This week The Broke and the Bookish are talking about our favorite characters who ______ (fill in the blank). I chose to talk about my favorite characters who are underdogs. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an underdog is:
: a person, team, etc., that is expected to lose a contest or battle
: a less powerful person or thing that struggles against a more powerful person or thing (such as a corporation)
The underdog is at a disadvantage, often coming from a position of inferiority or adversity. Sometimes they are known as the loveable losers. I love a rousing underdog story. Here are some of my favorites:
1. Doug Swieteck from Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt. Doug is good kid who just can’t catch a break. He is bullied at home and unjustly labelled at school. He is full of potential, but is trapped in a horrible situation. I love Doug and his birds forever and ever.
2. Ed Kennedy from I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. Poor Ed is definitely a loveable loser. He is hopelessly in love with his best friend. His constant companion is a stinky dog called the Doorman. He is stuck in a rut at the tender age of 19, until he foils a bank robbery and begins receiving mysterious messages.
3. Jacky Faber from Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer. Jacky has it rough! She’s an orphaned street urchin who longs for a better life. She is tough and resourceful, making her one of my all-time favorite underdogs! This girl has a knack for finding and escaping trouble.
4. Ryan Dean West from Winger by Andrew Smith. Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year old junior at a fancy boarding school. His roommate is the school bully, he’s the smallest kid on the rugby team, and he is also hopelessly in love with his best friend. Ryan Dean is a total misfit who just wants to belong. He had me in stitches and in tears. I love this kid!
5. Deryn Sharp from Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. Deryn is a brilliant airman in the British Air Service. Deryn has a huge secret. Deryn is a girl!
6. The Princes Charming from The Hero’s Guide series by Christopher Healy. Want to know the real Prince Charming? His name is Liam. And Frederic. And Gustav. And Duncan. These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively. How they managed these heroics is a mystery because this League of Princes is full of bumbling goofballs!
7. Will from The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan. Will is too small to pursue his dream of being a knight, but he soon discovers his small stature is an asset to a king’s Ranger. People often underestimate Will and his little horse, Tug. It is a mistake they never make twice. I love this unlikely hero.
8. Josie from Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. Poor Josie is the daughter of a prostitute. She has dreams of college and a better life, far from New Orleans. Unfortunately, she faces adversity at every turn.
9. David from Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. David is the very definition of underdog. He is a mere mortal going up against super villains who have superhuman powers.
10. Amber Appleton from Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick. Amber, despite being homeless, is a self-proclaimed optimist, but even her special brand of optimism might not be enough to save her from the tragedy that awaits her. I don’t know why this book isn’t more popular! It is such a feel-good story!