I've been reading a lot of YA novels lately. With few exceptions, they mostly center around a sixteen-ish year-old girl. She's smart but a bit awkward. Not drop dead gorgeous. She's just moved to a new city or school, or she's a fish-out-of-water for other reasons. She's got inner strength, that may manifest itself by standing up to someone, punching someone, or simply learning something important about herself. The most interesting thing about this girl is that she's not a conformist. She's unique. She either tries exceptionally hard to stand out or that quality is innate in her character. Usually, she's pretty dang cool.
My favorite example: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
I would recommend this book to any YA lover. Young and old. I wish I would've read something like this while in high school--had it as a How-To handbook, in fact. Back then, I was way too concerned with fitting in completely. Never would I consider showing up to school toting a ukulele. But Stargirl Caraway does. And with such unabashed, unique style.
"She was illusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to a corkboard like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew."
"People are afraid of people who are different. That's what prisons and mental hospitals are for."
"Nothing's more fun than being carried away."
Fly your unique, freak flag, all you Stargirls out there!