Raise your hand if, in almost every social situation, you end up being the awkward one who doesn't particularly enjoy small talk, and finds making friends to be a tricky process. You might spend a lot of time on Tumblr, and feel most comfortable with your nose deep in a book. You relate best to the underdogs, and never know what to do when you develop a crush.
You may feel alone, but trust me: You're a part of a very large group of similar people. It's hard to see, because everyone that's like you is just as awkward, and we're all trying to hide in the shadows. And as a fellow awkward soul, I hope you'll accept this virtual *hug* and know that it will get better. But it'll probably be a super-awkward process! HOORAY.
These traits we awkward people carry shine brightest when we're put into new situations, like starting college or a new job. Embracing the awkwardness within you is hard when everyone around you seems to be the complete opposite. They're all outgoing! And socially skilled with large groups of friends trailing behind them! But it's not true, I promise! Not everyone is as socially confident as they all seem. And to remind you of that, I put together a list of books with main characters that'll help you feel less alone in this strange, non-awkward world:
Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
With no one else to go to, Astrid Jones confides her secrets and questions in the strangers within the airplanes that pass overhead. They're the only ones who won't judge her for wondering what it means that she's falling in love with another girl. This book faces the difficulties of finding identity as an outsider within a small, judgmental town. If you've ever felt like you didn't have anyone to go to, Ask the Passengers is a story you'll keep close to your heart.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Theodore Finch is the school freak who spends most of his time thinking about death. Violet Markey was a popular girl until her sister's sudden death changes her perception on life. When they meet on the bell tower, six stories up from the ground, both of their lives dramatically change. All the Bright Places reveals the masks young adults wear and the reputations they're given that end up being hard to shake off. This gives a whole new definition to the story of two people meeting at the right time.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Curious Incident is not a book about asperger's ... if anything it's a novel about difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a surprising and revealing way. The book is not specifically about any specific disorder" —Mark Haddon
15-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone discovers his neighbor's poodle dead and decides to try and solve the mystery himself. As he uncovers more of the mystery, he reveals more about himself, his family, and the difficulties that he faces as an autistic young man. This one hurts, I can honestly say that, but it's also an important book to read for anyone who has struggled to fit in.
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
This classic tackles the cliques issue nearly everyone faces, no matter what stage of life you're in. For Ponyboy, he thought he had the best of friends and family he could trust, but one night changes everything and he begins to question his role within his group. With the word outsiders as the title, you might want to put this one on your bookshelf immediately.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
Two boys both named Will Grayson randomly meet one night and begin the journey of self discovery and acceptance. As the reader follows two separate stories, she'll see two examples of the difficult transitions everyone goes through and the process of accepting the parts about you you may not always like. Plus, it's John Green and David Levithan — how can you not want to read it?!
The Catcher and the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Holden Caulfield is the original outsider who I believe is one of the most awkward main characters out there. There's a distinct line of people who love and hate this classic, but it's hard to argue against the fact that J.D. Salinger captures alienation perfectly in The Catcher and the Rye. Maybe he's a little whiny, sure, but after Holden is expelled from primary school, he sets out to reveal the "phonies," aka adults.
It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
Craig Gilner, an ambitious New York City teen, sees his acceptance to Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School as the key to a successful future. But Craig's smart mind turns out to be only average at his new school, and when an overwhelming amount of work is expected from him, he slowly slips into a deep depression. From there, he begins his search for happiness in a mental hospital. With an eccentric group of characters that are all outsiders in their own right, this book explores the many types of ways that being different is OK.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
If you've managed to get through life without reading Perks of Being a Wallflower, and haven't seen the film adaptation either, I recommend you change that ASAP. I read this my first year of college when I was feeling like a constant outsider, and my awkward personality was at an all time high. Not only is this about Charlie, a teenager trying to make friends and battle his traumatic past during his freshman year, but he's writing to you. You won't feel alone and afraid when you have Charlie's familiar greeting of "Dear friend" to help you through any lonely phase.