Cover image for Anatomy of a misfit
Title:
Anatomy of a misfit
Publication Information:
2014.
ISBN:
9780062313669
Target Audience:
Grade 3

UG/Upper grades (9th-12)

4.3
Language:
English
Abstract:
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.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader Grades 9-12 4.3 8 Quiz 171111 English fiction.
Holds:

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Summary

Summary

"It's rare that a book can be as funny and absolutely delightful as it is moving and thought provoking, and Anatomy of a Misfit is both." --Lauren Oliver, author of Before I Fall

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? Part Morgan Matson, part Nicola Yoon, this incredible YA voice narrates a story Teen Vogue calls "perfection in book form."


Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Anika Dragomir is the third most popular girl in school, despite being of mixed heritage in an overwhemingly white neighborhood. She's smart, attractive, and knows that the most popular girl, Becky Vilhauer, is a bully. Still, Anika clings to the tenuous friendship for fear of the total social annihilation that Becky will put her through if she displeases her in any way. Anika is constantly trying to reconcile the "spider stew" of her true self with her social persona, which leads to a series of hilarious escapades and a decidedly double life. When she finds herself falling for former nerd turned hottie, Logan McDonough, she manages to keep their relationship secret by arranging regular midnight rendezvous. In a clandestine act of defiance as employee of Bunza Hut, when she is angered by her boss's hateful treatment of her best friend/coworker, she exacts revenge by covertly dosing him with her mother's valium and routinely stealing from the till. But it's not until her feelings for Logan become muddled by his own personal spider stew that Anika finds her life completely unraveling. Allowing herself to be flattered into a date with the neighborhood heartthrob, she realizes too late that she's in love with Logan. Told in the first person, Anika's droll voice shines, and her emotions are palpable. After a heartbreaking tragedy, Anika's ending, if not particularly realistic, will leave readers cheering.-Cary Frostick, formerly at Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

As the third most popular girl in school, 15-year-old Anika Dragomir worries a lot about her precarious social rank, which means tolerating the casual cruelties of Becky Vilhauer, who rules their Nebraska high school with an iron fist. Morally conflicted, Anika surreptitiously tries to undo some of Becky's damage (such as dismantling an invented pregnancy rumor), but Anika's secret relationship with geek-turned-hottie Logan McDonough only adds to her problems. This nascent romance is further complicated when Jared Kline, "the biggest stone-cold fox in the city, possibly in the state," unexpectedly starts courting Becky and she gets disturbing glimpses of Logan's home life. In this YA debut, adult author Portes (Hick; Bury This) serves up a self-deprecating and highly memorable heroine whose bawdy, laceratingly funny narration makes her instantly endearing while also revealing her flaws, uncertainties, and ethical quandaries. Throughout, Portes hints that tragedy is in the cards, and while the final chapters flirt with melodrama, the novel will leave many readers dwelling on missed opportunities to take a stand in their own lives. Ages 14-up. Agent: Katie Shea Boutillier, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

Anika Dragomir is the third most popular girl at her Lincoln, Nebraska, high school, ranking just below sweet but naive Shelli Schroeder ("She's my best friend even though she's kind of a slut") and miles behind uncontested queen bee Becky Vilhauer ("aka the dark side of the force"). Anika looks the part of the blonde, blue-eyed All-American girl-next-door, but "nobody knows that on the inside I am spider soup." On the first day of school, "nerd-ball turned goth romance hero" Logan McDonough rides up on a moped and fixes his smoldering gaze on Anika. They begin a secret, confusing courtship that gets even more complicated when God's gift to Nebraska, Jared Kline, asks Anika's mom for permission to take her daughter out on a date. A dramatic climax is foreshadowed by sections in italics that hint at tragedy. Anika's observations are razor-sharp, especially when she is describing other people (and especially when she's ragging on her own family: "My dad is Romanian and looks like Count Chocula. Seriously. He looks like a vampire"; "My oldest sister...looks, dresses, and acts like Joan Jett and teases me endlessly for having boobs 'cause she is flat as a board, so fuck her"). An introductory note says the story is based on the author's ninth-grade experience. What a year. elissa gershowitz (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

Anika Dragomir, the third most popular girl at her high school in 1980s Nebraska, is pursued by two different boys, both off-limits to her, in a romance filled with seriously funny dark humor and tragedy.When, toward the end of this unconventional novel, Anika realizes that she may have inherited her tendency toward mental imbalance from her loving and smart but eccentric mother, its an epiphany for her. It might not be similarly revelatory for readers, given the first-person window theyve been given into her thoughts throughout. Nevertheless, Anika will already have won most of them over, even in the face of some questionable moral lapses, such as dosing her (albeit obnoxious and, it turns out, racist) bosss coffee with Valium and pilfering money from the register. She worries that, inside, shes spider soup, but its clear that Anikas a good soul, though shes terrified of her supposed friend, the most popular girl in school. This fear is the reason that she stays quiet about her developing relationships with both reformed outcast Logan, who deals with a paralyzing, sad home life, and the wildly charismatic but possible player Jared. Chapters interspersed that describe Anika pedaling furiously on her bike toward a clearly horrific outcome will brace readers from the start, but this foreshadowing does little to soften the emotional punch of the conclusion.A compelling debut for teens from adult novelist Portes (Hick, 2007, etc.). (Historical fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


New York Review of Books Review

FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD Anika Dragomir throws her arms around us and draws us in from the very beginning of Andrea Portes's "Anatomy of a Misfit": "You're never gonna believe what happened," she announces. A relative loner - the youngest of five in her blended family, and "the one that everyone has decided is mentally deranged" - Anika has only two real friends (and one of those is her mother) even though she's the third-most-popular girl in her high school. But she knows how to charm us. Her droll, intimate, often laugh-out-loud funny narration carries the reader through more than 300 pages of a meandering plot. "Our house kind of looks like a Pizza Hut, if you wanna know the truth," she says at one point. "You might as well just drive up and order breadsticks." Anika's winning voice may just be the star of Portes's first young adult novel. Anika is blond and blue-eyed, but don't let her "apple pie" looks fool you: Inside, she's "spider soup," a half-Romanian girl in white-bread Lincoln, Neb. She's a master manipulator playing a straight-A student. She slips Valium to her "jerkface" boss at the Bunza Hut, the fast-food joint where she clocks after-school and weekend shifts and steals from the cash register, encouraging Shelli, her naïve co-worker, best friend and the school's second-most-popular girl, to do the same. She sneaks out of her second-floor bedroom to meet rebel-without-a-social-status Logan McDonough. And she knows exactly how to massage the ego of "pure unadulterated evil" Becky Vilhauer, the queen bee of Pound High School, in order to keep the peace. Anika understands that her place as No. 3 is enviable, and even though it's all ridiculous - we know it, and she does too - she can't help it: She still cares. Here's the problem with Logan: He used to be a huge dork, so Becky does not approve of him. But over the summer he lost 20 pounds and came roaring back to school on a Vespa, which makes him, in Anika's eyes, the hottest loser around. "Logan has probably written like five plays secretly that are obviously brilliant but no one will know because they're just sitting there in his Trapper Keeper," she decides. The two embark on a forbidden yet chaste love affair, with Logan whisking Anika away on his moped late at night, taking her to one of his real estate mogul father's model homes, where they drink beer in front of a fireplace and confide in each other about their family dramas. His outsize romantic gestures - setting off the fire alarm so he can fill her art class with butterflies, leaving a gold necklace engraved with her name on her front steps - both excite and scare Anika. But like all brooding, romantic, probable-genius types, Logan is a bit, well, tortured. His troubled relationship with his father hints at something much darker, and when Anika sees how far he'll go to "protect" her, she's rightly terrified. Besides, he's still an outcast, and she wants to keep her social status intact. Then there's Jared Kline, the most popular guy in town - and "possibly Omaha," as her brother Henry says, when Jared shows up to ask her out - who is jumping through all the old-fashioned hoops to woo Anika too. It's the classic teenage movie "Heathers," with a love triangle and Anika as Veronica Sawyer, the darkly comic insider with an outsider's perspective and a tortured outcast love interest who raises questions of social hierarchy. Portes seems to want "Anatomy of a Misfit" to be a star-crossed high school love story. But that plot never completely gels, and a novel can't sustain itself on voice alone, no matter how brightly engaging it may be. Side stories are given almost as much space as the main narrative. Portes's rapid-fire pacing works much better in her disturbing, dark adult novels, the speed-fueled, picaresque "Hick" and the lyrical, brutal mystery "Bury This." Anika moves us along at a relatively even clip until the last 30 pages when, suddenly, Something Huge happens, but we aren't given enough time to absorb or process it. According to the publisher, "Anatomy of a Misfit" is based on events that took place in Portes's ninth-grade year, and perhaps that's how it felt for her in real life. But for a teenage audience - for any audience - there should be time to take in the consequences of what's occurred. Still, Anika comes across as a Veronica Sawyer for a new generation. She is a wise and refreshingly funny narrator, and that's always welcome. WHITNEY JOINER is a co-author of "The Drama Years," a book for parents of middle-school children.