Book Recommendations- Relateable Characters
When I was looking for a topic for this week, I sought out my friends who run the Monthly Recommendations group on Goodreads to see what their topic was for the month. It was “relateable characters.” I thought that was perfect because there’s a ton of characters I’ve related to in all of the books I’ve read!
It was actually much harder than I thought it would be -especially if I wanted to have a variety of age levels and genres. A majority of the characters I’ll talk about are from young adult contemporary books. It’s not that I don’t relate to characters in other genres and age groups. I completely do! But it’s more of the “I get that emotion” or there’s moments where I relate, but for the character as a whole… not as much. Which I like. So much of reading is putting yourself in the shoes of characters who are not like you. Let’s be real, my life is nothing like most of the ones you’ll read in a fantasy. Yet, even in adult contemporary, a majority of the time my life looks nothing like theirs. Which honestly, should be a blog post in it of itself with my gripes on how adult fiction is written.
But we’ll save that for another time.
Anyways. Here is my list!
Simon from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Simon was the first character I thought of! While I’m not a 16 year old boy who’s coming out of the closet, there’s something about him I completely connected to. The way he interacted with his friends and family, the insecurities and emotions, they were all things which were so on point not just for when I was a teenager, but even now as an adult.
Molly from The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
In the same vein as Simon, Molly from Albertalli’s second book was relateable in a way where I could see myself as a teenager, but also as an adult. It was in a different way than Simon though because this premise was 100% me. A girl who has had a million crushes, but never actually dated anyone. This was me in high school to a “t” and it’s still me now. Her reasoning and mindset behind all of it I connected to in a way I never have been able to with other books.
Christy from the Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn
My thoughts and feeling on the Christy Miller books have changed drastically since I first read them in high school. But, I can’t deny the impact these books had on me back then and all the way through college. Even as an adult when I read a book in one of the spin-off series, while I didn’t agree with a lot of directions it took, the situations the characters went through I completely connected with. I remember when I first read Summer Promise as a 13 year old, my thoughts were “did this author read my mind? This character is me exactly.”
John from I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells
This one is a bit of a stretch considering that I’m not a teenage boy with sociopathic tendencies. However - he grew up in a morgue and I grew up in a funeral home so I was SO EXCITED to read this. Cause no one else really has much experience growing up around dead people.
Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
My love for Fangirl knows no bounds, and so much of it is because of how much I love Cath. This is one of the first books which really put a focus on people who were “fangirls” (particularly of Harry Potter) and along with it, writers. While fan fiction was never a big part of my Harry Potter fan experience, it still took me back to those days when we were waiting for each book to be released. Then, it was also one of the first books where I connected on the level of being a writer. Most books and movies get pretty eye-rolly when they depict writers (which is weird cause it’s writers writing about ourselves?) but this one I felt really got what it’s like. Beyond that, I also connected to her thoughts and insecurities of starting college. While my experience was slightly more close to her sister’s, there were still a lot of moments where I remembered it all from my own college days.
Bridget from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
All four of these characters are completely relateable. However, there was something about Bridget which rang true to me. Bridget is extreme, and the reasons for the directions her mind goes are completely different than mine. However, I can see so much of the same thought patterns and while I’m not as extreme as she is, I can see how I could be pushed to be so.
Elide from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas
I had to pick one person from the Throne of Glass books! It was hard though because as much as I’d love to say I’m like Aelin or Mannon… I’m just not. Elide though, I could for sure see.
She’s one of the few characters with a disability which I actually really liked, which is really rare for me. I loved how she was small and most people tended to look her over and underestimate her abilities. Most of the time, Elide we learn does this on purpose. But, I could connect to the idea of people underestimating you at first glance. Then, we see how she totally has a sassy attitude and ends up having a lot of friends who would surprise others. A lot of “wait… THAT person is your friend? But they’re so scary!”
Elide is amazing, and I relate to her while also wanting to be more like her.
Annith from His Fair Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers
I love all three of these ladies in His Fair Assassin, but when I read Anith’s book (the third one), I truly saw myself when it came to faith. Most books if they ever address issues of faith, a lot of times it’s a “conversion” story. Annith was a character who always had a connection to her faith for as long as she could remember, and I loved seeing that portrayed because it truly was on point for how I connected to my own religion.
Everyone in Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
No, I could not pick only one character from this book to talk about! This is one of the few adult contemporary novels I could truly see myself and relate to. Lincoln has moved back in with his parents, isn’t dating anyone, trying to figure out his next steps and what he wants to do, and is also a complete nerd. Then, we have Beth and Jennifer and OH GOODNESS do I love their emails! They remind me of messages my friends and I send to one another. They’re complete friendship goals.
Hazel in The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
No, I never had cancer when I was a teen. However, I was in and out of the hospital all of the time as a kid and there were so many things Hazel talked about in connection with her illness that I could connect to in regards to my disability. It was one of the first books where it was honest and real about it, and I found myself nodding “YES! THIS!”
Merit from The Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill
Okay, so I might not be a vampire and in a relationship with a super sexy vampire master guy and know how to wield a sword. HOWEVER. The Chicago stuff? ON POINT. The Chicago food cravings? ACCURATE. Also, Merit started as a stubborn nerdy girl who loved to read about fairy tales. Um… that’s totally me. If I had randomly been attacked by a vampire and named sential for a vampire house, I could see myself being similar to Merit.
How about you? Which characters have you been able to find yourself relating to?
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