The “good girl” persona is overrated. I’m not suggesting crime streaks, mean streaks, or streaking of any kind…but there’s something to be said for a little rebellion, a little edge, and maybe, just maybe, an awful lot of sass.These fictional heroines are worth noting for their irresistible sass.
1.) Nancy Drew- Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew Case Files
I hooked onto Nancy Drew’s detective work as a young reader, loving every second of her misadventures- the ones where she worked to solve cases as a teenager, surrounded by adults who constantly doubted her ability to “get the bad guy”. It was the first time I really wanted to be someone else, to walk in her shoes, to experience the same excitement and glory. Hands down, one of the traits that makes Ms. Drew so great is her willingness to set aside her personal security if it will move her closer to rectifying a wrong or following the path to justice. That independence, along with the courage to stand up for what she believes is right makes her a wonderfully sassy heroine.
2.) Jo March- Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women
Stepping away from the cloak and dagger world of Nancy Drew, I eagerly grabbed onto the bold, unconventional style of Jo March. She seemed less “perfect” than Nancy: more approachable yet still admirable in her willingness to step outside the norm of feminine expectations. Jo is wily, stubborn, and endearingly flawed, pushing away love because she’s afraid it might swallow her whole, all while holding tight to her values with ferocity. Each time she stands up for her independence, she’s deliciously sassy.
3.) Elizabeth Bennett- Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice
Though I’d never want to return to the days of women expected to be seen and not heard, I wouldn’t mind spending a day in Elizabeth Bennett’s world, just to be her confidante. With her quick wit, eloquence, and fiery determination, she’s the kind of woman who speaks her mind exactly, but somehow manages to maintain a little grace. The way she fights for her sisters’ hearts and reputations is just as admirable as the way she stubbornly protects her own. The sassy way she addresses Mr. Darcy is also incredibly entertaining.
4.) Scarlett O’Hara- Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind
Okay, so Scarlett is probably the least likable heroine on this list, simply because she often acts like a giant bulldozer, obliterating anyone or anything in her path to personal satisfaction. Yet, she retains heroic greatness every time she perseveres through the toughest circumstances (war, death, poverty) and manages to retain a sense of dignity. Yes, she’ll steal your boyfriend and cheat your sister, but she’ll never give up fighting for what she believes in, and she’ll look devastatingly beautiful while doing it: sassy.
5.) Tris Prior- Veronica Roth’s Divergent
I love young adult literature, so I can’t leave my list of worthy heroines without at least one from the genre I’ve fallen for. As soon as I stared reading Divergent, I felt a kinship with Tris. She’s bold, stubborn, and independent, yet often underestimated. It takes time for her to establish her worth, in large part because she doesn’t easily fall onto one path: she’s a girl who follows her heart, regardless of where that takes her. The fact that she burns her own path is what earns her the sassy badge.