What I Look For in Books (What makes a good book a good book?)


A question that has been on my mind a lot and has been brought up to me a couple of times these past couple weeks is...

What makes a good book a good book?

Some people might say that having a unique and solid plot is what makes a book good. Some might say that it needs to be life-changing, inspirational, filled with metaphorical references...

While most of that is true, especially when it comes to having a solid plot (much needed, of course) but there is only one thing that sells a book to me. 

No, actually, what sells the book to me is if it has a really #aesthetically pleasing cover (yes, I judge books by their covers biTE ME). And, of course, if the synopsis sounds cool and it has gotten really good reviews (lol I'm not picky what makes you think that)...

BUT. What really sells me while I'm reading a book are THE CHARACTERS.





Having really great developed characters is an A+ in my book (lol pun).

I don't care if the story is considered cheesy or cliche. If the writer is able to make me fall madly in love with the characters, I'm obviously going to fall in love with the book. Seems pretty logical, right??

Books like Carry On by Rainbow Rowell and To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han are examples of books that didn't need super intense plots or deep metaphorical meanings in order for me to deVOUR THEM LIKE THEY WERE THE LAST SLICE OF PIZZA ON EARTH. 

For real, though. I would be totally fine reading a scene with two characters doing nothing except staring at each other inside an empty, colorless room.

BUT ONLY IF I LOVE THOSE CHARACTERS. Which arises another questions...


What makes us love characters?

In order to feel like you need to protect those said characters at all costs, you have to have emotional attachment to them. 

What gives us emotional attachment to characters? 

I have one word for you and that is: personality.

When a character as a nicely built personality, you are automatically going to love them so much more than a character whose only purpose is to "SAVE THE WORLD". And how is that going to work, you ask? Well, like it would with any other real person. Getting to know them. What is this character's weakness? What is their strength? What makes them bubble with excitement? Do they have a favorite cereal? You could honestly answer the latter all on your own if you feel like you really know the characters.

Examples of characters with strong personalities (so strong that you could probably predict their favorite cereal!):

Simon Snow from Carry On

If there was a cereal with scones in it, that would be Simon's favorite.

Rudy Steiner from The Book Thief 

Need I say more?

Lara Jean from To All The Boys I've Loved Before

Even though there were a couple moments where LJ was a little unpredictable, for the most part she was #relatable and just a sweet, refreshing main female character. 

Simon Spier from Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

OREOS!




But that's not the only thing I look for in characters...

I like reading about strong female characters that don't act like males just to have that strong attribute. For example: Celaena Sardothien/Aelin Galathynius from the Throne of Glass series.

Yeah, she may be a trained assassin and long lost queen, but she has fears and weaknesses-- and she's not afraid to say something when she spots an attractive man. 

Another thing I like to look for in characters are happy boys. So many guys in YA fiction are portrayed as "muscular" and "serious" to represent their masculinity. 

Umm... Yeah, no. I'd actually like to see some hyper boy who can't stop talking about the stars or why he thinks dogs are the best animals on the planet.

I also love seeing characters do something that you'd least expect. Demon hunters going grocery shopping for food supplies? YES. 




TALK TO ME!

What is something YOU look for in books? Do you love nicely built characters as much as I do? WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITES? Can you agree with some of the statements I made above? Let me know! I'd love to hear your thoughts and have a lil' book chat with y'all. ;) 

xx Kenzie 

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16 happy thoughts

  1. I really want to read Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda now because he sounds like a cinnamon roll, and he loves oreos!!

    Fangirl was one of the books I read with a happy down-to-earth guy in it, which I love, we need more guys in YA that are secure enough in their masculinity to be kind and have quirky interests.

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    1. HE IS SUCH A CINNAMON OREO LOVING ROLL. <3 I absolutely love reading characters who are cute and awkward, and he is one of them. ;)

      Oh, I could not agree more with you! Levi is one of the best male characters to ever exist and he'S SUCH A HAPPY BOY! I love that he worked at Starbucks... Ugh, I really need to read that book again!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting- it makes my day!

      xx Kenzie

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  2. I haven't really read the books that you mentioned, except for The Book Thief (Rudy is one of my favorites as well), but I feel the same way about characters. I had to read The Great Gatsby recently for school, but I hated it, not only because I didn't really enjoy the plot, but because I couldn't relate to the characters.

    I think I'll always be partial to the ol' classics, like Anne Shirley, Francie Nolan, Elizabeth Bennet, etc.
    Loved reading about your opinions on books! I recently wrote a post on novels to read during the Summer; check it out if you can!

    Aliah | Indigo Ink

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    1. The Book Thief is definitely a CLASSIC. I recommend it to all book lovers because it's just... *makes wild gestures with hands* SO GOOD. I had major book depression after reading it... And I totally know what you mean about The Great Gatsby! To be honest, I can't remember much of it. And when I read it, I didn't care much for books that weren't The Hunger Games (guilty hehe). I'd actually like to read it again sometime, just to have a more fresh perspective on it. But yes, that's how a lot of classic books are for me. I find them really hard to get into but I really want to read them! *sighs at my contradicting existence*

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I'd love to check that post out. <3 I hope you are having a lovely day.

      xx Kenzie

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  3. SO TRUE. Characters truly make a story a GREAT story! If all of my favorite characters sat around in a book and did nothing but eat ice cream and look at stars THAT WOULD BE MY MOST FAVORITE BOOK EVER. Great post, as always! =)

    Micaiah @ Notebooks and Novels

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    1. YES YES YESSSS!!! SEE?? SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS ME! ~(o-o)~ All my favorite scenes in books have always been those funny ones that don't really connect with the plot but at the same time, they give you a peek at how the characters are. It's just so great.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting- you are amazing!

      xx Kenzie

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  4. Oh my gosh yes!! There are some books that I like because they're good books but they're literally just going on this big quest or adventure the whole time so I don't get to know them. I can like the book but not the characters but if I love the characters it's automatically one of the best books on the planet.

    Nabila | Hot Town Cool Girl

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    1. I COULD NOT AGREE MORE WITH YOU, NABILA! To be honest, I think the only reason why I survived reading The Maze Runner books was because of the characters. (I have a complicated relationship with those books but the movies are great.)

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting, my dear!

      xx Kenzie

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  5. First of all, it's my first time visiting your blog and I LOVE IT! It's so refreshing to see so much positivity and I love your writing style. I totally agree with everything you've said - strong characters are an absolute must for me. It's why I love the Anna and the French Kiss series and basically anything by Stephanie Perkins. It may not be a new series, but I haven't found anything so hooking in a while. In a recent post I actually made reading more one of my goals for this summer because I used to be such a voracious reader. What is next on your tbr list?
    peridotcove.blogspot.com

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    1. Okay, first of all... THANK YOU SO MUCH! I cannot tell you how hard I am smiling right now. *THANK YOU*. <333 Oh my gosh, I am so happy you agree! Ahh, I have been dying to read Anna and the French Kiss series for SO LONG. I have heard nothing but good things about it. :} Have you read To All The Boys I've Loved Before? Now that is a really good series.

      I'll definitely have to check that post out! I love summer and I love goals so that sounds right up my alley. ;)

      I am currently finishing Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas but I was thinking about what I should start next and I might just pick up The Hate U Give! I have yet to read it and it is another book I have heard nothing but good things about. :}

      Thank you so much for stopping by! Your comment made my day. <3

      xx Kenzie

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    2. Hi Kenzie! Thanks so much for getting back to me! You definitely need to read Anna and the French Kiss. I'm sure you won't be able to put it down. I haven't yet read To All the Boys I've Loved Before, but I heard they're turning it into a movie, so I want to read it before the movie comes out for sure. I also haven't read The Hate U Give, but several of my friends have and they said it was incredible! You'll have to let us know what you think of it. xo
      peridotcove.blogspot.com

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    3. Hi, Sanjana!

      No need to thank me, I should be the one thanking you for taking the time to check back! Ahh, I cannot wait to get my hands on it ASAP. It sounds like a great summer read! And YESSSSS, you NEED to read it! I've read the first book 3 times and it gets better each time around. <3 Totally worth it! And I'm so excited for the movie! The cast looks ah-mazing.

      I definitely will! Thanks so much for chatting!

      xx Kenzie

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  6. i totally agree that in order for me to love the books, i have to enjoyed the characters. if i don't care for them, how would i care about what will happen next? at least if i don't like the characters, i have to be intrigued by them, or at least see development in them to root for them :D

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

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    1. I could not agree more with you, Tasya! I agree that I have to see some sort of development in characters in order for me to at least be intrigued by them! Development is what keeps us reading... ;)

      Thank you for reading and for commenting!

      xx Kenzie

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  7. GAH so I just wrote a long comment and I have no idea if it was published but...thank you for this post! As a writer I get so hung up on creating deep meaning in my stories and using this big vocab when the focus really should be on the characters. I love this! Thank you for the awesome reminder, because stories with amaizng personalities are truly what resonate with us as readers. Loved this. <3 :)

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    1. Oh my goodness, I hate it when that happens! I am so sorry! Blogger has been weird lately though... It never emails me notifications of comments anymore so I have to check back myself. -.- #firstworldproblems

      Anywho! I am so, so, sooooo happy you enjoyed the post! And I am super thrilled you found it helpful. <3 I know exactly how you feel and as a writer, it can be hard... but I like to tell myself just do what you can and write what you want to write. :)

      Again, thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      xx Kenzie

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Thank you for taking the time to leave a message, it truly means a lot to me. I try my best to respond to each and every one of them, so come back and let's have a conversation.

xx Kenzie