What’s In A Name?

Rosamund Hodge’s new book Cruel Beauty — an adaptation of the classic tale Beauty and the Beast mixed with some Greek mythology — tells the tale of a young heroine who, after being married off to the evil ruler of her kingdom must find a way to destroy him and free her people. Pretty cool right? You know what else is cool? Her name – Nyx Triskelion. This got us thinking, there are a lot of characters in the YA book world with some cool…and some strange names. Below you’ll find just a few.

1. EnderEnders Game by Orson Scott Card
Okay so his real name is Andrew Wiggan but still Ender – rather unforgettable as far as nicknames go.

2. Veruca SaltCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Winner of the award for ickiest name ever there’s no doubt it was no accident that Dahl’s most obnoxious, spoiled and rotten character shares her name with an irritating, recurring wart. The unfortunately named Augustus Gloop comes in as a close second.

3. Katniss EverdeenThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Her name may offer an unflattering rhyming opportunity but the fact remains “Katniss” has become synonymous with fierce, bow and arrow wielding lady warrior. And that makes it awesome.

4. Inigo MontoyaThe Princess Bride by William Goldman

Delicious though her name may be Princess Buttercup loses the title to the world class swordsman. Not only does he have the coolest name in the book he also got the best line:

5. Renesmee CullenTwilight Series Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer
Quite frankly this name mash-up is kind of a fail. It sounds like the name Rumpelstiltskin would give his daughter. It’s also lacking that je ne sais quoi one would expect for the name of a vampire-human hybrid baby.

6. Augustus WatersThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Now this is an Augustus we can get behind. As much as the name can make the character, the character can make the name. Not known for its sexiness John Green’s most swoon-worthy of male characters has forever changed the way we’ll look at the name Augustus.

7. Jeth Seagrave – Avalon by Mindee Arnett

First name: Jethro, like mega famous rockers Jethro Tull.
Last name: Seagrave, like a grave in the sea. Whatever. It’s still cool.

8. Atticus FinchTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Really Mockingbird is rife with cool/strange/interesting character names – there’s Atticus’ kids Jem and Scout, their friend Dill, housekeeper Calpurnia and the elusive Boo Radley. But what makes Atticus stand out from the pack? He’s smart, kind, loving and stalwart and reigns supreme as the ultimate literary hero.

Incidentally author Harper Lee’s name is pretty cool too.

9. Tobias “Four” EatonDivergent by Veronica Roth
Kudos to Four, not only does he get a nickname that emphasizes his toughness he gets the classiest of real names. Tobias Eaton sounds like the son of a Duke or a matinée idol.

10. Karou Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Karou’s last name is yet to be revealed (if she even has one) but it doesn’t matter because that one singular name makes her a standout in the legion of female leads with obtusely awkward/strange/different names. Unique yet oddly beautiful it is a perfect representation of the character to whom it belongs.

11. Coraline JonesCoraline by Neil Gaiman
Fearless, adventurous and smart Coraline is clever enough to outwit just about anyone. It’s a wonder the name Coraline didn’t spike to the top of the most popular baby names list.

12. Magnus BaneThe Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Of all the characters in the Shadowhunter world Magnus Bane is the only one to possess equal parts talent, power, class and pizzazz. Always impeccably dressed and primed with the best retort — really this is the only name that would have suited him.

13. Kippy BushmanNo One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale
Okay when you first read this name you may have flashbacks to DJ Tanner’s weirdo bestie Kimmy Gibler from Full House. That’s because Kippy Bushman is that good of a name. It sticks with you. Say it out loud now, Kippy Bushman.

14. Annaliese Rose GordonAnother Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
Annaliese Rose Gordon. Annaliese. Rose. Gordon. It’s just really, really, super pretty.

Honorable Mentions:

Lemony Snicket, Pittacus Lore – though not characters themselves these authors’ pseudonyms are as inspiring as they are clever and memorable.


What are some of your favourite names in YA? Let us know at @HCCFrenzy!

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Canadian publishing professionals and bloggers. Looking for savvy readers to talk books with us!

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