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Anna James’ favourite YA heroines

In the Pages & Co series, my heroine Tilly first realises she’s a bookwanderer when characters from her favourite books start appearing in the bookshop she lives in. These are the YA heroines I’d most like to pop up if I was a bookwanderer…  

1. Reiko from Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber 

Reiko is such a complicated but brilliant character and I would love to visit the Palm Springs desert with her and discuss first loves and how to find yourself – and also what it’s really like going to prom.  

2. Lil and Kizzy from The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave 

In this new reimagining of the brides of Dracula, Lil and Kizzy are twins stolen from their families. Polar opposites but both smart and brave – but I’d want to meet them at the start of the book, not the end..!  

3. Starr from The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

The Hate U Give is one of the best YA novels I’ve read, and I’d love to get the chance to speak to the funny, inspiring Starr about finding your voice and using it for good, and how to have hope in dark times.  

4. Sorrow from State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury 

Another beautifully nuanced heroine, Sorrow inhabits a difficult, complicated world and shoulders a lot of responsibility – I’d love to get her take on our current political situation, but also maybe buy her a cup of tea and tell her she’s doing a good job. 

5. Georgia from Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison 

This series was one of my absolute favourites while I was a teenager and I can’t think of a more fun way to spend an afternoon than with the brilliant chaotic Georgia (and ideally the whole of the Ace Gang).  

Anna James is a writer and journalist living in London. Anna was Book News Editor at The Bookseller magazine and was Literary Editor of Elle UK. Anna has also written for The Pool, The LA Times, The Financial Times and The Independent, as well as making bookish YouTube videos as A Case For Books. She hosts literary events and panels and is the co-founder and host of the YA Salon in London. Her book, Pages & Co: Tilly and the Bookwanderers, published by Harper Collins is a captivating, curl-up-on-the-sofa debut about the magic of books and the power of the imagination.

Photo: © Sarah McKenna


World Book Day is a charity funded by publishers and booksellers in the UK and Ireland.