I’m not a writer but I’ve guessed that authors name their main characters similarly to how parents name their children: you give them names that you like and that embody the personality traits that you want your kids to have. There are girl names that are now burned into our subconscious such as Bella, Katniss and Hermione, but what other names have you noticed beyond these?
Since the hubs and I are expecting baby #3 in December, we are currently discussing possible names for our little bean. All this name searching has got me thinking about the names of characters in young adult novels and I’ve been noticing some trends in character names. Not surprisingly, the same naming trends that I notice in real life reflect the ones I see in YA and I thought I would share them with you. I’ll start with the girl names today and do a post on boy names next week. I’m not including odd names from high fantasy/sci-fi books because I expect those to be unusual.
Classic names: This is probably my favorite category! I love classics and I‘ve noticed that a lot of authors do too. Classic names that I’ve been seeing include Anna, Violet, Grace, Charlotte, Emma, Faye, Kate, Nora, Amelia, Claire and Lily. I’ve always thought these names are so pretty and feminine!
Trendy names: By far, trendy names are the most popular in YA these days. I’ve noticed names like America, Aries, Becca, Blue, Daire, Emerson, Mackenzie, Sydney, Kylie, Skye, Nikki, Trinity, Ember, and Summer. Not surprisingly, trendy names are very popular in the real world as well.
Boy names for girls: I’ve noticed this trend on several baby naming boards and with celebrities as well. In books, I can only guess that boyish names gives female characters a tougher edge? I will admit that the names have thrown me off on a couple occasions where I read a book summary and thought the book was LGBT novel because both characters have boy names (I then saw the word ‘she’ thrown in and realized one of the characters was a girl). Some boy names for girls I’ve noticed in recent YA books include Aidan, Cole, Ryan, Pierce, Hudson, Rory, Shane and Harley.
Made-up names: This is my least favorite category. If you have a made-up name or you like them, I hope I don’t offend you but they are just not my thing. Stephenie Meyer probably came up with the most notorious made-up name ever, Renesmee, but there are many other others in YA books. Ones I have come across include: Graylee, Deznee, Breyona, Mianna and Bradalynn. I found all of these names in paranormal books, most of them self published or from boutique publishing houses. Maybe mainstream publishers are are less tolerant to unconventional names (obviously not in Meyer’s case)?
Greek names: I’m sneaking this category in. While these are technically classic names, I wanted to do a special category for Greek names because I love them and adore seeing them in YA books! Recent names I have come across include Helen, Ariadne, Persephone, Phoebe and Athena. I have a couple Greek names on my list. We shall see if one of them sticks around until December.
What naming trends have you noticed? Which trends do you like or dislike? Any girl names you see pop up in YA over and over again that I left off my list? Let me know in the comments!