When it comes to favourite characters, there seems to be a specific brand of character that attach themselves most firmly to our hearts, be it because we identify with them more, we like their personalities, we think they’re funny, or we just love them inexplicably. Those characters are, of course, oddballs – the misfits, weirdos, and offbeat people that populate some of our favourite stories. And what better way to honour those characters than with a big list?
Frank from Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson
Frank is a nine-year-old boy, the son of a famous writer who is trying to write a new book, and the charge of the book’s protagonist. He is a handful, but you just can’t help but fall in love with him precisely because he’s so eccentric. He wears pretty much exclusively coattails and a top hat, he is far smarter than a nine-year-old has any right to be, and he has a passion for old movies (the dialogue of which he tends to rattle off while said movies are playing). He has no friends, because he doesn’t fit in with the other fourth-graders, but reading this book makes you want to somehow tell him that you will be his friend, and where can we put in our application?
Professor Andrew Martin, alien from The Humans by Matt Haig
Andrew Martin is unique in that he is literally an alien, come to Earth from another planet to complete a task assigned to him from his home world. Initially, he wants to finish it up as soon as possible, because he is disgusted by everything about humans, but after spending some time as Professor Andrew Martin, he starts to warm up to the people around him and to the life Andrew Martin leads. Seeing the world of humans through the Professor’s eyes is an experience both comedic and oddly touching, and you can’t help but become fond of this curious alien through his exploits.
Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables is, of course, a kindred spirit. She shakes up Matthew and Marilla’s entire world when she first mistakenly arrives at Green Gables, but it isn’t long before she works her way into their lives – and their hearts (along with our hearts!). She is a relentless optimist who loves to see the beauty and fantasy in everyday life – but when she does get upset, she is a real force of nature. She’s the top of her class in school and an avid writer of stories, and endears the citizens of Avonlea to her through both good deeds and clumsy mishaps. There are eight books in the Anne of Green Gables series, and honestly, it feels like that isn’t enough to get our fill of Anne Shirley!
Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
It’s just a fact that Count Olaf is a total freak, but honestly, that’s what we love about him. He is an undeniably horrible guy, but man, does he go the distance to try and get what he wants! He is ostensibly after the Baudelaire fortune, but it seems to us that he just loves trying to ruin the lives of the three Baudelaire children. Throughout the series, he elaborately dresses up as countless different people, writes a play designed to try and actually wed himself to Violet Baudelaire, and murders a bunch of people in wild schemes of his own design. To top it off, he is hilarious, dropping witty lines in every scene he’s in, turning the worst of situations into something that makes us laugh (and then feel bad about it).
Darcy Barrett from 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Darcy is a romcom heroine like no other – she is super closed-off, snarky, and acts like a tough guy with a foul mouth. She has a heart condition that has made her hate all forms of pity and sympathy, and to evade commitment to literally anything, has a habit of jetting around the world, wherever her passport will take her. She has a ton of spunk and isn’t afraid to admit that she’s in love (and lust) with her twin brother’s best friend. To be honest, she’s kind of a hot mess, but that’s one of the reasons she’s on this list!
Literally Everyone and Everything in Night Vale from Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
Night Vale is a very singular town, full of paranormal happenings, government conspiracies, and aliens, which are all treated as a normal part of everyday life. And, to be honest, that’s just scratching the surface… This town is entirely populated by oddballs, and even the town itself can be counted in that tally, as it’s pretty much a character on its own – after all, what’s Welcome to Night Vale without, well, Night Vale? Here’s a place for strange people and things to congregate, and that’s what we love about it!
Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Catherine Morland might just be the weirdest and most relatable of Jane Austen’s heroines. I mean, really – she’s obsessed with reading wild stories, is basically a fangirl for all things Gothic, is socially awkward, the list goes on. She can barely tell the difference between an Ann Radcliffe novel and real life, seeing ghosts and murderers everywhere she goes, and it makes for some equally funny and cringey moments throughout the book. She’s so busy trying to puzzle out the story of a heinous crime that never happened to even see what’s in front of her – namely, a gorgeous man falling in love with her.
Stevie Bell from Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Stevie is a misfit of her own admission, lacking many close friends and even at a distance from her family. Her interests are singular, and she’s very passionate about them – she is all about crime, and is out to solve a kidnapping and possible murder committed by Truly Devious at a school for one-of-kind people like herself. She’s a bit awkward and unsure of herself in social settings, and is affected by an anxiety disorder she’s trying hard to beat. But she also knows herself and is confident in the things she knows best (things that all tie back to detective work, of course). We love to watch her work through actual mysteries, as well as the mysteries of navigating high school.
The Beings from Strange Planet by Nathan W. Pyle
The aliens populating Nathan Pyle’s Strange Planet comics shine a new light on all the things that we take for granted as totally normal things, and make us step back and laugh at how odd some of those things seem out of context. These little beings are a total delight that never fail to bring a smile to our faces!
Jo March from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
We would be remiss not to include Jo March in this list! She is a girl in Civil War-era America who refuses to be held back by the constraints of women in her time – how can we not love her? She hates the thought of boys (excepting only Laurie) and marriage vehemently, wishes she could join the war effort with her father, desperately fears losing any part of her family, and spends all her spare time writing down stories. She knows her own mind, even though it’s not what society expects or wants, and she does everything she can to stand by what she believes in and follow her heart. There’s simply no one else like her!
Who are some other literary oddballs that you love (or love to hate, in the case of Count Olaf)? Let us know in the comments or on our Twitter @SavvyReader!
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