#TooReal. Hopefully not too late.

Summary:

Welcome to Pound High School and the third most popular girl in school, Anika Dragomar. On the outside, Anika Dragomir seems like she's one of the cool girls. On the inside, she is a mix of dark and mischievous thoughts with the help of her "vampire DNA." Anika struggles with an "immigrant complex" attributed to her father coming from Romania and now living in Nebraska, which Anika cites as American as it gets.

When nerd-turned-hottie Logan McDonough, starts a friendship with Anika, she has some choices to make. Hide a relationship Becky (the most popular girl at Pound High) will NOT approve of and risk her social status; OR fall for Jared Kline, and keep her social position. 

Anika decides she's going to try to do both. After all, she's made of "spider stew." Spending more time with Logan is awesome - but maybe a little scary. Just as she's sorting out her choices, tragedy strikes. Now, what will she do: follow her heart or follow her friends? 


BTSYA Young Adult Reader (21):
The Anatomy of a Misfit speaks up for the inner voice within all of us that says what we are really thinking. I like the book for the point of view of its narrator, Anika as she struggles with identity of whom she truly is. This is something I can relate to. I grew up in Australia and moved to the United States for school and have a constant feedback loop in my mind replaying and reviewing conversations and scenarios in my mind with different endings or thinking, what would happen if I did this instead? I believe it is healthy to always review and debrief situations you think went well and not so well, to live and learn from them, just like Anika does throughout the book.

What I did not like from the book is Anika’s need to associate with Becky Vilhauser nor how Becky tries to discipline her when she steps out of line or doesn’t fit the character that is expected. Everyone should be allowed to express themselves in whatever manner they like. Society is extremely diverse and part of growing up and being a teenager is finding yourself and what you are truly passionate about which the book does well through Anika’s inner thoughts.

Themes of coming of age, identity, and the inner mind in all of us are applicable to people of all ages and this book makes a nice gift so it can be read at multiple times. The book accurately describes the misfit character within all of us. All kids should read this book to know that they are not alone and most of the time, people will be thinking the same thing as you. Tragedy is a time of mourning but what can be learned from these tragedies is even more critical and in the form of Anika we see her truly coming to identify her true self which is something everyone should do.

Parent Perspective:
Really powerful and insightful. Anika is an excellent narrator, and her questions to the reader (did I make the right decision? what should I do with this money?) involve them even deeper in the story. By about two-thirds through you get a sense of how the story might go, but I found myself continuing to read hoping that I was wrong. Highly recommended for teens and book clubs with teens.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Powerful, poignant and oh-so-real. Teens facing peer pressure and outsider status will find a friend (albeit not always likeable) in Anika. 

Content Awareness Factors:

There is mild cursing, references to teen sex, alcoholism (parent), and child abuse. They do not overtake the story, but they are subjects that make some parents uncomfortable.


Type of Book:
This is a first-person story about life as a teen and coming to grips with realizing what's really important v. what appears to be important.
Educational Themes:

Setting high school social strata aside, there are some great themes for readers and book clubs. Anika's choices aren't always the right ones, but are they totally wrong? Did she over-react to Logan's in-the-moment choice? Were there other ways she could have handled this? Did she impact Logan's decision to take on his father? Could she have changed the outcome?

Reading Level:
4.3
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
11 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
12 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 21
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. Anika is a character kids will relate to. They're going to want her to remind them about being true to yourself.

Title Anatomy of a Misfit
Author Andrea Portes
Publisher HarperTeen, Imprint HarperCollins Publishers © 2014
ISBN 9780062313645
Material Hard Cover
Cost $17.99
Genres Family, Death and Loss, Social Issues
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