SparkNotes Blog

What Your Name Means in YA Lit

I genuinely love young adult literature. I love it with my whole heart. This is probably because when I was a teen, I wasn’t a) skipping class to go on life-changing road trips with hot guys or b) overthrowing the government, so I have to live vicariously through the fictional youths who ARE doing those things.

One of the best things about YA lit is that authors tend to use a lot of the same names, usually for the same type of character. This is helpful to me personally because when I meet people in real life, I like to know right off the bat whether they’re going to be a love interest in my story, or a villain, or the popular cheerleader who always has a mean-spirited quip at the ready.

So here, for your convenience and mine, is a list of some of the most oft-used names in YA lit and what they can tell you about a person.

Noah—You are a love interest. You are blue of eye and floppy of hair.

Kat—You are the main character, and probably spunky.

Courtney—You are the popular girl with blonde hair and perfect skin who has never known hardship, and you drive a car that costs more than the protagonist’s college tuition.

Felicity—You are the sixteen-year-old daughter of an eighteenth-century aristocrat, and you are too clever by half.

Isabelle—You have no idea how attractive you are to every teenage male within a fifty-mile radius.

Hunter—You have dark hair and green eyes and no idea who your parents are.

Liam—You are goofy and everyone likes you, but your jokes mask a secret sadness.

Emily—You have been the protagonist’s best friend since first grade.

Scarlet—You are a femme fatale. You enjoy things like dark lipstick, cute skirts, and danger.

Tristan—You’re mysterious, brooding, and kind of rude but it doesn’t matter because you’re also extremely tall.

River—You are lonely and misunderstood and you like the Smiths.

Josh—You are the attractive, emotionally void jock who plays twelve sports and is probably only dating the protagonist on a dare.

Ben—You are someone’s little brother. This means you are either comic relief, or you are marked for an early death.

Will—You have a great destiny in store for you.

Sophie—You are someone’s little sister, and you are very naive.

Skylar—You read old books for fun and you never go to parties, which people find incredibly charming.

Luna—You live in a town full of supernatural creatures, and you are the only female werewolf.

Finn—You are a love interest, but not the main love interest. Most likely you’ll ask the protagonist to homecoming, but she’ll go with Noah or Josh instead.