In Young Adult literature, there seems to be a formula in which modern authors like to stick with when writing a female protagonists. Low self-esteem, self depreciating, some sort of family trouble, a sultry bad boy vying for her attention that treats her like shit, a clean cut “better” choice male specimen she chooses to ignore but still lead on, yadda yadda yadda.
The books that use this equation only really resonate with me if the protag has a Come to Jesus Moment. What is a Come to Jesus Moment you ask? A CTJM is when the protag finally “sees the light” or they have an epiphany. They finally realize how dumb their choices have been in the past, finally gain some self confidence, finally stop being weak and selfish. These are the moments we ache and yearn for (especially when the main character is a dumb twat). We WANT our protags to become powerful, independent, fierce characters and these are the moments when they finally reach their potential. An important thing to note, is that usually these moments are spawned by other characters in the book. Rarely, if ever, do CTJM just happen within themselves, somebody has to spark it.
Top Three Come to Jesus Moments
Katniss is a badass from the beginning. She’s fiercely protective of her family and friends and she had a backbone stronger than steel. Unfortunately, Katniss becomes quite the whiney bitch as the series progresses. And when Peeta returns after his brainwashing by The Capitol, she is probably is the most annoying character in the book. Enter Haymitch. Haymitch bitch slaps Katniss into realizing how much of a pathetic asshole she is being. He points out that while she hides out in a closet avoiding Peeta, Peeta would have been trying his best to help Katniss remember and get healthy. While she can never really make up for being so lame for basically the whole third book, she does at least vagina up and come around.
America Singer – The Selection
This is one of my favorite series. The Elite, book two in The Selection, just came out and it was AMAZING. But, America started really grinding on my nerves during book two. Here you have the exquisite Prince Maxon fawning all over you and you just keep asking for time, be patient, wait for me forever! It is incredibly irritating. And then she gets mad and hurt when he actually finds someone who wants to be with him, who loves him and doesn’t need all the high maintenance BS? Uh hello! And then, the best part, she calls out the country, HIS country, for their outdated and cruel social structure in front of THE ENTIRE WORLD and expects Maxon to be cool with it? BAHAHA. Can we say deluded? So when Maxon sends her packing it was awesome. And then, we/she realizes how effing awesome he is and he basically says “you don’t deserve me” but gives her another a chance, I about gave him a standing ovation. America does commit herself to not being a self bia anymore but we won’t see if this CTJM worked until the third book.
Elisa – The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Elisa is an overweight, dowdy, second child. Of a king. And poor pity her, she has been chosen by the Gods to bear the Godstone that gives her supernatural powers and destines her to some great task. Unfortunately, Elisa has about zero confidence and is constantly comparing herself to her gorgeous older sis. But instead of trying to live up to her full potential, Elisa eats her feelings and then is shipped off to marry, the poor poor thing, a gorgeous young King. Needless to say, the only way Elisa was ever going to save the plot, and this series, was to have an epic CTJM. And she does. This one is slow to develop though and I like it. I think her true CTJM was when she realized that, uh, she can kick some major ass by using the stone in her belly button and then whips the shit outa the intruders. Bravo, friend. Book Two is going to be a lot more interesting now that you have some kahunas.