There are numerous characteristics that distinguish a truly exciting book that leaves its readers on the edge of their seats from a less appealing one that makes readers fall asleep reading it. As an active reader, especially during the summer, I love it when I’m reading a book that keeps me engaged to the point where I find myself staying up until 2am in the morning simply because I cannot set the book down. Recently, I’ve begun to ponder the following question – what truly makes a book a page turner?
By “page turner” I am referring to those books that are so thrilling to read that readers find it nearly impossible to simply stop once they reach the end of a chapter because they have to find out what happens next. The key component that I believe contributes to categorizing a book as a page turner is the relatable, dynamic characters.
Well-developed characters are one of the main reasons I fall in love with reading books. When I read a great book I find it easy to develop connections with the characters. Page after page I become more involved with each of the characters’ lives and personalities. I learn which characters I like and which characters I don’t. This intriguing, life-like quality of a book is what keeps me engaged and wanting to constantly learn more about the characters. I find it easy to build imaginary relationships with the characters, especially when they have qualities I can relate to.
Sometimes I see qualities of myself in various characters and this allows me to sympathize with them. Other times I see qualities of some of my closest friends in the characters. Relating the characters within the book to myself and my own friends makes the reading experience even more exciting and real. Sometimes I catch myself wondering what I would do if placed in the characters’ shoes. When the author crafts characters that are inherently real, it makes it easier to become immersed in their lives. I find it amusing to consider this imaginary, one-sided relationship between reader and character. We, as readers, get to learn so much about the characters to the point where we can imagine what it would be like to be a part of their lives, even though the characters will never know about the readers! I applaud to all those incredible authors, who develop such rich and phenomenal characters that keep me engaged.
Sometimes I become so attached to the characters that I find it disappointing when I’m reaching the end of the novel and there are only a few pages left to turn. I feel as though I’ve gone on such an incredible journey with the characters and it’s almost as if my exciting relationship with the characters is coming to an end. Luckily the disappointment of finishing an enticing novel is only fleeting. Because once I begin to read another fascinating book I have the opportunity to engage in new characters and their experiences; finishing a great book allows me the chance to start reading an even more exciting book! I’ve realized that reading is like a never-ending cycle: one page leads to another, one book leads to the second in a series, the second leads to the third, and one series leads to a whole new series and so on and so forth. The fun never has to stop, not even when you turn over the last page.
-Nedda Bozorgmehri, currently reading The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han