Friday, December 18, 2015

Favorite Characters of 2015

It's time for one of my favorite posts of the year! I love characters. They are what keep me reading and make me fall in love with books. Here is a list of the characters I fell in love with for the first time in the past year. (If I read a book with characters I loved, but was introduced to through a series in a previous year, I don't include them in this list. It is for new new characters.) There is something truly special about characters who stick with you long after you've closed the pages of the book where they live.

Previous Years:

And 2015 (links to my reviews):

Finn, Petey, Rosa, Sean
This is the book I've probably promoted more than any other this year. I love everything about it, but the characters are what made me fall. Finn, confused and broken, and Petey, angry and cautious, are still so full of hope despite themselves. The way fall for and into each other through this book is just so perfect. Contrasted to their youthful topple into love is the more cautious and fraught story of Sean and Rosa that feels almost more fragile at times. Four broken and hurt people who manage to find hope and solace in each other and community, these are my favorite kind of stories.

Bridge, Emily, Tab, Sherm
I often get frustrated with the portrayal of friendships, particularly female ones, in middle grade novels. I can not tell you how many MG novels go tossed aside this year with huffs of frustration because of the shallow portrayals of MG girls and the way they interact. Rebecca Stead's characters are the exception that proves the rule. I loved everything about Bridge, Emily, and Tab. They are all so different and yet they work incredibly hard to maintain their bond through rough times, frustrations, and misunderstandings. They are not always as kind to one another as they should be but they have each other's backs. At the same time I really loved how Bridge made space in her life for Sherm, how they became friends, how they staunchly resisted everyone's pressure to turn their boy/girl friendship into something more.

The Rosiers
Laura Florand is really good at creating characters, a feat that continues to astonish me given how quickly she writes and publishes her books. This year her new series that takes place in Provence and follows a family of perfumers began. AND THIS FAMILY. The good looking powerful talented men who make up the heroes of this series are all wonderful and very different from one another. They are not interchangeable. I loved getting both Matt and Damien's stories this year. I love the way the cousins interact with each other and the way the women they are falling in love with fit into their family and create space for themselves. But as good as all of that is these books wouldn't be what they are if not for their surly old grandfather and their meddling mischievous great aunt. I live for the scenes those two are in to be honest. I love the way they snark the young ones while unabashedly attempting to arrange their lives to suit them. It's good stuff.

Isaveth and Quiz
These two. I would love them individually. I would read an entire series of books about either one them. Together my heart stood no chance against them. Committed to justice, a little reckless, both needing connection, and equally brilliantly smart, Isaveth and Quiz make the best team. Their strengths and weaknesses work together well, but they are enough alike and so stubborn that not all is smooth sailing between them. I can not wait for the second book in this series to come out. I'm absolutely convinced that my love for them is only going to grow exponentially with each new book.

Sierra, Robbie, and Company
Shadowshaper is so much about community and the ties that bind people together. And I fell for every character in this novel. These vulnerable, smart, reckless, talented, loudmouth, teens who are filled with such zeal for the world and a determination to get the most out of life. I love the way they bonded together in hardship, forgave each other when they let each other down, fought for each other, laughed, danced, and made magic and art together. It is a wonderful picture of what community can be and how it can matter made up of flawed individuals who try their best but often fail. And it's and incredibly diverse group of people and I love that too. Everything about these characters is true to life.

Agnieszka and Sarkan
The story of Agnieszka and her dragon is pretty much everything I look for in a story to fall in love with so that they would make the list is inevitable. They are two incredibly powerful, stubborn, strong willed people often odds but who deeply care about each other. I loved watching them learn to live with and work together. I loved how their different magics and talents combined and how they fought so hard to right the wrongs of the world around them. Their book is one that I just want to hug to my chest and I know I will always be able to return to for comfort and a good story.

What about you? Are there any characters from this year who made you fall in love? What are your favorites?


  1. I JUST REALIZED THAT I'LL MEET YOU THERE WAS PUBLISHED IN 2015? And no Printz whisper, even.

    So there. Those are my favorite characters published in 2015.

    Then there's the Penderwicks, and Vigilante Poets (published last year), and I really, really liked The Wrinkled Crown.

    And those are my standouts. BOO. Not many in a year that so many people are pointing to as great for both YA and MG.

    1. I almost put Josh and Skylar on the list and then forgot when I was writing it. Oops. And it's not getting Printz buzz because it's a romance about a girl written by a woman. That is hopeful.

      I also thought of making Battie Penderwick an honorable mention. I like this list to be totally new characters but she stood out in such a new and impressive way in this last book.

      I don't think this was that great a year for either MG or YA.

    2. And it's not getting Printz buzz because it's a romance about a girl written by a woman. That is hopeful. Wheeeeeeeeeere are my progressive Printz people when it comes to these things??

      I mean, it's hands down one of my top books of the year.

      Batty did stand out a lot, didn't she? I went back and read The Penderwicks on Gardham Street and it's a totally different experience.

      THANK YOU. PHEW <3

    3. YALSA likes to think itself progressive but has a loooooong way to go. There is a troubling amount of male author fangirling that comes at the expense of women who write girl's stories. Not that ALSC doesn't also have this problem, but I think it affects the Caldecott more than the Newbery.