Can't Resist Compelling Characters

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new topic/top ten list and invite everyone to share their own answers. I'm so obsessed with lists - so it makes perfect sense that I'd love this feature!

Top Ten Sixteen Character-Driven Books

I've always known that I love character-driven books, but I don't think I realized just how much until I started working on this list. Almost all of my favorite books are what I would describe as character driven - and the few books that aren't actually just have the perfect combination of action and characters. I couldn't narrow it down to just ten, so I decided to make two lists of eight books. Enjoy!


1. Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham | Review
You'll Meet | Franny Banks - A twenty-something struggling actress, living in New York City and trying to succeed. If she can't make her dreams happen soon, it will be time to face reality... 

2. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent | Review
You'll Meet | Agnes Mangúsdóttir - A woman charged with the murder of her former master who is sent to an isolated farm to await her execution. Based on a real woman in Iceland in the 1820s.

3. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel | Review
You'll Meet | Arthur, Miranda, Jeevan, Kirsten & the Prophet - The death of a famous actor, a global flu pandemic, and four people who are connected to him (and each other) in surprising and fascinating ways.

4. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes | Review
You'll Meet | Lou Clark & Will Traynor - A twenty-something woman living with her parents, struggling to figure out her future, and the bitter quadriplegic she's hired to take care of and keep company.

5. One Plus One by Jojo Moyes | Review
You'll Meet | Jess, Nicky, Tanzie & Ed - An optimistic and positive mother of two who has been forced to grow up quickly because of life circumstances and the self-centered nerd who helps them when they need it most.

6. Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer | Review
You'll Meet | Queenie Wake & Everett Coburn - A talented but hurt woman returning home after years away and the man she loved and lost when she was younger. Plus, some of the best secondary characters EVER.

7. After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid | Review
You'll Meet | Lauren & Ryan - A married couple have reached a breaking point. Hoping to find a way to fall in love again, they spend a year apart with only one rule: they cannot contact each other.

8. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell | Review
You'll Meet | Lincoln, Beth & Jennifer - Two best friends who send each other hilarious emails at work and the guy whose job it is to read their emails... and finds himself falling in love before they've even been introduced.


9. All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry | Review
You'll Meet | Judith & Lucas - A young girl who has returned home, unable to speak and forever changed after disappearing four years ago, and the boy she's loved for years and to whom she silently pours out her thoughts.

10. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta | Review
You'll Meet | Francesca, Tara, Justine, Siobhan, Thomas & Will - A girl stuck at an almost all-boys school and the friends she makes there who help her cope and survive when her mother is stricken with depression.

11. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson | Review
You'll Meet | Lennie, Toby & Joe - A seventeen-year-old girl who turns to two very different boys as she grieves the loss of her older sister, each one helping her come to terms with it in their own way.

12. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay | Review
You'll Meet | Nastya Kashnikov & Josh Bennett - The emotionally fragile girl who is haunted by her past and wants revenge and the lonely boy who begins to learn her secrets and sees her heart.

13. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Review
You'll Meet | Cath, Wren, Levi & Reagan - A shy college freshman, the twin sister going down her own path, the roommate who couldn't be more different... and one of the best boyfriends of all time.

14. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith Review
You'll Meet | Cassandra Mortmain - A seventeen-year-old girl who lives with her family in practical poverty in an ramshackle old English castle and chronicles their daily lives (and the changes that come) in her journals.

15. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater Review
You'll Meet | Sean Kendrick & Puck Connolly - The returning champion in the Scorpio Races... and the brave and incredible girl who defies all the rules to enter the competition to fight for her family.

16. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein Review
You'll Meet | Verity & Maddie - A secret agent captured in enemy territory during WWII who is forced to share her secrets or face execution and tells the story of her friendship with the pilot who was flying her to her mission.


  1. Welp. Your picks are pretty much rock solid and epic. I almost wanted to cry when I saw The Sea of Tranquility, so true. My heart! Where the fuck is the Bronze Horseman on this list, HANNAH!??!?!?

  2. Love your list! I agree with many - namely Burial Rites, Nowhere But Home, and I Capture the Castle - these are also some of my all-time favourites. On top of that you have given me 4 or 5 new books to check out. YAY! Your descriptions were awesome and so on point here. Thank you!

  3. Ah amazing list! Code Name Verity was on my list too, but it got cut in favor of Speak. I did put Me Before You on my list though! (Currently adding the rest of the books to my TBR.) Thanks for the awesome recommendations!

  4. Excellent list! Liza Palmer was one of my top picks for this topic - I was glad to see her make someone else's list as well.

  5. I have loved a lot of these books precisely because of the characters. I'm thinking that I'm going to have to add those that I haven't yet read to my to-read list!

  6. Look at all of these amazing books! I think I have a LOT of reading to do!

  7. I'm so with you on Burial Rites. Even a year after reading that book, I think about it -- and Agnes -- frequently.

  8. FANGIRL and CODE NAME VERITY made my list, too. I recently picked up ME BEFORE YOU and am looking forward to getting the chance to read it. I've heard it's amazing!

    Rachel @ Beauty and the Bookshelf

  9. Nowhere But Home is such a good book; it's made it onto a couple of my lists. I just love Queenie and Merry Carole and all of that FOOD!

  10. There are just too many awesome recommendations on this list! Every time I noted a title I'd read, I nodded my head in agreement because the characters in those novels definitely made the stories come alive. And I definitely was taking mental notes on the ones I haven't read yet - and definitely want to, as I love meeting great new characters!


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