Since I recently wrote about characters I can’t stand, I feel that it’s only right for me to also write about characters I adore. More than adore. Characters on whom I have a full-bore, honest-to-goodness-puppy-dog-eyes-and-Sharpie-hearts-on-my-Trapper-Keeper crush.
Read more books about finding humor in adolescence.
Some of them—like the Gray Mouser, Fritz Leiber’s snarky trickster thief—I’ve pined for since childhood. Others—like P.G. Wodehouse’s monocle-wearing Psmith (“the p is silent, as in pshrimp”)—I got to know a bit later. Still more—like Georgette Heyer’s Sir Anthony “Don’t Let The Sleepy Eyes Fool You” Fanshawe of The Masqueraders—I’ve only discovered recently. But those are all characters from adult fiction. Let’s move on to YA!
Who knew that my childhood love of the Gray Mouser would pave the way for another thief to steal my heart? I doubt that anyone who has encountered Eugenides from Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series will question his inclusion on this list. True, he’s a liar and a thief, but in a GOOD WAY. He’s wily, loyal, cranky, subtly hilarious and has a close-enough relationship with the gods that they tell him to go to bed when he’s drunk. The only drawback? His wife is seriously scary. A fantastic character, a good ally and a better friend, but utterly terrifying. I wouldn’t cross her.
Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series is far more well-known, but her Books of Faerie are special, special books. And James Morgan is one special, special guy. In the first book, Lament, he’s the snarky best friend of the protagonist, likable and scene-stealing. In the follow-up, Ballad, he’s the narrator and the focus. He’s lovably imperfect, funny, self-deprecating, and he proves himself to be pretty much the Best Thing Ever. Only drawback? I’m totally invested in his romantic relationship with...well, that would be a spoiler, wouldn’t it?
Third up is Spencer Martin, from Maureen Johnson’s series about Scarlett Martin. While I certainly love Scarlett’s occasionally obnoxious should-she-hate-him-or-love-him? romantic interest, it’s her older brother who has my heart. And how could he not? He’s an aspiring actor (that part I could take or leave) who has heart-to-hearts with Scarlett while he practices throwing himself down flights of stairs. He’s flat-out adorable. Drawback? None, unless you count the fact that the cliffhanger ending of Scarlett Fever proves that the author has an intensely evil streak.
Embarrassing as it is, I’ll even admit to the occasional crush on an author: But then again, who doesn’t have a crush on Sherman Alexie? (Best author interview ever! So quick-witted he made Stephen Colbert lose his train of thought!)
There. I’ve bared my soul. Your turn!
If she isn't writing Bookshelves of Doom or doing her librarian thing, Leila Roy is probably maniacally organizing all of her music into far-too-specific Spotify playlists.