Character Connection is a meme hosted by Jennifer of The Introverted Reader. The idea is simple, but fun: share your favorite characters! There really aren’t any rules, except to be careful not to give away any major plot twists. And be sure to mention the title and author, of course! Be as creative as you like! For more information, visit here!
I’ve learned, in just the short week since I started participating in this meme, that there are many characters that have stuck in my mind over the years… and that there are certain characters that will always have a soft spot for. Which brings me to Pete from Maureen Johnson’s THE KEY TO THE GOLDEN FIREBIRD.
I first read FIREBIRD as an arc waaaay back in 2003… I can tell you this because I still have that arc copy. It is beat up and falling apart, but I absolutely love it and refuse to lay it to rest because it was my first arc and was one of the books that was instrumental in reigniting my love affair with books. And with boys in books. 🙂
Maureen Johnson has been on my go-to author list since FIREBIRD. A big part of this is her characters, particularly the love interests. I have always been a sucker for red-headed boys (Ron Weasley, anyone?), so that alone scored Pete points. But Pete wasn’t only red-headed and adorable; he was funny, awkward, and slowly growing into the type of guy that girls daydream about. Heck, I was daydreaming about him.
I read FIREBIRD for the first time well before I learned to drive, but I read it a second time before I went to take my driving test a year or so later because one of my favorite scenes involves Pete teaching May to drive. That scene is filled with so much tension and emotion that I forgot to be nervous about taking my own test. So, I suppose that in a roundabout way, Pete helped me pass my driving test, which has earned him a special place in my heart. You can read parts of my favorite scene below.
My favorite Pete quote/scene (from arc):
“So, she’s not doing anything now? Is she working?”
“No,” May said. “She’s not doing anything. That’s why I’m wearing her underwear right now.”
Pete cocked an eyebrow.
“What, do you rotate?”
“Yeah.” May smirked. “It’s just something we like to do.”
“If I guess what color they are, can I see them?”
“Just forget I said it.”
“Give me one guess.”
“Can you tell me what I’m supposed to do?” May asked.
“Pull into spaces, back out. We’ll work on your turning angle.”
May’s turning angle was absurdly wide. She found herself heading into her space at a wild diagonal.
“So you don’t know why she quit?” Pete asked.
“I told you, I don’t know.”
“A little less to the left,” he said. “Here…”
As he leaned over to demonstrate, Pete snagged the waistband of her pants with one finger, pulling it down just enough to reveal the elastic of the famous underwear. Startled, May jerked away and in the process accidentally hit the gas. There was a great heaving under them. A grinding noise. And a heavy bump. May screamed and stopped the car.
It was still early when they pulled back up in front of the Gold house. The garage door was open. Palmer was probably practicing out back.
“Look,” Pete said, “we’re good, right? You’re going to try again?”
“I don’t know.”
“I shouldn’t do stuff like that,” he said. “It’s just… old habit. Sorry.”
He really did look sorry. And they were pretty much even since she did end up almost destroying his car.
“Fine,” May grumbled.
“Just tell me something.”
“Are you really wearing Brooks’s underwear?”
May nodded and opened her door to get out.
“It’s a little game we play,” she said. “Sometimes we make out, too. Good night, Camper.” (Pg 77-80)
There are many quotes and scenes that show the many facets of Pete and Pete & May’s relationship, but I feel that this is the scene that really made me fall for Pete’s character.
If you haven’t read FIREBIRD yet, I urge you to pick it up. It is one of my favorite novels, in part because of my emotional attachment to the book, but also because it is just plain amazing. I love Pete’s character, but May is one of my absolute favorite lead characters out of all the books I’ve read; I could even write a Character Connection dedicated to May’s character.
If you have read FIREBIRD, what do you think of Pete? If you haven’t, do you think FIREBIRD is a book you’d be interested in reading? Are you a fan of Johnson’s writing?