4 Fictional Book Characters You’d Want to Be Best Friends With (And The Ones to Avoid)

If you could be best pals with a fictional character, who would it be?

We love exploring the world of the fiction books. And if you’re a fellow bookworm, you know what it’s like to get attached to your favorite characters.

Naturally, we’re drawn to the characters we can relate to the most. Their stories comfort us. We get a glimpse into their innermost thoughts—which is something we could only dream of in real life.

Today, we’re sharing the fictional characters you’d want to be best friends with (plus, one group of people you’d definitely want to avoid). Let’s dig in.

Circle of Friends by Maeve Blinchy

Benny Hogan from Circle of Friends is our favorite fictional bestie. Circle of Friends begins with Benny and Eve’s friendship as schoolgirls, and follows them through university.

Through new friends, first love and family tragedy, the two remain devoted to each other—cracking each other up under pressure. Honestly, certain parts of the novel are slightly dated now because it’s set in 1950’s Ireland. For example, teenage Benny is courted by her father’s sketchy, much-older apprentice. And while he’s definitely meant to be a creep in the book, a grown man planning to marry a teenage girl is gross on another level (sixty years later).

Still, lasting, supportive friendship is never dated. The movie version is a pretty pale imitation of the novel, but we’d still be friends with film Benny too.


Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman

Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman tells the story of large and small dramas in a tiny neighborhood of interlocking families and friends. There are a lot of awesome friendships in this ensemble novel, but Frances Bloom is the one we’d choose for our bestie.

Calm without ever being unsupportive, reliable, and so comfortable in herself, Frances would be a perfect friend. We would absolutely invite ourselves over for tea with Frances. (But we’d ring the bell and wait to be invited in… we learned that much from reading the book.)

The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes

Author Jojo Moyes is most famous for Me Before You… but her earlier novel, The Ship of Brides is a hidden gem. At the end of World War II, Australian brides are being shipped to the UK where their new British husbands await them. Four very different girls are assigned to share a room on an aircraft carrier-turned-women-carrier, and most of the novel takes place on their
journey.

And let’s be honest, it’s not even really Maggie’s story. Her roommates Avis, Jo, and Frances have much wilder arcs and much more shocking reversals than staid Mags. An Outback girl, Maggie struggles to adjust to the separation from everything she’s known, limited quarters after open spaces, and the new constraints of her growing pregnancy.

Still, Maggie’s the one we want to befriend. With her good humor and hard work, we just know she’s going to manage post-war rationing and new British in-laws just fine.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Elizabeth Bennett from Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice would definitely make an A+ pal. Jane is just too nice, right? It would be nearly impossible to be friends with someone so determined to see the good in everyone and everything.

But one thing’s for sure—sensible and snarky Lizzie would keep us entertained at boring events. Not to mention, we’re pretty sure she’d be great at deconstructing the evening in carriage home too. Lizzie doesn’t use her wit cruelly, even if she could definitely say some things about Charlotte’s choice of husband. Or Lydia’s disaster romance.

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

Finally, the fictional characters we’d NEVER want to be friends with: literally any of the college pals from Lucy Foley’s mystery novel The Hunting Party.

This crowd of former friends should limit their interactions to the occasional Facebook like, not pretend they’re still super-close and take trips to the deserted highlands together. Okay, fine, so this is a murder mystery… but let’s not let that one person’s murderous impulses distract from the fact that all of these “friends” are awful humans.

What do you think? Which fictional characters would you want to hang out with?

6 New Fiction Releases for Character-Driven Readers in 2019

Image of girl reading book outside: 13 New Fiction Releases for Character-Driven Readers

If you love character-driven fiction as much as we do, this is a great time for new releases! Here are some of our favorite new books in 2019.

The Swallows by Lisa Lutz

Cover of The Swallows: 6 New Fiction Releases for Character-Driven Readers

The Swallows, by Lisa Lutz, takes place at an elite academy, where in between college apps, varsity sports and SAT prep, the prep school boys keep a secret list, ranking their female classmates sexually.

The secret list and the Dulcinea Award for the girl with the best, uh, special skills, has been going on for years, but at long last, the girls begin to seek their revenge. This story of teachers, staff, and students at the prep school is raw and vicious by turns.

(Without revealing the ending, I’ll admit to gasping aloud when I discovered one of the masterminds behind the Dulcinea Award!)

 

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

Abstract Cover for The Farm: 6 New Fiction Releases for Character-Driven Readers
In Joanne Ramos’ new novel, The Farm, dozens of beautiful, healthy, young women are
surrogates for women who want to be mothers. The pregnant surrogates are well-paid, provided with meals, housing, and top-class medical care, but forbidden from leaving the Golden Oaks medical retreat (known as The Farm to residents).

The surrogacy payments are life-changing for  the girls, who are willing to sign over their most basic privacy rights for them. Meanwhile, the mothers have paid top dollar for their new babies, because they’re unable or unwilling to carry their own children.

What makes this story compelling, readable fiction? The topics explored include race, class, and the meaning of motherhood, without ever losing touch with the characters or storyline.

 

Mistress of The Ritz by Melanie Benjamin

Image of Book Cover: Woman Standing in Front of the Eiffel Tower - 6 New Fiction Releases for Character-Driven Readers
Mistress of The Ritz is about sticking it to the Nazis, while wearing gorgeous clothes and drinking cocktails. Blanche Auzello, American wife of the French director of the Ritz hotel, finds herself hosting Nazi officers at the famous hotel.

While she and her husband pretend to perform the Ritz’ famous hospitality, Blanche finds that being so close to the Nazi higher-ups, with access to their conversations and knowledge of their daily habits, gives her a unique advantage for the French Resistance.

The result is a thrilling novel, full of suspense and intrigue. But be prepared for tragedy as well, because this is based on historical events.

 

American Princess by Stephanie Marie

Image of Book Cover: Car Rides off with a Scarf Trailing - 6 New Fiction Releases for Character-Driven Readers

Another recent historical novel, American Princess, tells the story of the outrageous First Daughter Alice Roosevelt. Novelist Stephanie Marie Thornton describes Alice’s adventures and romances in this page-turning novel.

Although some of Alice’s antics, like driving a car or going out unchaperoned, may seem tame now, there’s a wonderful contrast between Alice and the Washingtonian establishment around her. Readers can’t help but be drawn in by the force of her rebellious, hedonistic personality, and root for her when she’s down. (I particularly enjoyed Alice’s remarks on her dowdy do-gooder cousin Eleanor.)

 

Park Avenue Summer by Helen Gurley Brown

Image of Book Cover: Woman in New York City -6 New Fiction Releases for Character-Driven Readers

In Park Avenue Summer, Midwestern transplant Alice lands an assistant job at Cosmo, under the famous author and editor Helen Gurley Brown. Helen is trying to revamp the magazine, despite all the obstacles thrown in her path, and Alice is caught in office conflicts, between the forceful personality of her new boss and the forces that want the female editor-in-chief to fail disastrously.

Alice’s goals in photography and independence make her a compelling protagonist, even when her Midwestern naivety seems a bit much at times.

 

A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe

Image of Book Cover: Close of Woman Wearing Hat - 6 New Fiction Releases for Character-Driven Readers

If history is your thing, get ready for this one. A brand new story with intense and developed characters will be out next year. Karin Tanabe’s upcoming novel, A Hundred Suns, reveals secrets upon secrets among expats and citizens in French Indochina, into the 1930s.

Netflix Novels: 7 Books That Inspired TV Shows We Love

Netflix Novels: 7 Books Based on Popular TV Shows

Prefer reading to watching TV?

Or maybe you love them both, but you need something to tide you over while you wait for the next season of your favorite show.

Stories continue to inspire Hollywood on the big screen, but they’re also the source of many famous TV programs. Note that not all of these shows on currently running on Netflix, but it’s become the biggest library of TV series.

For more, check out these books that inspired popular TV shows:

Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Netflix Novels: Game of Thrones book cover with sword

Everyone knows that the hit TV show Game of Thrones is based on George R. R. Martin’s fantasy novels. There are five fantasy novels out, and Martin is currently at work on the sixth, The Winds of Winter.

The books cover the battle for control of Westeros, and even readers who don’t think they like fantasy have fallen into this dramatic saga.  But the TV show diverges from the novel series, A Song of Ice and Fire, in some pretty major ways. (Without spoiling either one, let’s just say certain characters are alive in one, and dead in the other.)

 

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Netflix Novels: Call the Midwife cover image of four children walking down the street in the 1950s

The BBC hit Call the Midwife was inspired by Jennifer Worth’s memoirs of working as a midwife in London’s East End in the fifties. The first season is directly inspired by the challenges of her job, with familiar characters from her memoirs.

By the current season, the TV show has long passed Worth’s memoirs and is now an independent story about the mothers, midwives, nuns, and newborns of Poplar.  If you can’t wait for season 8 to make it to the US, check out Call the Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse, and Farewell to the East End.

The real-life nurse Jenny eventually left midwifery for end-of-life care, and wrote the fourth memoir, In The Midst of Life, about this stage of her career. Her fourth book has the same no-nonsense style and sharp observations, but with far fewer adorable babies.

 

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Netflix Novels: Big Little Lies abstract book cover

Liane Moriarty’s novel Big Little Lies is full of snark and secrets. If you enjoy the way one small event at school drop-off sets so many others into motion — and you like the dark secrets simmering in a quiet, suburban town, you’ll also like The Husband’s Secret by the same author.

There’s a second of the TV show in the works, but it’ll need to depart pretty significantly from the book since the first season ended at the conclusion of the novel.

 

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

Netflix Novels: Cover image from Pretty Little Liars of 4 stylish female dolls

For more page-turning revelations, Pretty Little Liars, now an entire series by Sara Shepard, begins with the mysterious A, who seems to know everyone’s darkest secrets.

The books take readers through endless lies, blackmail, twists, and reversals. Pretty much everyone in Rosewood has something to hide. Because the high-school friends (or frenemies…) at the heart of the story are developed, readers will easily find a favorite character and be pulled into the drama.

 

Stephen King and J.J. Abrams

Promotional image for Castle Rock from Hulu: Castle in Dark Clouds

Castle Rock, on Hulu, is inspired by the work of horror novelist Stephen King. The TV show isn’t directly based on one novel, although there are elements found in his work. Dedicated King readers may find the TV show feels more than a pastiche than an addition to the King library.

That’s because it retreads King’s familiar themes of secrets in a silent Maine town, isolation, the moral ambiguity of prison guards, and dark supernatural others. (Conversely, if you enjoyed Castle Rock, you’ll like pretty much any Stephen King novel.)

 

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

Netflix Novels: Sweetbitter cover with a broken wine glass

Stephanie Danler’s coming-of-age novel Sweetbitter is about young Tess’ first year in New York. Tess grabs restaurant life with both hands, discovering gourmet tastes, fine wines, emotional encounters with her coworkers, and drama with customers.

There’s a romantic entanglement with unique complications, but it’s the scenes of backwater and kitchen life that really sparkle. The book inspired a Starz TV show, with the same name.

 

Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar

Netflix Novels: Gossip Girl #1 Cover Images of 3 teenage girls gossiping

Cecily von Ziegesar’s Gossip Girl novels inspired the TV series, and it may be a rare time when the TV version is even better than the books. Yeah, the books have Manhattan snobbery, high fashion, backstabbing…

And of course, the secretive Gossip Girl blog, creating a frothy, gossipy read, but the TV show has a bit more character development. In the show, Blaire and Serena have a complicated friendship, while in the books, I had no idea why B and S even spoke to each other.

There’s also a Korean-style graphic novel version of the Gossip Girl storyline (with all-new outfits to enjoy).

 

The Deceivers by Kristen Simmons

Netflix Novels: The Deceiver Cover of 3 Young Women

It’s not a TV show yet, but Kristin Simmons’ YA pageturner The Deceivers has all the makings of a television version. Double-crossings and surprises abound in this story about a secret academy for teens with talents for theft and deception.

What else are you reading that would be perfect for TV? 

25 Inspiring Quotes from Books to Motivate You

String Lights on Book - 25 Quotes from Books to Motivate You

Ever noticed how some books stay with you long after you’ve read them?

Remarkable books are enchanting. Think about the last captivating book that you read. What made it so unforgettable?

These are books that draw you and let you escape into another world. You can’t bring yourself to put it down. They have the power to entertain, teach, and inspire us.

Sometimes a sentence jumps out at you because it sheds insight into your life. Here are 25 memorable quotes from books about life — for the times when you need a little extra inspiration and motivation.

 

25 Quotes from Books to Motivate and Inspire You

1. People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.

Harper Lee from To Kill a Mockingbird

 

2. “Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled. Listen to no one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know, and that doesn’t always mean your parents. If you do that, you will be fine.”

Mindy Kaling from Why Not Me?

 

3. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.

Chuck Palahniuk from Diary

 

4. “Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it.”

Daniel Kahneman from Thinking, Fast and Slow

 

5. All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.
Mitch Albom from The Five People You Meet In Heaven

 

6. Everything is possible. The impossible just takes longer.
Dan Brown from Digital Fortress

 

7. “Our words have power, but our actions shape our lives.”

Rachel Hollis from Girl, Wash Your Face

 

8. “Forgiving isn’t something you do for someone else. It’s something you do for yourself. It’s saying, ‘You’re not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.’ It’s saying, ‘You don’t get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.'”


Jodi Picoult from The Storyteller

 

9. “No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same.”

Victor E. Frankl from Man’s Search for Meaning

 

10. “No one can tell what goes on in between the person you were and the person you become. No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell. There are no maps of the change. You just come out the other side. Or you don’t.”

Stephen King from The Stand

 

11. “There is a kind of magicness about going far away and then coming back all changed.”

Kate Douglas Wiggin from New Chronicles of Rebecca

 

12. “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”

John Steinbeck from East Of Eden

 

13. “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

Paulo Coelho from The Alchemist

 

14. “We study history not to know the future but to widen our horizons, to understand that our present situation is neither natural nor inevitable, and that we consequently have many more possibilities before us than we imagine.”

Yuval Noah Harari from Sapiens

 

15. “Maybe life doesn’t get any better than this, or any worse, and what we get is just what we’re willing to find: small wonders where they grow.”

Barbara Kingsolver from Small Wonder

 

16. “The opposite of fear is love – love of the challenge, love of the work, the pure joyous passion to take a shot at our dream and see if we can pull it off.”

Steven Pressfield from Do the Work

 

17. “You may be born into a family, but you walk into friendships. Some you’ll discover you should put behind you. Others are worth every risk.”

Adam Silvera from They Both Die At The End

 

18. “It was impossible to feel alone in a room full of favorite books. I had the sense that they knew me personally, that they’d read me cover to cover as I’d read them.”

Riley Redgate from Noteworthy

 

19. “The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others. No one can do it alone, no matter how great the machines are.”

Amy Poehler from Yes, Please

 

20. “Most enjoyable activities are not natural; they demand an effort that initially one is reluctant to make. But once the interaction starts to provide feedback to the person’s skills, it usually begins to be intrinsically rewarding.”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi from Flow

 

21. “And it occurred to him that there were two parts to being a better person. One part was thinking about other people. The other part was not giving a toss what other people thought.”

Mark Haddon from A Spot of Bother

 

22. “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.”

Dale Carnegie from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

 

23. “What you do for yourself dies with you when you leave this world, what you do for others lives on forever.”

Ken Robinson from The Element

 

24.“Read, learn, work it up, go to the literature. Information is control.”

Joan Didion from The Year of Magical Thinking

 

25. “Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you go on even though you’re scared.”

Angie Thomas from The Hate U Give

 

6 Fascinating YA Novels You Might Have Missed

6 Fascinating YA Novels You Might Have Missed

From the high school romances to coming-of-age discoveries to teenagers surviving sci-fi futures, there’s something about a good YA novel that gets us every time.

If you’re a YA fan, you’ve probably already read popular titles like The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. In this blog post, we’re sharing some amazing young adult novels you might have missed.

6 Interesting Books for Young Adults (That You Might Have Missed)

 

American Panda by Gloria Chao

6 Interesting Books for Young Adults (That You Might Have Missed)

American Panda by Gloria Chao is about Taiwanese-American MIT freshman, Mei, as she navigates her two cultures and the beginning of her independence. Many parents would be thrilled to have their child at MIT, but Mei’s parents want more.

They’ve planned a nice, stable medical career for her. Regardless of whether she’s interested in medicine or even able to stomach any of the work. Between secretly dancing and secretly dating a Japanese-American classmate, though, Mei might be setting her own path.

You don’t actually need a tiger mom to relate to this story of family expectations, first love, and identity.

 

One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus

6 Interesting Books for Young Adults (That You Might Have Missed) - One of Us Is Lying

In One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus, five disparate students find themselves in detention. One of them is brutally murdered before their eyes. This is where the Breakfast Club similarities end and a page-turning murder mystery begins.

Perspective shifting, although popular in a lot of recent YA novels, isn’t usually my favorite narrative style. But it works here. The other four students in detention take turns telling their truths (and let readers get closer to what actually happened that day).

Everyone in this story has something to hide. Fans of Pretty Little Liars will love the twists as the truth gets closer.

 

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

6 Interesting Books for Young Adults - The Truth About Alice

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu covers high school gossip, sexuality, and reputation in small-town Texas. While nasty rumors fly about slutty Alice Franklin, the reactions of her classmates reveal more about themselves than about Alice.

Many YA novels lean on the unsympathetic parents as stock characters, but this novel showed layered, complex relationships between teens and parents. This is a sympathetic story of peer pressure, teenage relationships, and finally independence in a small town.

 

Perennials by Mandy Berman

6 Interesting Books for Young Adults - Perennials

Is Perennials sophisticated young adult fiction…or is it adult fiction about teenage characters?

It turns out, it doesn’t matter. This summer camp story has maturing friendships, teen romance and realizations for the YA fan, as well as more adult themes of social class and consent.

As little girls returning to camp go from crafts and ponies to beer and boys, they discover more about themselves and their families. Recommended for your friend who needs a little nudge to fall deeply in love with YA fiction.

 

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

6 Interesting Books for Young Adults - Only Ever Yours

Fans of The Hunger Games trilogy or even The Handmaid’s Tale shouldn’t miss Louise O’Neill’s Only Ever Yours.

Although the characters are all teenage girls, this is dystopian sci-fi with a hint of feminist satire.

In the future, girls are born, raised, and modified to be pretty and compliant male playthings. Then they’re sent into a competition with each other to attract the best mate. However, the voluntary suicides at the ancient age of thirty aren’t even the most disturbing thing in this novel.

(Were you annoyed by the Very Special Heroine tropes of Divergent and similar novels? Rest assured. When the dystopian world Only Ever Yours has a rule, it’s not broken for our heroine.)

 

I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

6 Interesting Books for Young Adults (That You Might Have Missed) - I Believe in a Thing Called Love

I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo is a sweet YA novel, especially for fans of Korean dramas. Clumsy overachiever Desi sets out a plan to attract the handsome new student. She decides to use all the tactics from her father’s beloved K-dramas to draw him in.

While the romance is central to the story, Desi’s two closest friends and her relationship with her Appa are also intriguing. You get all the fun, funny, and awkward beats of a K-drama story set in an American high school.

What are your favorite undiscovered YA gems? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us!