I recently read a wonderful and surprising book, Adorkable by Sara Manning. It was a story about an outcast and how she decided long ago that fitting in was less important than being oneself. The story was surprisingly touching and empowering, and it made me think that these are the kind of books that teen girls should be reading now. Books that inspire them to embrace their individuality without fear of being left out.
As I got older, I came to realize that it is much more important to be true to oneself than to follow a path forged by others. This was a lesson I began learning in childhood but it wasn't until I left school that it truly made sense. Hopefully my list of female role models will help you find your own way.
Adorkable by Sara Manning
Jeane, is an individual. Despite near constant shunning she forges her own path and creates something lasting and meaningful by channeling what makes her so special.
Love and Leftovers by Sara Tregay
This is not the first time I include this book on here, and it's sure not to be the last. This is a great story about friendship and shows that there is someone out there for everyone no matter how different you think you are.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
What can be said about Divergent that hasn't been said before. Tris is a hero to admire and one who learns to embrace her Divergence as the series goes on because as she comes to realize there is power in what makes us different.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Katniss. I'm quite sure nothing else needs to be said about her, but I will. The last book of the series may be the weakest but it shows that we can't be heroic all the time. Even our heroes loose hope and doubt themselves, but what makes them so special is how they come back from their dark places.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling's look back at her childhood is possibly my favorite part of the book. There is so much that is familiar and endearing about a little girl who realizes that her and her friends have grown apart and that's perfectly okay. But more importantly the real heart behind her book is realizing that her uniqueness is what makes her such an inspiring and interesting person today.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
This story speaks to the awkward teenager inside us, the one who would rather not say anything to the boy the like and instead find solace and friendship on the internet because in it's own way its so much safer than real life. If I could recommend only two current books to teenagers today it would be this and Adorkable.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
The ultimate misfit story. When I first read Matilda growing up, I wanted to be her. Despite everything she goes through in the course of the book: horrible parents, a tyrant for a teacher, being constantly criticized. She was my role model. Who wouldn't want to be a little girl who uses her wits to make her life better? I hope one day my kids are as spunky as she is.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Josephine March is what happens when Matilda grows up. Jo forges her own path in life and unlike Matilda does it with the support of her wonderful mother and sisters. Little Women is wonderful example of the different paths life can lead you on and each March sister can be admired in their own right. But Jo, really shows what one can accomplish with an independent mind and without a need to fit in.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
When I think of pressure to fit in and change who you are to play well with others, I always remember the scene where Caroline Bingley criticizes Lizzie for walking across the country and arriving in a mud stained dress. Elizabeth Bennet has always been a model for me of the kind of independent spirit one should have despite pressure from the outside world and she is the ultimate proof that no matter how much you go against the grain someone will admire you for being you.