Nancy Scott Hanway

Best new female character: Eva Zorelli

Great Female CharactersNancy Scott Hanway10 Comments

Who are your favorite female characters in YA fiction? Ever since I was a kid, I've loved young adult books with strong female characters. Sassy, flawed ones, like Harriet from Harriet the Spy or Claudia Kincaid of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Sweet-but-bad girls like my friends: loyal to the end, funny as shit, curious, kind, rebellious. I adore them even though they (like me) sometimes make truly terrible decisions.

My friend Callie Cardamon just finished a young adult novel (Eva Zorelli Brings On the Rain) narrated by a sixteen-year-old girl, another lovable and pissed-off heroine. Here’s the plot: When she loses her best friend to an accident, Eva Zorelli falls apart, lashing out at everyone around her. Her actions lead her to juvenile court where she is forced to choose between attending Rain Dance—a New Age program for troubled kids—or going to juvenile detention. As ludicrous as Rain Dance sounds, it's better than detention, so Eva agrees to go. Once there, the irrepressible Eva becomes the punching bag of the spiritual director, a deceitful bully who wants to break her spirit. Eva finds a way to save herself, a vulnerable nine-year old girl, and a brilliant seventeen-year old boy, while bringing down the spiritual director.

I finished the book, called Callie, and said, “Don’t get me wrong, honey, I love you, but put Eva on the phone!” That’s how much I fell for Eva. I was pulling for her the entire time. If I had read this novel as a kid, I would have been obsessed.

If you want to read it right away, you’ll have to talk to Callie herself (or her agent, Jacques de Spoelberch). Or you can talk to me, and I will put in a good word for you.  Some lucky publisher will eventually get it, after the bidding war, of course.

Okay, so who are your favorite female characters in YA or adult novels?  Why? What novels should everyone read?

Callie Cardamon

Callie Cardamon