The best thing about being an avid reader as a child, is that you grow up with the characters you read about. So much so that they become part of you. Sometimes you even think like them, talk like them, feel like them, or act like them. They become part of your identity. That’s how it was for me anyway.
Now, it’s very rare for me to connect with a character from YA Literature, for a number of reasons. Most of those reasons happen to be because 1) I don’t go to a normal public high school, and 2) I’m Muslim, so most problems of normal teenagers are virtually nonexistent. For me reading YA is basically being someone completely different from myself. I read to escape. Sure, sometimes I may come across a character who may be as introverted as me, or shares my obsessions or beliefs or rules, but that’s mostly because I have already been shaped that way from reading books as a child.
I was thinking the other day about how many characters I have personally absorbed. From recent books I have been going back to, I’ve come up with a short list, which I’ll be updating as I rediscover parts of my soul in those books.
- Hermione Granger (from Harry Potter): I absorbed most of her basic qualities. This one is obvious to those who know me. I try not to be an insufferable know it all, but to some I do come across as one. I try to get the best grades possible and be neat and organized in my homework. Most of all is my tendency to follow rules–it’s quite exciting breaking them, even though I feel immensely guilty later on…
- Harry Potter: I get angry the way Harry gets angry. Actually most of my emotions are like his….
- Jesse Aarons (from Bridge to Terabithia): Most of my school is filled with rich kids who seem to me like they have what they want and know what they want. I know a girl who has 77 pairs of shoes, while I only have two. Go figure. I’m also a bit hesitant to try new things and can be a bit reluctant to embrace and display my imaginative side without a little bit of coaxing. I also sometimes feel as if my parents aren’t proud of me, because of how much I read.