Compelling literary characters usually have a few things in common: they're complex, they're flawed, they inspire sympathy or loathing or even a flash of unsettling recognition. Oh, and one other thing: sometimes, they're stone dead.
From ghostly protagonists to long-dead foils, literature is full of characters whose lives are over before the story even begins - and whom, though we never actually have the pleasure of meeting them, capture our imaginations through flashback, memory, or post-humous narration. The upshot: some of the best books are the ones featuring characters who spend most or all of their stories having shuffled off this mortal coil, but who live on -- be it literally or metaphorically -- in the turning of the pages. Here are a few, many recent and most targeted at young adults, that stand above the rest: