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Whether it’s because they’re absolutely wonderful or wonderfully wicked, some book characters stay with us long after we’ve finished the story. Maybe you’re a wallflower who yearns for the fabulous party-planning skills of Holly Golightly—or perhaps you’re an armchair sleuth who admires the incredible deductive abilities of Sherlock Holmes. From the adventurous to the charismatic to the downright devious, here are a few of the book characters we all secretly wish we could be:
1. Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes novels, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Arguably the greatest detective of all time, Holmes is well-known for his wit and deduction skills. As the main character of four novels and fifty-six short stories, Sherlock Holmes has become a household name, and we’d love the opportunity to experience one of his many thrilling adventures!
2. Hermione Granger, Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling
Readers adore Hermione for her intelligence and cleverness, as well as her courage and loyalty to her friends. We also admire her skill with magic—and we would jump at the chance to attend Hogwarts and learn spells and potions!
3. The Queen of Hearts, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
While some adaptations of Carroll’s classic children’s tale portray the Queen of Hearts as a villain, we see her as obstacle for Alice to overcome. Imagine wearing a crown, being surrounded by beautiful red roses, and yelling “off with your head!” at whim.
4. Lyra Belacqua, His Dark Materials series, Philip Pullman
With a skill for telling lies and a kind heart, Pullman’s young heroine is a favorite character of both guys and gals. Besides having her ability to trick her way out of any situation, we’d also get to meet some of the fantastical creatures she encounters during her adventures!
5. Juliette, Silo series, Hugh Howey
This strong female heroine works at the very base of the Silo in the mechanics department, one of the hardest jobs in the Silo. But despite the hard work and long shifts, she maintains a good sense of humor and a positive attitude. We truly envy her problem-solving skills, courage, and compassion!
6. Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
One of America’s most beloved literary heroes, Atticus Finch has become a symbol of justice for lawyers and avid readers alike. The strength he shows when standing up for social equality is a trait we truly admire!
7. Meg Murry, A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
Even though Meg stumbles through being the black sheep of her family and an outcast at school, she still has a lot of love to give and she perseveres. Most impressive of all, Meg handles all of her bizarre discoveries with grace—we’d definitely have run screaming long before she does!
8. Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling
Despite being surrounded by an overprotective mother and older brothers, Ginny has the wherewithal to hold her own when fighting alongside the other students during the Battle of Hogwarts. Also, we’ll admit it—we’re totally jealous that she gets to marry her celebrity crush!
9. Isabelle Rossignol, The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah
Isabelle remains hopeful through the darkest of times, and fights for what she believes in even when it would be safer to look the other way. Her resilience and spirit make Isabelle someone worth emulating. Fun fact: The character of Isabel was inspired by genuine World War II heroine Andrée de Jongh!
10. Adah, The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
We admire Adah’s ability to overcome her physical disabilities with little assistance, as well as the way she perseveres against the mental abuse her father puts her through. Even though it seems like the world is against her, Adah turns out to be the best-adjusted adult in her family.
11. Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings series, J.R.R. Tolkien
The wizard Gandalf is revered for both his power and wisdom. He acts as a guide for the rest of the Fellowship, both geographically and morally. Though he is often put into perilous situations—like fighting Sauron or the Balrog—he always emerges victorious, and stronger than before. And like many of us, he’s a big fan of fireworks.
12. Emma, Emma, Jane Austen
Although Austen set out to create a heroine “whom no one but myself will much like,” many readers fall in love with the independent Emma. Initially, she is spoiled and selfish, but the matchmaking mistakes she makes throughout the course of the novel eventually lead her to show more consideration for the feelings of her friends and family. Who wouldn’t want to have all the mistakes you make turn out all right in the end?