Welcome to the Family: Our Favorite Fictional Characters So Far in 2019

Hello friends! As you probably know, most people tend to differentiate between character and plot-orientated readers; the former meaning readers who pay more attention to characters, the latter being readers for whom the plot/story is more important than the characters. Obviously, both of these are incredibly significant parts of books – and so is the writing, world-building etc. – yet, I definitely find myself concentrating more on the characters than on the plot. I ultimately believe that a truly great story can only exist if a novel has well-written characters to offer – while great characters can live inside mediocre books.

{I swear the next bit isn’t here for self promo haha} If you follow Wordy and Whimsical, you may have seen that last week I published two posts – the first featured the best novels I read in the first half of 2019, while the second listed the worst I read during the same period. I’m really proud of how those turned out, but I did make a mistake: by concentrating on the whole books (characters, story, world etc.) I failed to talk about the characters in detail.

But fear not! I was saved by today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl), which is a character freebie! After making sure Clare, the other half of TTT here at W&W, was okay with this topic, I went ahead and started writing this (far too long) intro for the post about our favorite fictional characters so far this year. I’m excited not only to share our favorites, but also to hear yours, so don’t be shy, and leave us a comment with YOUR favorites from 2019 so far.

Laini from Act Like It by Lucy Parker

Do you know those characters you read about, and you just know you’d want to be friends with them in real life? Well, Lainie is one of those for me. I didn’t really expect stellar characters in Act Like It, because rom-coms tend to concentrate more on the entertainment value of the story than the characters, but I was ultimately so impressed by the protagonists, especially by Lainie. She is funny, kind and a total sweetheart, yet she isn’t afraid to say what’s on her mine, or call out (Richard’s) bullshit at any point in the novel. She isn’t perfect, though! She can be rash and blurt things out without thinking, but she always means well.

“Tell me you want this. Me.”
It was enlightening that she could be this far gone with desire yet still capable of irritation. “Richard.” She braced herself against his stomach. “I’m prepared to stroke many things right now, but your ego is not one of them.”

Sadie from Sadie by Courtney Summers

Sadie is a book I’ll never forget, and one that’s made so memorable, in a big part, by it’s fantastic protagonist, Sadie. Sadie had an incredibly hard life, and due to her mom’s substance abuse she became a sort of step-in-mom for her younger sister Mattie, especially after their mother left the two girls for good. When Mattie is found dead Sadie is devastated, so devastated in fact that she decides to hunt down Mattie’s killer, and take revenge. It’s such a captivating premise – and it’s made even better by its unique format: about 50% of the story is from Sadie’s perspective, the other 50% is about a podcast host named West, who is trying to track down the now missing Sadie. West’s chapters add a lot to the story, but it’s Sadie’s point of view that gives the novel its true heart – she is so dedicated to her cause, and is filled with such passion that it’s impossible to put down the novel.

Rae from That Kind of Guy by Talia Hibbert

I hate to admit this, but before this novel I was a bit worried about Rae’s character – I thought she’d be all sass, no depth, but boy was I wrong! In the novel, Rae is nominated for an award for her debut title, but she really doesn’t want to attend on her own, as her ex-husband will certainly be there with his new wife and kid in tow – both of which he acquired before the divorce. If there’s one thing Rae hates it’s pity, so she enlists her close friend, Zach, to pose as her fake boyfriend. Cute, right? IT IS. But also really well-written.

Rae was changed by the divorce, and her move to Ravenswood solidified this change, so much so that she feels like the strong, devil may care attitude she’s become known for will disappear once she leaves town. Her conflict over who she was and who she is in the present is something many of us can relate to, at least to a certain extent, and I loved the way it was portrayed here. Another characteristic I strongly related to was Rae’s desire to avoid conflict – this is portrayed as a “negative trait” in many a novel, but here it was treated with understanding and respect, I loved it.

Nathan from I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

I love Ben, the main character of I Wish You All the Best to pieces, but if I had to name my favorite character from the novel, I’d probably go with Nathan, who is the epitome of sunshine. Similarly to Lainie from Act Like It, Nathan has a huge heart, and he’s a genuinely good person. After Ben enrolls into Nathan’s school, the latter does his best to make Ben feel at home, and when he suspects that Ben might feel pressured or uncomfortable around him, he asks them about how they feel. Nathan is also someone who doesn’t care for toxic masculinity – he is affectionate and just so kind and lovely, he’ll melt your heart.

“Hey.” He takes my hand. “They don’t deserve you. You’re ten times the person they are, combined, even.”

Memory from Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh

Originally, I was skeptical about the inclusion of another Empath character in the series, but I wouldn’t switch out Memory for anyone else. She is different from the other Empaths in more ways than one – she is inherently a kind person, but everything she’s suffered through, everything she’s had to do to survive affected her, of course. She doesn’t believe in herself, or in her power, and she hates that she is different from (most) other Empaths. Seeing her development, her slow acceptance of herself and her ability was so heartwarming. While I went into the book expecting greatness from the hero, Alexei (he was mentioned in the previous books) I closed the book knowing that Memory stole the show.

J.J Graves in Dirty Little Secrets by Liliana Hart

J.J is the sort of unapologetic, sarcastic, tough but vulnerable character that I absolutely love. The romance in this series (its a side plot don’t worry) reached a point where any other writer would’ve made J.J seem jealous but does she? Nope. Our girl J.J knows she can trust her guy and isn’t threatened. And honestly, reading such a healthy approach to a relationship when I’ve read so many insecure main characters was just super refreshing. Add to this that she is an extremely capable mortician and total badass when it comes to her job and you have a character whose series I devoured in two days. Two days. It’s a seven book series.

Addison Holmes in Whiskey Rebellion by Liliana Hart

Ok so I absolutely should not be naming a second of Hart’s characters in one list but these are two very different characters. Where J.J is more reserved and only opens up to close friends – Addison is super out there. She is flamboyant (and still sarcastic btw). She is also not very good at her job but her passion for it more than makes up for that. I honestly felt for her love interest so many times when she just blindly ran forth into danger with him following behind exasperated. Addison is the sort of person I wish I could be, super unafraid to be herself and open to any possibilities and I so admire that.

Tess Little and Nate Grimm in Red by Kate SeRine

In writing up this list it’s occurred to me that I definitely have a type. That type being mainly sarcastic and badass it turns out. Meet Tess or Red Riding Hood. This is like Once Upon a Time but way darker. The world set up was great but it was Tess and Nate that made me fall in love with the story. Tess is nothing like the Red Riding Hood you’ve read before and she takes no nonsense in her investigating. She also has a difficult romantic past that makes it hard for her to trust people or open up. Nate on the other hand – when he was introduced I so thought he’d be a bad boy. I mean the literal Grim Reaper. But nope. He is the softest of boys. Protect him at all costs.

Fiona Sheridan in The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Simone St. James will forever be an auto-buy author for me. The Broken Girls was a departure from her usual style so I was worried but it was still excellent. And Fiona was a character I could fully get behind. Unlike all my previous faves she is not confident or tough. She is hurting over the past and desperate to find the truth (and screwing up a bunch along the way) but she has so much heart and loves the people around her so deeply. She was the sort of character where you almost forget you’re reading and become part of the character. I felt what she was feeling (which I’ll be honest was mostly fear and grief) and could not put the book down till I finished.

Jude in The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Jude is my favourite in an “I cant even begin to relate to her” kind of way. I don’t want to be like her or feel like her at all but she is still strangely fascinating to me. She is nothing like characters I usually fall for but she is independent and fierce in defence of those she loves. My heart has broken for her more than once and I can’t wait to see where her story goes next.

Let’s chat!

Who are some of your most recent favorite characters? Do we have any in common? What traits can usually make you love/hate a character?

11 thoughts on “Welcome to the Family: Our Favorite Fictional Characters So Far in 2019

  1. Sadie sounds like an awesome book! I definitely want to put it on my tbr. I think what makes me like a character is just general badassery. And this doesn’t have to mean them having physical strength, but just being able to stand up for themselves, talk back to authority, usually with sarcasm, works for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am only familiar with Sadie and Lainie. I agree that Sadie was truly memorable. She was not the most likable, but there was a lot to be said for how she was channeling her pain and anger. Parker never fails to create characters, who I want to get to know better. I am a steadfast fan of her world and all its inhabitants.


  3. Nathan was such an amazing character – and exactly who Ben needed in their life.
    And I feel the same about Jude! She is totally unlike me, and I can’t even begin to relate to her strength or perseverance, or understand all her motivations, but I love her character and constantly pull for her.


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