22 Reasons Why Shailene Woodley Makes The Perfect YA Heroine

In honor of Shailene’s birthday, we’re examining the qualities that make her the ideal YA heroine.

Shailene Woodley's birthday is Nov. 15, and she turns 24 today. Woodley has been acting most of her life, and during that time has played many heroines from YA novels. From the kick-butt Tris of "Divergent" to the gentle Aimee of "The Spectacular Now" to the witty Hazel of "The Fault In Our Stars," Woodley effortlessly portrays all of them. To celebrate her birthday, we’re listing some of the attributes that make her the perfect actress to play these iconic YA heroines.

Her long, luscious hair.


A YA heroine often has long hair so she can let it fall in her face to hide any embarrassment or so the totally hot love interest can tuck it tenderly behind her ear.

Her cute short hair.

Short Hair

If a YA heroine doesn’t have long hair, then she has short hair to show she’s sassy and spunky. Or terminally ill.

She's got the lip-gnawing thing down.

Lip gnawing

YA heroines spend an inordinate amount of time gnawing on their lips in anxiety, embarrassment, fear, etc. Pretty much any negative emotion triggers a round of lip chewing … sometimes until they bleed.

Her sad face makes us want to hug her.


Terrible things are always happening to YA heroines, often ripping our hearts from our chests.

She can even make us cry under water.


Whether it’s a pool, bathtub, or shower, being in the water is the perfect place for a YA heroine to cry in order to hide her tears.

She looks convincing kicking butt.


YA heroines sometimes have to fight for their lives.

She rocks the flirty hair tuck.

hair tuck

We’ve learned from YA novels the best way to show a guy we’re crushing on him is to tuck our hair behind our ears.

She’s willing to go make-up free to look like a real person.

No makeup

YA heroines often think they look plain, especially when compared to the popular girls.

But she looks gorgeous when all made up.

Red carpet

The makeover scene is a staple for showing the YA heroine is just as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside.

Her dancing is adorkable.


Unless a YA heroine is a ballet dancer, she usually feels totally uncool dancing in public.

Her face is amazingly expressive and easily conveys the variety of emotions YA heroines commonly experience: the delight when things go her way.


The bravery when she’s trying to pretend nothing is wrong while she’s actually dying inside.

Sad face

The boredom of being so over everything.


The dread when she realizes she’s different from everyone else.


That giddiness when a guy she likes flirts with her.


The joy when he finally asks her out.


The happy cry when things are overwhelming.


The frustration when she’s at her wits’ end.


The steely determination when she’s finally had enough.


The exasperation when parents totally suck.


The shy pleasure when her bae walks in the room.


Plus the many emotions that can be conveyed by an epic sigh.


Happy birthday, Shailene!