7 Heartbreaking YA Books in Which the Main Character Dies at the Beginning

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One of the first lessons we’re taught in elementary school reading or writing classes is that the main character can’t die until the end of the story; otherwise, how could they be the main character? But it seems like the new trend in YA fiction is to fight that norm (hey, rules are meant to be broken, right?) and kill off the central character at the beginning — which is really effing sad, but has lead to the creation of some of our favorite novels and a creative exploration of certain topics that are typically really difficult to talk about, like rape, depression and suicide.

Who would have thought that a post talking about major characters dying could be *spoiler-free* but this one is… So, scroll down to see the seven rule-breaking books that kill off the lead character at the start of the narrative: