Book List

Unique Names in YA and Their Meanings

August 24, 2017
Jess Harold
Riveted Editorial Board

One thing every new author and parent have in common is the knowledge that picking a name is nearly impossible. The pressure of picking that one perfect name that will distinguish them from every other person/character is intense. After all, every little fact about a name can (and probably will) be analyzed—where it comes from, how it makes them stand out, is it meant to help them blend in, etc. YA in particular, tends to skew towards having characters with very memorable and easily distinguishable names. After all, imagine trying to keep all of your favorite books and series straight if you’ve got 10 Hermiones, 6 Peetas, and a couple of Renesmees.

Here are some of the best names I’ve recently heard, but there’s always room for suggestions! If I missed your favorite unique YA character name, let me know in the comments!

Audra – Let the Sky Fall


Audra is the Lithuanian word for “storm.” As Vane’s guardian and possible love interest, she definitely lives up to her name. She’s a total badass and thinks quickly on her feet. This book is a free read until 8/28, so check it out now to get inspired!


Magnus – The Shadowhunters novels

(The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, The Dark Artifices, The Bane Chronicles)

TBC_coverthe bane chronicles

Magnus is great, literally—that is what the name translates to from Latin. About six Norweigan and three Swedish kings were given the name, and with good reason. It’s truly memorable!


Citra & Rowan- Scythe


Pronounced CHEET-rah (I was surprised too!), this name comes from the Indonesian word for “image,” which allows for so many interpretations. Citra is a strong-willed heroine who must make life and death decisions in a world without disease and war.

In Gaelic culture, Rowan was given to red-haired boys. This is also the name of Citra’s fellow apprentice who has a very different way of dealing with the difficult rules of being a Scythe. But, P.S., I love how this has become more gender neutral name in our time.


Tash – Tash Hearts Tolstoy

Tash Hearts Tolstoy

Natasha is a popular name in the US—in part thanks to Tolstoy himself—but until this book, I’d never heard it abbreviated to Tash before. I think it’s the perfect modern twist for this name!

Zephyr – The Girl Who Fell


If you paid attention during your Greek mythology class, you’ll know that Zephyr was the god of the west winds. In The Girl Who Fell, Zephyr is a girl who learns to take her life into her own hands after realizing she’s in an abusive relationship, making her a great namesake to inspire a feminist daughter. And if you want to fancy it up, use the French interpretation, Zéphyrine!


Noah – The Mara Dyer series/ The Shaw Confessions


With the power to heal, Noah Shaw definitely lives up to the Hebrew translation: rest, comfort.


Adrienne – Tell Me Something Real

Tell Me Something Real

Derived from the Latin name Hadrian, or “of the Adriatic Sea,” Adrienne also means “the dark one.” Known as the prettiest and loudest Babcock sister, Adrienne is a strong and supportive woman in a family facing a huge loss.

I think it’s worth noting that the author, Calla (a type of lily), has a beautiful name, too 🙂


Esta – The Last Magician


While the name Esta either comes from the Babylonian goddess of love, war, and fertility, or simply the Persian word for “star,” it’s very well suited for the heroine of this awesome time-traveling urban fantasy.


We’re sorry, you are not eligible to register for this site.
Return to home page.