25 Most Memorable Characters of 2022

For 2021’s post, click here.

For 2020’s post, click here.

  1. Ted & Olivia from (The House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward)
A psychologically disturbed loner and his devout lesbian cat, these two characters take you on a strange and disturbing journey into a splintered psyche.

2. Green (The Green Indian Problem by Jade Leaf Willetts)

Green, a precocious and resourceful transgender boy living in Wales, is a thoroughly engaging and likable child protagonist.

3. Bartholemew Neil (The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick)

This well-intentioned, socially awkward mama’s boy has a big heart and an amazing narrative voice.

4. Everybody (The 392 by Ashley Hickson-Lovelence)

Hands down, the best ensemble cast of the year and a collection of rich, diverse voices.

5. Narrator (Mama’s Boy by David Goudreault)

While a thoroughly vile, unredeeming character, this sociopathic protagonist has a striking and often darkly humorous narrative voice.

6. Uncle Adam (A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin)

Emotionally arrested and troubled, Uncle Adam is a tragic character whose life should have gone differently.

7. Todd (Best Boy by Eli Gottlieb)

Another character who made me sad, Todd is a childlike autistic man with a carefully ordered life. His voice stands out as particularly strong among hundreds of neurodiverse characters.

8. Drew LeClair (Drew LeClair Gets a Clue by Katryn Bury)

Drew, a true crime fanatic questioning her sexual identity and coping with her mother’s abandonment, is one of my favorite middle grade protagonists. She’s cool, authentic and thoroughly easy to sympathize with.

9. Brie Hutchens (In the Role of Brie Hutchens… by Nicole Melleby)

I’ve read several books by Nicole Melleby this year, but this is my favorite character she has written. Brie is realistically flawed and immature but unapologetically herself, and not afraid to chase her goals.

10. Ben (When I See Blue by Lily Bailey)

As someone with severe life-affecting OCD, I thoroughly felt for this character and his struggle to live a life that isn’t governed by fear.

11. Jasper (The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder by Sarah J. Harris)

A unique and often heart-wrenching protagonist with autism, face blindness and synesthesia. His conditions give him a singular way of looking at the world but alienate him from his father and his peers.

12. Finch (Freeing Finch by Ginny Rorby)

A strong-willed, independent and compassionate transgender girl who loves animals and nature, Finch won me over from the very beginning.

13. Doreen (Brave New Girl by Louisa Luna)

A troubled and angst-filled fourteen-year-old whose voice feels gut-wrenchingly real.

14. Todd (Hawk Mountain by Connor Habib)

Like the protagonist of Mama’s Boy Todd is a thoroughly horrible person, but his cowardice and casual brutality crawled under my skin and stayed there.

15. Marvin (Bedfellow by Jeremy C. Shipp)

Whether monster, demon, or evil spirit, Marvin is a strange and enigmatic antagonist with a penchant for referencing terrible movies. I wouldn’t want him taking over my life but I enjoyed his knowledge of films like Howard the Duck and Dead Alive.

16. Totchli (Down the Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos)

An utterly unique and disturbing protagonist, Totchli is a child thoroughly desensitized to his drug lord father’s violence. Spoiled but neglected, his dream is to own an endangered pygmy hippopotamus.

17. Liam & Uncle Pete (King of the Screwups by K.L. Going)

An engaging rich kid with an emotionally abusive father and the gay glam rocker uncle who helps him get his life back together.

18. Narrator (Naive. Super by Erlend Loe)

An engagingly innocent and eccentric protagonist who experiences his life in a rich, if unusual way

19. Wilbur (Tremendous Things by Susin Nielsen)

This dorky, awkward kid is awesome and deserves all the good things in the world. I also want to list Stewart and Ashley from We Are All Made of Molecules and Petula from Optimists Die First as honorable mentions.

20. Della (Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley)

This girl is a badass, fierce survivor working through terrible experiences and her close relationship with her older sister Suki touched my heart.

21. Emma & Ginny (Flying in Place by Susan Palwick)

Two sisters, one alive, one dead, make up the soul of this disturbing novel.

22. Cameron (Counterfeit Son by Elaine Marie Alphin)

This kid deals with unimaginable trauma but still ends up coming through for the people he cares about, confronting his worst fears in the process.

23. Bob (The Drop by Dennis Lehane)

It’s always the quiet ones. Bob Saginoswki is an enigmatic and complex anti-hero that you can’t help but root for a little despite yourself.

24. Kayleigh (We Had to Remove This Post by Hanna Bervoets)

An unreliable narrator who makes you uneasy from the beginning, Kayleigh is unlikable but hard to dismiss entirely.

25. Linus (The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune)

A timid, nondescript kind of guy who turned out to be far stronger than anyone gave him credit for, Linus more than earned his happy ending.

2 thoughts on “25 Most Memorable Characters of 2022

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