At the end of the year, everyone is putting together their compilation posts. Best of this, favorite of that, etc. etc. etc. But who is talking about the characters in the book? very few people! When I saw this tag by Cait @ Paper Fury (through Evelina @ Avalinah’s Books), I knew I had to do it.
Please note: Most of the books I read this year were not published in 2016. These awards are to honor those characters I met and loved throughout my reading exploits this year. And these characters totally deserve it.
All title links are to Goodreads. Add these books to your TBR if you haven’t read them yet!
Without further ado:
(Man, Cait is amazing at photos and graphics. I could learn a thing or two from her… 100% credit for this image goes to her – I could not make something so pretty. … … Yet.)
Most Relatable Character
from Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Miri is a headstrong young girl who just wants to take part in her culture’s traditions– instead of being forced into a silly “princess academy” and be groomed as a potential bride-to-be for the Prince. I adore Miri. I can relate to her passion and frustration. I adore how she turns to books and stays true to herself. Plus, I remember what it was like to be the “teacher’s pet” (although, in both of our cases, accidentally) and how hard it was to make friends. <3 you, Miri. 14-year-old Jackie is totally you.
Most Pure and Precious Animal Companion
from Marvel’s The Wizard of Oz Omnibus by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young, original L. Frank Baum
Typically, Toto would not be my choice. There are so many amazing animal companions in the books I’ve read this year. But this Toto is the absolutely sassiest. I mean, look at his adorable mustachio! He is sassy, adorable, and rolls his eyes at the stupidity of the crew he rolls with. He is my hero.
Honorable Mention goes to Old Dan and Little Ann from Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.
from A Time to Kill by John Grisham
I spent a long time thinking about this answer. I’ve read a lot of science fiction and fantasy this year. I considered many physical fighters at first. But, I think the battle of mental fortitude is far more challenging in the long run. Jake Brigance has a stick-to-it-ness unlike most characters I’ve read. He refuses to give up on his scruples, even after many terrible things happen to him on the journey to defend Carl Lee Hailey. This case is morally ambiguous, but Brigance has his own moral code and sticks to it. He is to be commended for fighting tooth and nail.
Most Amazing Sidekick
from The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Bee is a literal sidekick. She is the First Mate of the Temptation. But that isn’t what makes her amazing. Bee is a Na’ath, an ex-cattle herder from Sudan. Her wife Ayen died before they joined the crew. “They” because in accordance with Bee’s beliefs, Ayen continues to travel with her as her “ghost wife”. Bee constantly blames Ayen for silly, trivial things, but these interactions make her brilliant and memorable. She has long since acted as a bit of a mother to Nix, so her wonderful sage advice is also appreciated.
One You’re Surprised You Loved
from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Dawsey Adams is a quiet pig farmer on the island of Guernsey, and avid reader. It’s his character who really connection Juliet Ashton with the island and kicks off the story. I honestly expected him to be an impetus for the plot and to vanish in the background. But, has the story grew, so did his character. He is quiet and incredibly timid. But, with the development of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Dawsey has a chance to grow out of his shell. As he developed as a character, I grew to like him. He is wonderful.
Fermin Romero de Torres
from The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
This was a hard one for me. There are so many sassy characters in the books I read! Yet, one must be acknowledged above all others. Fermin is a down-on-his-luck citizen who becomes, well, adopted of sorts, by the protagonist and his father. Fermin is a fully-grown adult who comes back into himself through a job. No longer a hobo, Fermin becomes a hilarious, witty, verbose, tramp-cum-philosopher, whose unique perspective provides pearls of wisdom which manage to coat the most sordid sentiments in ornate vernacular. He is a diamond in the rough; an absolutely irreplaceable sassmaster.
Best Anti-Hero and Morally Grey Grape
…in the Red Rising trilogy
No kidding. This trilogy is a sci-fi dystopian political action adventure novel. There is so much backstabbing and flip-flopping you can never figure out who to trust or believe in. Well, with a few minor exceptions. I spent a long time trying to decide on a single character, but in the end, I went with all of them. Seriously, I can’t predict these people. I’m confused just writing about it.
Best Worst Villian to Hate
from The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
I have never run into a more unbelievable villain. This dude is COMPLETELY off his rocker. I don’t understand his motivations or even the words he is saying most of the time. He’s like the energizer bunny of evil. It’s super weird. Make it stop.
Truly Astounding Worst YA Parents
Evie O’Neill’s Parents
from The Diviners by Libba Brey
Seriously. What parents, after learning their daughter causes a huge ruckus at a party, send their daughter off to spend a 1920’s summer in New York City with a childless uncle married to his work?! It’s obvious from the beginning they just don’t want to deal with Evie, so they send her off. Never do they check in on her, never do they seem to follow up with the potentially nut-job uncle who is now responsible for a delinquent teenager. I’m certain she won’t find her way into speakeasies. <eye roll>
Truly Astounding Best YA Parents
Aristotle Mendoza and Dante Quintana’s Parents
from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
These two sets of parents certainly are NOT perfect. Both of them have their own struggles, for sure. But the amazing thing about these sets of parents is that they are their own distinct characters. Rarely are parents so clearly defined in YA, let alone allowed character development! Ari and Dante’s parents grew with them throughout this book. They even grew to become each other’s friends. They accept the flaws of their sons, as well as of each other. Just amazing parents.
Toot Toot! Best Ship of Then All
Oree Shoth and Madding
from The Broken Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
I love this relationship because it’s the healthiest one I think I’ve read this year. Yes, Oree is a blind human artisan and Madding is a minor godling– but that doesn’t mean that they can’t respect each other! These two talk to each other like equals, respect the opinion of the other, and even have healthy conversations about their feelings on the regular. Yup. Love them.
Honorable Mention to Libby and Drew from What’s A Soulmate? by Lindsay Ouimet.
The Most In Need of Protection
Dromio of Ephesus and Dromio of Syracuse
from A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Dromio of Ephesus is constantly being beaten by his master and mistress. Dromio of Syracuse is beaten less, but confused more. Both of these men are completely flummoxed by the misunderstandings taking place during this sidesplitting comedy and find themselves beaten, yelled at, jailed, confused, terrified, and running around on endless errands. They really could use just a tiny bit of help to stop messing everything up. As slaves, they are just constantly taking the beatings for all the misfortunes of the script. Honestly, these two really also need saving from themselves.
Most Boring as a Barnacle
from The Bees by Laline Paull
The whole book I was waiting for something significant to happen to Flora 717. Instead, she just existed. I guess, towards the end of the novel, things started to happen around her and she reacted. But all in all, this was just a long allegory I wasn’t engaged in. Yawn fest.
Best Little Royal
from Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce
Dovasary and her sister, Saraiyu are technically not crowned. But, they are the only living descendants of the raka ancient ruling family of Haiming. Where Sarai is outspoken, passionate, and sharp, Dove is quiet, patient, and kind. She stays out of the way as a member of an important upper-class family, but she does not forget the others around her. Dove’s kindness towards the people who work for her makes her exemplary. I just adore her. Plus, she has a sassy streak in her too. <3
Very Surprised You’re Still Alive
from The Martian by Andy Weir
Mark Watney is an astronaut/botanist who is accidentally stranded on Mars. Seriously. I don’t think I need to say anything else.
Best At Horrible Decision Making
from Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
Mike. Mike Mike Mike. We all know you want to care for your little brother. But you’re old enough to understand sarcasm, to understand what people mean when they can’t be direct– to speak to people like an adult. You might only be 14, but seriously. You made a ton of terrible assumptions and poor decisions based on those assumptions. It’s a good thing there are good people in your life. Seriously.
Owen of Jesslaw
from the Protector of the Small quartet, first appearance in Page, by Tamora Pierce
Owen is Jesslaw is that youngster who is awkward, slow, and bullied. And yet he wants to be the greatest knight of the realm! Once Kel enters Owen’s life, he is completely smitten. And not romantically, he just admires her strength, bravery, wit, and honesty. Starting in Page Owen become something of a mascot. He respects Kel and does her bidding as a friend. But he is constantly frustrated by his inability to get ahead. He follows everyone around like a little puppy, and I just want to snuggle him and pat him on the head.
Cleverest Little Hellion
from Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The theories I have about AIDAN. There is little I can say here without spoiling anything, sadly. AIDAN is the ship’s artificial intelligence, and I’ll just say: He is really good at understanding (and possibly manipulating) humans.
Most in Need of a Nap
from The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott
Nicholas Flamel was born in 1330. According to record, he died in 1418. But, that was all a ruse. For over 700 years he has protected The Book of Abraham the Mage, aka the Codex, from the forces of evil. FOR 700 YEARS! The poor dude needs a break. I get exhausted just thinking about this.
Want to Read More About You
from Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Ella is by far the most intriguing ancillary character in a book I’ve read thus far. She isn’t really a sidekick, and while she is SUPER sassy, there is much more to her than this. A disabled girl who enables herself by becoming a sassy hacker? Heck yes! I think Ella could easily have her own spin-off book(s) or be a major character in the final book of the series. She is THAT cool. I adore her. And this darn book made me cry repeatedly over her. Stupid feels.
What do you think?
- Do you agree with any of my awards?
- Do you disagree with any of my awards? Who would you award these to instead?
- What important characters from these books did I miss out on?