Thursday, December 26, 2013

YA Guy Hosts... Jimena Novaro's BLUE RABBIT Blog Tour!

Today, YA Guy is distinctly honored to be hosting Jimena Novaro, whose debut novel, BLUE RABBIT, comes out on December 28th! A talented writer and a thoughtful reader, in today's guest post Jimena weighs in on gender bias and flawed characters. At the end of the post, there's a chance to win one of five free copies of BLUE RABBIT.

And now... Here's Jimena!

What a Bitch: Female Protagonists

Thank you so much for hosting me, Josh! Hello, readers of Josh’s blog--thanks for stopping by!

Sometimes it seems like male characters can get away with anything.

The world of fiction is full of men who win the admiration of thousands of readers and viewers through their charm, charisma, or some other likeability factor while committing some annoying or outright terrible acts. Sometimes it’s just basic layered characterization, as is the case with Thorin from The Hobbit, a complex character with a lot of darkness who makes some tragic decisions. Sometimes it toes the morality line pretty drastically, such as Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries, who spends a lot of time murdering, raping, and mind-controlling people and still has legions of fans.

On the other hand, finding a female character that people won’t call some disparaging thing or other seems hopeless. If she’s too assertive, she’s a bitch. If she’s too kind and accommodating, she’s a pushover. If she complains, she’s whiny. If she’s stoic and determined, she’s unbelievable. And if she’s sort of in the middle, she’s bland.

Sure, people complained about how whiny Harry was in Order of the Phoenix, but it didn’t exactly hurt the book’s or series’ popularity. On the other hand, take Fire by Kristin Chasore, which portrays the much shorter-lived (and less shouty) angst of the female protagonist and gets criticized for it right and left.

Sadly, the truth is that in real life, it can be a pretty similar situation. There are some nigh-impossible standards set for girls and women to follow in terms of looks and behavior. Just think of how many times a girl or woman is called a “slut” for leading a sexual life that, if she were male, would be perfectly acceptable.

So when I sat down to write my book and discovered just how flawed my female protagonist was, I started to worry. Would she turn readers off? Erika’s a high-maintenance, self-centered, self-righteous kind of girl. She makes some pretty bad mistakes that almost cost her friendships--and friends’ lives. One of her friends, Sandra, who gets almost as much page time as Erika does, is right up there with Erika in terms of flaws. All told, they’re both antiheroes.

Let’s consider that word, “antihero.” Who’s the first character fitting that description that pops into your mind? It’s probably a guy. In fact, I remember quite a few articles on writing romance that remind you that, while it’s okay to write a flawed hero, you shouldn’t make your heroine as flawed, because readers have less patience with heroines in general. And I don’t think that applies only to the romance genre.

I still think Erika and Sandra might turn some readers off, some of whom wouldn’t mind as much if they were boys. Sure, I wouldn’t jump at the opportunity of being their friend in real life, but I wouldn’t want to be Thorin’s friend, either, and I still love him as a character. I tried to portray Erika and Sandra as human beings with real flaws that got in the way of their lives, just like the rest of us, which gives them something to learn , something to struggle with, and possibly something to overcome. And isn’t that what characters are supposed to do, whether they’re male or female?

Thanks, Jimena! Now, readers, why not go ahead and add BLUE RABBIT to your Goodreads shelf? By doing so, you'll be entering a drawing to receive one of five free copies of the book!


In Knoxville, Tennessee, there’s a bridge to another world.

When they first cross it, Erika and her friends feel like they’ve stumbled into a dream. Magical and mysterious, the other world becomes their little paradise, a place to explore and escape from their everyday lives. Until one night a boy from school, Mike, follows them to the other side--and he’s kidnapped by strange and powerful Creatures.

Back home, everyone thinks Erika and the gang are responsible for Mike’s disappearance. The dream has become a nightmare. How can they negotiate with these Creatures to rescue Mike and clear their names? And why are the Creatures fixated on Erika, who feels drawn to their world even as she senses the danger?

About Jimena:

Jimena Novaro always knew she would be a writer. It just took her a few years to realize that she wanted to do it full-time, and relegate things like going into outer space and being an opera prima donna to hobbies. She loves reading and writing science fiction, fantasy, and YA. A self-proclaimed geeky sort of nerd, she spends a lot of her time fangirling over her favorite shows, books, and bands and educating herself about super-important topics such as how to survive an arrow wound and whether or not you can shoot a gun in space. Sometimes she gets super serious and rants about some socio-political issue or other.

She’s a member of the awesome fantasy authors group Mystic Quills. You can find her free epic fantasy serial, The Withering Sword, on her website (a new chapter comes out every Sunday!). Her first book, Blue Rabbit, a YA urban fantasy, comes out this December! Find her here:


  1. Interesting commentary, Jimena!! :)

  2. Ooh… great post, hee hee. I love Erika and Sandra:p Okay, maybe I don't want to hang out with them, lol, but they're great characters! I loved your nuanced, yet female girls who aren't boys and your nuanced male guys…. who feel real too!