by James Howe
Funny and touching, The Misfits follows “The Gang of Five,” four oddballs who decide to stand up for themselves during student council election season. The story is told by Bobby who lost his mom in elementary school and grew up being called “Fluff” and “fatso;” he’s content being mostly invisible and working as a tie salesman until his friend Addie decides to become political.
This book was wonderful for a lot of reasons, but I think my favorite thing was the honesty used to talk about bullying and being a misfit without ever delving into melodrama. These kids recognize the system for what it is, but they also know themselves and have a support network in each other which gives them the power to make change.
On top of that, the book is funny and often written as notes from their weekly meetings in a sticky corner booth (including lots of “Will the food ever get here?”) and the kids are all struggling with who they like right before the school dance. There are anonymous locker notes and surprising confessions, and the relationships that form aren’t those of undying love (which would be strange and unnatural here) but more of the true awkwardness of telling someone you like them when you can barely speak to them at all.