This week's Top Ten list from The Broke and the Bookish: Ten Books For Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels
1. Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons: Since I read this one for the first time as a middle schooler, I was shocked to learn that one, Ellen Foster wasn't an autobiography and two, Kaye Gibbons was in her thirties at the time it was written. For me, that's a big deal. At times, you can tell that an author is writing something that they don't fully grasp (like a middle aged man writing about a teenage girl) but if done right, you're shocked to learn that the story isn't written by someone who is a lot closer to the subject matter. Kaye Gibbons did it right.
2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: same with what I said above. Also read this one for the first time in middle school. Now, I know that Esther's story closely mirrors Sylvia, but back then, Esther and her story fascinated me.
3. Obasan by Joy Kogawa: I won't spoil anything, but after reading the last couple of chapters during French class (it was a free day), I started sobbing. Sobbing. In the middle of class. Plot-driven novels don't make me sob. I don't know what else to say about that one. But it's so good and it's pretty unique in its subject matter and setting.
4. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: I'm not gonna lie. I only read about half of this novel (senior semester was something else...) but from what I remember reading, Holden made that book. Write it in the POV of another character or in an omniscient POV, I don't think it's anything close to the same novel.
5. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee: I don't want to keep saying the same thing, but if you like character-driven novels, you'll love reading about Scout.
6. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg: It's weird to think that this book is mainly about Ninny telling Evelyn stories about the past since in the end, I was most interested in Idgie and Ruth. It was a strange balance, but after awhile, I forgot that Ninny was telling the story and I just got into what the characters were experiencing. Of course, seeing the movie first left its own set of problems, but there were some parts to the novel that weren't really explored in the movie that allowed it to still be interesting.
7. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green: I know most will say that this was plot-driven and formulaic, but I don't think the story would have been nearly as poignant (or sad, terribly terribly sad) without Hazel and Gus's strong personalities.
8. Liberty: A Lake Wobegon Novel: by Garrison Keillor: I actually got to listen to this one during a road trip. The Lake Wobegonians make this novel. Each character makes what could have been a simple novel set during 4th of July very complex and very hilarious at times.
9. Bastard Out Of Carolina by Dorothy Allison: I read for the first time as a sixth grader. This was one of the first novels that I felt like the character was talking to me and telling me her story. I can't think of very many characters who have left a bigger impact on me than Bone did.
10. White Oleander by Janet Fitch: I know many have heard of/seen the movie, but it's worth it to read to the book as well. There's a lot more to Astrid that isn't seen in the film and she has some experiences that didn't make it to the adaptation that explain a lot about her and her life up to that point.
**Yes. I noticed that just about all of these were required reading in high school (or on high school reading lists I was given since I was reading above grade level in middle school) but I think that's what made them pop up in my mind as they have. To get me to read something that was required and to love it as much as I love these books is a testament to how well they were written.**
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