Characters. Love ‘em or hate ‘em they are the cornerstone of those ink spotted pages we so adore. As any reader whose been around the book block knows, our enjoyment of a story is oftentimes based on the connection we have with these fictional people. Maybe you love seeing your own snarky humor reflected in a protagonist, or sympathize with an antagonist’ tragic backstory. In any case, odds are the tales with the biggest connection to your own world most left an unforgettable impact. But because my own life is far too dull to be written into a plot, I find relationships through shared traits me and a character both possess. Be it a mutual love for tacos or something deeper, just one instance of similarity can turn a bad book around. So in honor of that, I will hereby countdown the top 5 characters who share a defining attribute with me (a.k.a that post where I indirectly brag about myself).
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon- Madeline
For all my frequent rants and raves about Everything, Everything I can’t deny that protagonist Madeline and myself share a pretty defining characteristic. That being an unshakable curiosity, wavered only by our oftentimes sheltered naivety. This inquisitiveness on Madeline’s part is the cornerstone of her whole story, so surely it must be a good thing, right? I think so, considering my own interest in knowing all the things gets me places I otherwise wouldn’t travel. And in defense of the innocence that comes from being raised in a rural, middle class community; I feel it pushes me towards bigger things without fears and worries that would otherwise hold me back. Somewhat unfortunately I find this trait of mine to be pretty rare in books, as oftentimes YA females are portrayed under the dystopian effect of being all capable and all powerful. While that’s wonderful and a welcome change from just a few years prior, it’s always nice when their characterization strikes closer to home. For my full thoughts: Everything, Everything Review
Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo- Flora
Kate DiCamillo is one of my literary idols, and I always eat up her books the second they’re released. For me what makes her stories so impactful is the characters- from spunky Opal to adventurous Desperaux, they always manage to hold a spot in my memory. However it’s the protagonist of 2013’s Flora & Ulysses that most reminds me of myself. Flora Buckley is a quirky kind of girl, obsessed with a comic book series and always game to go on adventures with her supersonic pet squirrel, Ulysses. She’s a self proclaimed cynic, and lives by a mantra of observation. Beyond all that though is a creative interior and sass master attitude, of which possesses her to go on a series of exploits that start with an elderly psychic from a mythical land. While I wish twelve year old me had so much self-confidence, I nonetheless valued seeing it reflected in such a one of a kind book. I know the world would just LOVE to see more of my ever fabulous self mirrored in their youth, so gives this book to your children, your neighbors, or just read it yourself! For my full thoughts: Flora & Ulysses Review
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell- Eleanor
Eleanor will always win the award for most courageous, intelligent, and all around amazing character ever created. Rainbow Rowell struck fiction gold in writing a 1980’s Katniss Everdeen, and I could only dream of being more like her. However as far as similarities go, I can claim merely to having extremely similar taste in pop culture. I don’t make that statement lightly though, as Eleanor & Park is the bar by which all other novels will be based on their inclusion of era appropriate references. This includes Eleanor’s superb taste in music (The Smiths, and Simon and Garfunkel to name a few), spot on television perusing (The A Team all the way), and always snarky interpretation of some of the time’s best forgotten icons. It truly was like an Easter egg hunt for me as I scoured to see which of my favorite ‘80s idols Rowell would allude to next. Not being a child of the John Hughes decade myself, I can only imagine how unique of an experience this would’ve been for an actual reader of the time period. In conclusion, Rainbow Rowell + Me = instant BFF’s (says every YA female in the entire bookish world).
Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin- Yael
Wolf By Wolf was my favorite book in all of 2015 (a fact I’m sure the entire civilized world is now familiar with, seeing as I mention it every other post) so it’s only natural that I would see a little piece of myself reflected in the absolutely, positively AMAZING protagonist Yael. Literally guys, she is the bomb.com. And while I wish I was essentially a carbon copy of her all around one of a kind self, I can at least claim to sharing her quiet insightfulness. By that I mean Yael is an observer. She see’s the way people interact with one another, the way they are themselves, and she’s able to break that down and comprehend it in her own terms. While I’ve never needed that skill for super top secret assassination missions, it is an acquired trait when most of your life is spent silently noticing things- and one I don’t mind having. In fact, I feel it makes me a better writer, as I’m more in tune with how I and those around me feel and am able to put those thoughts into words. In any case that shared connection between me and Yael was largely why Wolf By Wolf left such an impression on me, further proof that we read and enjoy what we know. For my full thoughts: Wolf By Wolf Review
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepytys- Josie
I always mention loving Ruta Sepytys’ books yet I don’t think I ever mention what exactly I find so endearing about them. Though I really could go on and on when asked that question, what it really comes down to the characters. This is especially true in my favorite book of hers, Out of the Easy. Josie is just such an amazing protagonist, whom I’m proud to share a personality trait with. That trait being Josie’s hardworking nature and big dreams to go with it. Though the odds in my own life are in no way stacked against me the way they were for Josie, I do feel I’m equally willing to do the unglamorous work it takes to make those lofty hopes a reality. There’s a lot to be said for a character receiving a happy ending at the end of their book, and it gave me the warm fuzzies reading Josie achieve her aspirations. Authors love to put their heros in situations that test their physical, mental, and emotional endurance, but few handle it with so much tact and grace. #Josieforpresident
So which characters are you most like? Any you wish you had more in common with? Let me know in the comments!
-Keep Calm and Read On