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Rosie, the Canton Public Library's resident YA librarian, has thoughts about everything. Here are some of them. 

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Jun 04

The Zodiac Signs of YA Characters

Posted on June 4, 2015 at 1:16 PM by Rosie Moore

I don't really believe that being born at a certain time of year has any credible affect on a person's personality, or relationships, or day to day experiences, but somehow I still find myself saying things like, "It's not my fault this State Farm commercial is making me cry, I'm a Pisces." I also checked my horoscope every day in high school, and my ability to relate very specific situations in my life to the very vague promises made by the fact that I was born in March was really quite impressive. I just always felt it a little bit comforting to use astrology to give reason to different things that were going on at the time, or to feel like I had some way of expecting what could come next at a time in my life that felt very unpredictable. 

Also, it was fun to match-make my friends based on their Zodiac signs and take credit for any relationship that might have lasted longer than two weeks. 

Aries is the first sign in the Zodiac, which beings on March 21. I thought I'd use the beginning of this cycle to do some more matching-making, this time with books and readers. Below are 12 book and series recommendations for the rest of the year, based on the (possible) Zodiac signs of their characters. You might read them in order during the month of their ruling sign, or maybe choose your own sign. Or just take them as recommendations of books I've read and enjoyed, if you couldn't care less about astrology. 

As usual, the pictures of the books are links to our catalog. Click on the book cover to read more about it, or place it on hold to pick it up from the library. 

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart
Cover image for The disreputable history of Frankie Landau-Banks

Aries (March 21-April 19): Frankie Landau-Banks
Frankie Landau-Banks is probably the best example of a Zodiac sign that we're going to see today--she is the picture of an Aries girl. Enthusiastic, adventurous, willful, and commanding, she insists on not only being part of the action, but revels in being the thing that makes the action actually happen. Before her sophomore year in high school, she spent much of her life going with the flow, doing what everyone expected of her, almost feeling like an extra in everyone else's lives. But things change at the beginning of her second year at an elite boarding school when she starts going out with a popular, important senior boy who tries to keep secrets from her. Frankie Landau-Banks, however, decides she does not want to be the kind of girl from whom secrets are kept, and takes it upon herself to become part of the fun and leave a lasting legacy at her beloved school. 

Aries are also known for their precise record keeping, and the argument that without Frankie's dedication to finding, analyzing, and keeping records, we wouldn't have the opportunity to read her story. 

Other Aries: Everyone in Dauntless

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Jay Gatsby
Pleasure seeking? Check. Financially successful? Check. Dependable, methodical, deliberate in his actions? Check, check, check. Jay Gatsby started with nothing and made himself rich, and popular, and powerful. Through careful planning and deliberate actions, he made himself great. 

But it's not the extravagant parties, or the mansion, or the excessive shirt collection that make him a real Taurus. It is his absolute dedication to his love, Daisy. Taurus don't mess around when it comes to love. Even though it sometimes takes them a while to decide they want someone, once they do, they'll do whatever it takes to get and keep that person. Forever.  

Other Taurus: Katniss Everdeen, Prince Titus of Elberon

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
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I'll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson
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Gemini (May 21-June 22): Oscar
Now, as soon as you saw I'll Give You the Sun for Gemini, you probably thought that I was going to talk about Noah and Jude because they're twins. But that would be incorrect. Gemini are chatty, and charming, and like to be the center of attention. They have airy personalities and don't like doing anything alone. They are communicators, and can talk to anyone about anything and make friends wherever they go. Both Noah and Jude, as much as I love them, are not these things. 

Oscar is all of them. A charming British artist/exhibitionist. A chatty, cerebral, adventurous attention seeker. Noah and Jude are compelling, and thoughtful, and unique, and funny, and heartbreaking, but Oscar is magnetic. 

Other Gemini: Etienne St. Clair, Carswell Thorne

Cancer (June 22-July 22): Arnold "Junior" Spirit
In a lot of ways, Junior is like a lot like all the other young teenage boys out there--he goes to school, plays basketball with his best friend, thinks about girls, wonders about his future. But what makes his story truly special is how unique he is. He's an American Indian born with physical disabilities into a poor family. He's also a genius and a talented artist with dreams to make more of his life than many of the adults around him have made with theirs. The first step in achieving his goals is starting at a wealthy all white school off the reservation, but it's not an easy transition for a poor Indian kid to make alone.  

Junior's art is a big part of this book, which he narrates in first person. His cartoon drawings and voice demonstrate his offbeat humor, even as all he's going through on the reservation and at school is sad and scary and incredibly unfair. This sense of humor is very characteristic of being a Cancer. And even as he's struggling to understand his identity (he feels different from the people he knows from school because he's from the reservation, but at the same time lives like an outsider in his community because he has been given an opportunity to leave that many others had), he fights for a place in both of his communities. Cancers are group-oriented and dedicated to their families. He sometimes feels angry because of the situations that he and his family find (or put) themselves in, or confused about what it means that he wants to leave the reservation, but his love and devotion to his family and his hope for the future of his people are never in doubt. 

Other Cancer: Holly Nolan, Ava Lavender
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie 
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Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor
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Leo (July 23-August 22): Akiva
It's no secret that this series by Laini Taylor is one of my absolute favorites. It has a gorgeously detailed world (a few of them, actually), wonderfully complex characters who make realistic, believable choices for a lot of different reasons, and is just beautifully written. Karou is an earthy human girl who works for Brimstone, the monstrous wish-maker from other side of portal to a magical realm. Akiva is an angelesque creature also from a world beyond our own, and when he happens to Karou in Prauge, events are set in motion that will leave these worlds and everyone in them forever changed. 

Akiva is an incredible character, and also an ideal Leo. He is organized and disciplined, like every good solider should be. He's also regal, proud, in charge, and beautiful. Like, seriously gorgeous. But it is Karou that brings out the most noble Leo characteristics--protective, honest, driven to do what is right over what is easy, and motivated by love above all else. 

Other Leo: Richard Gansey, Harry Potter

Virgo (August 23-September 22): Josie Moraine
In New Orleans in 1950, Josie is known around town as the daughter of a prostitute, and a favorite of a rich brothel own with powerful influence. But Josie's not really like either of them--she's plainer than her mother, and less interested in making the city work for her the way Miss Willie does. She loves to read and learn, and she wants to get out of New Orleans and go to college, but that's not such an easy dream for the daughter of a working girl. So she comes up with a plan to get the life she wants. 

Like most Virgos, Josie is logical and practical. She knows what she wants, and she does what she thinks needs to be done in order to make it happen. Although seemingly quiet, Virgos bubble with activity under their mild-mannered surfaces. Josie's plan to escape New Orleans is far more sinister than anyone who knows her would imagine her capable of carrying out. Additionally, Virgo is symbolized by the Virgin, and in a city famous for catering to sinful behavior, Josie's virtue is an important aspect of her character.  

Other Virgo: Hazel Lancaster, Scott Pilgrim

Out of the Easy, by Ruta Sepetys 
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If I Stay, by Gayle Forman
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Libra (September 23-October 22): Mia Hall
Mia, a teenage cellist with dreams of attending Julliard, is severely injured in a car accident that kills her parents and little brother. If I Stay tells the story of the hours after the accident, when Mia's spirit has to decide if she wants to fight for her life without her family or move on to what's next with them while her physical body lies in a coma. 

Libras, symbolized by scales, are known for weighing their options before making a big decision. This whole book is Mia agonizing over if she should stay, and she really does fully explore every argument for and against living. 

Other Libra: Atticus Finch

Scorpio (October 22-November 21): Sage
In The False Prince, a cunning and ambitious nobleman named Conner decides to seize control of his kingdom before civil war can destroy the whole thing.  He recruits four orphan boys to compete against each other--the winner will be presented to the court as the long lost son of the newly dead king, but will remain under Conner's control forever. Sage is one of those orphans, and while he appears to be playing along with Conner's scheme, he has plans of his own.

Everyone in this book is working for their own agendas, keeping their own secrets, telling their own lies. But no one does it better than Sage. Scorpios are great secret keepers, and no one is more exacting, more disciplined, more suspicious and paranoid and self-controlled in service of his secrets than Sage. He's a problem solver, a grudge-holder, and craves alone time to make sure he's always one step ahead of the other boys and Conner as well, all of which are common Scorpio characteristics. 

Other Scorpio: Cassie SullivanCelaena Sardothien 

The False Prince, by Jennifer A. Nielsen 
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Paper Towns, by John Green 
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Sagittarius (November 22-December 21): Margo Roth Spiegelman 
Quentin Jacobsen is a pretty normal high school guy just living life when his former childhood friend and neighbor Margo climbs through his window and enlists his help in a night-long scheme crafted for revenge and adventure. The next day, Margo is gone, but she has left behind a scavenger hunt of clues that Quentin hopes will lead him to her. 

Margo, while not quite as happy as is characteristically Sagittarius, is definitely creative, adventurous, highly intelligent, fond of coming up with grand plans, and more focused on the big picture than anything else. She hates the idea of being tied down, and craves the freedom that picking up and taking off whenever she feels like can offer her. This creative, intelligent, open-road loving, big picture Sagittarius teen is common in John Green's other books, too. 

Other Sagittarius: Almost all John Green characters 

Capricorn (December 22-January 19): Cia Vale 
Decades after a brutal war has left much of the planet a charred useless wasteland, only the most promising students are given a college education and rewarding career rebuilding the war. But only a select few students are even given the opportunity to take the university's entrance exam, and the Testing itself is more difficult than most of the population would even believe.  

Capricorns are highly ambitious, and Cia spends her whole life dreaming of following in her father's footsteps and attending college, even though she knows the chances of even being chosen for the Testing are slim to none. But she has the Capricorn traits of being highly intelligent, goal oriented, and determined to succeed. It's a good thing, too, because passing the Testing--and attending the University, if she makes it that far--is going to take more from her than she ever could have expected. 

Other Capricorn: Wren Connolly, Sherlock Holmes

The Testing, by Joelle Charbonneau 
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Say What You Will, by Cammie McGovern
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Aquarius (January 20-February 18): Amy Van Dorn
Even though Amy was born with cerebral palsy, can't walk without a walk or talk without a voice box, she has big plans for her life. Say What You Will is the story of how Amy's friendship with Matthew, a physically fine teenager with crippling social and emotional problems, affects both of their relationships with their disabilities and the world in general.  

Amy is a genuine a Aquarius. Despite her physical differences to most teenagers, she is forward thinking, people oriented, friendly, energetic, and a talented writer. She develops real friendships with the students assigned to help her at school, writes prize winning essays, and fulfills her dreams of attending an elite college. Like other Aquarius, she is communicative despite her inability to talk--she uses a voice box, which is a device that speaks the words she types out loud. Her emotional attachment to her voice box is another clue she's an Aquarius, because they tend to be very reliant on gadgets and technology. 

Other Aquarius: America Singer

Pisces (February 19-March 20): Amber Appleton
Amber's life is not easy--her mom drinks too much, the two of them live on bus, and they never seem to have enough food. But Amber instead chooses to focus on the things she's thankful for, like a loyal best friend, meaningful religious experience, and other supportive adults who prove that life doesn't have to be hard. Even when something horrible happens, and Amber finds it extremely difficult to maintain her up-beat attitude, her faith and hope are necessary to moving forward.

Kind and likable, energetic and passionate, deeply caring, empathetic, and dedicated to helping those in need--that is the definition of Pisces, and describes Amber perfectly. Even facing homelessness, hunger, and poverty, Amber is creative and imaginative and leads a happy, vibrant life. It takes a truly devastating tragedy to test her faith and happiness, and even then it's only a matter of time before she regains her focus on staying positive.

Other Pisces: A, Anne Shirley

Sorta Like a Rockstar, by Matthew Quick 
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