This week’s “3 On A YA Theme” is sponsored by The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett.
Hawthorn Creely doesn’t fit in, and that was before she inserted herself into a missing persons investigation. She doesn’t mean to interfere, but Lizzie Lovett’s disappearance is the most fascinating mystery their town has ever had—which means the time for speculation is now.
So Hawthorn comes up with a theory way too absurd to take seriously…at first. The more Hawthorn talks, the more she believes. And what better way to collect evidence than to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life? It might just be the push Hawthorn needs to find her own place in the world.
It’s hard not to love a misfit. They’re the underdogs in fiction, and it goes doubly when those misfits are in a YA book. Misfits come in all shapes and sizes and earn their “misfit” status because by choice or by force or by reasons we learn as we read, they don’t conform to the norms of the places they’re occupying. So often we sympathize with them as readers because we, too, have been misfits in some capacity. It’s not that readers necessarily want to see these characters fit in; rather, they want these characters to embrace the things about themselves that make them unique and accept that they are fine the way that they are.
It is, after all, the misfit that helped make The Perks of Being A Wallflower the sort of classic YA story it is and paved the way for more stories of those who stand outside the lines.
And with that, here are some YA misfits to spend a little time with.
Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes
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?
Misfit by Jon Skovron
Jael has always felt like a freak. She has never kissed a boy, she never knew her mom, and her dad has always been superstrict—but that’s probably because her mom was a demon, which makes Jael half demon and most definitely not a normal sophomore girl. On her 16th birthday, a mysterious present unlocks her family’s dangerous history and Jael’s untapped potential. What was merely an embarrassing secret before becomes a terrifying reality. Jael must learn to master her demon side in order to take on a vindictive Duke of Hell, while also dealing with a twisted priest, best-friend drama, and a spacey blond skater boy who may have hidden depths.
Beast by Brie Spangler
Tall, meaty, muscle-bound, and hairier than most throw rugs, Dylan doesn’t look like your average fifteen-year-old, so, naturally, high school has not been kind to him. To make matters worse, on the day his school bans hats (his preferred camouflage), Dylan goes up on his roof only to fall and wake up in the hospital with a broken leg—and a mandate to attend group therapy for self-harmers.
Dylan vows to say nothing and zones out at therapy—until he meets Jamie. She’s funny, smart, and so stunning, even his womanizing best friend, JP, would be jealous. She’s also the first person to ever call Dylan out on his self-pitying and superficiality. As Jamie’s humanity and wisdom begin to rub off on Dylan, they become more than just friends. But there is something Dylan doesn’t know about Jamie, something she shared with the group the day he wasn’t listening. Something that shouldn’t change a thing. She is who she’s always been—an amazing photographer and devoted friend, who also happens to be transgender. But will Dylan see it that way?
And because it’s important we follow the theme of misfit here, how about another title? This week’s “3 on a YA Theme” is now “3 on a YA Theme, Plus One.”
Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw
Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her weed-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.
When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. And if they ever find out what Scarlett truly thinks about them, she’ll be thrust into a situation far more dramatic than anything she’s ever seen on TV.
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