Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Character-Driven Novels if You're Not a Fan of Character-Driven

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Yeah, I changed it a little. As the title may lead you to believe, I am not usually a fan of character-driven novels. It's one of the reasons I don't read a lot of Contemporary. I need a solid plot to capture my interest and keep me reading. In order to enjoy a character-driven novel I have to really connect with the characters. If they are the ones moving the book forward then I have to be whole-heartedly invested in their struggle. So here is a list of ten books I did enjoy

1.) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The ultimate character-driven classic and one of my favorite books of all time. This is the story of the four March sisters and their lives in the mid-19th century. I have have very strong feelings about these characters. (I absolutely love Jo, Beth, and Laurie, but Amy is the WORST) and that's what makes this book amazing

2.) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Really I could pick any Rainbow Rowell book because they are all character-driven and all fantastic. She effortlessly blends humor and sadness and creates characters that are so real you can't help but love them. I picked Fangirl because it feels the most character-driven being mostly about Cath but it has a clear plot and character development as we follow her through her freshman year of college.

3.) The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater
I just read this book and I was completely struck by the characters. I thought it would be more of a traditional supernatural romance but it is a character-driven story about a group of friends and their search for the paranormal. For those not really fans of character-driven this has a solid plot but the heart of it is the amazing characters that you can't help but connect with.

4.) The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Most "Literary Fiction" is character-driven and this book is no exception. I went through a phase where I read only Lit-Fic but I stopped when I started to get burned out. This is the book that brought me back. It is the heartbreaking story about people searching for human connection in a small Southern town and it is brilliant.

5.) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
It's hard to categorize this book (which makes it perfect for people who may not love character-driven) but it is definitely built around two amazing characters. At the beginning the plot was a little slow (usually a sign that it's character-driven) then I realized that I was loving this book when I realized I was emotionally invested in the characters and their struggles.

6.) The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
This is one of the Lit-Fic books I picked up when I decided to return to the genre. For those not into character-driven this book is an interesting take on Historical Fiction and has some great elements of pop culture and comic books. For those who are into it the main characters are complex, well-rounded, and likable as you follow them through some serious struggles.

7.) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
All John Greens books seem to be very character-driven. It's all about the characters and how they respond to the struggles that they are faced with. I picked this one over Looking for Alaska (which I enjoyed a little more) because it is more plot-driven. So if you are not a fan of character-driven novels start with this book and fall in love with Gus and Hazel (and Isaac) before you try more John Green.

8.) A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
Arguably this series is character-driven Fantasy which is extremely rare. But Martin gave us about a million different characters all of whom are complex and dubious, and so many working parts that it is more difficult to say what the main plot thread in this series is (for real, there are like whole theories about this because it's so vague). But it does have a host of characters for you to connect with and love (#TeamSansa)

9.) A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller
This is another one on the list that walks the line beautifully between being plot-driven and character-driven. In addition to it being a great piece of traditional Historical Fiction we are easily able to connect with the characters and their struggles. It is Vicky and her choices that moves this story along but for people who enjoy a solid plot we have the Women's Rights/Suffragette struggle for us,

10.) The Luxe Series by Anna Godbersen
As I hand my friend the next book in this series to borrow I realize how very little plot development this series has. In fact only the first book has an storyline with any resolution. It's the characters that really drive things along with this series. That's a good thing because they are some pretty great characters. They're all selfish and scheming but likable (or you love to hate them) enough to keep things interesting

What about you? What are your favorite character-driven novels? Do you prefer plot-driven like me? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!   


  1. Yes! Fangirl and The Raven Boys! Great list!

  2. I listed The Raven Boys this week too because how could you not? I love all of these flawed, beautiful characters. Great list this week.
    My TTT

    1. YES, how could you not? I finished it just before I saw this question and it was definitely the first book I thought of. I really love the characters and I cannot wait to continue with their stories!

  3. Yay, Code Name Verity! I've seen it on several lists, which makes me happy even though I chose one of Elizabeth Wein's older books for mine.

    1. I have only read Code Name Verity by her but I'm interested in her Fantasy novels, they sound really good! And if they are as good as CNV then I am on board!

  4. Oh nice! Haven't read any of these but know of them at least! ;)

    Here's my Tuesday Post

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

  5. Love this list. So many great books. I love how often you mention Little Women on your blog - I feel like it's a low-shelf classic that doesn't get the respect it deserves a lot of the time. Glad it gets represented so well here! I love all the rest of these books as well. (Well, except for A Mad, Wicked Folly, which made me strangely upset. You win some, you loose some, I guess.)

    1. Little Women is one of my favorite books of all times and I'm glad that you enjoy how often I mention it. I will probably never stop talking about it, so that's good.

      And I should probably not think it's funny that A Mad, Wicked Folly made you strangely upset but it kind of does. I really liked it but I love hearing about books people hate or books that made them angry! I think that says more about our reading taste than anything else.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Melissa!