Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes

Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes

Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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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 and diabolical plots.

Spider stew. That’s what Anika is made of. But she keeps it under wraps–one step out of line and Beck Vilhauer, first most popular girl in school, will make her life a living 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 dreamboat, and his loner status is clearly the result of his troubled home life?

Logan. Who needs him when Jared Kline, the bad boy every girl dreams of, is asking her on dates?

Andrea Portes’s so-sad-it’s-funny high school setting will pull readers in, but the story’s dark undercurrent foreshadows a tragedy that lands like a punch to the gut. Anika’s ultimate change–from an inward-facing existence filled with petty concerns to an older, more thoughtful, more self-aware person– will utterly break your heart.

I think I’ve fallen into a reading pattern: hilarious books with tragic endings. I mean, first I read All the Bright Places, and now Anatomy of a Misfit? I think I’ve seriously lost all hope for happiness and joy. Nonetheless, Andrea Portes’s young adult debut is snarky, real, and utterly fascinating. While I did have *some* problems with the book, overall it was an entertaining read and I found myself gripped from start to end.

I knew I had to get my hands on this one from the moment I saw the title. Never mind the cutesy cover– that TITLE got my attention. We all at some point feel like we don’t fit in, or don’t belong with the people we surround ourselves with. Heck, I’ve had to deal with it for a majority of my life travelling from country to country. And reading a book from the point of view of a character who is a loner, geek, fill-in-another-word-for-someone-who-isn’t-popular, but hearing a story from the point of view from a popular girl who doesn’t feel comfortable being in that position of, well, popularity? DING! DING! DING! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!

The fact that this character feels so out of place is what made this book so...intriguing. I had this image of a girl who was the complete OPPOSITE of who the main character is (blonde, probably wears more-than-the-usual clothes to school– you know the type), but it was two ideas that constantly clashed and now I’m completely muddled when it comes to conjuring up an image of Anika. BUT, I love this. Not being able to pin down a character to a certain category is a rare thing, especially in YA, and so finally we have a protagonist who’s a little different from the rest. The narrative voice in Anatomy of a Misfit is amazing. Not only is our main character Anika absolutely hilarious but Portes actually tackles quite heavy topics through her voice. Of course our protagonist isn’t going to be perfect and does have her share of flaws, but seriously: character development is a strong point in this book and it’s a relief to see Anika learn and grow throughout the story.

Speaking of heavy topics, several parts of the story contains quite controversial matters. There’s quite a lot of racism (not from the Anika’s character thankfully) and the mention of the n-word, as well as quite a lot of explicit language, as well as a character with a troubling background. See what I mean about heavy? On one hand, it’s quite overwhelming, but I’m really glad the author talked about some of these topics instead of focusing completely on the romance (which I’ll get to in a bit). I mean, larger context always helps to build the atmosphere and setting, and unlike most YA books where people who don’t live in that part of the world have no idea what the people are like get an idea of the society and beliefs of the area. From this we can totally see how different Anika is, and how she truly is a misfit not only at school but also with her family and amongst the people in her town.

Now, the romance. The back of the book seems to make this seem that this is only about boys, and the super hard choice of picking between Logan and Jared, but this book was so much more. I seriously wish that the blurb at the back of the book was less boy-heavy and more about Anika. YES, the shifting point of the book is when Anika starts to feel something for Logan, but I mean, there’s so much more to a girl than the guy she falls for, isn’t there? So much more happens, and while a lot of the main action and build-up does surround Anika’s relationship with boys, her character development seems to be a lot more of a central point than the romance. Neither of the boys are featured much throughout the book, or at least that’s what I felt when reading this one, and so I just thought that the blurb was just a tad bit inaccurate. That end though... just be prepared for tears.

Stunning and heart-pounding, Anatomy of a Misfit is a story of love and finding yourself, as well the pain and tragedy that isn’t clear on the surface and that we are ignorant to. Portes’s words cut and heal with every step of the way, creating both a blunt and beautiful work that will have you laughing first, then hiccuping tears the next. Definitely not one to miss.

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Alice at HarperCollins 360 for sending a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

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1 comment:

  1. I've heard of this before and it's on my wishlist - it seems really good! Your fabulous review has definitely convinced me to read it! :)


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