It's time for one of my favorite posts of the year. Character is what drive me to read so much, and the new characters I fall in love with every year hold a special place in my heart. 2017 has not been the greatest of years. Mostly it just feels interminable. Looking back on my reading stats, memories are fuzzier than they are. I've thought several times, "Oh. That was this year. It feels like more time has passed." All that to say, the characters who made it on this year's list truly earned their places there.
Kamet from Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner
I am cheating my own rules a little here as I typically do not feature characters from series I've already started (especially if said character was introduced in a previous book). But if anyone deserves to have rules broken for them, it is in Megan Whalen Turner, and in Kamet she created such a wonderful character. He fascinated me from his introduction in The Queen of Attolia even with the little we saw of him. I always hoped he would make a comeback in a later book. I was so pleased that his story was everything I wanted it to be and more. I adore his snark, humor, his arrogance, the way he overthinks, and the way he grows into himself over the course of his journey.
Rosa Lee Carter from Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson
Midnight Without a Moon was my first read of 2017, and though that feels like ages ago, Rose's story has stuck with me while I've completely forgotten most other books I read in January. Rose is a fierce, lion-hearted, smart girl and her story is equal parts life affirming and heart breaking. It is also full of all the hope she has for the future. She is also a snark queen. I can not wait to read more about her when the sequel arrives next year.
Aventurine and Co. from The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
I adore characters who take charge of their lives even when they have lost something precious to them. That inner spirit that propels a person to keep going never fails to capture my imagination and sympathy. If the character is a dragon, how much better is that? Aventurine finds ways to make the best of some truly difficult situations with grit, determination, and a fierce determination to protect what she loves. She doesn't do this alone. Every character in this book is memorable, and, whether Aventurine's friend or family, profoundly helps shape who she is and the outcome of her story.
The Whole Carter Family Immediate and Extended (but especially Starr) from The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I can't remember another time such a large cast of characters sank themselves so deeply into my hearts and would not let go the way the way the people in this book did. From page one Thomas's prose had me loving Starr, and as a result, everyone she loved in turn. They all earned their places on their own merit eventually, but it was through Starr that they came to life. I love the family and community dynamics in this book. They are complicated, layered, and difficult. The people are flawed and wonderful and real. Starr definitely stands out as having the strongest voice of any character I've read all year. Starr is magnificent in every way.
What characters have captured your heart in a special way this year?