It’s been awhile since I did one of these. Book discussion time!
This discussion has two parts. First, who are some of your favorite characters from books? (Any type of book, but I would like to stay with books rather than film and television.) Second, are there “types” of characters that show up on your favorites list quite a lot? What sorts of characters are you drawn to?
My Top 10 Favorite Book Characters (Right Now, And In No Particular Order)
1. Eugenides (Queen’s Thief series)
2. Batgirl/Barbara Gordon/Oracle
3. Elizabeth Wakefield (Sweet Valley)
4. Inanna (The Wicked and the Divine)
5. Tara (The Wicked and the Divine)
6. Tomoyo Daidouji (Card Captor Sakura)
7. Karolina Dean (Runaways)
8. Renee Montoya/The Question
9. Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan
10. Betty Cooper (Archie)
My Favorite Types of Book Characters
I loooooove smart girls. Smart people, really, but there is exactly one person on that top 10 list above that identifies as a guy, so…there just aren’t as many guy characters that catch my attention. I mean, there are just so many dudes in fiction and it’s hard to care about them. And non-binary characters are really hard to find, so I don’t have a lot of overlap there.
Elizabeth Wakefield was kind of my prototype smart girl growing up. I started reading Sweet Valley books with the Sweet Valley Kids series, then moved up to Twins/Twins & Friends, Junior High, SVH (though I found the tv show much more interesting than the books, tbh), Senior Year, University, and even read the Ten Years Later book when I saw it in the library a few years ago. I love Sweet Valley. And Elizabeth was a kind, quiet, smart writer type just like me. I wanted to be her so much. I actually wanted to change my name to Elizabeth at one point.
And I think to an extent my love for Betty, Eugenides, Kamala, and Barbara come from the same place. There’s a lot more to Barbara, but I think I was drawn to her Oracle persona first and have always found the action-y scenes a bit underwhelming. I like when Barbara’s being smart. Tomoyo, Inanna, and Tara aren’t so much shown as intellectuals, but they are sweet and sensitive artists. I think there’s overlap there and they’re kind of an offshoot of the same type.
Queer characters. Because representation is still so rare and controversial and even the tiniest shred of hints towards non-straight non-cis possibilities feels like progress. When it’s done well and I actually feel like the writer has ever gotten to know a gay person, woohoo! Karolina and Renee are two lesbian characters I’ve thought were very well written and realistic. Also, they’re both just super cool. But I’m pretty sure that was the source of my initial interest. Now I just need more non-binary characters and I’m set. Inanna’s awesome, but that awesomeness shouldn’t be as rare as it is. (Feel free to recommend any.)
Not so much represented in this list, but I also like good guys who are a little bad. That comes out more in TV shows, but I’d love to see it explored more in books. I’m sure it’s been done, I just don’t know where to look. So, fellow readers. Any recommendations? Where do I find characters like Angel (Buffyverse) and Sam Winchester in books? (Apart from the books related to the TV shows, that is.) I’d especially like girl versions of this, because I feel like I’ve really only seen it with guys.
Let me know and also tell me about your favorites in the comments. Thanks!