The Chinese Lunar New Year is just behind us, February 8 to be exact, and in honor of the 12 Animals of the Zodiac I thought it would be interesting to find a character whose spirit, temperament, and intelligence are on par with a corresponding sign. This is an idea I’ve been playing around with for months, and a post that took me several days to write, but I feel like in all my preparations I have most aptly found THE perfect place several of my favorite characters fit into. None of these are cut and dried, so I would love to see how you would rearrange any of my choices your own!
1.Rat- Gia Montgomery The Fill-In-Boyfriend
The most defining traits for people born under the sign of the rat are their sly resourcefulness, versatility in difficult situations, and quick wit. Gia Montgomery of The Fill-In-Boyfriend could hardly be a more exemplary example of these characteristics come to life. The whole storyline of her book is set in motion after being dumped on senior prom when she solicits a perfect stranger in the parking lot to be her boyfriend for the night. Not many other people (fictional or otherwise) have the charisma and cunning to pull such a feat off, but through some clever manipulation Gia can get just about any situation to go her way. Ms. Montgomery also personifies the negative connotations that go along with the rat sign such as having a narrow view of things outside her comfort zone, and a lack of courage to stand up for her beliefs. That’s what makes her character development all the richer as we see her develop from a successful, yet shallow, mean girl to a genuine friend. For my full thoughts:The Fill-In-Boyfriend review
2.Ox- Mikey The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Oxes have a diligent nature, are well regarded for their honesty and dependability, along with having a keen strength and determination in trying situations. While Mikey in The Rest of Us Just Live Here might not be the character who initially pops to mind when pondering these traits, hear me out. I’ll start with Mikey’s born persistence, something we see shine in his interactions with the friends he would do anything for, and his constant battle with OCD. Mikey never gives up, be it as he tries to take his relationship with Henna to the next level, solve the mystery of the indie kids, or find some peace of mind in his struggle. He’s the glue that holds his group together, and without his constant pushing the rag tag group would easily fall to shambles. Also, though Mikey often regards himself as a dull wet blanket, there’s no denying that his responsible nature isn’t an endearing quality of his. Though his communications skills leave something to be desired, Mikey is surely one of the most thoughtful YA characters to date and without a doubt, an ox. For my full thoughts:The Rest of Us Just Live Here review
3.Tiger- Mare Barrow Red Queen
It’s no secret that I’m hardly the biggest fan of Red Queen or Mare, but I can’t deny that to many readers the reason they adored this book so was the way Mare seemingly embodies all the characteristics of a tiger. She’s largely regarded as brave, leaving her family behind to chum it up with backstabbing aristocrats who either want to marry or kill her. Mare’s certainly competitive, constantly battling it out with other silver bloods for bragging rights on their superhuman powers. And, finally, there’s hardly another character who could compete with her in arrogance as Mare is entirely self assured in her capabilities. None of these things boded well for me liking Ms. Barrow right from the get go, but as Chinese horoscopes say; tigers are charming and well-liked by most. What I can get on board with is the host of negative traits Mare possesses such as her impetuous, irritable, and over-indulged nature that really got on my nerves throughout the book. Much like the feisty tiger, Mare takes no qualms from anyone else. For my full thoughts: Red Queen review
4.Rabbit-Audrey Turner Finding Audrey
Much like the image of a docile, sweet rabbit that likely comes to mind, people born under this sign are gentle, quiet, kind, and particularly patient. I can hardly think of a better example to represent Audrey, the protagonist of Sophie Kinsella’s Finding Audrey. Suffering from often times debilitating social anxiety, the book follows Audrey on her arduous road to recovery, a painstaking journey that allows all the amazing characteristics she possesses to be showcased. We see just how tender she is with (adorable) little brother Felix, the poise she shows when faced with her nightmare, and the composure she shows in a situation that would drive most people out of patience waiting for results. As she is only a human Audrey also displays some of the less desirable qualities of a rabbit such as an occasionally melancholy attitude, an over-discreteness to those she cares about, and an unbreakable streak of stubbornness. This mix of good with bad was what many applauded Kinsella for, not romanticizing nor victimizing Audrey, but instead making her a flesh and blood human.
5.Dragon- Shazi The Wrath and the Dawn
The sole imaginary animal on the Chinese Zodiac, the dragon was once thought to control the entire universe. As such it should come as no surprise that the traits assigned to the animal are fittingly strong willed. Dragons have an innate sense of courage, tenacity and intelligence, as well as confidence. They’re a bit of a hothead, known for having a sharp tongue. All of this describes to a tee Shazi of The Wrath and the Dawn. As a mere teenager she volunteers to avenge her best friend’s death at the hands of a tyrannical overlord by volunteering to be his wife, facing the threat of execution at every sunrise. Through her intelligence she manages to survive night after night by telling stories to the Caliph, tales that conveniently reach the height of conclusion right as Shazi’s end is imminent. Not only does she outwit her captor, but confidence seemingly radiates off her-only further beguiling the residents of the palace. Much like the dragon I’ve paired her with, it’s hard not to imagine Shazi someday ruling the universe.
6.Snake- Yael Wolf By Wolf
I myself am a snake so perhaps I’m a bit partial to the sign that represents wisdom and intuition. To do it justice I selected the protagonist from my favorite novel I read in 2015…Yael of Wolf By Wolf. Snakes are known for their intuitive nature, as well as being complex thinkers. They also have great communication skills despite being very private in nature. Yael herself is a deeply personal character, guarding the secrets close to her heart and letting very few in. Besides having years of spy training she is also naturally intuitive and can sense things about others before they themselves perhaps realize it. She is highly intelligent, speaking several languages fluently, being skilled in martial arts, and is masterful at subterfuge. It should be known that Yael’s greatest strength, her refusal to give up, is arguably her biggest weakness as well since it places her in many compromising situations. For my full thoughts: Wolf By Wolf review
7.Horse- Mia Zac & Mia
Mia is the energetic, vivacious half of the duo that is Zac & Mia. She fills the cancer ward where she and her best friend reside for the time being with light as she is always ready to take center stage and perform for an audience of any size. Many readers, myself included, were often frustrated with Mia at her often times self centered oblivity to life outside of herself, but that never meant she wasn’t concerned for other people’s problems.Despite having an advanced world view and a host of street smarts, Mia lacks any traditional upbringing and is as such extremely self-conscious and approval seeking. As her compatibility sign would suggest, that is why she meshed so well with Zac, a classic goat. He was a stable influence built of gentle stone that was always willing to lend a shoulder to cry on. The sheer perfection that was their friendship leads me to believe that all writers should base character relationships on their Chinese Zodiac sign.
8.Goat- Inej Six of Crows
I love Six of Crows and with such a strong ensemble cast it was difficult to decide which character I wanted to see represented in this post. Ultimately I thought the traits of a goat matched with Inej’s temperament so well that I thought it would be a disservice not to include her. The characteristics that mark a goat are their mild manners, sympathetic spirit, amicable nature, and a strong sense of right from wrong. While that does perfectly describe Inej, what really struck me was how, despite looking gentle on the surface, goats are tough and always willing to fight for what they believe in. In a world like Ketterdam that tenacity has undoubtedly came in handy, and the Dregs are a better group for it. Inej is a quiet leader, but one that can always be counted on to excel in any situation under her poise and grace. All these traits best summed up why she is the character I can’t wait to read about this fall in sequel Crooked Kingdom.
9.Monkey- Sutter Keely The Spectacular Now
The monkey is actually the sign being represented by 2016 so I took special pains to make sure it was well represented, and I must say I think I could hardly have done much better. Monkey’s are intelligent, witty, and possess a magnetic personality that goes along with their inherent mischievous and curiosity. That being said they are often times inconsiderate to others in their haste to be the life of the party and struggle to think outside of their own world. All of this could not describe Sutter Keely of The Spectacular Now more accurately, as the resident high school party boy routinely neglects the feelings of others in favor of maintaining his own ‘life of the party’ mentality. While this does sound very negative know that monkeys can use their enigmatic traits for good when kept in check. Sutter however is someone who gained much success early on for his sly nature, only to have the good friend of karma catch up to him in the end.
10.Rooster- Jude I’ll Give You the Sun
The twin siblings telling the tale in I’ll Give You the Sun could hardly be more different, with Noah being quiet and reserved, and Jude always the center of attention. For this post though I chose to have Jude represent the sign of the roster as she quite literally checks off every trait represented by the Zodiac animal. Beginning with the observant nature that contrasts the rooster from their haughty mentality, Jude is the first to notice the growing rift forming between herself and Noah. Confident things will change for the better Jude continues on her crash course of popularity as she is happiest whilst around large groups of people she is entertaining. Not to mention her unbridled talent in the art that she works so hard at, Jude seemingly is the total package. However roosters can be extremely vain and arrogant growing irritated when they themselves can not be front and center in the spotlight. This trait is what finally blows the dam open, igniting a Pandora’s Box worth of trouble between the two siblings. Jude is a perfect character study of the rooster in fiction, and also one of the most complex protagonists I’ve ever read in young adult.
11.Dog- May I Am Princess X
I never had much of an emotional connection to May throughout reading I Am Princess X, however she embodies the characteristics that mark the dog sign so acutely that I thought it would be wrong not to include her. As one could imagine based on the earthly animal, dogs are most well defined by their loyalty and honesty. These traits are demonstrated by May within twenty pages of starting the book when readers discover that our protagonist has never given up on the thought that her best friend Libby is still alive and waiting for her to uncover the truth. This sincerity is much like your own fido, as throughout the book May continues to fight for her friend. Not necessarily a bad trait, but May is also incredibly naive and finds herself routinely shocked by betrayal and dishonesty on the road to the truth.
12.Pig- Jersey Torn Away
At the beginning of her story Jersey is just like any other sixteen year old girl. A compassionate and generous friend, a daughter who religiously works towards her goals. But when a tornado tears her family apart she’ll have to dig deep inside herself to get her life back. It’s a good thing though that Jersey was born under the pig sign, known for their streak of kindness and self-reliance in difficult situations. If this was not the case I don’t see how Jersey could remain optimistic as she works towards regaining a semblance of the life she’s just lost. Unfortunately the road is a long one, filled with culture shocks that will test Jersey’s ability to see her dream come to fruition as her trusting nature is shook to the core. I greatly admire the traits that the pig stands for and as such that largely contributed to my high opinion of the book.
So what did you guys think of this post? Would you be interested in reading an astrology sign post in the future? How would you rearrange the Zodiac? Let me know in the comments!