One of the things that I've found alternately surprising, irritating, confusing, and flattering is that readers have compared my protagonist with Holden Caulfield. Most of the time they seem to mean it in a good way (although someone once said that the first line of my manuscript is "too Holden Caulfield" because I used the words "damned annoying" as a descriptor). Here is an example of what I'll often hear from someone reading my work for the first time: Wow! Such a compelling/authentic/whatever voice! Reminds me of a combination of Holden Caulfield and [someone else]. Which is cool. I mean, it is. One of the compliments I received in years past is that my writing is "Salinger-esque." That was over five years ago and, as you can see, I haven't forgotten it. But I do have to say, it irks a little when I see current works getting the Holden comparisons all over the place. Like a cover blurb for LOOKING FOR ALASKA: "The spirit of Holden Caulfield lives on!"
I think I remember reading somewhere that John Green takes that as one of the best compliments of his work. And it is a compliment! But it strikes me as odd that male characters who are young, introspective, and slightly sarcastic are labeled as The Next Holden Caulfield. A CATCHER IN THE RYE was published over sixty years ago! Surely if one has to make a comparison there is something else out there! Or... not?
Are there any female characters who stand out like this, of whom all other young, introspective, and slightly sarcastic teenage girl characters are supposedly reminiscent?
Try as I might, I can't think of any right now. "The Next Jessica Darling" maybe? (But JD is way too current to even be a good comparison to HC!) Or is Jessica Darling just the "The Female Holden Caulfield?"