On My Bookshelf: Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes

January 27, 2020

In Anatomy of a Misfit by Andra Portes, the narrator, Anika has a unique voice; she is funny, but also incredibly blunt. The social hierarchy of her high school is not too different from the plot of Mean Girls and Anika is #3 behind Becky, the cruel beauty queen of her high school, and Shelly, her sexually promiscuous, but weak-willed best friend. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: 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.

In Anatomy of a Misfit by Andra Portes, the narrator, Anika has a unique voice; she is funny, but also incredibly blunt. The social hierarchy of her high school is not too different from the plot of Mean Girls and Anika is #3 behind Becky, the cruel beauty queen of her high school, and Shelly, her sexually promiscuous, but weak-willed best friend. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
Why I liked it: Anatomy of a Misfit's narrator, Anika has a unique voice; she is funny, but also incredibly blunt. Growing up in an incredibly not diverse area of Nebraska, Anika is labeled an "immigrant" because she is half Eastern-European. The social hierarchy of her high school is not too different from the plot of Mean Girls and Anika is #3 behind Becky, the cruel beauty queen of her high school, and Shelly, her sexually promiscuous, but weak-willed best friend.

Throughout the novel, Anika really comes into her own. She distances herself from Becky, her supposed friend who is a constant source of drama and negativity. She chooses Logan, the remade "dork" who adores her, over Jared, the suave older hottie. She takes comfort in her relationship with her mother, whose intuition about Anika's feelings and troubles is always spot on.

One of the things I likes most about the book was its message about gun violence. Logan's father has a large, unsecured gun collection, and he ends up killing Logan in an attempt to kill his wife and all three of his children. When Anika visits Logan and his father shows off this collection, her strong negative reaction sends a message to teens that you are never too young to recognize the danger of guns in the home.

Classroom application: I had this in my 6th grade classroom library, but after reading it myself, I decided it was definitely not staying there. The themes are relevant and important ones, but the language in the book, particularly some of the vulgar sexual comments made by the narrator, just isn't appropriate for middle school. If you are in a conservative school, district, or area, I highly recommend reading this one before you put it on your shelves.

Guns and domestic violence are extremely important issues and students can begin to learn more here and here.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Anatomy of a Misfit for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

In Anatomy of a Misfit by Andra Portes, the narrator, Anika has a unique voice; she is funny, but also incredibly blunt. The social hierarchy of her high school is not too different from the plot of Mean Girls and Anika is #3 behind Becky, the cruel beauty queen of her high school, and Shelly, her sexually promiscuous, but weak-willed best friend. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

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