January, February, March, April, May, June, July...
January 18, 2021 11:02 AM   Subscribe

Help me compile a list on quality books with protagonists named after each month of the year. Last year I enjoyed reading The Ten Thousand Doors of January , which stars a girl named January. I also recently picked up The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, starring a girl named September. The question is: can I find a (good) book for every month of the year...?

I found this list, but it doesn't tell you which months are which without clicking through, and some seem to be missing, although I won't swear I clicked on every link. (February, anyone?) Also, more importantly, these are mostly romances, and I have more of a sci-fi/fantasy bent.

My rules: (1) The main character (or one of them, if there are several) should have a first name that is a month name in English (sorry, Jo March). Gender is not important. (2) Sci-fi/fantasy preferred, YA is okay (I think both of the above are?) but the book must be "good". I want books that you would recommend on their own merits, rather than "that one book that had a girl name July in it, but was pretty terrible..."

(Post title should be sung to the tune of this zoom kindergarten earworm.)
posted by puffyn to Writing & Language (24 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
If you'll accept Augustus, there's The Fault in Our Stars.

For June, Legend is sci-fi YA, super fun.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 11:07 AM on January 18, 2021

There's the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. It's mainly urban fantasy with the fae.

(Also aside from the lead, there are other characters named after months too.)
posted by junques at 11:15 AM on January 18, 2021 [10 favorites]

February's Road is a great children's/YA book.
posted by bricoleur at 11:18 AM on January 18, 2021

The Sisters by Robert Littell (two t's, two l's ) has a man called Thursday, who plays a long thread through the novel. Sisters is also a great read, I've reread it eight or ten times; a lot of details, twists and turns.
posted by unearthed at 11:49 AM on January 18, 2021

If you accept last names: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. It's an amazing book.
posted by sacrifix at 11:59 AM on January 18, 2021

Wonder - main character is August.
posted by Sassyfras at 12:09 PM on January 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

Becoming Human by Valerie Freireich (August). https://books.google.com/books/about/Becoming_Human.html?id=zlQAAAAACAAJ&source=kp_book_description

I recommend adding ‘The Man Who Was Thursday’ which is definitely in the spirit of this adventure.
posted by bq at 12:31 PM on January 18, 2021

TV Tropes has a few suggestions.
posted by ejs at 12:37 PM on January 18, 2021

Also on last names - in Little Women, the main family's last name is March.
posted by hepta at 12:41 PM on January 18, 2021

Not a book, and not finished either, so probably not an answer. But since you might enjoy it anyway: No Rest For the Wicked is a surprisingly good, if unfortunately probably permanently incomplete, webcomic that I enjoyed reading despite having no interest in the protagonist's name (November). It's an atmospheric fractured fairytale-type story drawn in a shoujo-ish style. I don't remember there being any romance.
posted by trig at 12:46 PM on January 18, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks, these are great so far! Keep 'em coming...

I would be happy to start a parallel list for days of the week (but Heinlein's Friday may not apply, that book was awful).

No last names, please. Though I might check out the Harry August book separately.
posted by puffyn at 12:49 PM on January 18, 2021

Best answer: In terms of good books, I can vouch for October Daye and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland. I haven't read it but January is a protagonist in Chaucer's The Merchant's Tale.

Catherynne Valente also has a protagonist named November in Palimpsest, which wasn't my favorite of hers but was still good. Also, my opinion is probably influenced by making the mistake of having it as my "on the go, read a few pages here and there" book when it's really one that should be pored over and digested.

If you go to the Common Knowledge page on LibraryThing and use the search box on the LEFT (not the top), and select People/Characters from the dropdown, it'll generate works with a character that has that name. It doesn't differentiate first and last, but it puts the full name on the search page so it's easy to see at a glance if it'll fit. You'd have to check whether they're the protagonist or not, but I assume that should be obvious from the book description.
posted by brook horse at 1:08 PM on January 18, 2021

April May is the central protagonist of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing and the sequel A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor, by Hank Green.
posted by yuwtze at 1:56 PM on January 18, 2021

The Other Half of Augusta Hope. The main character is Augusta (obviously) and her sister Julia, named after the months. The names aren't perfect months, but it's a great book.
posted by kjs4 at 2:21 PM on January 18, 2021

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June by Robin Benway is a YA book about sisters with powers. Enjoyable, quick read that covers three months!
posted by wsquared at 5:18 PM on January 18, 2021

"Friday's Tunnel", by John Verney
The protagonist is February Callendar, her mother is January Callendar, Friday is her brother, Augustus is her father
posted by librosegretti at 6:46 PM on January 18, 2021

In the 7th book of the "Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators" mystery series for kids, The Mystery of the Fiery Eye, Mr. Hitchcock introduces the Investigators to August August, an English boy who will inherit a rare treasure from his late uncle if only he can find it. His uncle's riddle-filled will has clues about the history of the calendar and a collection of plaster busts of famous people.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 6:53 PM on January 18, 2021

Ready, Okay! by Adam Cadre is YA / general fiction and includes a family in which each child is named after a different month. September is a major supporting character, though not the protagonist. Several of her siblings, including April, January, and August, have bit parts.
posted by phoenixy at 8:43 PM on January 18, 2021

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia is a fantastic book that works for your day of the week list
posted by azalea_chant at 8:56 PM on January 18, 2021

For the Days of the Week List: Thursday Next is the protagonist in a series of comic fantasy, alternate history mystery novels by the British author Jasper Fforde. She was first introduced in Fforde's first published novel, The Eyre Affair. (There’s also her mother, Wednesday Next and later on her son, Friday). The books are great fun.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:59 PM on January 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

I can't remember if Saul Bellow's Augie March is August or Augustus.
posted by Jasper Fnorde at 10:43 AM on January 19, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! Here's the calendar reading list so far, if anyone needs a hobby for the new year.

January: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
February: February's Road by John Verney
March: The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian
April: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
May: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June by Robin Benway
June: Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu
July: Double Trouble Squared by Kathryn Lasky
August: Becoming Human by Valerie J. Freireich
September: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
October: Rosemary and Rue (October Daye #1) by Seanan McGuire
November: November in Salem: The Bargain of Witches by L.C. Russell
December: TBD

Some of the months were tough (thank you brook horse for your surprisingly slow but useful link). I don't have a first-name December candidate yet (though I highly recommend Zoo City, starring Zinzi December, by Lauren Beukes). I'm letting May have the April/May/June book since you came up with other interesting finds for April and June. I'm also open to other Novembers. ("No Rest For the Wicked" would be perfect were it published and finished, but alas.) Finally, the July book is a little younger than I was looking for, but man, would 8-year-old me have eaten up a series about two sets of telepathic twins, so it stays unless y'all find something awesome...

The days of the week list is only half completed; perhaps it should get its own ask (though it would require more dedication/fewer children than I have to actually read a book a day for a week):

Tuesday: Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia
Thursday: The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next #1) by Jasper Fforde
Friday: Friday's Tunnel by John Verney

Honorable mention for apparently having characters for all seven days: The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare by G.K. Chesterton
posted by puffyn at 2:38 PM on January 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

Highly recommend Thursday Next! Not the protagonist, but Mr. Wednesday is a major character in Neil Gaiman's American Gods, which is also quite good.

This list my be helpful too.
posted by brook horse at 8:01 PM on January 19, 2021

The Secret Life of Bees has main characters named August, May, and June.
posted by rip at 4:21 PM on January 20, 2021

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