Andrea Portes

HarperCollins Publishers, 2000

“Ceaseless. Almost too

much for this small frame. You make

me part of the sky.”

RATING: 4 out of 5 stars

FINALLY, A YA NOVEL for the popular girls. Andrea Portes’ The Anatomy of a Misfit chronicles the story of a popular girl, a complete departure to our protagonists which are weird, geeks and what else. But do not worry, this is still your typical YA novel, with your bitch girls and a central character who has two gorgeous boys fall in love with him, both, of course, have different personalities that will tear you apart, because you can’t decide who will you choose. I mean they’re both perfect! Insert smirk here.

“This is the last moment I get to be this person. This is the last moment before everything changes from pink to purple to black and nothing is ever the same, nothing is ever the same again.”

Anika Dragomir is the third most popular girl in her school. A half-breed (her father lives in Romania), but nonetheless beautiful and smart, she has no problem with being bullied and is always surrounded by the popular kids. Her life will be shaken up when she falls in love with the social pariah-turned-hot kid (but still a social pariah) named Logan whom she was not allowed to fall in love with (as per rule of the devil and first most popular girl in school). Add to that, the super hot and bad boy from the other school (whom the first most popular girl is in love with) declared that she is his girlfriend. Her social status begins to fall, or is it?

At first, readers will think that they are just reading another YA novel with the story and the characters familiar in every stories of the same genre. The author, Andrea Portes, did try to veer her story away from the ordinary by starring a popular girl (or, okay, the third most popular). But Anika’s character is still the same with the YA girls (no love experience, smart, shy, unique, an aversion to popular kids). By making Anika half-Romanian (making her beautiful by default), Portes sort of legitimized the otherwise insane notion that hot guys want to date an awkward but nonetheless beautiful girl. So it defeats her attempt to make the story somehow different.

Though it still looks like a YA story, what makes this book stand out is the fact that it made itself deep and relevant and somewhat truer to reality than most of its peers. It does not have the morality and world questioning quests some stories have. It stood out in a way because of the questions it posed and tried to answer it. The story presented shallow evil acts and offered solutions that could vanquish these acts. In short, it did not leave us hanging.

Anika as the popular girl embodies some of the evil characteristics of those who belong to the popular clique, giving us the anatomy and the inside thinkings of the misfits. But her actions in trying to write the wrongs that she saw around her are what makes this book special and unique. Even the cliché love story (where she has two handsome suitors) has its purpose as what we will see in the end. What I like about this book is that I did not see the ending coming, so immersed I was on who she will pick between the two boys, in the process dismissing her story as shallow.

“We both just stand there, catching our breath, the stars not noticing us.”

I don’t know which part of the paragraph I will write this but I like Logan’s character. His background and his story are the things which what made this book special. Aside from this, the story is light (at least for the majority of the chapters), you don’t have to think of the story too much, reading Anika’s lines is enough to push you through its pages, reading and enjoying it at the same time. Anika is so funny and subtle, you will laugh most of the time from her antics and her subtle hatred of Christianity.

After reading Anika’s story, readers will realize that this is not your ordinary school girl story, but somehow it is. By being true to reality, The Anatomy of a Misfit proved that stories and lessons can be learned even for a misfit.

I am ending this review by including some parts of Anika’s thoughts after she delivered one of the most touching and heart-wrenching speeches I have ever read on a YA book.

“You get to do this thing one time and you don’t even know when it goes from swirling forward and around and around in circles to just a plain cold stop and nothing more. Can you believe it? All this time I’ve spent weighing this and weighing that, worrying about this and worrying about that, living back then and living forward, caring about what so-and-so thinks and about so-and-so, too, but never living here, here, this moment here. Never even acknowledging that this moment even exists, and it hits me, like a live volt through the chest.

This moment here.

This is all you get.

Before you are part of the sky.”

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