Armchair BEA: Character Chatter

abeaAnother day of Armchair BEA! I’ve been having fun the past two days talking about these discussion topics and meeting new bloggers. Let’s get on with today’s topic…

Character Chatter

It’s time to give your favorite characters some love! Characters are essential to a story, and they can make or break a book for some readers. Now’s your chance to shine the spotlight on your favorite characters, or maybe your least favorite. Who’s your favorite couple? What are the components of a well written character? What are you favorite or least favorite cliches associated with characters?

I talked a little bit about this on Twitter during the chat this morning, but some of my favorite characters I’ve read recently are the Sarah Dessen leads, Juliette and Warner from Shatter Me, and Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door. I feel like all of these characters compliment the plot to further advance it and also take from the plot to grow themselves. They have a nice 50/50 balance between plot and characterization. Of course, sometimes (especially in contemporary), the plots are more about characters and their daily lives. This makes good characters even more important.

My pet peeves from characters are insta-love, when they make unrealistic decisions, or have a case of the Mary Sue. I want my characters to be flawed and make mistakes, without always having all of the answers right away. This is a little bit more prevalent in dystopian novels, but I have seen it in romances where the girl gets all of the guys or vice versa.

My OTP is Lola and Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. I love both of the characters separately and then together, they make a really sweet romance. They both have their own problems and development paths, but they can also come together in a nice way. With any romance, that’s exactly what I’m looking for and this is my favorite example of how it worked well.

And to bring in a little bit of the theme for ABEA (diversity), diverse characters are becoming more well represented in books. Recently, I have really been appreciating it when their diversity isn’t a huge deal. An example of this is Lara Jean in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Lara Jean embraces her Asian heritage, but her story just is not focused on her background. As for LGBT characters, I think the girls in Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour were really well developed because of the emphasis on their relationships and the acceptance in their community. These types of stories really have a bigger impact on me more often. I still appreciate books where the characters are coming around to accepting themselves though, because that’s an important part of life as well. And another one of my favorites? When the characters are cookie cut-outs of their stereotypes, like the smart Asian or flamboyant gay boy. I like seeing diverse characters within their diversities.

What are your opinions on characters?

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