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You Are What You Read: Living Vicariously Through Characters

Many of us read books to escape. We want to visit new worlds, meet exciting characters, and discover realities we didn’t know existed. 

I also read books to live vicariously through the characters. Sure, I may never be a wizard (still waiting on that letter), and I may never ride a polar bear (probably better for both me and the polar bear that this doesn’t happen…), but reading allows me to experience qualities the main characters have that I may not possess myself.

Here are three YA novels you should add to your TBR stack if you’re feeling low on any of these traits.

genuine fraud coverIf you need a dose of cunning…

I love characters who are able to outsmart everyone around them, and no one does that better than Jule in E. Lockhart’s Genuine Fraud. She’s clearly the smartest person in every room, and she stops at nothing to outwit (and outplay and outlast) her fellow man. And she’s not the only cunning one. Lockhart wrote this whole book in reverse chronological order, which sounds like an outlining nightmare–yet, it works.

htbu coverIf you want to be more independent… 

Fact: Doing things on your own can be scary (flashback to me in London on a recent trip, fairly panicky at eating dinner alone in a pub). In How to Breathe Underwater by Vicky Skinner, Kate has to totally remake her life after a big move, and part of her new existence means finding what she loves to do, instead of swimming, which her dad has always pushed her to do. This book is the perfect pick-me-up for anyone who wants to learn to go their own way—even when it seems impossible. 

starry eyes coverIf you’re ready to be more adventurous…

I went to college in Maine, where being adventurous meant hiking the Appalachian Trail on the weekends just for fun (spoiler—I never did that and I never will). But being adventurous can also mean exploring a new neighborhood or trying a new food. I dare you to read Jenn Bennett’s Starry Eyes and not find yourself on embark on some kind of new journey, whether it’s connecting with a friend from the past or lacing up those hiking boots.

What do your favorite YA novels inspire you to do? Tell us in the comments below!

Author spotlight

Kat Brzozowski

Native New Hampshirite. Broadway musical nerd. Work team softball slugger. Embroidery aficionado. I’m one part Ramona, one part the monkeys …

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