Memes and Tags, Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Favorite Anti-Heroes from YA

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Samantha and Lainey. Feel free to join in! Check out the group Top 5 Wednesday on Goodreads for the weekly topics…

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This week’s topic is Favorite “Unlikeable” Protagonists. In other words those characters readers always tear down as “unlikeable” protagonists but whom you pulled for! Anti-heroes are protagonists who lack conventional heroic qualities. I find it hard to pull for these types so today’s list was a good time to pick my favorites…

#5 – Sharpshooter Lynn

Not a Drop to Drink coverFrom Not a Drop to Drink

Lynn was taught by her mother to survive and that meant obedience to her mother’s ideas and ways. Ways that are selfish and brutal but all about self-preservation. When her mother passes Lynn has to make some choices that put her in conflict with all that she’s been taught. We meet Lynn in such a deliberate and perfect way that it was hard not to fall for her despite her tough manner.


#4 – The Huntress Deuce

Enclave coverFrom Enclave

Deuce has finally joined the ranks of the hunters and she doesn’t want to jeopardize that due to her new partner, outsider, Fade. It takes A LOT to talk her around and finally she just has to see it with her own eyes. It was hard to root for her during this patch as she broke free from the thinking of her society.

#3 – Brutal Em

Alive coverFrom Alive

Em is a leader, strong and… brutal. That is what made her rather unlikable at first but you are so caught up in the situation she and the others she is with is in that you go with it. By the end you are rooting for her as she constantly worries that she is controlling the situation properly with all of the powerful personalities she is dealing with.


#2 – Ali in the Teen Psyche Ward

Ultraviolet coverFrom Ultraviolet

Ali’s problem is she’s always seen some crazy things like shapes for sounds and colors for letters, but ever since her rival disappeared before her eyes its gotten way worse. Her narrative was very confusing at first and her inability to see things from any point of view other than her own made her such a brat at times, but the suspense really sucked me in.

#1 – Princess Ladislav

And-I-Darken-Kiersten-WhiteFrom And I Darken

Lada the Strong, Lada the Brutal, Lada the Warrior. From the very beginning as a child she was a terror to everyone except the man she idolized. While I didn’t ever like Lada I was compelled by her. I very believably went on the journey with her and felt the passions she did.


I really went through my read list to find these but they immediately jumped out at me as protagonists that at first blush were hard to love but whom I came to admire by the end… Do you as a reader always want to love your protagonists? Do you like anti-heroes who make it tough on us to follow?

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Thanks for Reading, XOXO

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24 thoughts on “Top 5 Favorite Anti-Heroes from YA”

  1. I actually haven’t read any of these 😦 but !! I love love love love love the author of Not a Drop to Drink and she wrote one of my favorite anti-heroes, Alex in The Female of the Species 🙂

    I love anti-heroes though, so this is such a nice topic !!!!!!! I want to read all of the books now to get to know the anti-heroes 🙂

  2. Such an awesome topic cos I love anti-heroes!! And I love your post- partly cos I haven’t read any of these and now I feel the need to read them all cos of the anti heroes!! (such a pull for me!) And this just makes me want to read And I Darken even more!! And I’m really intrigued by Ultraviolet!

    1. And I Darken is a big favorite and if you LOVE anti-heroes with all capitals then you will LOVE Lada. Ultraviolet was super cool to me but not for everyone as it has mental health AND aliens which is an odd mix… Thanks orangutanlibrarian! ❤️

  3. Hooray for anit-heros! They are often for of depth and complexity, adding true value to any story. I have not read any of these, but And I Darken is on my list 🙂 I think my favorites might be Locke from the Lies of Locke Lamora and Croaker from The Black Company.

      1. Black Company is a hit or miss in my opinion. Slow and dark. It follows a group of mercenaries but it is a slow read. I love it so far! I need to finish third book. A lot of people I talk to do not enjoy it haha 😛

  4. I LOVE anti-heroes. I find them special and truly fascinating. They’re the most complex characters of them all too. I got scared that I wouldn’t AT LEAST recognize the books you were showcasing until And I Darken popped up. Glad to see something I recognize, even if I didn’t read it hahaah 😀

      1. My favourite is definitely Locke Lamora from The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. Red Sister was beautiful as well. I heard the best anti-hero written by Mark Lawrence is in the Prince of Thorns series. Other than those, from my favourite classics would be Crime & Punishment and Clockwork Orange. I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of books though. Always a pain to name “favourites” of anything hahaha

  5. I have to admit, I really need to find a connection to a character in order for me to really enjoy the book. I have to connect to them in some way, not necessarily fall in love with them or relate to them, just, feel something towards them for me to like the book. It’s interesting, the whole anti-hero topic here! I haven’t read any of these books but I’d like to read And I Darken 🙂

  6. I really love anti-heroes. I haven’t read any of these books you’ve listed here (but As I Darken is on my TBR), so I can’t speak to these specific characters. There is something about someone who is willing to do what it takes to get something accomplished, while still staying true to some sort of loyalty (friends, country, etc) which really appeals to me. I’d never do it myself, but I admire it. Such as Kaz from Six of Crows. He is ruthless, cunning, and mysterious, but he also demonstrates through his actions that he cares about his people. He never SAYS anything, nor does he act in an open way, but he would make different decisions if the people he worked with didn’t mean anything to him.

    So yes. I love these characters. I don’t have to love the protagonist, but I need to make a connection with them on some level.

  7. ANTI-HEROES!!! I LOVE ANTI-HEROES!!! Some of my favorites are Kaz from Six of Crows, Adelina from The Young Elites, and Victor and Eli from Vicious. I haven’t heard of any of these books before except for And I Darken — which I’m not sure to read or not???

    1. All those are books I’ve got to read though I want to get to Shades of Magic before Vicious even though I know some are split on them… And I Darken is loooooong, I’d say read the first couple pages and if you aren’t sucked in almost immediately then don’t, because it doesn’t get better than that first opening scene… Lada is Lada through the entire book! Thanks May! ❤️

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