Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Lauren Gibaldi

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as twenty-four authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!


About Lauren Gibaldi

I’m an author of young adult novels and public librarian. I’ve been, among other things, a magazine editor, high school English teacher, bookseller, and circus aerialist (seriously). I have a BA in Literature and Master’s in Library and Information Studies, both from Florida State University. I currently live in Orlando, Florida with my husband, daughter, and ever-expanding collection of books. (I mean, it comes with the professions, right?)

I love dinosaurs, pasta, musicals, and cheesy jokes.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterTumblrFacebookGoodreads


I was never the pretty girl.

Growing up, I was the smart girl, the awkward girl, the shy girl, the best friend. I had crooked teeth and big, frizzy hair. I was quintessentially the sidekick of a story. It wasn’t because I didn’t have ideas of my own, I just thought that was my place.

I read a lot and found myself happier in those fictional worlds than my own. Where I could at least pretend to be the happy, pretty girl.

And then, at 17, I met Hermione Granger. Who, let’s be honest, is quite possibly the best fictional character of all time. Introduced initially as just a friend, she quickly showed she had leading character potential. She wasn’t ready to just sit in the background – she joined in on Harry’s adventures, knowing there was trouble and risk (and chance for expulsion). But she did it because she believed in their fight, she believed in her friends.

Hermione is smart and not afraid to show it (and not dismayed when she gets looked over in class). She’s ruthless and passionate, and will do anything for her friends/family. She’s a powerhouse of a character, a role model. And yet she’s uniquely human, too, with feelings and crushes and disappointments like everyone else. She hurts, too. But she keeps going, because there’s always another Draco to punch, and another spell to make.

There are so many amazing things written on Hermione already that whatever I say won’t do her justice, but I will mention this: Hermione is strong, and that’s what makes her an amazing character. She’s strong in brains, she’s strong in heart. And, I think, every time she defeated a troll, stood up to a bully, started a campaign to save an elf, or followed her heart, she surprised herself. She didn’t go to Hogwarts knowing she’d defeat the ultimate evil, she went there to learn. She didn’t want to be a hero, she just was.

Hermione was never the pretty girl. She was the smart and awkward one. But she never let that hold her back.

And neither did I.

Title The Night We Said Yes
Author Lauren Gibaldi
Pages 304 pages
Genre Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance,
Publisher Harper Teen
To Be Published June 16th, 2015
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.

But Matt — the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town — was never part of that plan.

And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own — to relive the night that brought them together — Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

In alternating then and now chapters, debut author Lauren Gibaldi crafts a charming, romantic story of first loves, lifelong friendships, uncovered secrets, and, ultimately, finding out how to be brave.


8 responses to “Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Lauren Gibaldi”

  1. This post makes me want to cry! I’ve never read Harry Potter, but I’ve seen the movies and I’ve heard so many people say how great of a character Hermione is and I have to agree with what I’ve seen of her in the movies. I can relate, I was definitely never the pretty one, more like the quiet one, and I couldn’t even claim to be the smart one. I loved this post, Lauren!
    Amber @ YA Indulgences recently posted…Top Ten Books I Want To Be MoviesMy Profile

  2. This is great! It’s only day three and I’m already in love with this feature. Hermione is such an important character for me as well – I was probably 8 or 9 years old when I read the first Harry Potter book and for someone who had mostly read about princesses and high school girls (Sweet Valley High) before, it was refreshing to read about someone smart and witty and caring. There’s nothing wrong with princesses and pretty high school girls, but I never was able to relate with them quite as I did (and do) with Hermione.
    Milka@ReadReadRead recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (#28) – Song of Summer by Laura Lee Anderson (July 7, 2015 by Bloomsbury Spark)My Profile

  3. And of course, it’s another fantastic post. I think pretty much every bookish girl in the world who read Harry Potter fell in love with Hermione, right? It’s so rare to come across a character who is bright and knows the answer to everything in class, but doesn’t stop answering just because everyone else teases her for it. She’s one of those rare people who is constantly true to herself – I think it’s one of the few things she and Luna have in common!
    Jess @ Curiouser and Curiouser recently posted…How Do You See Cinder?My Profile

  4. You go, Lauren! You are a librarian so basically you’re a hero, too. 🙂
    Shelumiel @ Bookish and Awesome recently posted…“I Ultimately Stayed True to Aaron’s Story”: An Interview with Adam SilveraMy Profile

  5. Shaina says:

    So, so lovely. Hermione is such a fantastic inspiration to girls who’ve been told it’s “unladylike” or “uncool” to use their brains. Great post!
    Shaina recently posted…Let’s Talk About It: Reading as EscapeMy Profile

  6. Rachel says:

    This post made me so nostalgic. Hermione was the one character I related to the most in high school (so much so that my English teacher took to calling me Hermione instead of my actual name lol). Like Lauren said, there’s really nothing new anyone can say at this point about how incredible of a character and heroine Hermione is. Gah. I love this post + feature.
    Rachel recently posted…Listen Up! (22)My Profile

  7. Holly J says:

    Hermione is one of my favorite characters of ALL-TIME. So brave and brilliant and a great role model for girls. And I could so relate to her because I was the smart and awkward one in school, too. 🙂 Lovely post!!
    Holly J recently posted…Welcome to New York (BEA Recap)My Profile

  8. Alexa S. says:

    Hermione forever <3 I'm so glad you chose to write about her for this feature, Lauren!
    Alexa S. recently posted…The Lexie Project: On BFFsMy Profile

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