The Book Character Tag pulls back the bones of our favorite (and least favorite) tales, going back to the basics of what makes or breaks books. This was popular on Youtube about six months ago (story of my life) and I wasn’t tagged by anyone but that hasn’t stopped me yet so why not?
1. A kick-butt character, male or female.
For this I’m going to go with Lynn from Not a Drop to Drink. There’s so many run of the mill dystopia’s out there that I think people have stopped getting so excited when new books come out in the genre, hence not nearly enough people know about this one of a kind book. Unlike the typical, “the world is ending one girl saves all”, storyline Not a Drop to Drink is a much more quiet and personal story of one girls survival in an unforgiving world. I felt for Lynn from page one and I never questioned her strength and perseverance from then on. Mindy McGinnis navigates her character development so sure footedly and I felt like through her defiance of typical post-apocalyptic “norms” she created a character worthy of Katniss level praise and admiration (a.k.a the protagonist every YA author has been attempting to write since circa 2009). One of my favorites of 2014 and a book with something for a lover of every genre.
2. A character you were supposed to like, but really didn’t.
Hannah Baker from Thirteen Reasons Why was the natural choice for me. I feel horrible for not sympathizing with such a tragic character, but her actions did not resonate with me the way they should have given the situation and I left her story feeling largely unimpacted. Not to mention the fact her personality was just not that likable and I could not respect the way she jerked certain characters as if they were nothing. It packed a punch for so many people and I can understand why, it brings a fresh voice to a topic that needs more representation, but for me Hannah made all the difference in the way the book affected me and if I would recommend it to readers in the future.
3. A dateable character.
So many options for this one, honestly it’s a little ridiculous. Ultimately Corey Livingston from What Happens Next wins out. He’s such a sweet character (and yes, only a little unrealistic), one that I liked immediately from his introduction and never wavered from. He really is what every girl should want in a boyfriend. The story has so many things going for it, from it’s perfectly imperfect narrator Sid, to the romance, to the laugh out loud dialogue, and to the heartfelt and deeply emotional meaning, What Happens Next is sure to hit many readers wish lists right on the head. Corey really just takes the cake though and adds so many elements to the story that make it more than just a book about rape. A lot of people compare it to Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson because of the similar premise, to me however What Happens Next is everything I wanted Speak to be. Seriously, just pick it up.
4. Change something about an otherwise likeable character.
This one goes to Alexis of Bad Girl’ Don’t Die. She’s an all around great character in an all around great book. Perfectly flawed, she was a typical teen to the tee (see that alliteration!). Just enough quirks to keep it real but never annoying, great character development from beginning to end as well. The one thing I loved most about her though is also what I would change. Her surliness was understandable and even embraced, it made her seem true to description and brought in some laugh out loud one-liners that had me cracking up and using in my day to day life for weeks to come, sometimes though I just wanted to shake her by the shoulders and say “Get over yourself! How can you not see how this person is trying to help you?” Ever had those types of frustrating reader to character moments?
5. A character who made all the wrong choices.
Colette of Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer is the definite winner. This book had such a cool premise and I loved the authors first book Bad Girls Don’t Die(see above) but this one really didn’t work for me and Colette was the main reason. Despite having an all around awful personality (I swear she had five personalities and they all sucked) the choices she made definitely didn’t help the cause. They had no rhyme or reason and her decision making process made no sense. She did stuff that was supposed to make her a more likable character and show how much her time in Paris helped her evolve as a person, but most of the time this just left me cold and led to me being like “Really?” (imagine me raising an eyebrow). A good premise and fast placed storytelling, but marred by a dull, undeveloped plot and horrible characters.
6. A character you love to hate.
As a child raised on Hallmark channel specials I feel like what this question really boils down to is who is the Nellie Olson of YA lit? Frenemies, colorful villains, and sassy arch rivals are all common, and equally adored themes in young adult, but ultimately I chose the Driver in More Than This. This was my first Patrick Ness novel and certainly not my last. Filled with a rich atmosphere and a mystery ladden plot, I was just confused as our main character Seth for the most part. The thing that adds the most suspense and confusion? An unknown black cladden figure who has no apparent purpose in the book . I hate the situations he puts our characters in, I hate the world he works for, I hate HIM, but he just adds bunches to the story. So many of the details that made the world seem realistic and come alive for me pertained to him and circumstances he threw our character into that I cannot imagine the book without his ever elusive figure. I swear every time he was involved I could not turn the pages fast enough. Some people might hate that we know literally nothing about him by the end of it but I thought that was the point of the book and I loved it for it. Really though, pick up this book. You’ll find your jaw dropping every couple chapters from a twist you never saw coming.
7.Your favorite sidekick character.
I’m one of those people who often find’s the supportive, and often hilarious, second in command to the main character more interesting than I do our hero. Needless to say, this was tough. Jas of Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging takes the cake though. Georgia, our main character, is often times a whiny, moody, hormonal brat. Whenever I found my eyes about to roll back in their sockets too far though Jas was always there to balance it out. A little naïve, sometimes too quick to follow Georgia’s inane plans, and almost infuriatingly bubbly Jas has some great one liners and snippets of wisdom that I found myself cracking up to. If you watch the movie Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging (which is a great adaptation by the way if you’re into that thing)I can pefectly imagine the actress portraying her saying the lines while I was reading. A great fluff book and would highly recommend to people who enjoyed the Ruby Oliver Quartet.
8. Best relationship between characters, romantic or otherwise.
There are lot’s of great romances out there but I decided to go a little off the beaten path and chose the friendship between Julie and Maddie of Code Name Verity. It’s not very often that you find strong female friends who are supportive of each other through thick and thin. They truly embody sisters before misters as I guess you could put it and I think young women need to be able to find more of these positive relationship while reading YA. As a reader it was great watching their friendship develop over the course of a few years and see what lengths they went to protect one another. It’s so great I can even imagine a high school creative writing teacher using this as a study on character development and growth. One great aspect in an amazing book.
9. Strongest character, mentally/emotionally/physically.
I’m going to cheat a little on this one pick the entire group of women in Rose Under Fire. Elizabeth Wein shows life in a women’s concentration camp with the needed brutality and hope, truly taking the story to a whole new level. Little details are researched and woven into the story to make a rich and developed world that engripped me from page one. The characters are one example of this. Each woman has arrived ay Ravensbruck under tragic circumstances but they never felt contrived or soap opera-y to me. They felt like real people I could be friends with and as I found out their personalities, their backstories, their hopes, and their greater role in the story it definately tugged at my heartstrings. I sympathized with them so greatly and was so amazed by their courage and fight in a horrifying world, a classic for a new generation even in my opinion. Definitely a must read and a great continuation of Wein’s previous World War II work.
10. Favorite protagonist.
This one can (and does) change at the drop of a hat, so ask me next week and
there’s more than likely I’ll have traded this answer in for new one. Right now though my flavor of the week is Tiger Lily, the spunky heroine of a Peter Pan retelling that will change the way you watch the Disney movie forever. She’s intelligent, tenacious, knows her heart, and most importantly marches to the beat of her own drum be it to the popular opinion or not. With the way modern spins on classics are catching so much notice among the literary communities I’m shocked this gem isn’t held in higher regard. It’s very well written, investigates a side of Peter Pan I never even considered, and is just so interesting! If I had to recommend one book on this list to read, let it be this (and then after that tell me this book didn’t cause you to become a bona fide Wendy hater…)
Thanks for reading and let me know the characters you love, hate, or just can’t seem to stay away from!