vet who suffers from mental illness can seem like an insurmountable struggle. This teen tries her best to understand her father, but in the end, she comes to grip with her own survival.

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  • Winter's Bone

    2010

    Ree Dolly--strong, salt-of-the-earth, reliable, resilient, responsible, and vulnerable. Able to keep her family together despite her father's tragic ways.

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