To keep in theme with the Halloween season this week’s YA Saves Sunday post includes paranormal books and how they, in their own way, can be welcomed into the YA Saves movement.
One of the many reasons I absolutely love Paranormal YA Books are the strong leading characters (I gushed and gushed about this with Buffy a few weeks ago).  Many of these characters are normal, who are placed in unnormal situations and usually given unnormal gifts – which they surpass, and even grow from.  
Rosemarie “Rose” Hathaway
One of my favorite series is Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy.  Rose fits this to a tee – even though she is not human, being a Dhampir in her world is normal.   It is impossible to list the number of times she stood her ground, continued, on, or faught against wrong/evil while others pushed back against her.  
Once Lissa brought Rose back from the dead, unknowingly, Rose becomes “Shadow-Kissed”, given unique gifts of which she doesn’t shy away from but in fact embraces and allows it to make her stronger  (and not just in her friendship with Lissa).   Her strength and perseverance is both obvious and subtle.  Let’s just face it… Rose kicks major butt! She’s witty and sarcastic, while at the same time strong willed and honest – she always speaks her mind.  Physically, she can kick just about any Strigoi butt, and even does so with Dimitri.  But it is her emotional strength that makes her serve as a perfect example for a strong YA Saves character.  
Despite Rose’s tough exterior she is extremely vulnerable and most of the time alone.  After having literally been carried back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, Rose faces being ostrisized in many ways while trying to maintin her ‘bad girl’ reputation who does nothing but flirts and sleeps around. Right away you she tells you that this is not who she really wants to be.  She wants to be respected and taken seriously, which she finds in Dimitri.  If ever there were a mordern-day Romeo & Juliet, Rose and Dimitri would be it.  Rose maintains her strength, despite a few obvious and understandable set backs, in her love for Dimitri, even after he is turned into a Strigoi.    I mean come on! She goes off to kill Dimitri, despite her love for him – – how much stronger can one girl be!?  Like I said, while Rose clearly is outwardly a very strong character, it is her strong will and her inner strength that makes her, in my eyes, a leading character worthy of being considered a YA Saves Paranormal Character.  
Kaylee Cavanaugh
Just as with Rose Hathaaway, Kaylee Cavanaugh is one of the strongest leading Paranormal YA characters I have come across.  Imagine yourself walking in the mall, or anywhere public, and out of the blue you start screaming.  I am not talking about a little scream as if someone jumped out from behind but bloody murder screaming, uncontrollably, very very loud, and you can’t stop even when your throat is on fire… This is Kaylee’s life.  When Kaylee finds out she is a bean sidhe she embraces her new role, even though understandably she has a few little breakdowns – – who wouldn’t?!
Even with her bean sidhe powers, why is Kaylee Cavanaugh a YA Saves character in my eyes?  Kaylee puts others first no mater what.  How many times has she risked her life to save others? How many times has she faced her fears, demons, and everything that scary to help others, even her annoying selfish cousin? 
In My Soul to Save (2nd installment) Kaylee travels to the Netherworld to save a life and soul of someone she doesn’t even know.  Now if you haven’t read this series, and you don’t know about the Netherworld, it is one scary place – I personally was terrified of the creatures that inhabit the Netherworld.  While Addison is selfish and annoying, Kaylee sets out to save her soul so she doesn’t have to spend the rest of her life being tortured by one of the scariest Netherworld creatures.
Lastly, I won’t go into too much detail for those that have not read If I Die, but in this installment, Kaylee Cavanaugh proves why she is a YA Saves Character in every way. In If I Die Kaylee literally faces death in more ways than one, once again putting the lives and troubles of others before hers, even though her own troubles are eternally deadly. 
Nora Johnson
 Nora Johnson is probably one of the most pure human characters that I have every personally read.  Right away she fits all the ‘criteria’ (if there ever was any) of a YA Saves character – her mother died, her father left her when she was a child, and she lives with a an older woman who becomes more of a mother than anyone.  Even after finding out she is essential for the survival of an entire world she remains true to who she is, not matter what. Nora finds the pure honesty and joy through fighting evil and the human emotions that plague many humans: selfishness, dark thoughts, and fear. Even when she fears that she is forever separated from the love of her life, Gavin, she fights on against the evil that is threatening to kill her and her new home.   

In the second installment, The Secret of the Keepers, Nora continues to push forward and fights against evil, but this time her choices affect her loved ones even more – the weight on her shoulders has grown tremendously.  Once again Nora is left to her own devices, but she finds the necessary strength to move forward and do what is right, no matter how much she is personally hurting.  Nora, to me, is an amazing leading character who is one that anyone can look to when they might feel they cannot move forward or ever wonder if they are making the right choices because they are afraid of the affect that it may have on themselves and others.  Remaining true to your heart and beliefs is what Nora Johnson does best.  

Aden Stone
Its not very common for YA novels to feature male characters as the leading character, but Aden Stone from Gena Showalter’s Intertwined series is one of the rare ones that not only does this but also does so in a way that everyone, not just males, can look to when they are having troubles, in a Paranormal setting.  While Aden Stone is anything but normal, all he wants to be is normal – something I think we all want.  We all want to be accepted just as we are without fear of people thinking we are different in the wrong ways.  This is what Adan struggles most with.  For Aden though, it takes a Vampire, a Shape Shifter, a Drainer, and a entire paranormal world full of witches, goblins, fairies, and lord knows what else, for him to find acceptance and to finally be who he is really.

Aden Stone is no stranger to being alone, even with voices in his head.  Having spent time in psych wards, half-way houses, Adan has learned how to take care of himself.  Unfortunately, there are many out there that experience such things everyday.  There are too many that have experienced this.  Aden Stone presents a hope that despite such a past you can find a place to belong, while at the same time finding that you are ‘right’ just the way you are. 

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