Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes-- Such a Unique Voice

Anika is the third most popular girl at Pound High School and is destined to stay in that spot.  The most popular girl, Becky, ensures this-- she can't move up because Becky makes sure that her Romanian ancestry holds her back and she can't move down because that would mean she would be crossing Becky... and no one crosses Becky Vilhauer, AKA Darth Vader.  The thing is, Anika is blonde and bubblegum on the outside, but "spider soup" on the inside and no one knows.

Then Logan, a nerdy kid, shows up at school with a new wardrobe and a moped and Anika can't help but fall for him.... but then there's things like Becky and her hatred of all things nerdy, and Jared Kline-- the hottest of the hot showing interest in her-- and not to mention Logan's troubled home life which scares Anika.

First thing I need to ask is--- When is this book set??  I need a time period.  I'm 99% sure that it must be the 80's or the 90's, but it never specifically says.  The only thing I have to go off of is talk of Brigitte Bardot, L.A. Gear tennis shoes, and someone saying leg warmers were cute.  If it's 80's or 90's I have a completely different opinion on this than if it's a modern day setting.  The way these people talk, I just don't see people talking so ignorantly if it's set today... but in the 80's and 90's things weren't so PC.  They just weren't.

So yeah, things in this book are a little rough around the edges.  People say some offensive stuff and it's never really dealt with.  I could see some people not liking the harshness because there were at least 2 things said that rubbed me wrong.

I went back and forth on this book.  At first I wasn't feeling Anika's voice.  It's a super unique voice, by the way.  Probably unlike any character's voice I've ever read before.  She has a really different way of seeing and dissecting her world and I grew to enjoy it.  Although, I don't know where her "spider soup" was located within her because I never saw it.  I feel like if the people in her life didn't see what the reader sees of Anika, it's because they didn't want to.  She was super obvious about who she was in my opinion.

The thing about Anika was-- she grew on me!  At first I was totally confused by her narration, but I got used to it, and I got into it.  I really started to "get" her and feel her story.  It wasn't a perfect story... most of it was kind of weird, but you know, I think I like weird.  And Anika has the best relationship with her mom that I actually got emotional about it at one point.

This isn't a spoiler because it says right in the synopsis that "tragedy hits", and when it does, it made me feel some sadness, but I wasn't as broken up about it as I've been with books that had a similar THING happen.  I don't always have to have a sobfest to feel the feelings, but this one just wasn't hitting me the way I would expect for some reason.

I would have to say that this book is firmly in the I DON'T KNOW category for me.  I really loved Anika's voice, but I wasn't obsessed with the story.  It felt a little thin on plot at times, and being that I didn't actually know which decade I was reading about, it's probably not going to be one of my forever favorites.

OVERALL:  A Romanian girl living in the Midwest finds herself in a love triangle with the town's hottest dude and a made-over nerdy guy who is equal parts sweet & kind of messed up.  I liked the voice of the main character and her wierdness, but could have lived without some of the other issues that were brought up but never resolved.

Date Published: 9/2/2014
How I got this book: Thanks BEA 2014!
Publisher: Harper Children's

Add it to your To-Read List!!

This Book Contains:
  • Racism
  • Blended family
  • 80's?? setting
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Mean Girls
  • First love
  • A moped
  • A Halloween carnival
  • Domestic violence

My Rating: 3.5/5

Character: Anika Dragomir
Book: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

  • So relevant to Anika's life.  There's abuse, bullying, popularity, and even a love triangle.

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  1. Hmm, I saw this book when I was browsing Goodreads and was only mildly interested in it. I'm taking a break from love triangles because they get on my nerves...especially love triangles with the hottest guy ever and nerd boys. I just can't with those right now.

    Thanks for the review though, it does sound interesting and if anything, I'm more interested in Anika now.

    1. Anika is kind of awesome, but the love triangle is a BIG part of the book, so yeah.....

  2. I hate it when I read a book and I just can't quite tell when (or where) it's supposed to be happening. That can be so distracting and can ruin the reading experience for me.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. Yeah I don't think it's hard to specify year. Just a Lincoln, Nebraska 1988 on the page before it started would be super easy and alleviate so much frustration.

  3. It is weird that the time period wasn't easier to nail down. Glad ou enjoyed Anika's character though. Great review!

  4. Great review but I probably would have not been able to get past the offensive statements in this! I totally remember wearing LA Gear tennis shoes in 2nd grade though -- they had pink ribbons as the laces and I loved them!!

    1. L.A. Gear was my jam!!! I had to have them every year in elementary school... I even had a pair that changed color in the sun :)

  5. It actually so annoys me when contemporary books don't specify when they're set. Often it's during the author's teenage-dom because they can't be bothered researching modern teens. But that's a rant for another time. I can see how it would rub you the wrong way with those things that are less than PC.

    1. I think this was during the author's teenage years because it does note that the story was based on something that happened to her.... but it doesn't say it's set in the same time period that it happened to her... or what time period she was a teenager in. So yeah, confusing!

  6. I read this when it came out and feel like it was widely misunderstood. Definitely think it was set pre-cell phone, so maybe mid 80s to early 90s. And I also grew to like Annika's snarky voice. The whole thing reminded me of Heathers for some reason.
    Great review!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

  7. How confusing about the time period! Maybe it's late 80s/early 90s? Who knows, but I'm glad you liked this one even though it wasn't perfect. It sounds interesting that's for sure and I like the sound of an MC with a unique voice. Great review!