Georgie’s new heart saved her life…but now she’s losing her mind.When Georgie Kendrick wakes up after a heart transplant she feels…different. The organ beating in her chest isn’t in tune with the rest of her body. Like it still belongs to someone else. Someone with terrible memories…memories that are slowly replacing her own. Georgie discovers her heart belonged to a teenage girl who lived a rough life on the streets. Everyone thinks she committed suicide, but only Georgie knows the truth. And now Georgie has to catch a killer--before she loses herself completely.Fans of Lisa McMann and April Henry will devour this edgy, gripping thriller with a twist readers won’t see coming!
February 17, 2015
What makes a great YA character?
Harry. Katniss. Gemma Doyle. On the surface they have nothing in common. One’s a wizard, one’s a warrior in a dystopian landscape, and one is a powerful but vulnerable source of magic in 19th century England. But something unites these three characters, something that I think is essential to creating a great YA character.
On a very basic human level, we can relate to them.
It really doesn’t matter when or where a story is set. It may be the uniqueness of that setting or premise that lures us into a book, but it’s the characters that keep us there. If we can’t relate to them, the story isn’t going to work.
When I was a kid, I dreamed of being extraordinary, of being something that set me apart from the other kids in my class. I read Harry Potter as an adult, but I immediately connected to that longing for something else, something more, that Harry has. If you were to remove all the magic from those books, you would still have richly drawn characters that we can care deeply about.
The world of The Hunger Games is foreign to us, but the character of Katniss isn’t. In the very first chapter, she puts herself in the line of danger to save her sister. Close your eyes for a moment. Imagine the person you would throw yourself in front of a gun for. There’s at least one, right? With that one act, Katniss has forever won our hearts.
The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray is one of my favorite series. It’s set in late 19th century England, about a girl who possesses the magic to cross into another world, a world of fantasy and danger and deception. Like all teenage girls, in her time or ours, Gemma dreams of her future, wanting so much to do more with her life than what is expected of her. And while she is fierce and smart and loyal, she is also incredibly vulnerable. She’s easily hurt by a friend’s careless barb, dangerously influenced by a charismatic teacher, and shyly protective of the boy she loves. She reminds me of my friends when I was a teenager. She reminds me of me when I was a teenager.
Because at the end of the day, we all want to see ourselves reflected on the page. We want to read about people who have the same daily struggles that we have. You can set the story in any time or place you want, but one thing can’t change: your readers have to connect to your characters.
There’s a piece of me in every character I write, which is how I connect to them as I write. I can only hope that I’ve written characters that my readers can relate to as well. Because, to me, that’s what makes a great story. That’s what elevates a good book to a book that stays with me long after I’ve finished it. If I find myself wondering what happens to those characters after the final page of the book, then the author has done their job.
Nicole Maggi wrote her first story in third grade about a rainbow and a unicorn. After working as an actress in NYC, she now lives in Los Angeles with her family and two oddball cats. Visit her at nicolemaggi.com.