Young Adult

Books Where Characters Confront Their Fears

Books Where Characters Confront Their Fears

We’re in the month of Halloween, and the major theme of the month is scary. Those things that cause fear in people, like clowns, monsters, Slender Man, and Psycho Slasher Chainsaw Guy from Hell. To fit the theme of the month, I’m listing four books where characters confront their fears. Confronting fears can take many forms, so I’m focusing on the more literal meaning.

Note: Since I am getting into more specific details of the books below, there will be spoilers.

Divergent by Veronica Roth


The world of Divergent is divided into five factions. One of them, the Dauntless, routinely perform stunts and acts that are life-threatening, meaning they have a strong dose of bravery or recklessness. Toward the end of Dauntless training for Tris, she and her peers are quite literally forced to face their fears. At first, they have to go through simulations to discover their fears and to try to fight their way through them. Tris has to work especially hard to learn to tackle them in a non-Divergent way. Later one of her fears is brought to life. By the end, she earns herself a nickname for her fears.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

This is an obvious one to put on the list, if you’ve read the book or watched the movie, because one of the biggest conflicts is between Harry and the Dementors (evil creatures who suck out all happiness and your soul, if you don’t know). Harry learns very quickly in the third book that he is more afraid of Dementors than of Voldemort, and a Dementor is the form of his Boggart (creatures who defend themselves by transforming into your worst fear). He uses that Boggart to learn a spell to ward off Dementors, and later he is able to use the spell against real Dementors. This is hardly the only book in the series that includes Boggarts or facing fears, but this one takes it very literally.

Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done by Andrea Gonzales & Sophie Houser

Girl Code by Andrea Gonzales & Sophie Houser

This is actually a memoir of two amazing teen girls who created a video game at summer camp. Sophie is the one who had stage-fright. She works through this fear of speaking in front of people by presenting her project and joining a group to help her overcome her fear.

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

Saints and Misfits by SK Ali

Janna Yusuf is Muslim teen girl who has a crush on a boy in school, has been making a graphic novel for years, and is trying to deal with the changing dynamics at home. She was sexually assaulted by a guy who is thought highly of in her mosque and who is a relative of one of her closest friends. She is understandably afraid of her attacker and her family and friend’s reactions to his conduct. As she is forced to be near him, she does receive some confidence boost from her friends and a rescue from one that helps her face him. Then she has to face others’ reactions to what happened.


Which book characters have you read about who face their fear(s)? It can be in any way that one can face their fear.


8 thoughts on “Books Where Characters Confront Their Fears

  1. I think this is a brilliant topic to discuss. I think August from the Wonder might fall in this category, given that he goes to school inspite of his fear of acceptance.

    And I can’t think of a list that doesn’t have at least one of the Harry Potter books in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never really known what happened in Lord of the Rings, but this is the first time I’ve heard about the characters facing their own fears. That’s concrete enough to make me want to read the book or watch the movie. Thank you for that insight.


      1. You’re welcome! I’m happy to hear that (LotR is my favourite thing). The main storyline involves Frodo having to leave the Shire in order to save it. He fears losing the Shire, but in order to save it, he has to leave it. This is a bit of a simplification, but now I am thinking I should write something about the different ways different characters face their fears in LotR…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. I’m very interested in the topic of facing fears–not just emotional ones but physical such as fear of heights (like me) or fear of water. In my October blogpost I asked readers: What would you do if you weren’t’ afraid? A book that comes to mind is Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

    Liked by 1 person

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