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Cute Bookworm

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A cute and brainy bibliophile, this trope embodies the cute, shy, and vulnerable archetype as applied to a nerdy girl. She wanders around with her head in a book and is ready to spout out facts at the drop of a hat. There's a tendency for her to be shy, young, quiet, and socially awkward. Occasionally this is highlighted by having her wear glasses, or have her bangs in her face to hide her eyes. She'll almost always be more conservatively dressed than most of the cast.

This trope tends to be female, but there are male examples, though they tend to be younger males, especially Adorably Precocious Children, or at least look like it. With regards to occupation, they might be a scientist, a librarian, a schoolgirl, a wizard, or something similar in nature.

May overlap with Badass Bookworm, Bespectacled Cutie, Lovable Nerd, Intelligence Equals Isolation, and Endearingly Dorky. Contrast Hot Librarian for an older, more authoritative version. Subtrope of Bookworm.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You has Shizuka, a pint-sized Cute Mute Shrinking Violet who spends most of her free time escaping into the world of books. Her favourite, 'Circlet Love Story', is so beloved that she has the text entirely memorised and uses it to communicate via a text-to-speech app. (Before Rentarou put together the app for her, she simply held up the book and pointed to whatever line she wanted to express.)
  • Bleach: Eighth squad lieutenant Nanao Ise wears glasses in her sleep, carries a book everywhere, scolds her Brilliant, but Lazy captain for slacking off, and in return, receives some "compliments" from him. Her ex-lieutenant and now member of the Visored, Risa Yadomaru, was a Hot Librarian when in their squad and used to read to young Nanao regularly. She's still a Meganekko, but is more often seen reading porn... er, josei manga now.
  • Dear Brother: Nanako Misonoo is a quiet and sweet-looking Yamato Nadeshiko in training, and has good enough grades to get into the very prestigious Seiran Academy. And then things get hard for her...
  • Fairy Tail: Levy, though she's more Genki Girl than shy. Lucy's also a bit of a bookworm.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Sheska/Sciezka. Memorized the whole library, wears glasses, and is cute as a button.
  • Hanako of Goodbye, My Rose Garden adores books and is often reduced to fits of delight when coming across any she hasn't read. Although she's often socially awkward and easily flustered, Hanako actually subverts the "shy" image of this trope, being more of a Plucky Girl.
  • Gourmet Girl Graffiti: Yuki Uchiki, the school librarian. While at 24 years old she may be a bit old for this trope, she fits otherwise—she has social anxiety so severe that she has to eat in her car and can't interview properly if the position has nothing to do with books.
  • Iino from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is never actually shown with a book (since her obsession with the rules means that she'd never have something that could distract her while performing her student council or public moral committee duties), but the fact that her bedroom is nothing but full bookshelves, a table, and a giant teddy bear implies that she spends a lot of her free time reading. Later chapters also establish that she's a fan of things like Harry Potter, self-insert web novels, and poetry, the last of which being how she eventually forms a Senpai/Kohai relationship with Shirogane.
  • Kämpfer: The library worker, Akane. Fits the trope in normal form, loses the glasses, and lets down her hair in alternate form (also goes a little gun-crazy).
  • Kokoro Library: Iina, Aruto, and Kokoro: Why be satisfied with one librarian? These sisters make this trope triple. Just too bad that there usually goes days between the customers of the titular library...
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • A male example with Yuuno Scrya. Head librarian of the Infinity Library but he grew up to be quite the bishie after the Time Skip.
    • We also have Nanoha's daughter, Vivio, who was already a title librarian of the Infinity Library at the age of nine.
  • Naruto: Shiho works in Konoha's cryptology department which is filled with books. She seems to be very attractive under her messy hair and thick glasses and has a major crush on Naruto's resident boy genius Shikamaru.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Nodoka Miyazaki is extremely bookish, painfully shy, wears her hair over her face and works at Library Island at her school as a member of the "Library Exploration Club". Lord of the Rings is in her top 10 books to have if she is ever stranded on a Deserted Island. She becomes a Badass Bookworm as the series progresses.
    • Yue Ayase is every bit as bookish as Nodoka, also works in the "Library Exploration Club", and is revealed to be even shier than Nodoka. She too also becomes a Badass Bookworm later in the series.
  • One Piece : Robin. Whenever the Straw Hats have a chance to just relax on their ship, one of her main hobbies is reading through history books. Of course, she also qualifies as a Badass Bookworm.
  • Ouke no Monshou: Carol Reed, the cutest archeologist ever.
  • Read or Die: Yomiko Readman. Her outright giddiness over books qualifies her, and she spends thousands per week on books.
  • Ronin Warriors: Mia Kouji/Nasuti Yagyuu isn't a 100% bookworm, but she is the granddaughter and heiress of a dead university professor and handles his research to held the warriors, so she counts anyway.
  • Shin from Saint Beast is a male example.
  • Sensual Phrase: Aine Yukimura is a sweet-faced high school senior with a really cute smile. She's also a talented songwriter and works as such for her Fetishized Abuser's band Aucifer.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: Kaneki Ken, at least at the beginning of the series, is a shy and reserved kid with a love of reading and a grand total of one friend.
  • Whisper of the Heart: Shizuku Tsukushima. Possibly Seiji too, if he actually read all the books he checked out in hopes of getting Shizuku to notice him.
  • The World God Only Knows: Shiori Shiomiya is such a bookworm that Keima begins grading her according to the librarian girl archetype from his beloved dating sims.

    Comic Books 
  • Mimi Masters of the Ninja High School comic series, a studious and bespectacled teenage redheaded witch who is undeniably extremely attractive for all of her bookishness.

    Comic Strips 
  • Enriqueta, from the Argentine comic strip Macanudo, is a young girl (around 6 or 7 years old) who loves reading. When she's with a book, nothing can drive her focus off the pages. Her pet cat Fellini always tries to interrupt her to play with him.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ellie in The Half of It certainly qualifies. She's tiny, introverted, and wears huge glasses. But given that she runs a profitable cheating scheme in which she writes essays for her classmates, she's more savvy than she looks.
  • Laurie Strode in Halloween (1978). She lacks the glasses but is otherwise presented as a very bookish, studious, modestly-dressed teenage girl and a contrast to her more free-spirited best friends Lynda and Annie, one who's still a virgin not out of moral purity but because her intelligence scares boys away. Given that Laurie was the Trope Codifier for the Final Girl, one could make the case that one of the most enduring horror movie character archetypes is simply the Cute Bookworm dropped into an Action Survivor role. It's largely toned down in the sequels, though.
  • Evey starts out this way in The Mummy, before she levels up to Badass Bookworm.
  • Phoebe from Once I Was a Beehive proves that she knows a lot of random facts, math, and Bible trivia.
  • X-Men: First Class: Dr. Hank McCoy is shy and geeky, and Raven Darkholme finds him endearing.

  • Air Awakens: Vhalla, at least at the beginning. Shy, innocent, basically brought up in a library (as a librarian's apprentice), and very well-read (if she slacks on her duties, it's only to hide in a corner and read).
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: The titular bookworm is a very well-read young woman from modern-day Japan who considers herself a wallflower who finds herself stuck in the body of a sickly five-year-old peasant girl after dying in a book-avalanche. On top of this, the "sickly" part results in her body being subject to Older Than She Looks.
  • Betsy-Tacy: The initial attraction between Betsy Ray and Joe Willard hinges on them both being bookworms. Until they're almost engaged, almost all of their interactions involve books in some way.
  • Harry Potter and Ron Weasley learn the hard way in The Goblet of Fire that Hermione Granger looks rather cute underneath the bushy hair, know-it-all attitude, social awkwardness, and book fetish — she just finds it to be too much trouble.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: Yuki Nagato seems built to be a perfect example of this as the only member of the now-defunct Literature Club and her head constantly in a book. Key words being "seems built" as her personality doesn't match her appearance and behavior. Except in Disappearance, where she's a normal, shy human girl.
  • Journey to Chaos: In the words of Tasio, Annala is a "cute and sweet nerd".
  • Roald Dahl's Matilda: Matilda is a quiet, polite little girl who loves books more than anything else, much to the horror of her horrible parents. To the extent that she taught herself to read in toddlerhood and made significant progress in the Western Canon by age five or six.
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!:
    • In Catarina's past life, her best friend Atsuko was initially like this: shy, socially awkward, and treats reading as the only thing she enjoyed. However, she turned into a Proud Otaku post-Character Development.
    • Sophia is a big fan of romance novels (among others), and bonds with Catarina over their shared interest in them. It's probably a carryover from her past life as the Atsuko, although in-universe it is explained by the fact that she has been a hikikomori and spent most of her time reading romance literature for escapism.
  • In The Stormlight Archive, this is the ideal for Vorin women. They are forbidden from fighting and just about any other form of outdoorsy rough-housing, but science and scholarship are considered very feminine and respectable vocations for a lady. The men, by contrast, are allowed to fight but are forbidden to even learn how to read.
  • Wings of Fire has several examples:
    • The original example is Starflight from Arc 1. He's a nerdy Cowardly Lion who gets very enthusiastic about scrolls (and, conversely, inordinately dismayed about their absence).
    • In Arc 2, there is Moonwatcher. In book 10, Qibli finds her happily flitting around in the library of the Lost City of Night and just stays there gazing at her for a while, because she's so cute and he's so relieved she's okay.
    • Sora is a darker example, her shyness being crippling and partially caused by PTSD from the war. It's only in hindsight that the protagonist realizes the scroll Sora was always reading was about deadly plants.
    • And in Arc 3, we have Cricket: a Constantly Curious young dragon with a scientific mindset, she's always eager to learn, whether from a book or by bombarding others with questions.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow spends much of her time in the library with Giles or on a computer. When Willow first appears, Cordelia mocks her clothes, joking about having seen the softer side of Sears. She tends to start saying something, then trail off as she realizes that whatever she is saying is weird.
  • Annie Edison on Community, especially in the first season. She's a very pretty girl obsessed with school and doing well. She's overachieving, but she's very cute with all her books, copybooks, and notes. Over time her character becomes less focused on school and doing well but still remains extremely cute.
  • Game of Thrones: Shireen Baratheon is an adorable little princess who loves reading and always has a book with her. She has a disfigured face from greyscale, but it only makes her more vulnerable and even cuter. When Ser Davos refuses the book she brought him, she's completely lost and confused: how can anyone refuse a book? Books are awesome! When it turns out Ser Davos can't read, she decides to teach him. Shireen says in Season 5 that she learned to read when she was three years old. Even bookworm Samwell Tarly was surprised at this. She explains that given her Ill Girl status, confined indoors all the time, reading was the main activity she could do.
  • Gilmore Girls:
    • Rory seems like an adorable bookworm in-universe to Dean starting with the first episode. He thought she was cute reading a book under a tree oblivious to anything else.
    • April Nardini, who appears in later seasons as Luke's teenage daughter. She is a science-oriented geek who loves books, reading, and school.
    • Also, in Season 3's Backdoor Pilot episode, "Here Comes The Sun", Jess's stepsister, Lily, is a precocious 10-year-old who hides in closets reading constantly.
  • Amelia from The Ministry of Time. She proudly says that she learned from books everything she knows, which includes her vast knowledge of History and Literature up to her origin year of 1880. In an episode, Pacino tells her that she's "like the Enciclopedia Espasa, but in pretty."
  • Daniel Jackson on Stargate SG-1 starts out as one of these before he Took a Level in Badass. He's awkward, nerdy, has peek-a-bangs, wears glasses, and stutters when he's nervous. He's also a huge linguistics nerd which leads to him spending a lot of time reading, be it books, or the walls of ancient tombs.
  • The Wilds: Nora loves to read, and is often seen with a book when she has free time. She's also a pretty young woman who's shy and socially awkward to the point of having implied autism.

  • Lu Xiao from Infinity Game, who is the library assistant and has apparently read every book in the library.



    Video Games 
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Genshin Impact:
    • Layla is sleep-deprived and has a penchant for Sleepwalking on top of being adorable, if in a more unkempt sense. She's also a genius-level astrologer studying as hard as she can within the Rtawahist Darshan of Sumeru's Akademiya, which doesn't help with her lack of sleep.
    • Sucrose is a master of biological alchemy who always has a book in her hands or phials of alchemical or chemical materials to use in whatever experiment she's thought of most recently, as well as an endearingly shy and sweet personality that endears her to everyone she meets; she's also the only playable character in the game who wears glasses.
  • Dizzy from Guilty Gear loves to learn and there is a ton of official artwork of her reading or in a library. Makes sense given that her biological parents were both scientists.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Love Plus: Played with Rinko Kobayakawa, one of the three possible Love Interests for the protagonist. She is considered cute, likes reading books, and is part of the school's library comiteé, but is more voluntarily reclusive than actually shy. She does open up later on, though.
  • Pokémon Black and White: Elite Four member Shauntal is a textbook example in that she has big, round glasses emphasizing her equally big eyes and is an author/writer.
  • Anne of Roommates is shy, quiet, and loves reading. She brought at least fifty of her favorite books to college to read just for fun and is often eager to study instead of partying.
  • Kiel in Rune Factory 4 is a male example.
  • Stardew Valley:
    • Penny is a shy red-headed girl who can be found reading alone in the town's library when she's not out teaching the town's two children. Her room in her mother's trailer is littered with half-read books.
    • Elliot offers a male version of this trope. He lives down by the beach in a small shack, dreaming of writing a magnificent novel, and is a sentimental romantic prone to going off on flowery, poetic tangents.
  • Maria/Mary in various Story of Seasons games is a cute, shy, Meganekko, but still she is a librarian.
  • Tales of Vesperia: Estelle is absolutely in love with reading. Rita also qualifies in her calmer moments.
  • Touhou Project: Patchouli Knowledge always has a book in her hand and peek-a-bangs to boot. However, instead of being shy and awkward, she's a Little Miss Snarker.

    Visual Novels 
  • CLANNAD: Kotomi Ichinose is very socially awkward, shy, and ridiculously intelligent.
  • All four girls in Doki Doki Literature Club!, but especially the dark-haired, intelligent Shrinking Violet Yuri. Even her ideal date is you and her reading a book together over tea and chocolate.
  • Katawa Shoujo: Hanako, though the social isolation is actually due to a complex over her burn scars. The Hiding Behind Your Bangs part of the trope are also for the same reason. Still a shy, quiet bookworm that covers her face, though.
  • Little Busters!: Mio is almost always found on her own, reading books quietly. Underneath that, she's less passive than most examples, having a rather snarky, perverted, ruthless side to her, but underneath that she's a wonderfully kind girl with a terrible guilt complex and a tendency to worry too much. And her younger self, who was very shy and used books and make-believe to escape into other worlds, was this trope even more so.
  • Becca from Melody is a pretty and cultured girl who reads her share of books, especially romance novels, and has an interest in psychology.
  • Tokimeki Memorial 1: Mio Kisaragi, a cute and shy Meganekko who loves reading books (to the point of reading four of them per day), thus she spends a lot of her time at libraries, and she often helps at Kirameki High's one. It's also her who finds the Soccer Manual that'll help the protagonist improve his striker skills, during the storyline of the side game Nijiiro no Seishun.
  • True Love Junai Monogatari: Remi Himekawa (the very booksmart vice-president of the student council) and Miyuki Tanaka (the local high school artist).
  • Yume Miru Kusuri: Hiroko which is immensely different from the 'normal' face she presents as Nekoko because her normal life pains her.
  • Yumina the Ethereal: Maino, who is, of course, the school's librarian.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • Vector from Castoff has been brought up in a bookstore, which he rarely left and only really interacted with his adoptive mom prior to getting swept away on an andventure. He's both shy and well-read (and inventive), and when he gets lost in an abandoned magic school building, it's because he found the library and had a "wow, so many books!" so intense he just forgot about the team.
  • Odette from City of Somnus has been brought up in a library (a disorganized library of The Fair Folk, but still) and she reads anything she can get her hands on. This shows: she speaks four languages fluently and some more conversationally, has theoretical knowledge of mechanical engineering (she was never allowed to do it in practice), astronomy, majestanian culture and other subjects. She also likes comic books and tried her hand at writing, but Douglas shot that down. She is considerably older (twenty-eight) and taller than most examples of this trope, but definitely a shy, socially awkward person who gets panic attacks in crowded rooms and Apologises a Lot for being a bother or not helpful enough.
  • Ashley from El Goonish Shive is obsessively one, apparently.
    Liz: Just stay away from the book store.
    Ashley: Why would I need to stay away from the book store, books are great they're full of paper and have words in them. [Liz gives her a silent Death Glare — over the phone] Okay yes'm I'll avoid the bookstore.
  • Suko, the demonic princess from Heart Core, has a very obvious fixation for reading to the point where it has become an obsession. Some of her powers are even based around books!
  • Nagisa from My Impossible Soulmate absolutely loves reading and is quite adorable, especially when she shows her more laidback and vulnerable side.
  • Criminy from Sinfest is a good male example, from inside his fort of books. His large eyes, intellect, and a sweet demeanour are what Fuchsia falls in love with.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: Double D. He's the cutest character on the show and has an exaggerated enthusiasm for reading and gaining knowledge.
  • Hey Arnold!: Phoebe Heyerdahl represents many stereotypical "smart girl" tropes (Asian and Nerdy, diminutive size, soft-spoken and painfully shy with oval eyeglasses) and is almost always found reading in the library. Arguably the most intelligent character on the show and was once offered the chance to skip two grade levels. (She gave it a try, but turned it down because she had trouble making new friends.)
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Jinora, one of Aang's three grandchildren, combines this with Little Miss Snarker. She makes reference to reading about her Gran-Gran's adventures and reads at the dinner table.
    • Opal Beifong, Toph's airbender granddaughter and Bolin's eventual love interest, is this in Book 3. (In Book 4, she takes a level in badass.)
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Twilight Sparkle — she even lives in a library. Not so much shy as she is insecure about how much more powerful she is than everyone else. Her knowledge of facts even made her the default character to provide exposition as needed. And when she became a princess, her first reaction was to ask Princess Celestia if there was a book about it.
    • Her old schoolmate Moondancer might be even more so.
    • Starlight Glimmer's friend Sunburst provides a Rare Male Example.
    • Ocellus the changeling loves studying. So much so, that Gallus even snarks about it before they leave school for Winter break.
      Gallus: Two whole weeks without classes, how will Ocellus survive?
  • Ready Jet Go!: Sean. He loves reading big textbooks to gather scientific information and is rather dorky and awkward. His freckles and baby-blue eyes help out.
  • Recess:
    • Library Kid subverts this. She appears to be cute and shy, and is always in the library... but when outside, she's an insane Genki Girl.
    • Gretchen could fall under this trope, though she's not as shy.
  • Scooby-Doo: Velma, most notably on A Pup Named Scooby Doo. As a teen, she's classified as "Hollywood Homely" (she's not gorgeous but she's not ugly, either) and quite studious. In Pup, Velma is sweet and quiet-spoken as well as smart. This is lampshaded in a flashback scene of a What's New, Scooby Doo? episode where a birthday clown destroys her prized gift of encyclopedias and she runs off crying.
  • The Simpsons: Slightly subverted with Lisa Simpson; She is young, cute, and very bookish, but she's neither very shy (except on some occasions) nor vulnerable.
  • Steven Universe: Connie Maheswaran. She's adorable, shy, self-doubting, and commonly seen in the company of a book. Somewhat subverted, however, in regards to her friendship with Steven; she's comfortable enough around him to let a much more excitable side show. In later seasons, she becomes Steven's partner and best friend, an Action Girl who learns sword skills from Pearl.
  • Super Why!: Whyatt/Super Why. He is the leader of the Super Readers and the smartest out of them. He is a young boy who loves books so much and he is just so cute! Although he's not really that socially awkward or vulnerable, he is incredibly endearing and sweet. He is also quite an introvert, though somewhat subtly. Not helping the fact that his Innocent Blue Eyes accentuate his cuteness even more.
  • We Bare Bears: Chloe Park is an Asian and Nerdy Child Prodigy who becomes friends with the bears in one episode. The episode "My Clique" revolves around the difficulty she has in making friends with the much older students at her college.