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5 Characters More Miserable Than You

by Christine A - 0 Comment(s)

Lately I've noticed that no matter how funny or fantastic my choice of book may be the main character always has a rough life. That's my favourite story really: boy (or girl!) from nowhere makes good. Who doesn't love a story about someone overcoming adversity? So in the following descriptions I've included an Adversity Check List, letting you know just how unhappy the protagonist is...

Doll Bones by Holly BlackDoll Bones by Holly Black

√ Poor
√ Abandoned by One or Both Parents
√ Physical Hardship

12-year-old Zach escapes into fantasy because he’s unhappy at home. His dad abandoned the family to pursue dreams of fame and fortune. Zach hadn’t seen him in years. Now he's back and thinks he’s going to tell Zach how to live his life. He doesn’t want a son who plays with dolls, so while Zach is at school he throws all Zach's action figures in the garbage. Zach is so upset by the loss of his fantasy characters he can’t talk about it, not even to his two best friends until they all start having nightmares about a creepy bone china doll. It tells them her human soul is imprisoned in the doll and that the friends must go on a quest to return her to her grave... or else! The trio decide they will go on a real life quest no matter what the danger or how far it leads them from home.


Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie RyanThe Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

√ Poor
√ Horror (Zombies!)
√ Orphaned by One or Both Parents
√ Unrequited or Thwarted Love
√ Physical Hardship

This book is Divergent meets The Walking Dead. The world as we know it ended seven generations ago when humans tried to conquer death. Our quest to live forever brought about an undead plague that destroyed our civilization. 16-year-old Mary, our heroine, lives in a tiny village in the heart of a vast, dark forest, surrounded by a chain link fence that keeps the “Unconsecrated” dead out and the living imprisoned inside. Her life is further circumscribed by her community’s archaic traditions enforced by the Sisterhood. The Sisterhood determines who you marry, where you can live, even how many children you can have. Things seem pretty bleak until one day a redheaded girl from the outside world appears at the gate. She’s immediately captured by the Sisterhood and despite Mary’s efforts to free her, the outsider disappears...

Far Far Away by Tom McNealFar Far Away by Tom McNeal

√ Poor
√ Persecuted
√ Orphaned by One or Both Parents
√ Unrequited or Thwarted Love
√ Physical Hardship
√ Horror

Mr. Johnson became a shut-in when his wife ran off with another man, leaving his shy son Jeremy to financially support them both. Jeremy has a special ability though--he can hear ghosts. One famous, ancient ghost becomes his surrogate father, encouraging him to study hard, get into university, and hopefully live happily ever after. When Jeremy falls for the local Amazon, Ginger, they play a little prank on the neighbourhood baker leading to Jeremy's ostracism by the townspeople and his capture by a serial killer.

Immortal Lycanthropes by Hal JohnsonImmortal Lycanthropes by Hal Johnson

√ Ugly
√ Persecuted
√ Friendless
√ Orphaned by One or Both Parents
√ Physical Hardship
√ Horror

A shameful fact about humanity is that some people can be so ugly that no one will be friends with them. It is shameful that humans can be so cruel, and it is shameful that humans can be so ugly. It would be easy to paint a sob story here, but I am trying to remain objective. So: Myron Horowitz, short, scrawny, and hideous, had no friends. From page 1 of Immortal Lycanthropes

As you’ve probably figured out, Myron gets bullied a lot but luckily it turns out Myron is an immortal lycanthrope. A lycanthrope is not a werewolf, but rather a were-mammal that can assume human form. This is an exciting and strangely hilarious story that actually ends all in one book—no waiting 5 years for the series to end!

Plain Kate by Erin BowPlain Kate by Erin Bow

√ Ugly
√ Poor
√ Persecuted
√ Friendless
√ Orphaned by One or Both Parents
√ Physical Hardship
√ Horror

Katarina Svetlana is an orphan with mismatched eyes, barely surviving in the eastern European village of Samilae. Despite her unfortunate circumstances, Plain Kate has an extraordinary skill: the ability to carve exquisite amulets which the villagers say will ward off evil and bring good luck. But once illness and hunger scourge the land, they start calling Plain Kate “witch-blade,” taking her artistry and unattractiveness as evidence she is a real witch that must be burned in the town square. After a neighbour tries to murder her with an axe, Kate gives the mysterious sorcerer Linay her shadow in exchange for her heart’s wish. This book was written by Canadian award-winning author Erin Bow.

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