Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 Book Lists, Pt. 6: Character Appreciation

Memorable Protagonists
You'll want to be their friend, or yell at them, or make them happy... but most of all, you'll want to get to know them.

Marcelo from Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
This soft-spoken Latino boy will most likely bring out your maternal side. (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Thought-Provoking Reads, Quiet Gems, POC, YA for Adults, One for the Awards)

Damien from The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell
Damien! He is quite amusing, what with his desire to be a villain like his mother and his resentment that he has superhero heritage. In spite of all that, though, he is really a great guy. (also on: Magical Realism, Middle GradeHumor)

Riley from This Book Isn’t Fat, It’s Fabulous by Nina Beck
Riley isn't just a fat teenage girl; she's the kind of girl you wish you could be, with everything figured out and knowing just what she wants...and getting it. (also on: Feel-Good Reads, Humor)

Emma from Deception by Lee Nichols
I have trouble describing Emma except that I think that she's the type of protagonist that would appeal to both readers who love and readers who are tired of paranormal reads: headstrong, resourceful, and with a dash of snark to top off the package. (also on: Paranormal, Wonderful Worlds)

Kate from the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews
I love this adult urban fantasy series to pieces, and the biggest reason is probably because I admire Kate so much. She deals with the cards she's dealt with the right amount of detached amusement, and she manages to snag both monsters and hot men. (also on: Bad Boys, Mass Market Paperback Love)

Alanna from Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, Book 1) by Tamora Pierce
Alanna is the quintessential role model for young girls. Oh how I would've loved to have been like Alanna when I was growing up, kicking boys' butts and making a name for myself with my fighting skills! (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Fantasy, Night-In Reads, Middle Grade, Girl Power)

Nastasya from Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Nastasya--a.k.a. "Nasty"--may have an unfortunate nickname, but she, like Emma up from Deception, is delightfully armed with witty commentary to get through her ordeals. (also on: Paranormal)

Holly from Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick
Holly is still reeling from her mother's death, and may not deal with it in the best of ways, but I admire her ability to say how she feels, to try to make situations as unambiguous as possible. That's not something I did as a teen, and not, I think, something most of us do even today. (also on: Angst-Filled Reads, On Grief, Messy Relationships, Supporting Characters)

Katniss from Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, Book 3) by Suzanne Collins
Despite all that she's gone through, Katniss remains just so admirable. She holds it together with all the fragile sanity of a true war victim. (also on: Best Books Published in 2010, Sci-Fi/Dystopian, Canonicity)

Durango from Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill
Oh, Durango. How I might have a crush on thee, if you were real. And not making a living as a rogue soldier of sorts on Mars. And didn't have a snarky female AI implanted in your brain. (also on: Sci-Fi/Dystopian, Diverse Reads, Humor, Different Reads)

Bad Boys
Nothing gets our attention like a well-written bad boy.

Curran from the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews
Curran is one of my favorite male love interests of ALL TIME. Can you get one more bad-boy-with-a-good-heart than this alpha shapeshifter with a weakness for Kate, who would risk his life for her, and yet can't pass up the opportunity to trip her up? (also on: Memorable Protagonists, Mass Market Paperback Love)

Jake from She’s So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott
You'll either want to give Jake Graydon a hard slap in the face, or have him kiss you senseless. This suburban high school king is arrogant in the most appealing kind of way, if you like that kind of guy. Which, you know, occasionally I do. In fiction, that is! (also on: Guilty Pleasures)

Ariel from Perchance to Dream (Theatre Illuminata, Act 2) by Lisa Mantchev
Oh goodness, I am so Team Ariel, Nate doesn't even register a blip on my boydar. I fell for Ariel the first time he irritated Beatrice. Luckily for me, Perchance to Dream featured him in abundance, as he accompanies her to rescue Nate and find out more about her strange heritage. (also on: Fantasy, Love Triangles, Beautiful Covers, Beautiful Writing)

Wesley from The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Don't hate on Wesley for being a manwhore, especially if you also read historical romances. Because what is he besides a modern-day rake, whom Bianca "tames"? *swoooon* (also on: Best Debuts of 2010, Summer Reads, Feel-Good Reads, Guilty Pleasures, Escapism for Smart Teens)

Death from Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
Hey, with all of the books out there about death and grief and supernatural creatures and whatnot, I could go for a wisecracking Death who fashions himself after Kurt Cobain. Wait--you're saying you'd go for him as well?? Well, now we're going to have to fight! (also on: Magical Realism, Retellings, Important Themes)

Raphael from Angels’ Blood (Guild Hunters, Book 1) by Nalini Singh
Raphael defies description. Let's just say he is the sexiest, most dangerous angel I know of... and he will do anything to have Elena. (also on: Mass Market Paperback Love)

Ty from Stolen by Lucy Christopher
Maybe I have Stockholm syndrome as well, because I fell for Ty, Gemma's captor. I loved how Stolen explores his mindset, and how he came to the conclusion that living apart from the world was the best way to live. (also on: Summer Reads, Quiet Gems, Different Reads, One for the Awards)

Reth and Lend from Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
This debut novel has not one bad boy, but two! Reth has all the dangerous allure of a smooth-talking, enigmatic faerie, while Lend exudes more naughty-boy class-clown charm. (also on: Paranormal, Best Debuts of 2010, Guilty Pleasures, Beautiful Covers, Humor)

Nice (Sometimes Geeky) Guys
...But then again, your heart might ultimately be captured by the nice guy.

Shane from the WVMP Radio series by Jeri Smith-Ready
Ah, Shane, probably my number one undead heartthrob. This 90s hottie even plays the guitar and sings for Ciara! (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Night-In Reads, Mass Market Paperback Love)

Santana from By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
He is the adorable boy at Daelyn's pick-up spot who determinedly pursues her friendship despite the fact that she won't even look at him. The best kind of geeky nice/cute. (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Best Books Published in 2010, Thought-Provoking Reads, Important Themes, Canonicity)

Jay from The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Jay is a sweetheart, with the utmost devotion to Violet. You can't help but hope that they are the kind of high school couple that lasts all the way. (also on: Paranormal, Eternal Romances, Mysteries)

Puck from The Iron King (The Iron Fey, Book 1) by Julie Kagawa
I have such a crush on Puck. He has the sort of charming, joking personality that seems to indicate the perpetual male sidekick in YA stories, but he'll always be number one in my heart. (also on: Fantasy, Best Debuts of 2010, Summer Reads, Love Triangles, Wonderful Worlds)

Simon from The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells
The quintessential boy-next-door who changes the protagonist for the better. (also on: Summer Reads, Angst-Filled Reads, Tearjerkers)

Etienne St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I love that he's, like, the perfect nice guy, but also with some flaws: A) he's short, B) he's got family issues, and C) he's--uh-oh--already got a girlfriend. Bad St. Clair! (also on: Best Books Published in 2010, Best Debuts of 2010, Night-In Reads, Winter Reads, Feel-Good Reads, Boarding School Settings, Books with Athletes, Diverse Reads, Escapism for Smart Teens)

Jared Sondervan from I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan
I have to refer to this guy--okay, he's more like a man in my eyes--by his full name because it just sounds so...luscious. Exotic. Jared Sondervan. A strong, manly name for a wonderful, swoony, amazing guy. (also on: Winter Reads, Feel-Good Reads, Messy Relationships)

Deni from Sea by Heidi R. Kling
Brooding and emotionally scarred, Deni is more man than boy, after what he's been through in the devastating Indonesian typhoon. His intensity and utter devotion to the ones he loves makes him a keeper for the lucky girl. (also on: Best Debuts of 2010, Angst-Filled Reads, On Grief, Wonderful Worlds, Diverse Reads)

Joe Fontaine from The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
The sun literally seems to shine directly from this musical sweetheart! One can only dream we'll encounter a guy as talented and romantic as Joe in our lifetimes, let alone in high school. Lennie is one lucky--okay, I'll stop there. (also on: On Grief, Love Triangles, Families, One for the Awards)

Seth from Succubus Blues (Georgina Kincaid, Book 1) by Richelle Mead
Oh goodness, Georgina and Seth have quite possibly the most awkward, most hilarious initial meeting ever. And he's an awkward writer!

Jonah from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
There is no good way to describe Jonah Griggs except to see him from Taylor's eyes by reading this book. (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Night-In Reads, Quiet Gems, Messy Relationships, Wonderful Worlds, Beautiful Writing, Diverse Reads, Different Reads, YA for Adults, Canonicity)

Len from Vintage Veronica by Erica S. Perl
Len is awkward, a slow walker, not very talkative, and a reptile owner--but you, like, Veronica, will fall for him. Just you wait and see. (also on: Feel-Good Reads)

Fathers, Daughters, Sisters, Mothers: Families
These books explore the gray areas that arise when dealing with family, that most important foundation in our lives.

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June by Robin Benway
These three sisters crash into and recede from one another with all the force of an ocean wave... but eventually they learn how sacred their sisterly bond is.

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Multiple generations of Hannaford struggle to fix their relationships, written in Sarah Ockler's ever-relatable prose. (also on: On Grief)

A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
Artistic Aura struggles to handle her increasingly schizophrenic mother while worrying that she may end up like her one day. (also on: Best Debuts of 2010, Angst-Filled Reads, Exceptionalities, Books with Artists)

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Not only are Lochan and Maya brother and sister, but they have to deal with a tense family made up of a negligent mother, rebellious teen brother, and two hyper little children. It's seven different kinds of dramatic, but done incredibly well. (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Eternal Romances, Angst-Filled Reads, Messy Relationships, Different Reads, 2011 Books to Anticipate)

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Two sisters face the challenge of their lifetimes when they are forced to admit that their two-person lifestyle may be opening up to others... (also on: Paranormal, Retellings, Beautiful Covers)

For Keeps by Natasha Friend
Josie's close but now changing relationship with her single mom reminds me of the best parts of the Gilmore Girls. (also on: Quiet Gems)

Some other books that deal with familial relationships:
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
Hush by Eishes Chayil
The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter
Prophecy of the Sisters, Book 2: Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink
Siren by Tricia Rayburn
Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala
Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis
Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Messy Relationships
Drama, misunderstandings, breakups, get-togethers galore!

I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan
Was Bronwen and Jared's love meant to last, or is it doomed, like most other high school relationships, to end? (also on: Winter Reads, Feel-Good Reads, Nice Guys)

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
Go with Isobel on the long journey from misunderstanding Varen just like everyone else to falling for him. (also on: Paranormal)

Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick
Holly wants Paul. Paul may or may not want Holly. Paul has Saskia. And then there's Nils... Lauren makes my head spin, in the best possible way! (also on: Angst-Filled Reads, On Grief, Memorable Protagonists, Supporting Characters)

Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers
Another pair of best friends whose relationship is complicated by hormones, and on top of that Eddie has to deal with Culler's connection to her father's suicide. (also on: Night-In Reads, Angst-Filled Reads, On Grief, Mysteries)

The Lighter Side of Life and Death by C. K. Kelly Martin
Mason struggles to figure out his feelings for two very different girls: one is his good friend and the other is an older woman who may or may not already be in a relationship. (also on: Angst-Filled Reads)

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
A brother and sister, set against a backdrop of un-maternal, sullen, and dependent family members, fall in love with one another for a love story that will scrub your insides raw. (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Eternal Romances, Families, Different Reads, 2011 Books to Anticipate)

A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
All Rose wants to do is leave her small town. And Charlie (a girl) is lonely. Will the two girls be able to set aside their differences (such as the fact that Charlie is only a summer resident), become friends, and manage to get closer to their dreams? (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Best Books Published in 2010, Quiet Gems, Beautiful Writing)

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
I'm not sure it's possible to get more structurally messy and confusing, in the best way, particularly in the first 100 pages of this incredible, life-changing novel. (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Night-In Reads, Quiet Gems, Nice Guys, Wonderful Worlds, Beautiful Writing, Diverse Reads, Different Reads, YA for Adults, Canonicity)

Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick
Can it get any messier than a love triangle that involves a set of twins?

All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab
Neily and Audrey struggle to piece together the mystery behind Carly's sudden murder. (also on: Mysteries)

The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter
Can Lainey's life get any messier? Her mother just killed herself, new "lost" family members come into her life and wish to boss her around, her boyfriend wants to take it to the next level, and her best friends are not helping. (also on: Angst-Filled Reads, On Grief, Diverse Reads)

Best Villains
Fall in love--or at least fascination--with these characters' sinister doings.

Stolen by Lucy Christopher
"Best villain" is a little bit of a misnomer for Ty, whom I also kind of have a crush on. It takes a whole lot to convince us that Ty is not a straight-up bad guy, but Lucy Christopher accomplishes this spectacularly. (also on: Summer Reads, Quiet Gems, Beautiful Covers, Different Reads, One for the Awards)

Guardian of the Gate (Prophecy of the Sisters, Book 2) by Michelle Zink
Even though Alice appears very little in this second installment, there is still something completely sinister about the way she manages to mess with Lia's life, even across the Atlantic Ocean. (also on: Paranormal)

Nothing by Janne Teller
In Nothing, the villain is...everyone. A highly unsettling tale of mob mentality spiraling out of control and gone deadly. (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Best Books Published in 2010, Sci-Fi/Dystopian, Different Reads, YA for Adults, One for the Awards)

This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas
Oh, Father Mark. Can there be anything more villainous than a brilliant and well-reputed man of the cloth with a fixation on a beautiful high school girl? (also on: Thought-Provoking Reads, Different Reads, Important Themes, One for the Awards)

The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood
The plants, the plants! I don't know if I can step foot in a garden without being scared again. (also on: Magical Realism, Eternal Romances)

Sugar and Ice by Kate Messner
Oh, middle school competitive girls can be so mean. (also on: Best Books Published in 2010, Books with Athletes, Middle Grade, Diverse Reads, Supporting Characters, YA for Adults)

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
There is not one specific villain here, but rather the whole system that Louisa becomes ensnared in. (also on: Historical Fiction)

The Family Fortune by Laurie Horowitz
Sometimes your worst enemies come from within the family. Laurie Horowitz does Ms. Austen proud by writing characters as irritatingly despicable as Austen's originals. (also on: Retellings, Guilty Pleasures, Adult Reads for YA)

Want to cry? Here are a few books I read this year that sent me in search of large amounts of tissues.

Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala
Escaping the Tiger by Laura Manivong
The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells
Sea by Heidi R. Kling

So who are some of your favorite characters and love interests this year? What book made you cry? Let me know!

Back to: Master List | Pt. 1 | Pt. 2 | Guest List #1 | Pt. 3 | Guest List #2 | Pt. 4 | Guest List #3 | Pt. 5 | Guest List #4 | Pt. 6 | Pt. 7 | Guest List #5 | Pt. 8 | Guest List #6 | Pt. 9 | Guest List #7 | Pt. 10

Linked titles go to my book reviews; annotations as inspired.


  1. Another memorable protagonist that reminded me of Damien was Cassel from White Cat.
    And you're right - for nice, swoon-worthy guys it's hard to beat Joe F, Jonah G, and Etienne. I'd put Lend in this category too.

  2. Death character was my favorite of Hunger!I loved his dark jokes!

  3. This is the most creative list I have seen.

    Go Puck!!

  4. I loved Damien as a character, and Hunger was a creative take on the Four Horsemen! :D

  5. I TOTALLY agree that I wanted nothing more than to be Alanna when I was younger...she is the quintessential kick-butt girl role model! Great choice.

    I also have to mention my love/hate feelings towards Wesley from THE DUFF. Totally wanted to hate him, but just never could!

  6. Linger and Birthmarked made me cry. xD But Tell Me A Secret was certainly VERY gut-wrenching.

  7. Just wanted to say these lists are so, so amazing. Thanks for taking all this time to create them!


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