Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

45+ Of Your Favorite Lead Characters in a Book Series

Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

This giveaway is sponsored by Shovel Ready and Near Enemy by Adam Sternbergh.


shovel ready

The futuristic hardboiled noir that Lauren Beukes calls “sharp as a paper-cut” about a garbage man turned kill-for-hire.

Spademan used to be a garbage man.  That was before the dirty bomb hit Times Square, before his wife was killed, and before the city became a blown-out shell of its former self.

Now he’s a hitman.

In a near-future New York City split between those who are wealthy enough to “tap in” to a sophisticated virtual reality, and those who are left to fend for themselves in the ravaged streets, Spademan chose the streets.  When his latest client hires him to kill the daughter of a powerful evangelist, he must navigate between these two worlds—the wasteland reality and the slick fantasy—to finish his job, clear his conscience, and make sure he’s not the one who winds up in the ground.


A surefire way to keep your readers with you book after book is to write kick-ass lead characters. We like ’em flawed, brave, gritty, and smart- maybe you prefer a lead who is kind and bookish (Anne Shirley!), resourceful and all-or-nothing (Daenerys!), or all of the above.

We asked you what your favorite lead characters in a book series were, and you answered! Here are 45+ of your favorite leads. If you’re wondering, the most popular answers included Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, and Jason Bourne:

Jason Bourne from the Bourne series

Penn Cage from the Pen Cage series

Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles

Alex Cross from the Alex Cross series

Eve Dallas from the In Death series

Flavia de Luce from the Favia de Luce series

Arthur Dent from the Hitchhikers series

Maisie Dobbs from the Maisie Dobbs series

Gemma Doyle from the Gemma Doyle trilogy

Harry Dresden from the Dresden Files series

Nancy Drew from the Nancy Drew series

Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games series

Inspector Armand Gamache from the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series

Sophie Hatter from Howl’s Moving Castle

Sherlock Holmes from Sherlock Holmes

Izabel from the Saga series

Percy Jackson from the Percy Jackson series

Philip Marlowe from the Philip Marlowe series

Elena Michaels from the Women of the Otherworld series

Kinsey Millhone from the Kinsey Millhone mysteries

Thursday Next from the Thursday Next series

Stephanie Plum from the Stephanie Plum series

Hercule Poirot from the Hercule Poirot mysteries

Harry Potter from the Harry Potter series

Tris Prior from the Divergent series

Easy Rawlins from the Easy Rawlins series

Repairman Jack from the Repairman Jack series

Lincoln Rhyme from the Lincoln Rhyme series

Mary Russell from The Russell series

Lisbeth Salander from the Millennium trilogy

Scarpetta from the Scarpetta series

Seraphina from the Seraphina series

Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables series

Jon Snow from A Song of Ice and Fire

Spademan from the Spademan series

Spiderman from the many iterations of Spiderman

Sookie Stackhouse from The Southern Vampires mysteries

Stargirl from the Stargirl series

Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire

Cormoran Strike from the Cormoran Strike series

Bella Swan from the Twilight series

Daenerys Targaryen from A Song of Ice and Fire

Odd Thomas from the Odd Thomas series

Don Tillman from the Don Tillman series

Ender Wiggin from the Ender’s Game series