In fiction, you don’t need a pulse to be the life of the story. In fact, it makes things a lot more interesting if one of the main characters is carrying around a little postmortem baggage. These characters may have died young, but each made a lasting impact.
[Ed. note: Possible spoilers ahead!]
Lux (The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides)
Never was there a more seductively elusive portrait of girlhood than that of Lux Lisbon. The title sort of gives away that Lux and her eternally angstified sisters end up dead by various devises of their own, but that doesn’t stop us from falling in love—or is it lust?—with her right alongside the voyeuristic narrator and his buddies.
Allison (Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard)
Some dead girls just won’t die! And Allison DiLaurentis has never been one to go down without an epic fight. Her web of lies continues to entangle and torment her BFFs long after she’s gone, and their lives are in danger just for knowing her...that is if she doesn’t come back to finish the job herself. Guess you’ll have to read the books (or binge watch all 5 seasons) to find out.
Teddy (If I Stay by Gayle Forman)
Teddy is one of those characters that you trick yourself into believing he’s going to magically reincarnate at the end of the book because, if you don’t, you simply won’t be able to function for the next hundred pages. So many sighs for Teddy, so many feels. Tissues were definitely a necessity for the movie release.
Sam Kingston (Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver)
A lot of readers don’t like Sam because she didn’t miraculously become a saint the second she died like the rest of us evidently do, but that’s actually why I like her. If I died that young, I’d be pissed — especially if I had to keep dying over and over like Sam. Sam isn’t morally vanilla. It takes her a few tries to figure out the whole afterlife thing, but the truly rewarding part of Sam’s journey is that she does figure it out, most importantly, after she kisses the adorkable love interest.
Carly Ribelli (All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab)
Some ex-girlfriends leave you with a broken heart. Others leave you with a string of clues so deadly you won’t get over her until the cops show up. Carly may be dead on page one, but her dangerously bright life is what makes this murder mystery shine.
Catherine Earnshaw (Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë)
One of the cornerstones of YA is a good, juicy love triangle, and we have Emily Brontë to thank for the swoonerrific literary device. Catherine’s paramour Heathcliff was from the wrong side of the Moors and she acquired a taste for a certain weasely rich boy amidst their love story, but not even death could separate Cathy from her beloved—though discarded— Heathcliff. Catherine’s ghost is the reason I’m still afraid of sleeping with the window open...and of old English cottages.
Liv Bloom (Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington)
Liv made the number one boarding school newbie mistake: she got mixed up in a generation’s old tradition of murder. Though, in her defense, a haunted cemetery was not in the brochure.
This Halloween, embrace the perfection of characters without a pulse. Death isn’t the end for every story.
About the Author:
Bethany Neal writes young adult fiction with a little dark side and a lot of kissing from her Ann Arbor, Michigan home. She graduated from Bowling Green State University and has worked as an interior designer, photographer, and teacher’s assistant at a K-8 school.
She is obsessed with (but not limited to): nail polish, ginormous rings, pigs, pickles,dessert, sour gummy candies, dream analysis, memorizing song lyrics, predestined love, not growing up, music videos, Halloween, and fictional boys who play guitar.
My Last Kiss is her debut novel.
Did your fave dead character in YA make Bethany's list? Let us know in the comments!