Laura over at Laura’s Review Bookshelf posted what she was looking for in a good YA book. Naturally, it got me a-thinking.
What do I want when I read?
The most important thing for me is the main character. I can tolerate a weak plot or holes in a plot if the MC is someone I can relate to.
Let’s break it down to TWO wildly popular characters in Young Adult literature now.
Bella Swan – Sorry, Stephenie Meyer, to pick on you again, but there’s good reason. The first page of Twilight sucked me in because I knew Bella Swan as soon as I met her. And that fourteen-year-old girl in me knew what she was going through. I remembered that first love and how painful it was. I remembered how much I needed that
jackass’s…er I mean boy’s attention. The way Meyer wrote in Bella’s perspective awaken those feelings and emotions that I knew all too well. Bella is the reason the story carried me through to the end of Eclipse.
Katniss Everdeen – While Twilight isn’t the best written book, The Hunger Games is a very well written. The dialogue flows; the scenery is vivid. But I never found anything in Katniss that made me connect to her. Katniss is a very masculine character in many ways and I never felt anything from her, and therefore for her. She was cold and distant. She was calculating. But she never seemed like a girl to me. I couldn’t get past that and, yes, I did complete the series anyway because the writing was so well crafted. I found myself waiting for another character to take Katniss’ place. Sadly, none did.
The characters I mention are polar opposites. Both are strong in their own way, but only one connected with me. There are plenty of books out there with characters that people love and I just didn’t get (Lisbeth Salander anyone?). And there are plenty of characters out there that I love and other people just don’t get.
Reading is subjective. Not everyone likes the same thing. If we did, it would be boring. We’d read the same thing over and over and over…and over. We would live in a world like Harrison Bergeron. Who wants that?