Before I launch into the review: this isn’t a paranormal book about a vampire!! Okay, I might be the only one clueless enough to see “vampire” in the blurb and take it literally. But in my defence…it wasn’t clear. This is definitely a normal contemporary.
That’s cleared up. And off we go.
Thank you so much HarperCollins AUS for the review-copy! Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes hits shelves on 1st of September.
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, diabolical plots, and, if local chatter is to be believed, vampire DNA (after all, her father is Romanian). But she keeps it under wraps to maintain her social position. One step out of line and Becky Vilhauer, first most popular girl in school, will make her life 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 black-leather-jacket-wearing dreamboat, and his loner status is clearly the result of his troubled home life? Who cares if the right girl could help him with all that, maybe even save him from it? Who needs him when Jared Kline, the bad boy every girl dreams of, is asking her on dates? Who?
It took me forever to decide if I liked this book or loathed it.
Honestly. I couldn’t even pick. I’m settling for middle-ground and you get a list of what I loved and what I hated. Because I’m awfully helpful like that.
1) Our narrator, Anika, is a real character.
Seriously, she’s pretty much one-of-a-kind. On one hand, she’s Miss Snark and Queen B, and on the other hand she’s a hopelessly needy teen with a soft squishy side and a deep longing to do right by people. The way she goes about doing right is dubious. Actually SHE is dubious. I was frustrated at her, but then I understood her.
Basically she is like this:
Maybe Anika is not nice, but I think she’s realistic.
2) The book isn’t afraid to get gritty.
I admire books that are on the mean but realistic side. Come on! Life isn’t perfection, is it? It definitely zones in on a) mean girls, b) school bullying, c) theft, d) separated parents, e) mental health. Seriously it’s not a happy book about pretty things.
3) It was probably set in the 70s or 80s.
I’m kind of angry because it never said. But so much of the style of slang and racism and mannerisms told me it wasn’t modern. But I couldn’t figure it out! I read Jen @ YA Romantics awesome review of it and she seemed to think it was set around then too.
They listened to “The Stones” (1960s) and they watched Hogan’s Heroes (1960s-70s). There were SO many references to old fashioned stuff and nothing to new stuff, so I figured it is actually historical fiction. I seriously wish it’d said for sure though.
4) OH MY GOSH. THAT ENDING. WHAT. WHAT. WHAT.
I was halfway through when I saw a review that said the ending was a shocker. Me? “Pfft, nothing knocks me over these days.” WELL, FINE FOLKS, I WAS WRONG. The ending basically wiped all my previous frustrations. I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t, and I’m still a little floored. Read it for the ending, I tell you.
1) Back to Anika (she gets on both lists, clever poppet): she said some awful things.
Like, really awful. Like I-don’t-want-to-know-you-anymore awful. She spent her whole life chasing the popular crowd (though for safety, kind of) which I understand but it made me angry at her a lot. But she’s really immature and she judges people. A lot. I thought that’d change as the book went on…it didn’t.
She calls EVERYONE a slut. Anyone who even looks at a boy is a “slut”. Um. That’s really cruel and vicious, okay, Anika? And then she goes and whines that everyone hates her. I totally get why people don’t like her: she’s a mean girl.
This is how she talks about people:
By the time I get home my stupid sisters are already locked in their room listening to the Stones and talking on the phone to more boys who don’t like them.
Between number one and number three is Shelli Schroeder. Number two. She’s my best friend even though she’s kind of a slut.
(Note: Shelli does not once hang out with any boys or have a boyfriend in the entire book. This makes me question if Anika even says ANYTHING true.)
I had to share [a bedroom] with Lizzie for a while but I just kept calling her a slut all night till she begged Mom to move her. Sounds mean, but the thing is, all she ever does is talk to boys all night on the phone and make it impossible to study.
(Because talking to boys is the same as sex.)
Anika is seriously immature. She judges people and while she tries to patch things up (which I admire) sometimes I feel like she’s just beyond stupid to put herself in that position in the first place.
2) Half the time I…actually had no idea what they were talking about.
Anika is BIG on the slang and culture references. I’m not America. I didn’t live in the 70s-80s. Hence: I was a little confused at times.
Like what the heck does this mean??
I’m looking at her in the kitchen and realizing that if you made a trajectory from Brigitte Bardot to Mrs. Santa Claus, my mom is one-third of the way from Brigitte Bardot over. She’s a total dumpling about everything…
3) Repetition. OVER AND OVER AND OVER.
Anika is fond of calling her father a “vampire” (he’s Romanian) and her step-father a “orge” and her respective friends “sluts”. She doesn’t do this once. No, no. She does this every. single. time. she. refers. to. them. I get it, okay?! It’s beyond frustrating. It’s like we, the readers, won’t remember who people are unless they get their snarky tag to them. And it’s not just “The Vampire” it’s always “my father, the vampire”. JUST IN CASE WE FORGOT.
Frustration in 3…2….1….
4) A very awkward and obvious love triangle.
I’m tired of love-triangles. I am. It’s because almost every 2nd book has one, and I just think they could be done a little more originally. This is a very typical one: nerd-dork vs. hot jock. Please. At least both boys were quite nice(ish).
Annika’s narration of the agonies of teenerdom was both entertaining and frustrating. I kind of wanted to slap her…but then hug her. But OH WOAH there’s that ending that definitely sent me spinning. It’s worth picking up, peoples, just be prepared for a lot of snark.
Cait believe snark needs to come in moderation, otherwise the snarker (totally a word) can be too full-on and you need a break from them. BUT, Cait has been known to be quite snarky herself, so she really should pipe down, right? Right. In a very not-snarky way, she’s currently reading TRIAL BY FIRE and wishing she had magical abilities and could do the dishes with her mind. That’d be awesome.