characters as chinese zodiacs | book recommendations

by - 9:00 AM


Hello everyone! In honor of Lunar New Year coming up on February 12th, I wanted to share some book recommendations based off of the Chinese zodiac. I'm honestly so excited for LNY because it's my first time in four years getting to celebrate with my family after being away at college and I'm ready for all the yummy food (and red envelopes of course). This is also the first year where, since I'm working full time, I can give out red envelopes which just makes me feel like I've unlocked some special level of adulthood.

I tried to choose books where the characters displayed certain traits of each zodiac animal and referenced this website if you're interested in finding out and learning more about your own zodiac!

RAT (鼠) - adaptable, cautious, can be impulsive but has good self-control
the bone witch by rin chupeco
I promise that it was not my intention to start this list with The Bone Witch but the minute I read the description "can be impulsive but has good self-control" I thought of Tea. She experiences and discovers so much throughout the trilogy that forces her to be incredibly adaptable to her surroundings and despite impulsively raising her brother from the dead, she learns to control her bone witch abilities as her story unfolds.

OX (牛) - diligent, endurance in work, stubborn and can struggle with communication
the poppy war by r.f. kuang
I feel like a bunch of characters can really work for the OX as they are all incredibly diligent and show great endurance throughout the trilogy. For the stubbornness and difficulties with communication, that could definitely be narrowed down to Nezha and Rin mostly following the events of The Dragon Republic

TIGER (虎) - natural leadership, independent, can be impatient, faithful
the wolf of oren-yaro by k.s. villoso
Queen Talyien is the definition of someone who is dedicated to her country, her legacy, and her family. The first two books follow her essentially trying to do what she believes is best for Jin-Sayeng and while some of her decisions may be questionable, she is still such a powerhouse as a queen in adult fantasy.

RABBIT (兔)- smart moderator, loyal, strong sense of responsibility
counting down by with by tashie bhuiyan
I haven't read this yet, but I do have an ARC and plan on getting to it this month. However, just by reading the synopsis, Karina sounds like someone who is extremely dedicated to her family and I think the events that unfold within the story will reveal more of her personality and strengthen her loyalty to those she loves.

DRAGON (龍) - ambitious dreamers, can be unapproachable
these violent delights by chloe gong
Ambition + Dreams = Juliette Cai and Roma Montagov. I'm half-way through this book and am already bursting with emotions for these characters. They are just crafted in a way that offers so much conversation about the balance between tradition and change. The unapproachable part is mostly tacked on because I would be so in awe of Juliette that I could never approach her in real life.

SNAKE (蛇) - idealists, eloquent and social, life of luxury
anna k by jenny lee
Anna K is YA luxury in a book. There are decadent parties, overindulging in the vices, and of course, all the scandals. The characters come from lives of extreme wealth and I think have a bit of idealist in them - they're also trained to be incredibly aware of societal trends/gossip which is very snake-like  in my opinion.

HORSE (馬) - sociable, self-expressive, independent
i'll be the one by lyla lee
Skye is vibrant, talented, and truly an icon. I could not stop smiling when reading I'll Be the One and I think her personality goes really well with that of the HORSE. She learns to love herself and her passions even more through the story and takes on the incredibly toxic K-pop industry with so much body positivity and genuine nature.

SHEEP (羊) - hard-working, well-dressed, sympathetic
spin the dawn by elizabeth lim
Well-dressed = Maia and that's the truth, though to expand, she is also hard-working personified. To save her family's business, she dresses as her brother and enters a competition to become the emperor's tailor only to go on a life-altering journey to make three mythical dresses. 

MONKEY (猴) - intelligent, curious, love for adventure
warcross by marie lu
I would say that Emiko corresponds pretty well to the MONKEY because very few people can hack into the world's most elite virtual tournament. Her skills combined with Hideo's unrefusable offer takes her on an adventure uncovering more secrets about Warcross and its founder.


ROOSTER (雞) - warm personality, sociable
to all the boys i've loved before by jenny han
I could not not put this book somewhere on the list so ROOSTER it is. Admittedly, I've only read the first book because I ~struggle~ to read YA contemporaries, but I already know that Lara Jean has the warmest personality ever. Only someone like a ROOSTER would write love letters to forget their crushes and maybe I'm projecting based on the movie but Lana Condor also just feels very sociable to me.

DOG (狗) - helpful, cautious, introverted but sincere
starfish by akemi dawn bowman
Kiko is an incredibly talented artist and her sincerity shines through with her art. Her journey to accepting her talents and finding her worth outside of her toxic mother is one of the most beautiful coming of age stories I've ever read.

PIG (豬) - clever, out-going, warm-hearted
the gilded wolves by roshani chokshi
Doesn't "clever, out-going, and warm-hearted" not remind you of basically the entire gang in The Gilded Wolves? Each member takes their strengths and passions and together they work to restore and reclaim Severin's heritage (amongst other things). This is also a little shameful call out that I have not yet finished The Silvered Serpents because I'm too scared to watch one of my favorite groups unravel  😭.


I tried to specifically include authors of Asian descent, but I'm sure I've missed a bunch of really good comps! 

What is your Chinese Zodiac and which bookish character would you pair with your animal?

You May Also Like


  1. Happy Lunar New Year to you and your family, Riv! I am in the year of the rabbit, a great animal in my opinion :D

    1. Thank you Emily! Yes yes, the rabbit is pretty great 💕

  2. I love this post so much! <33 I'm a tiger haha. I hope you'll have a lovely Lunar New Year!

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

    1. Thank you! Ahh, all my best friends are tigers so I can say with confidence that all tigers are pretty great! 💕

  3. I adore this list. So many of these books are on my immediate tbr pile, and more have since been added to it. I'm in the year of the dog and Starfish sounds like a lovely read. Hope you have a lovely Lunar New Year.

    1. Thank you! Starfish is amazing and when you pick it up definitely share with me your thoughts! People born in the year of the dog are absolute gems as well! 💕