1. Jeffrey Lu
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
Jeffrey Lu was the first character that came to mind when I started to compile this list because despite not being the main character of Jasper Jones (Which is Charlie Bucktin) or the character that the book is named after, he is the character that stuck in my mind the most. Jeffrey Lu is Charlie’s best friend and neighbour, he’s Vietnamese and obsessed with cricket. The reason why he’s so memorable is he is so funny, goofy and resilient and I cheered him on throughout the book when I wasn’t wishing that he was my best friend when I was that age (13)! Because of when and where Jasper Jones is set – rural Western Australia in the ’60s – Jeffrey has to face a lot of racism, and this prevents him from enjoying his one true love, cricket, as the other boys won’t alow a “gook” to play. The scene when he is finally allowed to play a game (because they lost a player and he’s the only one there) and absolutely saves the team is one of the highlights of the book and had me cheering out loud (which says a lot as cricket is like a foreign language to me :P)
2. Andrew “Ender” Wiggin
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
I read this book late last year and was instantly intrigued by the protagonist, Ender. Ender is the “third” in his family in a futuristic Earth society that only allows two children per household. Ender was allowed to be born because his two older siblings, Peter and Valentine were incredibly intelligent but not suitable for military training. Ender however is chosen and is shipped off to a space station to begin extensive war “games” in preparation for fighting the “buggers” an insect-like alien race. Ender is a very complex character – at first he seems quiet and somewhat sinister, and he is undoubtably highly intelligent. As the book goes on you discover so many layers of his character and reasons behind his actions. I don’t think I’d want to be best friends with Ender like I do with Jeffrey Lu, but he would be interesting to talk to 🙂
3. Artemis Fowl
Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
A love the sometimes anti-hero of this series – the teenage criminal mastermind, Artemis Fowl the second. From the first book I couldn’t get enough of his fiendish money-making/blackmail schemes, his posh irish schoolboy demeanor and his softer side that appears when people he loves (such as his family or bodyguard Butler) are in trouble. The witty back-and-forth between himself and various other characters is classic, whether he’s the bad guy or the good guy. I’m only up to the 5th book (out of 7) and I’m loving how his character is changing and maturing, because of age and his gradual shift to the good side.
4. Arthur Dent
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams
Ah Arthur Dent – possibly the most unfortunate Englishman in the Universe. I can’t help but love his bumbling helplessness and constant longing for tea, whether it’s in the book series, the BBC tv series (1981) or the movie (2005). I’ve read all the original Hitchhiker’s books (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish; and Mostly Harmless) as well as the last book that was written by Eoin Colfer (And Another Thing…) and through them all the character that really made me laugh was Arthur. I don’t know what it is about him – maybe it’s the fact that he’s a human surrounded by a cast of bizarre aliens, or the fact that absolutely anything bad that could happen to him does, or that he does all his adventuring in an old bathrobe – but most likely it’s that the poor bugger never gets a proper cuppa!
5. Rubeus Hagrid
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
From the onset of the Harry Potter series Hagrid has been one of my favourite characters and I think he’s one of the only characters that was cast perfectly in the movies (go Robbie Coltrane!). I love everything about him – his giantness, his crazy hair and beard, his flying motorcycle, the pink umbrella that he hides his wand in because he’s not meant to do magic, his love/blind-spot for dangerous beasts, and how he will do anything for Harry, Hermione and Ron. I was sad when several of the HP characters died *SPOILER ALERT!* like Sirius, Dumbledore, Hedwig, Dobby, Lupin, Tonks and Fred, but if Hagrid had died I don’t know if I would’ve kept reading. I want my very own Hagrid!!!
6. Adrian Mole
Adrian Mole series by Sue Townsend
The Adrian Mole diaries (namely The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole) were a guilty little pleasure of many kids my age (when I was about 11) because they really did bare all! Adrian wrote about pimples, his parents failing marriage, his love for Pandora and even the changing size of his penis! His slightly pathetic, nerdy, sentimental character was always endearing to me which is why I bought Adrian Mole : the Cappuccino Years when I saw it years later. Even at 30 Adrian’s diary is still very personal and filled with hilarious misfortune. The series has 7 books in all, taking Adrian from 13 and ¾ to 39 and ¼ (Adrian Mole : the Prostrate Years which was published in 2009) but I’ve only read about half of them.
Chocolat and The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris
If any of you have seen the movie Chocolat (2000) you will probably remember the handsome gypsy nicknamed Roux, played by Johnny Depp. The character is slightly different in the book, but I love how Johnny Depp played the mysterious playful wanderer that is cautious of sympathy and “handouts”. I can’t resist a gypsy – I love the folklore, the camaraderie, the music, the magic and the romance of them – and the gypsy troupe that Roux is a part of are river gypsies which I thought was even more romantic. I thought his untamed passion and mystery was a perfect match for Vianne, the main character of Chocolat, so I was pleased when he reappeared in The Lollipop Shoes. If I were to turn straight I would run off to live with Roux on his travelling riverboat 🙂
8. Christopher John Francis Boone
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon
Christopher is a very unique character. Firstly he has Asperger’s Syndrome which is a type of Autism, and with this comes an incredible intellect and attention to detail hand in hand with a misunderstanding of people and emotions. The book is narrated by Christopher and in it he tells us about himself while trying to unravel the mystery of his neighbours dead dog. Christopher knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He likes animals but doesn’t understand people, especially the faces they make, and he hates to be touched. He likes red but can’t stand yellow and brown. The book is really an exploration of Christopher’s character and his growth throughout. I was intrigued with him from the start and loved how the book was set out as if it really was written by him, with writing being interspersed with diagrams and mathematical equations.
9. Brian Robeson
Brian’s Saga by Gary Paulsen
I was amazed and inspired by the survival instincts of 13-year-old Brian in Hatchet, because I was almost 13 at the time and couldn’t imagine going through what he did! In case you haven’t heard of Hatchet or haven’t read my Top 10 books from childhood post, the book tells the tale of 13-year-old Brian Robeson, who while on the way to visit his dad the pilot of his light plane has a heart attack and the plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness. Brian then has to learn how to survive with only the clothes on his back and a small hatchet that his mother gave him. Brian’s character grows tremendously throughout the book as he has to face some harsh truths, and then is explored more in the 4 sequels – Hatchet: the Return (also called The River); Hatchet: Winter (also called Brian’s Winter); Hatchet: the Call (also called Brian’s Return); and Brian’s Hunt (the only one I haven’t read).
10. Charlie Gordon
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Flowers for Algernon is a beautiful book and you would have to be heartless not to feel for the book’s main character Charlie Gordon. Charlie is a intellectually disabled man who undertakes a procedure to increase his IQ. The procedure had previously been done on a lab mouse called Algernon, that at the start Charlie resents as he sees him as a smarter rival, but learns to love. The book is written as a series of progress reports written by Charlie as he is getting treated and you can physically see his progress as his spelling and sentence structure improves. In the beginning Charlie is blissfully ignorant of how others treat him but as he gains intelligence he slowly realises that his work-mates, which he considered friends have been ridiculing him and leading him into situations that would result in him making a fool of himself. He also starts to develop feelings for his adult literacy teacher, Miss Kinnian and discovers that the adult world and intelligence is more complicated and harmful then he thought. I’ve read Flowers for Algernon a couple of times and have seen a performance based on the book, and Charlie’s various struggles always make me cry.