In Clare Furniss' brand new book How Not To Disappear, Hattie's summer isn't exactly going as planned. She's ended up stuck at home babysitting her twin siblings and while her best friends have gone travelling.
Oh, and she's also just discovered that she's pregnant with her friend Reuben's baby - gulp. Then Gloria, Hattie's great-aunt who no one previously knew even existed, comes crashing into her life.
Gloria is fiercely independent, rather too fond of a gin sling and is in the early stages of dementia. Together the two of them set out on a road trip of self-discovery - Gloria to finally confront the secrets of her past before they are wiped from her memory forever and Hattie to face the hard choices that will determine her future…
They find emotional strength they didn't know they had and it's guaranteed to fill you with girl power, so author Clare has picked out her top ten kickass fictional ladies that you need to know about.
1. Lyra Belacqua from His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
Lyra is such a beguiling character: stubborn, passionate, loving, loyal, rebellious, brave and very good at lying. Plus some of her best friends are bears.
2. Jo March from Little Women by L.M. Alcott
Well I definitely identified with Jo March. She wanted to be a writer, she had a fierce temper, and she liked reading books that made her cry. We were soul mates!
3. Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling
Of course I could have put Hermione here (I felt I could only have one character from Harry Potter but frankly Minerva McGonagle, Molly Weasley or Tonks could ALL have featured). Luna is my favourite though, because she's different and she's totally cool with that. What a great role model! Also she reminds me of my daughter.
4. Anne from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
I so wanted to be Anne Shirley, with her auburn locks and her charm and passion. And Gilbert Blythe was my first ever literary crush. Enough said...
5. Lizzie Bennett from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
She puts Darcy and his snobbish Aunt in their place, she's loyal, she's smart, she's not immune to the charms of charismatic bad boy Wickham but she eventually sees through him. Lizzie Bennett and she's still one of my all-time favourite characters.
6. Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane isn't pretty, but she has brains and integrity and a sense of her own self-worth. And Mr Rochester falls in love with her. How brilliant to find a character that shows you don't have to be beautiful to be attractive. Thank you Charlotte Bronte!
7. Scout Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Scout is the unforgettable narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird. She loves reading, isn't afraid to get into a fight and has a strong sense of justice just like her dad Atticus.
8. Cassandra Mortmain from I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Another girl who wants to be a writer (well they do say write what you know) - Cassandra is clever, funny, melodramatic and incredibly charismatic. She's also very good at keeping a diary which I've always failed at...
9. Cruella DeVil from 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith.
I had to have a villain and who better than Cruella - she was expelled from school for drinking ink, she made her husband change his name to hers, she has the loudest car horn in London, and she may be bad but she has style... I was terrified of her!
10. Thelma Dickinson and Louise Sawyer from the film Thelma and Louise, screenplay by Callie Khouri.
This is cheating a bit because there are two of them but they were part of the inspiration for my new book, How Not To Disappear and I had to include them! They complement each other perfectly – Louise is tough and trying to keep control when you know there's a whole lot of emotion going on under the surface, Thelma spontaneous and high on the excitement of escaping her awful husband. A great depiction of true friendship.
If you're into your kickass female characters then you're going to NEED to stick your nose into 'How Not To Disappear'. Fancy a sneaky peek extract before you get your hands on the book, though?
Your wish is our command, lovely chops. Get reading below:
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