For the longest time, the answer to this question was Delores Claiborne. Then I read NOS4A2, by Joe Hill. The Brat (aka Victoria Mcqueen, aka Vic) is one of the more dynamic female leads I’ve ever read about. You’ll love her, hate her, root for her, want to slap her, laugh with her, and cry for her. Strip away the supernatural elements of Hill’s tour-de-force, and you’re left with a striking character study about one woman’s struggle with accepting affection. On top of everything else, Vic is a badass, yet she’s far from invincible. Vic’s a caring mother, a lover, a fighter, a hard-nosed biker, a children’s book author/illustrator, and totally uncomfortable in her own skin. She’s every woman and utterly unique. In other words, the perfect storm. Because of all this, The Brat rests high atop my pile of favorite female leads. Sorry, Delores, you’ve been ousted by a lady with an even stronger will than your own. I didn’t think it was possible, but there it is.
(Author’s note: NOS4A2 pops up again two more times during this challenge. It’s currently my favorite book of all time. Care to guess which two forthcoming questions I’m going to answer using Hill’s masterpiece? If you choose right, I’ll gift you a copy of one of my novels/collections in ebook or audiobook format. Already have all my books? Fine, I’ll send you a gift card/coupon for someone else’s book. The answers might surprise you, so choose wisely.)