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A Collector’s Guide to the American Girl ‘Girl of the Year’ Dolls

Paige is a writer, doll collector, and American Girl enthusiast.

Archived Girl of the Year dolls on display at the American Girl store.

Archived Girl of the Year dolls on display at the American Girl store.

What Are the 'Girl of the Year' Dolls?

In 2001, American Girl released Lindsey Bergman, its first ‘Girl of the Year’ Character Doll. The Girl of the Year dolls are limited-edition modern dolls whose stories are meant to embody the experiences of young girls during the year they represent.

This doll line continues to this day and is still very popular with American Girl fans of all ages. As of this writing in 2021, there are 19 different Girls of the Year in existence (plus two Girl of the Year companion dolls), though only four of them are available for purchase.

Are These Dolls Hard to Find?

As the name would imply, for most of the line’s history, the Girl of the Year dolls were each only sold for one year. Nevertheless, the more recent Girl of the Year dolls have been active past the year they were initially released. The oldest Girl of the Year doll still sold by American Girl is Luciana, the 2018 Girl of the Year. Unlike with the Historical American Girl dolls, no Girl of the Year dolls have ever been made active again after they were retired, and they likely never will be.

Given their limited-edition status, the Girl of the Year dolls are some of the rarest AG dolls, and they are frequently sought out by collectors. In fact, it is more challenging to locate and purchase a retired Girl of the Year doll secondhand than it is to acquire most of the retired Historical dolls.

How to Learn More About Each Doll

I have created this guide to help doll collectors (as well as more casual American Girl fans) keep track of important information about each Girl of the Year, including facts about their books and other related media, appearances, controversies, and availability.

Lindsey, the 2001 Girl of the Year

Lindsey, the 2001 Girl of the Year

Lindsey: 2001

  • Full name: Lindsey Bergman
  • Year: 2001
  • Status: Retired
  • Release Date(s) : 2001-2002
  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Story Description: Lindsey tries to solve problems, but her attempts to be helpful usually get her into trouble. Although she is bullied in school, she retains a humorous and optimistic attitude. She enjoys riding her scooter and playing with her dog.
  • Skin: Light
  • Hair: Curly brown-auburn
  • Eyes: Blue
  • Face Mold: Classic Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: Lindsey was the first ever Girl of the Year doll. She had unexpectedly low sales, leading to the year long delay of the release of Kailey (the second Girl of the Year). Consequently, is one of the most rare American Girl dolls. Additionally, Lindsey was the first Jewish doll released by the American Girl company.
Kailey, the 2003 Girl of the Year

Kailey, the 2003 Girl of the Year

Kailey: 2003

  • Full name: Kailey Hopkins
  • Year: 2003
  • Status: Retired
  • Release Date(s) : 2003-2004
  • Location: California
  • Story Description: Kailey lives near the ocean, and loves swimming and surfing. She protests when developers threaten to demolish local tide pools, sparking her passion for environmentalism.
  • Skin: Light
  • Hair: Blonde with brown highlights
  • Eyes: Brown
  • Face Mold: Classic Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: Unlike most American Girl dolls, Kailey’s Meet Outfit does not match the clothes she is dressed in on the cover of the book she came with. Kailey‘s Meet Outfit is a sundress, but she wears a wet suit on the cover of the Kailey book.
Marisol, the 2005 Girl of the Year

Marisol, the 2005 Girl of the Year

Marisol: 2005

  • Full name: Marisol Luna
  • Year: 2005
  • Status: Retired
  • Release Date(s) : 2005
  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Story Description: Marisol is a dancer. She dances in many different styles, including ballet folklorico, a traditional Mexican style. She is dismayed when her parents decide to move from Pilsen (a predominately Latino neighborhood) to Des Plaines, a suburb which does not have a dance studio.
  • Skin: Medium
  • Hair: Brown
  • Eyes: Light brown
  • Face Mold: Josefina Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: Marisol was the first Hispanic Girl of the Year doll. Despite this, many members of the Latino community protested her release, angered that her book portrayed Pilsen as dangerous neighborhood. In response, American Girl released a statement clarifying that passages from Marisol were being taken out of context, and that Marisol‘s parents’ primary reason for moving to the suburbs was their desire for a house and a yard.
Jess, the 2006 Girl of the Year

Jess, the 2006 Girl of the Year

Jess: 2006

  • Full name: Jess Akiko McConnell
  • Year: 2006
  • Status: Retired
  • Release Date(s) : 2006
  • Location: Belize
  • Story Description: Jess’s parents are archeologists from Michigan. She is accompanying them on a months long dig in Belize. Jess is homeschooled during the expedition, using her laptop to communicate with her teacher. She enjoys exploring Belize and learning about the Mayan artifacts her parents have discovered.
  • Skin: Light
  • Hair: Dark brown with red highlights
  • Eyes: Dark brown
  • Face Mold: Jess Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: Jess was the first Asian Girl of the Year doll. She was also American Girl’s first biracial character, with her mom being of Japanese decent, and her dad being of Irish and Scottish decent. She was also the first Girl of the Year to have a new face mold created for her doll, the first American Girl character whose story does not take place in the United States, and the first Girl of the Year to explicitly be labeled as a “Girl of the Year.”
Nicki, the 2007 Girl of the Year, pictured with Sprocket, the guide dog she is training.

Nicki, the 2007 Girl of the Year, pictured with Sprocket, the guide dog she is training.

Nicki: 2007

  • Full name: Nicki Fleming
  • Year: 2007
  • Status: Retired
  • Release Date(s) : 2007
  • Location: Denver, Colorado
  • Story Description: Nicki’s family owns a ranch in rural Colorado where they raise pigs and keep horses. After her mother unexpectedly becomes pregnant with twins, Nicki steps up to train Sprocket, a service dog her mother can no longer train herself due to complications with her pregnancy.
  • Skin: Light
  • Hair: Light brown
  • Eyes: Blue
  • Face Mold: Classic Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: Nicki was the first Girl of the Year to be released on January 1st, setting a precedent for all the Girl of the Year dolls to follow her. She was also the first Girl of the Year to have two books.
Mia, the 2008 Girl of the Year, pictured wearing her accessories.

Mia, the 2008 Girl of the Year, pictured wearing her accessories.

Mia: 2008

  • Full name: Mia St. Clair
  • Year: 2008
  • Status: Retired
  • Release Date(s) : 2008
  • Location: Upstate New York
  • Story Description: Mia is her parents’ only daughter and is the youngest member of her family. She has three older brothers who all play hockey. While Mia loves to ice skate like the rest of her family, she aspires to be a figure skater instead of a hockey player. She is often teased by her brothers who do not take figure skating seriously.
  • Skin: Light with freckles
  • Hair: Light red
  • Eyes: Hazel
  • Face Mold: Classic Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: The PC game, Mia Goes for Great, is based on Mia’s character and story. To this day, Mia remains the only Girl of the Year to have a PC game.
Chrissa, the 2009 Girl of the Year

Chrissa, the 2009 Girl of the Year

Chrissa: 2009

  • Full name: Chrissa Marie Maxwell
  • Year: 2009
  • Status: Retired
  • Release Date(s) : 2009
  • Location: Edgewater, Minnesota
  • Story Description: When Chrissa and her family move from Iowa to Minnesota to live with her grandmother after her grandfather’s death, Chrissa struggles to adjust to her new school and to make friends. Her books deal with issues such as peer-pressure and bullying. Additionally, Chrissa enjoys swimming, making pottery with her father, and helping her Nana raise mini-llamas.
  • Skin: Light
  • Hair: Brown
  • Eyes: Light blue
  • Face Mold: Josefina Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: The movie Chrissa Stands Strong is based on Chrissa’s story. She was the first Girl of the Year doll to have a film made about her. Chrissa was also the first Girl of the Year to have items from her collection re-released as Just Like You products after her retirement (albeit without the “Chrissa” label). Moreover, she remains the only Girl of the Year to be released with companion dolls: Gwen and Sonali.
Gwen, one of the companion dolls to Chrissa, the 2009 Girl of the Year

Gwen, one of the companion dolls to Chrissa, the 2009 Girl of the Year

Gwen: 2009 Companion

Companion to Chrissa, the 2009 Girl of the Year

  • Full name: Gwen Thompson
  • Status: Retired
  • Release Date(s) : 2009
  • Story Description: Gwen is a shy girl in Chrissa’s class who is also bullied. Prior to the start of the Chrissa books, Gwen and her mother became homeless after her father lost his job and subsequently left the family. They lived in their car and later in a homeless shelter which helped them move into an apartment. After befriending her, Chrissa helps Gwen see that she doesn’t need to feel embarrassed about her past.
  • Skin: Light
  • Hair: Blonde with bangs
  • Eyes: Brown
  • Face Mold: Classic Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: Oddly, Gwen’s hairstyle was altered in February of 2009, less than two months after her release. Her hair was originally styled in a side ponytail with a pink headband. It was changed to a half ponytail with her headband now being placed around the waist of her dress as a belt. Another unusual fact about this doll was that Gwen and her mother being homeless caused a great deal of controversy. Conservative media outlets claimed that American Girl was trying to influence children to pity and want to support the homeless. Others expressed concern that Gwen’s backstory might be too intense for children, especially in consideration of the 2009 recession. The American Girl company responded that the Gwen doll is “meant to teach tolerance.” Although Gwen is part of the 2009 Girl of the Year collection, she is not regarded as a Girl of the Year in her own right.
Sonali, Chrissa’s other companion doll

Sonali, Chrissa’s other companion doll

Sonali: 2009 Companion

Companion to Chrissa, the 2009 Girl of the Year

  • Full name: Sonali Matthews
  • Status: Retired
  • Release Date(s) : 2009
  • Story Description: Sonali is initially a member of a group of girls nicknamed the “Queen Bees,” also referred to as the “Mean Bees.” Although she joins her friends Tara and Jadyn in bullying Chrissa and Gwen, she becomes increasingly uncomfortable with this behavior. Sonali ultimately leaves the Queen Bees and apologizes to Chrissa and Gwen, eventually becoming best friends with both of them.
  • Skin: Dark
  • Hair: Black/dark brown with highlights
  • Eyes: Dark brown
  • Face Mold: Sonali Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: Sonali’s maternal grandparents are from India. The Sonali Mold was created for the Sonali doll to display her South Asian heritage. It has since been used for several other American Girl Character Dolls who are people of color. Like Gwen, Sonali is not considered an official Girl of the Year doll.
Lanie, the 2010 Girl of the Year, pictured wearing her accessories

Lanie, the 2010 Girl of the Year, pictured wearing her accessories

Lanie: 2010

  • Full name: Lanie Holland
  • Year: 2010
  • Status: Retired
  • Release Date(s) : 2010
  • Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Story Description: Lanie loves science and exploring outdoors, and she dreams of going on scientific expeditions through the jungle when she’s older. She likes to use long, scientific terms in her speech and writing and has a nature journal in which she records facts. Her best friend Dakota is in Indonesia with her father who is rescuing orangutans. Lanie corresponds with her via email.
  • Skin: Light
  • Hair: Blonde
  • Eyes: Hazel
  • Face Mold: Classic Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: There is a discrepancy between the Lanie doll’s appearance and how Lanie is described her books. In the Lanie books, Lanie is said to have green eyes, yet the doll has hazel eyes.
Kanani, the 2011 Girl of the Year

Kanani, the 2011 Girl of the Year

Kanani: 2011

  • Full name: Kanani Akina
  • Year: 2011
  • Status: Retired
  • Release Date(s) : 2011
  • Location: Kaua’i, Hawaii
  • Story Description: Kanani lives on Kaua’i with her father who is of Japanese-Hawaiian descent and her mother who is of French-German descent. She often helps out at her parents’ shave ice shop. She enjoys swimming and photography and is very personable. Kanani is also passionate about protecting Hawaiian wildlife, especially the endangered Hawaiian monk seals. She has several pets, including a dog, rooster, and goat.
  • Skin: Medium
  • Hair: Light brown
  • Eyes: Hazel
  • Face Mold: Jess Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: Kanani is American Girl’s second multiracial Character after Jess and first Hawaiian Character Doll. She was also the first Girl of the Year doll to have an app, Shave Ice. While most Girl of the Year books are narrated in the first-person, the Kanani books are written in third-person narrative.
McKenna, the 2012 Girl of the Year doll, wearing her accessories

McKenna, the 2012 Girl of the Year doll, wearing her accessories

McKenna: 2012

  • Full name: McKenna Brooks
  • Year: 2012
  • Status: Retired
  • Release Date(s) : 2012
  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • Story Description: McKenna is a talented gymnast who dreams of one day becoming an Olympic gold medalist. She has difficulties in school, particularly with reading comprehension, and she struggles to balance her schoolwork with gymnastics.
  • Skin: Light
  • Hair: Dark Blonde
  • Eyes: Light blue
  • Face Mold: Josefina Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: McKenna holds the record for being the fastest Girl of the Year Doll to sell out, selling out on December 5th of 2012. The film McKenna Shoots for the Stars was based on her character and story. Although McKenna wasn’t the first Girl of the Year to have a movie, she did start a trend of every Girl of the Year having a film which lasted through 2016.
Saige, the 2013 Girl of the Year, pictured with her accessories

Saige, the 2013 Girl of the Year, pictured with her accessories

Saige: 2013

  • Full name: Saige Copeland
  • Year: 2013
  • Status: Retired
  • Release Date(s) : 2013
  • Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Story Description: Saige has a love for horseback riding and art, particularly painting. She is a talented artist herself, and she is very upset that she will not have an art class during fourth grade. Her school rotates between art and music classes each year because the school district can’t afford to have both classes all the time. So, Saige and her friends try to raise money for an art class in creative ways.
  • Skin: Light
  • Hair: Auburn
  • Eyes: Turquoise
  • Face Mold: Classic Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: Saige was the first Girl of the Year to have a mini doll, and the first to come with pierced ears. The movie Saige Paints the Sky is based on her character and story.
Isabelle, the 2014 Girl of the Year, wearing her accessories

Isabelle, the 2014 Girl of the Year, wearing her accessories

Isabelle: 2014

  • Full name: Isabelle Palmer
  • Year: 2014
  • Status: Retired
  • Release Date(s) : 2014
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Story Description: Isabelle is a ballet and modern dancer who is excited to attend Anna Hart School of the Arts. She enjoys designing and sewing her dance costumes. Although she loves to dance, she often gets performance anxiety and fears she is not as skilled as the other dancers at her school, especially Jade, her talented older sister. Despite these concerns, Isabelle has a knack for calming down other anxious performers.
  • Skin: Light
  • Hair: Blonde with pink extensions which are removable
  • Eyes: Hazel
  • Face Mold: Classic Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: Isabelle was the first Girl of the Year to have three books, and the first Character Doll to have an eBook sold. The movie Isabelle Dances into the Spotlight is based on the Isabelle book series.
Grace, the 2015 Girl of the Year, wearing her accessories

Grace, the 2015 Girl of the Year, wearing her accessories

Grace: 2015

  • Full name: Grace Thomas
  • Year: 2015
  • Status: Retired
  • Release Date(s) : 2015
  • Location: Bentwick, Massachusetts; Paris, France
  • Story Description: Grace has a passion for baking and enjoys visiting her grandparents’ bakery. She has a desire to be an entrepreneur, so she starts a business called La Petite Patisserie with her friends. Additionally, when her mother goes to France to help aunt Sophie after she has to go on bed rest because of her pregnancy, Grace gets to come along and spend a summer in Paris
  • Skin: Light with freckles
  • Hair: Medium brown with side bangs
  • Eyes: Light blue
  • Face Mold: Josefina Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: Grace was the first Girl of the Year since Kailey not to have a starter collection. Williams-Sonoma sold products tied to Grace including baking supplies and aprons. The film Grace Stirs Up Success is based on her character and story.
Lea, the 2016 Girl of the Year, pictured wearing her accessories

Lea, the 2016 Girl of the Year, pictured wearing her accessories

Lea: 2016

  • Full name: Lea Clark
  • Year: 2016
  • Status: Retired
  • Release Date(s) : 2016
  • Location: St. Louis, Missouri; Brazil
  • Story Description: Lea is a skilled photographer who won third place in a national children’s magazine contest. She and her parents take a trip to Brazil to visit Zac, her older brother, in the Amazon rainforest.
  • Skin: Medium
  • Hair: Light brown
  • Eyes: Hazel
  • Face Mold: Josefina Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: The film Lea to the Rescue is based on the Lea book series. Lea was the last Girl of the Year to have a film made about her.
Gabriela, the 2017 Girl of the Year

Gabriela, the 2017 Girl of the Year

Gabriela: 2017

  • Full name: Gabriela McBride
  • Year: 2017
  • Status: Retired
  • Release Date(s) : 2017-2018
  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Story Description: Gabriela is a tap, hip-hop, and ballet dancer. She also enjoys poetry and is a good writer. One of Gabriela’s biggest insecurities is her stutter. In addition to speech therapy, she uses spoken word poetry to help improve her stutter. She does not let her speech impediment stop her from speaking out about what she believes in, leading her to become a member of the student council at her school.
  • Skin: Dark
  • Hair: Curly dark brown
  • Eyes: Brown
  • Face Mold: Sonali Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: Gabriela was the first disabled and the first African American Girl of the Year. She was also the first Girl of the Year since Marisol to not be at least partially white. She is very similar to Just Like You #46, a Just Like You doll which was retired in 2016. Customers that could show proof they purchased Just Like You #46 within recent years of her retirement were able to receive Gabriela’s Meet Outfit for free within a limited time period. This lead to criticism from American Girl fans who felt that the company should have put more effort into making Gabriela a unique doll, especially since she was the first Black Girl of the Year. Furthermore, Gabriela was the first Girl of the Year doll since Kanani not to have a movie, but the first since Kailey to be available for purchase past the end of the year.
Luciana, the 2018 Girl of the Year

Luciana, the 2018 Girl of the Year

Luciana: 2018

  • Full name: Luciana Vega
  • Year: 2018
  • Status: Active
  • Release Date(s) : 2018-present
  • Location: Virginia; Huntsville, Alabama
  • Story Description: Luciana is of Chilean descent and can speak both English and Spanish. She lives with her parents and Isadora, her adopted baby sister. She misses the rest of her family who still lives in Chile. Luciana is creative, intelligent, and persistent, though sometimes too impulsive. She dreams about going to space one day, more specifically to be the first person to travel to mars. After years of participating in an essay contest, Luciana finally wins admission into Space Camp.
  • Skin: Light brown
  • Hair: Dark brown with a purple streak
  • Eyes: Brown
  • Face Mold: Josefina Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: Luciana was initially released in 2018 and is currently still available for purchase, making her the longest active Girl of the Year doll in American Girl history. As of 2021, the only items of her collection that are still available for purchase are the Luciana doll and books.
Blaire, the 2019 Girl of the Year

Blaire, the 2019 Girl of the Year

Blaire: 2019

  • Full name: Blaire Wilson
  • Year: 2019
  • Status: Active
  • Release Date(s) : 2019-present
  • Location: Bluefield, New York
  • Story Description: Blaire lives on the Pleasant View Farm Bed-and-Breakfast which her family runs. She enjoys living on a farm and the responsibilities that come with it, especially taking care of the animals and helping her mother cook for the Bed-and -Breakfast guests. Blaire is embarrassed and upset to find out she is lactose intolerant which complicates her love of cooking. She and her mother try to make the best of the situation by experimenting with dairy-free cooking.
  • Skin: Light
  • Hair: Curly red
  • Eyes: Green
  • Face Mold: Josefina Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: American Girl changed the eye design of their dolls in mid-2017 but reverted back to the original design by the end of 2018 due to online backlash. Before this change, many Blaire dolls had already been manufactured with the new design. Upon Blaire’s 2019 debut, customers who purchased Blaire dolls with the new eyes could send the doll in for a free eye exchange throughout the rest of the year. Moreover, the summary on the back of the original copies of Blaire falsely say that Blaire has a food allergy when she really has a food sensitivity. This was corrected in later printings of the book and the difference between a food allergy and food sensitivity is explained in Blaire Cooks Up a Plan. Critics of American Girl’s increasing focus on modern dolls often use Blaire’s food sensitivity as an example of how the more current dolls have problems which are trivial in comparison to the plights of the Historical Character dolls.
Joss, the 2020 Girl of the Year

Joss, the 2020 Girl of the Year

Joss: 2020

  • Full name: Jocelyn Elizabeth Kendrick
  • Year: 2020
  • Status: Active
  • Release Date(s) : 2020-present
  • Location: Huntington Beach/Fountain Valley, California
  • Story Description: Joss is an athletic girl who surfs, skateboards, and also eventually joins cheerleading. She was born with hearing loss and is completely deaf in her left ear. She wears a hearing aid in her right ear to help her hear better and knows American Sign Language.
  • Skin: Light
  • Hair: Brown
  • Eyes: Brown
  • Face Mold: Joss Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: The Joss Face Mold was created just for the Joss Doll. She is currently the only Girl of the Year to have a unique Face Mold, meaning she is the only doll ever made using her Face Mold. The Joss doll comes with a hearing aid, making her the first American Girl Character doll to have a visible disability (although Gabriela is also disabled, her disability cannot be known just by looking at her doll). Although the Joss books take place from mid to late 2020, there is no mention of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on everyday because the books were written prior to the start of the pandemic. This makes Joss the only Girl of the Year whose story describes the year in a factually inaccurate manner.
Kira, the 2021 Girl of the Year

Kira, the 2021 Girl of the Year

Kira: 2021

  • Full name: Kira Bailey
  • Year: 2021
  • Status: Active
  • Release Date(s) : 2021-present
  • Location: Michigan; Australia
  • Story Description: Kira is an animal lover who is thrilled to be visiting Australia with her mother. She and her mom stay with Kira’s great aunts who are in charge of a wildlife sanctuary. Throughout her stay in Australia, Kira has to the opportunity to take care of many unique animals including koalas and wombats. This enables her to learn about wildlife conservation, particularly how animals are negatively impacted by climate change.
  • Skin: Light
  • Hair: Blonde
  • Eyes: Green
  • Face Mold: Josefina Mold
  • Other Noteworthy Information: Kira is the first Girl of the Year since Jess whose story takes place entirely outside of the United States. Moreover, Kira’s books do acknowledge the COVID 19 pandemic. Unfortunately, the fact that Kira has lesbian aunts was the subject of some controversy with conservative parents who claim that it is inappropriate to expose children to the LGBTQ+ community. However, many other American Girl customers praised the company for incorporating representation for diverse families into the Kira books.

Other American Girl Collector’s Guides

© 2021 Paige Davanzo

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