Top Ten Character-Driven Novels

I adore character-driven novels, so it was really hard to limit this post to ten titles! Here’s what I came up with, in no particular order:

golem jinniThe Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker – I adore seeing character-driven fantasy novels.

Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton – All of Thornton’s novels are character-driven (and fantastic), but this is my favorite of them.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov – Humbert Humbert might not be a likable character, but he’s still the impetus for this novel…

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – I debated which of Rowell’s novels to choose, but in the end, decided this is the one I wanted to feature.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin – One of the best character-studies I’ve ever read.

The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti – Another author who excels in character, though I think this one is the best of many of hers I’ve read.

unitThe Unit by Ninni Holmqvist – Character-driven dystopia. Not something you see very often. This one is fantastic.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – Slide into darkness with the narrator, and claw your way back out again. Brilliantly executed.

The Untelling by Tayari Jones – Again, all of Jones’ novels are character driven, so it was hard to pick just one. The character in this one was so rich.

The Leftovers by Tom Perotta – And again. I could have chosen any, but as this one follows the psychological developments of many characters in reaction to an event, I chose it as the most character-driven.


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.


About Amanda

Writing. Family. Books. Crochet. Fitness. Fashion. Fun. Not necessarily in that order. Note: agender (she/her).
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10 Responses to Top Ten Character-Driven Novels

  1. Darlyn says:

    Great choices! I think I discovered The Awakening when you reviewed it on our blog a few years ago, and ended up loving it. I’ll make a note to check out The Golem and Jinni. It sounds like something I would like.


    • Amanda says:

      I’m not sure it’s my review you’re thinking of – the last time I reviewed The Awakening, it was on 5-Squared in 2008, and I’ve since lost the review. However, I’m glad you ended up loving it! The Golem and the Jinni is fantastic!


  2. I read the first chapter of The Golem and the Jinni and then got sidetracked. I really should go back to it one of these days; it sounds like a book I would enjoy!


  3. Trisha says:

    The Awakening is a great, great choice for this. I didn’t respond to the book as positively as others have, but it was definitely an in-depth character profile.


  4. I was meaning to read Helene Wecker’s book already, but if it’s character driven, that’s even more up my street. Wooo.

    My TTT.


  5. Melanie says:

    I’d never thought of it, but you’re right, a character-driven dystopia is very rare. I’ll have to learn more about this one.


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