Release Date: September 2nd, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, MG
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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?
I thought I was prepared.
I’d seen many friends pick this up and then lay it down after 15 pages or so, saying this just really wasn’t for them. But I’ve been the odd one out before, so maybe this could end up working for me! So I finally started my own copy of Anatomy of a Misfit and… well. Let’s say my friends weren’t wrong. The really sad thing about Anatomy of a Misfit is that it’s really trying to prove a (good) point. But there are so many things that contradict that message that it just doesn’t work.
The major problem with Anatomy of a Misfit is its message. there are so many things, phrases scattered throughout the text that are just completely on the other side of my beliefs. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, usually: I love it when books make me think. Sadly, Anatomy of a Misfit mostly made me bang my head against the wall. I can’t really explain it well, so here are some quotes.
Basically, for this “review” (which will basically be quotes and me ranting away) I just started at page one and flipped through until I found something I think offensive/”wrong” (for a lack of a better word). Believe me when I say I did not have to wait long, as there’s something like that quite literally every other page. But first, introductions:
Between number one and number two is Shelli Schroeder. Number two. She’s my best friend even though she’s kind of a slut.
Aw, isn’t that nice? Slut-shaming basically on page one, and of one’s best friend too. Makes me wonder if they’re even really best friends at all, but okay… We get more about Shelli!
One time she told me Rusty Beck told her “she has the biggest pussy I’ve ever fucked.” Yup. Try to unhear that. Nosiree, you cannot. By the way, she told me this like it was a compliment. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I’m pretty sure that wasn’t going to get her a date to the prom.
Because of course Shelli can’t just enjoy sex while also being a normal and rational human being. The thought alone! Show of hands, how many of you would take that as a compliment? (And even if she did, so what? Because of course a date to prom is the most important thing and also of course impossible to get if you *gasp* like sex.) Let alone the implication that having a “big pussy” of course means that you have loads of sex. (Which is, of course, baaad.) I mean, it’s not like some of that is just genetics and all.
Then we get family introductions. Anika loves her sisters very much….
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 guys who don’t like them.
… Or maybe not. Later, she describes them as “sluts”. Then wonders why they don’t like her. I wonder why?!
Anika also things she’s hideous. She once literally describes herself as “hideous”. A short description of our MC:
[…] there is blond hair, blue eyes, pale skin. […] I have a boy jaw, like a square jaw, and cheekbones you could cut yourself on.
Because blond hair, blue eyes, pale skin and pronounced cheekbones are the definition of ugly. And also not over-used as a description at all.
So, if Anika’s so “hideous”, I truly wonder why half of the male population seems to be interested in her. Including the most lusted-after boy of the school, of course.
Oh, and one of the love interests literally calls her “beautiful”.
One thing you need to know about this book: all characters are stereotypes. They’re all charicatures of themselves. We have our main character, Anika Dragomir, whose father is Romanian. Of course this means that he looks “like a vampire” and spends half of his time living in a castle-like house. Hmm.
Then we have her mother. She is described as “the only decent person in [the] house”. So that’s fine, yeah? Except she remarried, which means Anika now has a stepdad.
The guy she got is six foot three, three hundred pounds […] He never talks to us, except in grunts, and then goes straight to his room after dinner, to lie on his water bed and watch Weel of Fortune. […] my stepdad is an ogre.
Yes, let’s continue this cliché that all stepparents are awful human beings you should hate.
I’m sure she married this guy so her kids would have a home and all […]
Because marrying for love? Who even DOES that anymore?! (And even if she only married him for money, you’re one of those kids who needed a home. You know, you can be thankful for at least having somewhere to live because of this guy.)
And then there’s the best friend’s family. Meet Shelli’s mom:
Shelli’s mom is a real freak. Like, she’s a total Christian and is always talking about what would Jesus do, and the real meaning of Christmas, and how to hate gay people.
Because, y’know, that’s ALL that Christianity is about. If you’re not constantly preaching about your belief and hating gay people, you’re a BAD Christian. Hey, guess what? I know plenty of Christian people that a) have nothing against gay people, b) never talk about the “real meaning” of certain holidays, and also c) I’ve never had a conversation about Jesus or God with, despite having talked many times.
But Shelli’s mother really is just an EXTREME Christian, you know? Example:
Her mom makes her burn her hair after she gets a haircut, so no one tries to cast a spell on her.
Really!? I mean, really!?
Also, this is said about Shelli:
Or maybe she can’t add. She is a Christian. I don’t think they believe in math.
Make of that what you will.
Lastly, there is the main (from what I could tell, anyway) love interest. You don’t really need to know much about him, except that he’s a “total nerd” with a moped. Therefore Anika and Logan’s relationship must remain secret because omg what if the Queen Bee finds out!?! She would totally cast Anika out of the popular circle.
Basically all you need to know about Logan is explained in the following quote. Know that at the time, he and Anika have had a grand total of three conversations, of which two were about two sentences long, and he just gave her a ride home.
“I’m gonna kiss you now and you’re gonna like it.”
What a gentleman!
NO. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. There is so much wrong with that sentence. If he weren’t the sort-of-cute possible love interest this would be called sexual assault. Let that sink in. He and Anika are practically strangers to each other, aside from an obvious crush on Logan’s side. If some random guy I vaguely knew would give me a ride home and then say that I would be fucking scared. I would also kick him in a certain region and then flee into my house. Nothing about that quote is even remotely okay. I cannot emphasize enough that this. Is. WRONG.
But of course, Anika lets him kiss her and then says she did indeed like it, after which they become a couple. What a message to send out to kids reading this.
Another thing I didn’t like about Anatomy of a Misfit (though nothing tops the quote above) was the conversations. Or rather the words used. An example:
“This October issue is so gay. All it is is back-to-school and Halloween parties. Again.”
Nothing gets me going like using “gay” as a description for anything that isn’t a) a homosexual or b) meant as “merry” or “happy” (granted, the latter definition is a bit old-fashioned, but hey, you never know.). Using “gay” as an insult? No thanks.
The book, by the way, is written in a style that just isn’t for me. This is different per person, though, but know that words like “kinda”, “gotta” and “woulda” are used not just in conversation, but in the general narration as well.
Now we get to the really sad part: this book tried to make a point. It really did. This point is introduced in the form of a black girl who starts working at the same place as Anika. Now, Anatomy of a Misfit meant to make a point about racism and how ridiculous it is. Unfortunately, the point is exaggerated: there are some conversations with Anika’s boss that are just plain ridiculous and exaggerated to a point that they’re unbelievable. I mean, I appreciate what Anatomy of a Misfit is trying to do here, I really do. But you can’t put down women, LGBT+ people and Christians and then try to make a point about stereotyping and how ridiculous it is. I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t work.
There’s more, but honestly, I’m too tired to go on and this review is way too long already. In TL;DR terms I would say that nothing about this book I liked, which is why I DNF’ed at 40%. I tried to go on, but I really couldn’t take it anymore. This book and I did just not get along.
*By the way, I’m not trying to offend anyone here or something. I know I can be snarky at times, but that’s just me. If you did enjoy this, great! Life’s too short to read books you don’t enjoy anyway. To each their own 🙂 *
~Thank you Harper Children’s for the review copy.~
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