Anatomy of a Misfit
author : andrea portes
pages : [hardcover] 336
memorable quote : It’s one of those dumb days where nothing’s really wrong but nothing’s really right either and the sky can’t even choose to be white or gray.
This emotional, hilarious, devastating, and ultimately triumphant YA debut, based on actual events, recounts one girl’s rejection of her high school’s hierarchy—and her discovery of her true self in the face of tragedy.
Fall’s buzzed-about, in-house favorite.
Outside, Anika Dragomir is all lip gloss and blond hair—the third most popular girl in school. Inside, she’s a freak: a mix of dark thoughts, diabolical plots, and, if local chatter is to be believed, vampire DNA (after all, her father is Romanian). But she keeps it under wraps to maintain her social position. One step out of line and Becky Vilhauer, first most popular girl in school, will make her life hell. So when former loner Logan McDonough shows up one September hotter, smarter, and more mysterious than ever, Anika knows she can’t get involved. It would be insane to throw away her social safety for a nerd. So what if that nerd is now a black-leather-jacket-wearing dreamboat, and his loner status is clearly the result of his troubled home life? Who cares if the right girl could help him with all that, maybe even save him from it? Who needs him when Jared Kline, the bad boy every girl dreams of, is asking her on dates? Who?
Anatomy of a Misfit is Mean Girls meets The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Anika’s hilariously deadpan delivery will appeal to readers for its honesty and depth. The so-sad-it’s-funny high school setting will pull readers in, but when the story’s dark foreboding gradually takes over, the devastating penultimate tragedy hits like a punch to the gut. Readers will ride the highs and lows alongside funny, flawed Anika — from laughter to tears, and everything in between.
I’d heard mixed reviews about this novel when I started it. While I was reading, it seemed like people either absolutely loved or hated this book. Maybe I’m one of the rare few who fall in between the options. I really liked some aspects of the book: Even though Anika is a little harsh at times, I did come to appreciate and like her outgoing personality. Yet the novel feels a little disjointed, as if the events don’t necessarily lend themselves to the outcome of this book.
I did think that parts of it were funny. Others, not so much. Maybe it’s because I (as well as most people) have had it shoved into our minds from both real-life experiences and the media that popular people are terrible, can’t be trusted, and possibly deserve to have terrible things happen to them because, essentially, they’re terrible people. Obviously this isn’t always the case–people can be popular just because they’re good people. A wild idea. But Anika admits herself that she can’t be a good person if she wants to maintain her popularity and keep herself from being bullied. Which frustrated me. How can an entire student body revolve around the whims of one person? In reality, there is a social hierarchy in school, but there’s no one particular figure to bash. Not that I’ve ever seen. So these hundreds of students can’t see for themselves that they’d be better off without listening to an individual?
Another thing that frustrated me was how indifferent Anika seemed to everything, up until the last minute. It wasn’t an example of a gradual character change. I feel like if a little more development went into this, if I could have really seen how this was affecting and altering Anika, it would have been a more powerful story. As it is, it simply seemed so abrupt that looks like a convenient way to wrap up the book so it can end.
There were some scenes in this book that I found funny and think that others would enjoy. If the characters were a little more fleshed out so the plot didn’t seem to abruptly change them, I would have found this book a lot better.