As an avid reader, I come across a lot of heroines. Some of them kick-ass, some of them forgettable, and unfortunately, some of them Too Stupid to Live. What are the characteristics of a TSTL heroine you say? Well, I happen to have a handy-dandy list right here:
1) She’s an overthinker.
We have all read this kind of heroine before. The hero walks into the room, says, “Hi!” to her and for the next three (or more...) pages she overthinks about how hot, awesome, sexy and worldly he is; then she laments about how he probably will never ever talk to her and how he wouldn’t even look her way or see her for who she is and oh why bother and then she runs out of the room crying. Which brings me to…
2) She runs out of the room crying. All the time.
This heroine has serious emotional issues which are classified as just being (annoyingly) “how women are.” Is he late for dinner? She throws the dinner plate and runs out of the room crying. He’s talking to a female customer at his place of business? She makes a scene and runs out of the room crying. He tells her he loves her? She runs out of the...wait. She stays in the room to cry for that one.
3) She thinks her love will save the day. Then she gets kidnapped.
Kidnapping is a popular device used in romance novels; otherwise, how can the hero come to the rescue?! However, some TSTL heroines get our poor heroes in some bad scrapes. (To be fair, those guys love the drama. I mean, they have to, right?) For instance, say our hero is in a gunfight against four baddies and is low on bullets. He tells her to stay hidden while he gets reinforcements. She runs right after him yelling out his name, thinking she can “help” with no useful skills and runs right into the arms of the worst baddie. Or, she thinks she is Nancy Drew and is just going to follow up this lead despite the fact that she isn’t actually a detective, journalist, or in any way stealthy.
4) She’s a bad communicator.
This heroine keeps all of her emotions and opinions inside, and the hero has no idea that anything is wrong until the day she just snaps or stops returning his calls. Maybe she sees something that can be easily explained by simply asking...but why would she do that? That would be too much like right.
5) She has no self esteem.
This heroine puts up with crap from everyone in her life. Her parents, her friends, her siblings, her co-workers, her kids...you get the idea. It’s nice when a heroine can learn some self esteem through her relationship with her hero, but that’s not what this heroine does. Instead, she listens to her jealous frenemy/co-worker/sister when they tell her the hero would never want to be with her. They almost always pass this little bit of advice on when the hero has rejected their advances, but the heroine is TSTL and hasn’t figured that out.
Yes, TSTL heroines are annoying. However, getting the chance to read a true Kick Ass heroine’s story is an exhilarating experience. You want to be that Kick Ass when you grow up. When I grow up, I want to be like:
1) Cat from Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series:
Cat has been kicking ass and taking names since she was a teenager. Cat had a one woman vendetta against vampires and ended up getting one of the strongest vampires in the world to train her and fall in love with her. Here is a woman with spunk, determination, and a bad attitude when you get on her bad side. She is also a softy for the right people, so stay on her good side. Or else.
2) “Scout” Finch from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird:
Atticus gave his daughter every chance to grow and flourish into a future Kick-Ass heroine, but to be fair, she was already pretty kick ass as a kid.
3) Lex from Kit Rocha's Beyond series
The queen of Sector Four has a big heart but not many people know it. In the post apocalyptic future, Sector For is run by Dallas O’Kane and his crew. Lex and Dallas are partners, but even the king knows not to cross the queen. He had to learn the hard way, though.
4) Elena from Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Underworld series:
Being the only female werewolf in the world could mean a lot of things. What it mostly means to Elena is living pack life and being a kick ass enforcer, keeping mutts (lone werewolves) in line. She also holds the leash to the most most dangerous werewolf, Clay Danvers.
5) Alyssa from Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooters series:
Alyssa Locke and Sam Starrett have a complicated relationship. In the meantime Alyssa passes time being an FBI agent and top notch sharpshooter who can kick major ass...usually Sam’s.
Nicole Leapheart's alter ego is Miss Boxy Frown, and she posts book reviews and TV recaps at missboxyfrown.blogspot.com. She reads and watches everything from romance to sci-fi, but enjoys it even more if some smut is involved. And tattoos.