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'Anatomy of a Misfit' by Andrea Portes: Young adult fiction with a true YA voice

Unique voice in this YA story based on a real event
courtesy of HarperCollilns Children's Books

Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes

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"Anatomy of a Misfit" by Andrea Portes is written in a first person narrative that will grab the reader by the throat and insert said reader right into the action and thoughts of the main character, Anika Dragomir. The publisher says about this book:

"In this Mean Girls meets The Perks of Being a Wallflower tale, narrator Anika Dragomir is the third most popular girl at Pound High School. But inside, she knows she's a freak; she can't stop thinking about former loner Logan McDonough, who showed up on the first day of tenth grade hotter, bolder, and more mysterious than ever. Logan is fascinating, troubled and off-limits. The Pound High queen bee will make Anika's life hell if she's seen with him. So Anika must choose—ignore her feelings and keep her social status? Or follow her heart and risk becoming a pariah. Which will she pick? And what will she think of her choice when an unimaginable tragedy strikes, changing her forever? An absolutely original new voice in YA in a story that will start important conversations—and tear at your heart."

The narrative is extremely original. Anika is talking directly to you. Yes, you. As in "You're never gonna believe what happened." Or "I bet you think I have dark hair and dark eyes and look like I listen to the Cure but you're wrong. On the outside I look like vanilla pudding so nobody knows that on the inside I am spider soup."

Anika's folksy, here's-what-I-have-to-say breezy narration makes reading the book a personal experience. She tells the story of being one of the popular girls at school. Of course, with a father from Transylvania, she's never going to be the MOST popular girl at school, but she's okay with that. What she's not okay with is when the most popular girl -- the meanest girl at school -- tells her who she can date.

Anika is not a perfect narrator. Not at all. She makes some huge mistakes, or rather she makes some horrible choices. But it's clear that at heart, Anika is a good person in a difficult situation. A good person who makes some really poor decisions, true.

While the ending is sad because of the tragedy (which most readers will know about in advance), it's actually based on a true event that happened to the author. That makes it more tragic. However, the book will appeal to many, and this would be a great classroom read for high school students to kick-start discussions about bullying, child abuse and cliques.

Please note: This review is based on the manuscript provided by the publisher, HarperTeen, for review purposes.

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