Top 5 Wednesday: Characters You Wish You Were More Like


Whenever I find characters that inspire me, I can’t help but stan. They’re like gems, because although I could have a plethora of favourite characters, not all of them would impact me so much. So here’s a short list of the ones that hit me like a train (in a good way!)

You can find other Top Five Wednesday prompts here.

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Entry 139: Long Way Down

Author: Jason Reynolds
Genre: Poetry ; Contemporary ; Realistic Fiction
Publication: October 24th 2017 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Pages: 306
Format Read In: Audiobook

Summary from Goodreads (GOODREADS LINK)

An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds’s fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator? Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.

And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.

Told in short, fierce staccato narrative verse, Long Way Down is a fast and furious, dazzlingly brilliant look at teenage gun violence, as could only be told by Jason Reynolds.

My Review

Trigger warning: blood, gun violence, violence

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Entry 138: Little Fires Everywhere

Author: Celeste Ng
Genre: Contemporary ; Literary
Publication: September 12th 2017 by Penguin Press
Pages: 338 
Format Read In: Audiobook

Summary from Goodreads (GOODREADS LINK)

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned–from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren–an enigmatic artist and single mother–who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

My Review

Trigger warnings: sudden homelessness, arsony, abortion, negative language around abortion, adoption, abandonment, racism, classism

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Entry 137: We Always Lived in the Castle

Author: Shirley Jackson
Genre: Horror ; Thriller ; Mystery ; Classic
Publication: September 21, 1962
Pages: 146
Format Read In: Audiobook

Summary from Goodreads (GOODREADS LINK)

My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise, I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cap mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead…

My Review

Trigger warning: death of family members, verbal mistreatment of mentally ill character

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[Book Tour] It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland

It Goes Like This
Miel Moreland
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: May 18th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Young Adult

In Miel Moreland’s heartfelt young adult debut, It Goes Like This, four queer teens realize that sometimes you have to risk hitting repeat on heartbreak.

Eva, Celeste, Gina, and Steph used to think their friendship was unbreakable. After all, they’ve been though a lot together, including the astronomical rise of Moonlight Overthrow, the world-famous queer pop band they formed in middle school, never expecting to headline anything bigger than the county fair.

But after a sudden falling out leads to the dissolution of the teens’ band, their friendship, and Eva and Celeste’s starry-eyed romance, nothing is the same. Gina and Celeste step further into the spotlight, Steph disappears completely, and Eva, heartbroken, takes refuge as a songwriter and secret online fangirl…of her own band. That is, until a storm devastates their hometown, bringing the four ex-best-friends back together. As they prepare for one last show, they’ll discover whether growing up always means growing apart.

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[Guest Post] Luck Be A Lady by Chris H. Stevenson


Mason Hart has just lost his job, fiancé, and car in less than 48-hours.  A short time later he accosts a cop and ends up in jail.  He finally lands in a hospital as the result of a jailhouse brawl.  He’s helpless to quell this downhill slide into calamity.  Since he believes all is lost at this point, suicide seems the only alternative left…

 Until the figure of Felicity Fortune, the Roman Goddess of Luck, interrupts Mason’s suicidal plans in the nick of time.  It seems Felicity Fortune was hampered by the bird flu and few other appointments, so she must apologize for her tardy appearance.  She tells Mason that he’s ripe for a cosmic alignment, and that his 15-minutes of fame and wealth are finally at hand.  He is allotted six chances via the roll of the golden dice for his deserved share of the “Great Cornucopia.”   

Beshaba, the Maid of Misfortune, has ear-marked Mason at the exact same time to heap upon him the bad luck part of the equation.  She is the evil incarnate daughter of Felicity, and now covets Mason for her own devious alignment.  Everything that Beshaba represents is in stark contrast to her mother.  It is a deliberate ploy to spite the good works of her mother, thus laying down a challenge of cosmic power.  

Their simultaneous claim to Mason forces the two Goddesses into a mythological cat fight in hell.  When this push and shove reaches a fevered pitch, even the destiny of mankind in called into question. Mason must find the solution and tear away the veil of darkness that could upset the divine balance between good and evil. What he doesn’t know is that the final key to the solution is himself.


Why is This Book Special?  

I believe this book incorporates all of the special fantastical elements and hilarity of movies and books like Bedazzled, Weird Science, Manikin, Splash and Date with an Angel. Who knew that the phrase “luck be a lady” was based in reality? You bet! The Roman Goddess Fortuna (Felicity Fortune) is alive and well and spreading wealth—the great cornucopia; your 15 minutes of fame. Only her daughter, Beshaba, means to rip-off every fortune her mother doles out. A mythological catfight in hell ensues, leaving Mason Hart torn between wealth and poverty, and two Goddesses vying for his destiny. 99-cent Special.  


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Entry 137: In The Dream House: A Memoir

Author: Carmen Maria Machado
Genre: Non-fiction ; Autobiography ; LGBTQA+
Publication: November 5th 2019 by Graywolf Press
Pages: 264
Format Read In: Audiobook

Summary from Goodreads (GOODREADS LINK)

For years Carmen Maria Machado has struggled to articulate her experiences in an abusive same-sex relationship. In this extraordinarily candid and radically inventive memoir, Machado tackles a dark and difficult subject with wit, inventiveness and an inquiring spirit, as she uses a series of narrative tropes—including classic horror themes—to create an entirely unique piece of work which is destined to become an instant classic.

My Review

Trigger warnings: sexual assault, abusive romantic relationship (physical, emotional, mental), abusive family relationship, graphic descriptions of sexual encounters, domestic violence, homophobia, fatphobia

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[Book Tour] Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas

Lost in the Never Woods
Aiden Thomas
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: March 23rd 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

When children go missing, people want answers. When children go missing in the small coastal town of Astoria, people look to Wendy for answers.

It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road, and gets pulled into the mystery haunting the town.

Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, claims that if they don’t do something, the missing children will meet the same fate as her brothers. In order to find them and rescue the missing kids, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods.

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Author Bio:

Aiden Thomas is a New York Times Bestselling author with an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. Originally from Oakland, California, they now make their home in Portland, Oregon. As a queer, trans Latinx, Aiden advocates strongly for diverse representation in all media. Aiden’s special talents include: quoting The Office, winning Jenga, finishing sentences with “is my FAVORITE”, and killing spiders. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies, and organizes their bookshelves by color.

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[Book Blitz] The Other Side of Magic by Ester Manzini

The Other Side of Magic
Ester Manzini
(Parliament House)
Publication date: April 6th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

For fans of Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

In a world inspired by 16th century Italy, magic is a common occurrence. Everyone in the realms of Epidalio and Zafiria is gifted with it at birth, but with every spell cast, their power wanes.

Gaiane Asares is the result of an accurate selection by her mother, the queen of Zafiria. She’s infinitely powerful; a weapon of mass destruction kept segregated in a tower and used against her will to conquer Epidalio.

Meanwhile, in Epidalio, Leo was born with no magic at all, a rarity. She lost her home and family when Zafiria attacked, and her resentment toward the invaders still burns.

Gaiane manages to escape her gilded cage, and the two girls cross paths. But when war threatens the land again, their loyalty will be put to the test. Will they manage to overcome their differences in the name of freedom?

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