Back on Friday, I was reading some discussion of Jennifer Crusie's latest WiP over at her blog. (Jennifer Crusie is primarily classified as a Romance author, which isn't my usual fare; but her books usually have some other things going on in them -- murder, grift, adopted dogs -- and in any case a lot of her work is so good that I'm thrilled to read outside my accustomed genres.) The whole discussion is worth reading, but I wanted to call attention to this particular comment, because it struck me (admittedly, in no small part because I'm struggling with similar issues with my own protagonist):
"For the central protagonist, the key seems to be in contrast. What’s the thing that seems to be out of place, the contradiction that people want to see explained?" (Commenter AG then goes on to flesh this out with a series of examples.)
Go read the whole thing. I'm not sure that's the only way to hook readers, but it's certainly an effective way to do it.