Monday, September 1, 2014

Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes

Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes
Release Date - September 2, 2014
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  336 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
Sometimes a character can elevate a novel, and make you over look other flaws within the story. A character so richly created with a voice that feels so authentic that they don't feel like characters. They feel like actual, real people. Anatomy of a Misfit's Anika is one such character and because of her the novel and it's events are all the more heartfelt. A novel that goes from hysterical humour, to ugly crying tears and everything in between. It's a story that I won't soon forget.

Anika is fully fleshed out. Her voice resonates and leaps off the page. She's a character that becomes so fully formed that it's unsurprising to find out the novel is based off the high school experiences of the author herself. Her sarcastic sense of humour provided a delightful tone to the story. She has a heart and a warmth to her as well that comes across easily. I think many will recognize some of themselves in Anika's character, or at least her high school experience.

As fully developed as Anika's character is, it's the secondary characters that didn't work for me. The two love interests are barely expanded upon past Anika's descriptions of them. We don't spend much time with either of them, and the story glosses over the time they do spend together. Jared and Logan both appear to be the typical high school heartthrobs. Admittedly, in different ways. Jared is the guy ALL the girls lusted after, and Logan is the 'bad boy' in a leather jacket. A rebel so to speak, even if he didn't start out that way. Unfortunately they never become more than those classic roles.

It may have been, since this is based off the author's life, that she wanted to respect the other people in her life, and not give too much of them in the story. Her family, and friends are present more than the love interests, and we do get to know more about them, but only a little. This really does feel like a movie, and that they are background characters to the main character of Anika. It's comparisons to Mean Girls are not far off in terms of tone (at least the first part of the novel).

The ending is, I think, what made me not give this novel a 5 star rating. It's an amazing, and stunning ending. It hit me like I'd been punched. All good things, right? Absolutely, but it made me want more from the secondary characters. It would have meant more if connections had been made to people other than Anika. I could appreciate how it would impact her, but I wanted it to have a deeper meaning. It's something that should mean more. Those final scenes, especially at the school, were wonderful. The last few passages left me sobbing because it made you realize the message of the entire novel. Live the moment. Truly live it, and live it for yourself. Do not worry about what other people think, because while you're worrying about them, you're not living for you. You'll never please everyone, so live to make yourself happy. In the end that is all that is going to matter.

A delightfully funny novel filled with equal parts snark and heart. It's gut punching, unexpected ending is made all the more poignant when you find out it's based on true events in the author's life. While I didn't connect with it the way I wanted to, it was still an enjoyable read. One that I could easily see as a movie as it has all the elements of those classic teen movies.

1 comment:

  1. I think that readers who enjoy YA that is not too typical or too predictable will truly enjoy this book. There is much to think about and probably much to talk about, too.


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