Review : Anatomy of a Misfit, Andrea Portes

anatomy of a misfitt

When I first layed my eyes on Anatomy of a Misfit, I thought it was a book for me : Mean Girls meets The Perks of being a Wallflower, YES PLEASE! So it was obvious it went into my latest bookhaul. I must admit, I started reading it with some expectations, maybe too much, and, well, I was a bit disappointed during my reading. However, I really enjoyed the ending of the book. Why? Let me tell you!

As always, I’m going to start by the plot. Well, honestly, I was kind of confused about it. I’m awake that there are many kinds of books, and of ways to tell a story : there’s a major plot, or it can be character-centered. I honestly don’t know if I missed the major plot in this book, or if it really was focused on the characters, and I kind of missed that, too. I was just, confused, a bit. It was a distracting read, but I kept on waiting for something major to happen, and it just, didn’t come. Obviously, we’re inside the characters’ everyday lives, and it’s not like nothing happens. It’s just, life. Yes, it’s really great to have a book that focuses on simple events occurring in a teenager’s life, but, for me, there was something missing. I’m not even sure what, but I think I can tell, why.

I had a hard time getting attached to the main character. Even if it’s someone I can despise, in a book, if I can understand him/her and the motivations of the character, I get attached, in a way. I feel like I can get the character, a grasp of him, at least. And  that makes it okay. Anika, the main character in Anatomy of a Misfit, was someone I didn’t really like. I do have some interesting things to say about her, and I don’t think she’s a bad character, at all. It just wasn’t a right fit for me. Anika is a teenager, with her flaws and her mood swings, her sarcasm and ways of calling her step-dad ‘ogre’ and her father ‘vampire’. She has her ways to fit in the world she tries to belong to. I didn’t really like her, because I couldn’t bring myself to understand her. Okay, I guess teenagers don’t even understand themselves, I don’t get myself like 90% of the time even though I’m not a teenager. What was interesting, though, about her character, and I have to notice it, it’s that she’s realistic. She knows the way the world works when you’re a teenager : she doesn’t want to get in trouble with the Queen of the school,  so she lies, she manipulates, she loses herself.  As a reader, and as someone knowing perfectly that it’s plain stupid, it makes me cringe a bit, I admit it. But it’s the truth. Let’s get on the relationships between the characters. I started reading, and quickly, thought to myself : jeez, another goddamn love triangle. I am sick of this (as of other things in romances…) and this didn’t help me see this story in a good way. But, in the end, I was surprised. I’ll come to the end, right after.

Anatomy of a Misfit wasn’t really, a fit, for me. But there are some really good aspects of this book, that I enjoyed, even though I had a hard time having the, ‘this is a one of a kind/amazing/unforgettable book’ feeling. I mentionned the main character, before, and I have to make a point about everyone of them : there is a lot of diversity in this book. From the origins of the main character (romanian), to religions, skin color, family backgrounds… that’s refreshing, and interesting to read about. The author doesn’t just do it just like that : she brings it into the story, and uses these characters as excuses to underline prejudice about some people. And it talks about life. The way you’re trying to be someone you’re not, all the time. The ending. I have to say, as much as I had a hard time getting all in this story, the ending really brought things up a notch. I knew it was going to be a tragedy, but I didn’t see this tragedy coming. I wasn’t really committed to it, because of the reasons quoted before, but if i was, maybe I’d cried. I think it brought great, new perspective to this story, for me, and made me like it more than I thought I would.

Anatomy of a Misfit was a distracting read, but far from going on my favorites’ shelf. I was disappointed a bit, because it hold interesting themes and ideas, but I didn’t get in the plot, and the characters minds well enough to fully appreciate it. The sarcasm and funny narration, and the ending, made it a good read, but I don’t think I will come back to it right away for seconds.

Andrea Portes, Anatomy of a Misfit, published by Harper Children’s, September 2nd 2014.

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.

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