READER FRIDAY – Share Your Favorite Character Driven Novel

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green


“I think the best stories always end up being about the people rather than the event, which is to say character-driven.” Stephen King – On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Some of the recent character-driven novels I’ve read lately are:
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Give an example of a book you’ve read with a memorable character-driven story – Author & Title – and tease us with why the character story was special.

15 thoughts on “READER FRIDAY – Share Your Favorite Character Driven Novel

  1. I’ve read all three of the books you mention, and, strangely, my favorite of the three is THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. Maybe I’m too sentimental.

    I was disappointed in the other two, mainly because I wasn’t drawn into the story enough… wasn’t crazy about the characters in either case, and didn’t think the endings were properly foreshadowed or sufficiently justified.

    Frankly, I can’t think of a book I’ve read recently where I’ve liked the characters. (“Like” meaning being intrigued or really interested in them.)

    THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN had way too much interior monologue for my taste. I suppose that if I’d really liked Rachel, I might have felt differently.

    Oh, well. I keep reading anyway.

    • John Green’s book was amazing. It made a wonderful movie too. The characters were endearing, even though you know it’s going to be sad, it’s uplifting too.

      In the other two books, the characters are completely flawed and not in a redeemable way. They spiral down into the plot to an inevitable end. Even with plot twists, the characters stay the course of their nature. I found both to be compelling reads but because they were so dark, they wouldn’t make a fav list for me. Like you, I like sentimental.

      Thanks, Sheryl.

  2. Emma by Jane Austen is definitely my favourite. I even suggested to my husband and son to name my daughter after her. Both agreed.
    I like how Emma grows and learns in the book full of various events. She is in a way both perfect and utterly imperfect and has her portion of stubbornness and prejudices. But at the same time she is extremely likeable and capable to become more and more open-minded.

    Oh, speaking about recent books, the “Blue Sun, Yellow Sky” is a brilliant self-published book by Jamie Hoang. This book is about a successful painter getting a diagnosis saying that she would become blind in a matter of a couple of months. It is about how she experiences the process and how she finds herself through all these experiences. An extremely memorable and amazing book. I highly recommend it.

    In conclusion, I completely agree that character driven books are the best and I realise that the fiction books I have written so far and those planned are character driven, with many various events happening throughout their stories.

    • Thanks, Victoria. Emma is a great example of character driven. The character of Emma stirs the whole plot by her manipulations.

      I’ve seen Blue Sun Yellow Sky cover. The plot sounds intriguing. Thanks for the recommendation & best wishes on your writing.

    • Victoria, you beat me to it. I loved “Emma.” I came to it very late in life back in the old days when I was writing long family saga novels. I was having problems with the love-interest part of the plot because I had my heroine pursuing the wrong man. A good friend suggested I read “Emma” — wow….it was like my heroine was channeling Emma Woodhouse. And I didn’t realize I had already created a George Knightley hovering in the background waiting for her to come to her senses. Reading “Emma” taught me a lot about character development.

      My good friend, by the way, ended up naming her first born Emma.

      • Forgot to add…

        My favorite is probably Emma Bovary. She wasn’t the most likeable woman, but certainly an indelible character…she still is in my head. What a creation.

  3. I really enjoyed “The Guest Room” by Chris Bohjalian, about a Westchester bachelor party that uses sex slaves and the unintended consequences of careless action.

    • Wow. What a plot. There was a film made not long ago about a bachelor party where a girl died & the guys had to cover up what happened. I wondered if The Guest Room might’ve been adapted for film. Sounds interesting, Elaine.

  4. One that’s stuck in my mind for a long time is Robert Heinlein’s ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Both Manny, the first person protagonist, and Mike Holmes, the super-computer, have few parallels in any other book I’m familiar with. Heinlein was a master at creating unusual and thought-provoking characters in novels such as ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ (the only survivor of an expedition to Mars), and ‘I Will Fear No Evil (a man receives a female brain transplant). Forty years later, they still stay fresh.

    • I love dark characters with noble reasons to walk on the dark side. Bolan sounds great.

      Your book recommendation reminded me of Lawrence Block’s hitman, Keller. Just when Block has you chuckling about Keller, the guy does something without conscience to remind you he’s the scorpion and not the frog. Chilling.

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