You’d love to hang out with them and have the greatest adventures together!
Did you ever relate to a book character so much, that you know you’d be their best friend if they were real?
There’s something special about the written word. You often connect with characters deeper than you would with people in real life.
Or maybe this is only true for introverts like me?
Either way, this post is about three fictional characters I’d have loved to have as my best friend. If you’re a lover of fiction, then I’m sure you would love these books too.
Read on for some delightful book recommendations you can pick up on a lazy summer day.
(Note: The links mentioned in this article are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these books through these links, it will help me earn a small amount of money — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)
1. Bartimaeus of Uruk from The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
Genre: Young adult fantasy fiction
A young-adult fantasy set in modern-day London, this book traces the story of the ambitious Nathaniel, a magician’s apprentice, who is slighted by his master at every instance.
Belittled and under-appreciated, young Nathaniel vows revenge and starts devouring ancient magical texts to bring his plans to fruition. He learns the complex ritual to summon a powerful 5000-year-old djinn, Bartimaeus of Uruk, and that is when everything comes tumbling down.
The plot is multi-layered and explores some truly fascinating themes. A powerful djinn bound to the whims of a human master with no free will of its own — that barely scratches the surface of the darkness this book promises.
“Freedom is an illusion. It comes with a price.”
Why you should read the book
The best part about the book is that the story does not take place in a separate world or planet, as is the case in other fantasies. The events that happen to our djinn influence the real world as well.
The consequences make the story even more fun to read. A well-thought-out plot with a sarcastic demon for a narrator — would any reader want to miss out on such awesomeness?
Why Bartimaeus would be such an amazing best friend
Bartimaeus is the protagonist and part-narrator of the trilogy. He is a middle-level djinni with (in his own words) “more resourcefulness and guile (not to mention mindless optimism) in his toenails than all other porridge-brained spirits together.”
Bart is funny, sassy, and wise from his 5000+ years of experience on earth. He has no corporeal body of his own, but can take up any form he wishes to, from dangerous demons spitting venom to beautiful maidens with golden hair running down their backs in ringlets. His favorite guise, however, is that of a fourteen-year-old Egyptian boy wearing a white loincloth and a golden pendant on his bare chest.
If treated with the respect a powerful djinni like him deserves, Bart can be a wonderful companion.
If only I’d known those magical words of summoning Stroud frequently mentions in his books, I’d have summoned Bart to earth once in a while, just to hear him talk. It’s hilarious how he exaggerates his own achievements — often to the point you’d wonder how the world even manages to survive without him.
Our conversations would have lasted hours, if not weeks! We’d have gotten along pretty well, and possibly (if I could earn his trust) our ‘bond’ would have known ‘no limits.’
If only he were real. Sigh.
2. Gustavo Tiberius from How to be a Normal Person by TJ Klune
Genre: Queer romance
Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He’s never used the internet and reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman and owns a video rental store that no one goes to except his three lesbian best friends.
Casey Richards is an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at the local coffee shop. He is the best-selling author of a post-apocalyptic vampire-werewolf romance that has its own cult following. He also happens to have perfect hair, tattooed arms, and is obsessed with Instagramming pictures of his food.
For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to feel the same way about Casey.
But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.
What unfolds next is a series of events where Gus tries to impress Casey, often ending in hilarious, heart-warming scenes.
“Why do I need to be defined as anything? Why can’t I just be who I am without some asshole trying to make me into something I’m not?”
Why you should read the book
This is the happiest, warmest, most positive book I read in recent times. I don’t really enjoy romance, but TJ Klune’s writing hooked me in the first chapter and kept me entertained throughout. There were moments where I was laughing till I had tears in my eyes and others where my heart filled with a squishy feeling of warmth where you love the characters so much, you wish you could jump right into the pages of the book and give them the tightest of hugs.
The events leading up to the climax are so amazing, that you might need to clutch a pillow to your chest, for the fear that your heart might burst with happiness. This is the perfect book to get you to start believing in love again.
Why Gustavo would be such an amazing best friend
Gus knows he’s different from how a normal person is supposed to be. He’s sarcastic and strange and oh so fragile, but he’s doing the best he can with what he has. He helped me understand that no matter how abnormal and crazy you are, you’re you, and that’s all you need to be.
I love Gus so much because while reading his story, I couldn’t help but wish I was there right by his side. He has that aura that makes you want to wrap him in a tight hug and protect him. Gustavo’s world is my happy place. It’s a celebration of life and all its mysteries.
3. Spensa from Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Science-fiction fantasy
Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the last surviving members of the human race are trapped on a planet that’s constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot.
Hunted by a father’s legacy that threatens to be the downfall of everything she’s dreamed of, she struggles to make it on her own in an uninviting world. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible — assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.
“You get to choose who you are. Legacy, memories of the past, can serve us well. But we cannot let them define us. When heritage becomes a box instead of an inspiration, it has gone too far.”
Why you should read the book
It has everything you’d expect from a great sci-fi/fantasy novel: brilliant world-building, fantastic character arcs, fast-paced edge-of-the-seat action, and incredible dialogue. The characters are amazingly relatable. Plus points to Sanderson for writing a book series I JUST COULDN’T PUT DOWN. Here is what I wrote at 5 am, after a binge-reading session exceeding three hours:
When you finish a set of books so good, you have goosebumps all over your body and shivers down your spine. I was at 71% of book two when I started reading. It was 2 AM then. I intended to read a few pages and then sleep. But the climax was so well-crafted, the narrative so airtight, that I HAD to finish reading. There was no option. My heart is still beating hard from the impact Sanderson’s story had on me. After that cliffhanger, I need to read the next book soon!
Why Spensa would be such an amazing best friend
I always love strong female characters, but Spensa is a unique breed of awesome. She wears her heart on her sleeve and doesn’t hesitate to give anyone a piece of her mind. Yes, she has dreams like every girl her age, but she isn’t afraid of doing whatever it takes to make those dreams come true. She’s smart, funny, resourceful, and most importantly, never gives up until she gets what she wants.
As a friend, Spensa would be a firecracker. Her jokes would make you laugh until your belly aches, and her fierce passion would make you want to take your own goals seriously. With a friend as uplifting and motivating as her by your side, it won’t take much to brew the courage to take on the world.
Who are some book characters that would make amazing best friends in real life? Let me know in the comments.
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