My top ten Book Girlfriends

In April 2015 I posted a list of my top Book Boyfriends – fictional characters who you would totally marry if they were real and available, like, no questions asked. Straight to the altar.


In honour of The Last Beginning (out in ten days!) where Clove finds her straight-to-the-alter girlfriend, here are my top ten book girlfriends. These are all from books I loved as a teenager, and a lot of them were inspirations for both Clove and Ella, just like my book bfs were inspirations for Matt.


10. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter

Obvious choice is obvious, bUT SERIOUSLY. This girl was my idol. Literally #lifegoalsorwifegoals. She’s clever and bossy and brave and completely wonderful.

From the illustrated edition by Jim Kay

I can’t really say much here that hasn’t been said many, many times before, but seriously. JKR changed the lives of a lot of girls when she created Hermione. She gave us all permission to be better that the male protagonist in our lives.

9. Marnie from The Raging Quiet2863604

I guarantee that only one of you, if that, will have read this book. I used to get this book from the library over and over when I was a teenager – I’ve read it more times than I can count, and only a little bit because of how cool the heroine is. It’s set in medieval times, and tells the story of Raver, a deaf orphan who the villagers think is mad. Marnie, a widowed young girl, befriends him. She realises that his ‘madness’ comes from a lack of understanding of speech, and together they create a form of sign language.

Marnie is so strong, even in the toughest of situations, but also very patient and careful. She thinks things through, quietly and gently, before acting. She’s flawed too – there are times where she loses her temper and reacts badly, but never fails to learn from her mistakes. She’s an extremely modern girl in a very dark ages time, and I love her. She’s one of those characters who you know would be your best friend if they were real.

8. Lyra Belacqua from His Dark Materials

LYRA FREAKING BELACQUA, MY GUYS. PALS. LYRA BALACQUA. This girl!! She’s spiky and loud and completely infuriatingly annoying. Sometimes she doesn’t listen and gets herself in a right old tangle, but she always finds a way out. Characters who never give up will always have my heart.

I think Ella has a lot of Lyra’s fire in her.


(Pan, her daemon, is an honorary Book Boyfriend, I guess? IDK.)

7. Ella Enchanteddownload.jpg

Char from Ella Enchanted made it onto my book bfs list, and Ella is on here. I was seriously into this book.

Ella is under a spell that means she has to do everything anyone asks of her, but that doesn’t stop her from being totally strong-willed and clever. She outsmarts everyone, slides down banisters, gives Princes good tellings off, and can pick up languages in a flash (so she can talk to trolls and her pet centaur). She’s also extremely witty and never hates anyone, even when they spend their whole lives being horrifically mean to her.

In summary: Ella freaking Enchanted, guys.

6. Holly Short from Artemis Fowl

Another pair who make it onto both lists – Artemis Fowl is a real DILF in my imagination, and was on my Book bfs list. Holly Short is the tiny, fiery fairy cop whose entire personality type can be summarised as ‘FIGHT ME!!’.

From the Graphic Novel

She fights against sexism as the only female cop, worries about ageing now that she’s over one hundred years old, has the best banter with her BFF Foaly, and isn’t afraid to show Artemis how much she despises him, even when he holds the future of the fairy world in his hands. Basically she’s the ultimate badass. She’s cooler than I could ever hope to be.

There are definitely elements of Holly Short in Clove.

Holly Short!! Marry me!!!

tumblr_mnvyy7Wq7a1qkgg6ro1_500.jpg5. Sally Lockhart from The Ruby in the Smoke

Sally is a Victorian lady detective who uses all her skills to solve crimes. She’s dangerous and carries around a tiny pistol whereever she goes, in case of trouble (she gets herself into a lot of trouble). She was played by Billie Piper in the BBC adaptation, which is a pretty good casting choice imo.

I really need to reread the Sally Lockhart books, because however much I appreciated her then, I’m sure I’ll appreciate her 100 times more now I’m a grown up. I think I kind of took her incredible-ness for granted as a kid.


4. Sue Trinder from Fingersmith

Now Sue is a big inspiration for Ella in The Last Beginning, in that she lies about everything about herself to the girl she fancies.


She’s rough and poor and will fight anyone who gets in her way. She’s a thief with a heart of gold. Her character arc from pushover to overprotective fighter is a joy to watch. Again, she’s a really flawed character who ultimately tries her best, even in tough situations, and I adore her.

3. Rosie from Spindle’s End

In this retelling of Beauty & the Beast, the Princess is taken away to be raised by fairies, but she grows up to be a tomboy instead of the proper princess sort. She hates dresses, dancing and embroidery, shears all her golden hair off, is described as a ‘thug’ and is always causing trouble. She even ends up marrying the Blacksmith and giving up her throne! It’s excellent, and Rosie is the best character in the world.

I couldn’t find any fanart for her, tragically. GET ON THAT, TUMBLR.

2. Death from Sandman

Dream had the distinct honour of being included on my Top Ten bfs post, and Death is being included here too. There’s clearly something about Neil Gaiman’s writing.


The ancient personification of Death is gentle, sassy, loyal and very loving. She really cares about the people she leads into death.

At times she’s just on the edge of becoming a manic pixie dream girl, but her characterisation grows and develops into something wonderful in her spin-off series.

1. Liraellirael.jpg

If there’s anyone who’s a direct inspiration for Clove, it’s Lirael. She lives in a huge underground library and is too shy to even talk to the other librarians. Instead she spends her time exploring its thousand year old depths with her magic dog sidekick. She also can transform into a otter.

It’s hard to articulate how much Lirael meant to me as a teenager. It feels very weird to make jokes about what a babe she is, because I just think that she’s absolutely wonderful. I used to really wish she was a real person. She may be my literary soulmate. I’m so excited to see where Garth Nix takes her in Goldenhand, out next month. I’ve missed her.

In other news: You can still vote for The Next Together in Maximum Pop’s debut of the year competition until Friday. Please do!

I also filmed a little video over at Maximum Pop here.

The Last Beginning is making its way to bloggers! [shivers with nerves] Here’s a picture I love:

And a reminder, I’m doing an event in Milton Keynes on the 14th:



Meet the three newest members of the James family…. Noah, Gansey, and Ronan (because of course I named them after the Raven boys, I’m nothing if not predictable). Thank you to the wonderful @lucythereader for letting me take these little babies off her hands! They are truely show-worthy – the top left is a Swiss Boar! I LOVE THEM SO MUCH ALREADY. Follow my snapchat (flossiepots) for many many guinea pig shenanigans over the next few months.

Finally – if you’re excited for The Last Beginning, you may just want to subscribe to my blog by email, which you can do on the right hand side of my blog. There’s some exciting things coming up over the next week, including some exciting announcements…!

The Last Beginning is published by Walker Books in the UK and Australia. It will be released in the US in Fall 2017 by Sky Pony Press.

Amazon UK| Book Depository | Waterstones | Foyles  | Hive 

You can add the book on Goodreads or subscribe to my mailing list for updates, or read the prologue on Wattpad.

More extras:

A rebloggable version of this post can be found here.

Published by Lauren James

Lauren James is the twice Carnegie-nominated British author of many Young Adult novels, including Green Rising, The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. She is a RLF Royal Fellow, freelance editor and screenwriter. Lauren is the founder of the Climate Fiction Writers League, and on the board of the Authors & Illustrators Sustainability Working Group through the Society of Authors. Her books have sold over a hundred thousand copies worldwide and been translated into six languages. The Quiet at the End of the World was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and STEAM Children’s Book Award. Her other novels include The Next Together series, the dyslexia-friendly novella series The Watchmaker and the Duke and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. She was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and many of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. She sold the rights to her first novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university. Her writing has been described as ‘gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘a strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water’ by Entertainment Weekly. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. She has written articles for numerous publications, including the Guardian, Buzzfeed, Den of Geek, The Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2022. She has taught creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands.

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