SparkNotes Blog

The Most Underrated Sidekick Heroines in YA

Hermione Granger, Katniss Everdeen, and the rest of our top-billed book friends might get all the credit for their literary lady heroism, but at the end of the day, the depth chart for awesome in the genre is staggering. In fact, these YA sidekicks have been just as clutch and impressive as their more marquee counterparts, so we wanted to give everyone a reminder sample of the epicsauce these gals have been brewing all this time. Three long overdue cheers to all of them!

Johanna Mason (The Hunger Games)

For, like, five minutes in Catching Fire, we’re convinced (through the skeptical eyes of Katniss) that Johanna is an untrustworthy threat because she’s so no-nonsense and incredulous about her and Peeta’s real versus not real ~connection~. Ultimately, though, our District 7 champ proves to be one of the rebellion’s most loyal, albeit strident, friends — even when she finds herself in the torturous clutches of President Snow, she doesn’t waver from her commitment to the cause. Katniss might be The Mockingjay and all, but hey, Johanna is nothing to shake a stick at, either (lumber pun intended).

Fleur Delacour (Harry Potter)

Not only was she the tourney champion of Beauxbaton, but Fleur was strong, smart, gracious, and loved Bill Weasley with everything she had, scars or nah. And let’s not forget that she was the only girl going for the Triwizard Cup that year, holding it down for the ladies without batting an eye at all the dragon-tangling, sea-diving, maze-running challenges ahead. And the Battle of Hogwarts? She was right there on the front lines alongside the rest of the Weasley fam.

Rosalie Hale (Twilight)

Rosalie might not have been the most outwardly enthusiastic (or, let’s be real here, kind) person in Forks, but when push came to shove, she still always put her adoptive family’s best interests first and was right there on the battlefield alongside the rest of ‘em. She didn’t approve of a lot of Bella’s decisions, but she was there when she was most needed. Plus, she knew how to sling a werewolf zinger like no one else, and her comedic timing brought in some welcome bits of levity to the gothic love story.

Bonnie Bennett (The Vampire Diaries)

Name one person on The Vampire Diaries who hasn’t been rescued at some point or another by the spellcasting competence of our favorite Mystic Falls witch. Hard, right? That’s because she’s the backbone of their entire vampire-human relations operation, and they’d all be in a really bad way (ahem, six feet under and/or desiccating in some crypt) if it weren’t for her endless powers and willingness to use them, even when it brought herself harm.

Ringer (The 5th Wave)

Cassie’s cool and all, but Ringer’s something special. The Infinite Sea heroine has a big heart and an even bigger pack of guts, and she’s got the wits and intuition it takes to stay ahead of that game the Others are trying to play during their world-conquering alien adventures. She’s essential to every element of the human mission to survive, and she only gets stronger and more interesting with time.

Sam (Perks of Being a Wallflower)

Nevermind that Emma Watson, one of our resident woke celebs of now, played her in the movie adaptation, Sam was the bomb long before that happened. Sam didn’t ascribe to all the norms of high school society laid out for her and instead chose to align with the kids that didn’t get to clique their way to graduation. She was curious, sweet, and loyal.

Iko (The Lunar Chronicles)

Who wouldn’t want to have an android friend who’s uber capable but also has a unique sense of friendship and self like Iko? Cinder’s robotic BFF was so much more than wires and metal, ya’ll. She had personality and liked to keep things fun and optimistic, even when everyone was in the thickest bit of trouble. Plus, her never ending adaptability proved very useful for Cinder & Co. throughout their space mission adventuring.

Marlee (Selection Series)

America never had a truer friend than Marlee a.k.a. Mallory, who outright refused to be changed by even the most cutthroat moments in the Selection. A dangled crown just couldn’t steer this girl away from the direction of her heart, and she was a legitimate confidante to America even when nonesuch should’ve existed in the spirit of the competition. She was, in more ways than one, America’s sweetheart.

This post was originally published in June 2016