The Best Literary Heroines of 2012: An Alternate List

This week, NPR treated us to a list of five of their favorite heroines from the year in literature, women who “want to know things, who want to devour the world,” who “aren’t primarily defined by their desire to love or be loved — or even to be especially lovable — these are sublimely stubborn women, frequently at odds with themselves and always at odds with their times,” who are on quests. We love their list (Sontag, yes) but since they missed quite a few of our favorite literary heroines of 2012, we couldn’t help taking the opportunity to add to it. After the jump, the wiliest, wildest, most kick-ass literary ladies we fell in love with this year — check them out, and since we can’t possible cover every one, be sure to add your own favorites to our list in the comments.

Ida (Dora: A Headcase, Lidia Yuknavitch)

17-year-old Ida is a modern reincarnation of Freud’s famous bisexual case study Dora, whom our most famous shrink deemed “hysterical.” Ida may be a bit “hysterical” too — but she’s so many more things: raunchy, irreverent, filled with the desire to strip naked in the middle of “Nordfucks” or shave her head, sidekicked by a beautiful gang of weirdos. Plus, she’s recording everything in her punked-out Dora the Explorer purse. “I want to create new girl myths,” Yuknavitch said of the book. It’s about damn time someone did.