Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review: Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes

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Review: Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes
Anatomy of a Misfit
Andrea Portes
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: September 2nd 2014
by HarperTeen

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.
-A copy was provided by HarperTeen for review-

Anatomy of a Misfit is a novel that packs a punch. I wasn’t too sure what to expect going into it but I was quickly happy with what I was reading. It reminded me of Kathleen Hale’s No One Else Can Have You in it’s brutally honest depiction of a closed minded town and a voice that rings true in uncomfortable ways.

Anika is the third most popular girl in her school, behind only Becky and Shelli. These three girls are “best friends” but the reader is fast to see that there is a total Mean Girls situation going on here. Spearheading this trio is Becky, who is quite honestly, a horrible bitch. Man I could not stand this girl and I was frustrated with Anika for putting up with her crap and even just standing behind her. We see this hierarchy crumble as the story wears on which was nice because from the very beginning I was dying to see Becky’s downfall. I enjoyed Anika’s slow progression as she started to go up against the beast and think for herself. There was a constant fear in her that if she did the wrong thing or liked the wrong person that Becky would put an end to her (which was a very legitimate fear to have!) But the events of the novel, the things that she goes through and the people that she meets, make her realize that high school is really just a small bubble in someone’s life.

Helping her through this redefining of herself is Logan. He was always a nerdy guy at school but Anika starts to see him in a different light after she starts hopping on his moped for rides home and even starts sneaking out at night to spend time with him. I really liked Logan, even though he wasn’t always the easiest to like. He had this terrible home life and it instilled this anger and need to protect in him that got quite scary. What I liked most about the romance here was that it wasn’t black and white. Logan wasn’t a knight in shining armour, which no guy really is, so it rang true to me and I appreciated that very much. This love story takes a turn that I didn’t see coming from a mile away so be warned that when they mention the “heartbreaking conclusion” in the blurb they definitely mean just that.

There are so many more threads that weave together to create Anatomy of a Misfit so it’s really hard to give you a full picture of what the story entails. We see the small-town bigotry that Anika grows up around, we see abusive families and we even see slut-shaming to the nth degree and I have to say that pretty much all of it was incredibly well done. What made it all work was the honesty of Anika’s voice and how she wasn’t afraid to go against the grain. There are a few characters that could be the Misfit mentioned in the title but Anika is front and centre with her shining personality. I feel like I can’t finish this off without mentioning the people who made her the way she is and that’s her family. There is a strong sense of family in this novel and even though it’s not exactly a picture perfect one I enjoyed their addition to the story a lot.

An honest, liberating and heartbreaking tale, Anatomy of a Misfit is a solid contemporary read for any fans of the genre.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

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Hi! I’m Jenni and I am a book-a-holic. I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and more than anything, I love reading. I mostly read within the YA genre though I do venture into middle grade and adult from time to time. I was big into reading in high school but then when I had my children I stepped away from it for a bit. Now that my brats are a bit older and I have more time on my hands I have jumped back into it head on.
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13 Responses to “Review: Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes”

  1. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    The fact that you compared this book to No One Else Can Have You when it comes to the small town plot line makes me want to jump into this book right away. While the story itself sounds very well written, I tend to avoid “heartbreaking” books. They just aren’t for me. Maybe if I see this at a library, I’ll pick it up. I’m glad you liked this though, Jenni. Lovely review!
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (80) : Charisma by Jeanne RyanMy Profile

  2. Henrietta

    Although it’s hinted in the synopsis, I wouldn’t have guessed it’s a tragedy from the book cover. Sounds like you had an enjoyable time reading this one, Jenni! Thanks for mentioning about the family aspect. I think I’ll enjoy reading about Anika and Logan.
    Henrietta recently posted…Silver Shadows – Richelle MeadMy Profile

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