TeenLit: Uncool Suggests Not Being “In” Can Be Far Out
What would be worse, suffering through clothing, foods, shows, and people that you don’t like, or not being part of the “in crowd”? In a book specifically for teenage girls, Uncool: A Girl’s Guide to Misfitting In, author Erin Elisabeth Conley (in yet another book I wish the teenage me had) discusses the negative aspects of being “in” and the fantastic benefits of being one’s self.
Sure, being a “misfit” has its disadvantages, but Conley points out that it’s all a matter of outlook. Things that make one girl feel like an oddball make another girl feel free and distinctive. While being the least popular kid in school is a drag, being the most popular has its downside, too. For example, when on top, there’s nowhere to go but down (mean girls, take note).
Uncool teaches girls to value themselves and disregard cliques—be friends with whomever they want to have as friends. It encourages creativity in self-expression, dress, and lifestyle, and—most importantly—self acceptance. As easy as it is to be swept up in fads and fashions, Conley explains how much easier it is to be the person you are.
Additionally, Uncool contains advice on finding one’s own style and quotes from teenage girls who share their feelings about what’s cool and what’s not. There are fun sections, like “Penalties for Jocks and Jerks” (bullies should be “compelled to punch [themselves] in the face every hour, on the hour”), lists of books, movies, and songs for “outsiders,” and a variety of creative activities including plans for a party at which no one should try to be cool.
With all the difficulties teenagers face, it’s nice to find a guide that helps put things in perspective. Uncool does so with both humor and sensitivity.