Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Review: Misfit

MISFIT
Jon Skovron
Paranormal Young Adult
382 pages
Amulet/Abrams
Available Now
Received as part of tour through
Teen Book Scene


THE STORY
Jael has a secret she's fairly positive no other girl at her Catholic school shares: She's half demon on her mother's side. Her mother died not long after she was born, leaving her ex-priest father to raise her. With each day she keeps hoping a relationship with him will happen, but each day he keeps his silence about her mother and keeps Jael at a distance.

Things change on her sixteenth birthday however when her father gives her a necklace her mother required he pass on before she died. Though he won't tell her anything about it other than not to put it on, Jael's curiosity gets the better of her she ignores his order, only to find herself suddenly getting flashes of her mom and dad's past.

Turns out her father has had good reason to keep things from her all this time. An extraordinarily strong demon has a vested interest in Jael's demise, and he's finally found her after searching for sixteen long years. If she can't embrace the part of her that's been suppressed since birth, he will destroy everything she cares about and everything her parents were fighting for.

MY THOUGHTS
Misfit is a decidedly unexpected read, one that coats us in a somber and dark residue for the duration of the story and forces us to squirm a bit as we learn more about Jael's demonic heritage. This story is certainly neither bad nor poorly written, just one of those whose subject matter is at times uncomfortable though we can't help but want to fight through the boundaries of our comfort zones and tentatively set foot on the other side to follow Jael on her journey. Religion plays a fairly large role, but Mr. Skovron keeps his story from being a sermon, infusing the characters with relatable and intriguing personalities that keep the religious overtones from overwhelming the plot itself. Misfit is a challenging read based on the content, leaving us a bit in limbo in terms of our thoughts on it as a whole, but for all the elements that add to our indecision, the characters themselves provide a saving grace.

Jael is a light in the rampaging darkness of her story, dealing with a father who is physically present but emotionally absent while struggling through a Catholic school that teaches lesson after lesson wherein demons are the epitome of evil. Half-demon herself and with a deceased demoness mother, we instantly feel Jael's loneliness and desire to be different from the depictions she's assaulted with on a daily basis. She's strong mentally, and, when she comes into her demonic powers, incredibly strong physically, allowing us to easily root for her to find her place in her family, her humanity, and her demonic legacy.

In addition to Jael, Mr. Skovron also entertains us with several well-executed secondary characters. Jael's demon uncle Dagon adds quite a bit of levity to the story, working with Jael to help her understand her new gifts while training her to face the demon hunting her. Love interest Rob is adorable, his interactions with Jael sweet with an underlying tang of romantic tension that provides a welcome distraction from the weight of Jael's new purpose, the revelations regarding the death of her mother, and the destruction Belial (the demon after her) is bent on executing. Also of interest is the gradual growth between father and daughter, the pieces that have kept him from fully embracing his role as a parent beginning to fall into place with Jael's acceptance of who she truly is.

Overall, Misfit is strong in its characterization, giving us something positive and tangible to latch onto as armor against the pain, the exorcisms, and the suffering we witness over thousands of years when Jael is granted access to a few of her mother's ancient memories. Finishing this book does result in an involuntary full-body shudder to shake loose the lingering unease, so for those who relish a story that doesn't wrap you in a soft, welcoming cocoon but rather pushes buttons and seeks to evoke a visceral response, Misfit will appeal to you.

Rating: 3.5/5

35 comments:

  1. This sounds like a good read Jenny. I don't mind a book that religion is part of the story especially when it is not preachy. And the characters sound wonderful. Great review :)

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  2. Dude!! I was going to start this tomorrow! I like a cacoon! ;) but alas I am extremly intrigued!!!

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  3. You know, I like a story that pushes against the boundary of my comfort zone. That makes me feel a bit uneasy, as strange as some people might find that. I like my real life to be safe and secure but I do like my fictional stories to have a bit of an edge to them sometimes. Amazing review, Jenny!

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  4. The fact that religion plays a large role in this one is a turn off for me. I can never get into books like that. I just find them boring. :/

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  5. Any religion in books whatsoever scares me...I've learned I need to stay away from them. I never like them as much as I could. And love the review Jenny!

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  6. I think I did the involuntary body shudder just reading your review! I

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  7. Nic - Be prepared for something dark if you give it a try, I didn't expect it to be quite as dark as it was, but it made it really different from a lot of what I'd been reading lately.

    Ashley - I'll be interested to see what you think of it!

    Aylee - This one definitely pushed my boundaries a little bit, but I'm glad I read it:)

    Leanna - I didn't realize how much emphasis on religion there was going to be, normally I try to stay away from that as well, but I thought it worked in this one.

    Jacinda - Probably not the book for you then:):)

    Karen - I definitely shivered at the end. I was uncomfortable for most of the read but it was just the content that got to me and I think that's a good thing:)

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  8. I think Im passing this one it might be a little to scary for me...but I love the cover with how they did the drippy blood...

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  9. I really adored this book! It was one I could not put down and loved every moment of it. Nice review Jenny!

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  10. I gave this one the same rating as you. It was nice but not that great. I did love Dagon and Rob like you! =)

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  11. I'm totally intrigued! I'm good with the dark stuff and don't mind religion as long as it's not preachy. I'm not sure if I'm up for the shuddering experience but I think I'll give it a try.

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  12. Tina - I love the cover too, that font is very cool, I want it for myself:)

    Savy - It was a very interesting read for me, definitely forced me outside my comfort zone:)

    Bailey - Agreed. Dagon was a favorite, I wish we got more of him and how he came to be what he was:)

    Alyssa - I didn't feel it was preachy at all and I'm super sensitive to anything dealing with religion, so I think it worked:)

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  13. Great review! :=) You make it sound so very, oh I do not know the word in any language, but good, lol

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  14. Catholic school--the perfect place for a demon to hide! Haha. Misfit sounds pretty dark, but I think it's something I'd enjoy. I'm glad the characters are strong! :) Great review!

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  15. I am intrigued, but the religion piece scares me even though it isn't too preachy, like you said. I usually don't do too well with books like that, especially if there are exorcisms. I am such a wimp! ha.....still recovering from watching too many scary movies as a kid. However, great review as usual, Jenny. :)

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  16. Great review, Jenny. I really liked how Jael and her father grew closer throughout the story and in the end, he's willing to listen to her input.

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  17. Blodeuedd - haha thank you:)

    Lauren - Right? Wolf in sheep's clothing and all that:)

    Christina - It was a difficult read for me due to the subject matter, but I'm glad I gave it a try:)

    Zahida - Me too, that was one of my favorite elements!

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  18. This one is coming up on my review list! Sweet! Dark, visceral? Oh this sounds like it will appeal to me! I also like that the father plays a crucial and involved role!

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  19. AAAAH! Must be some kind of theme today with the gory stories. I have the same squeamish feeling I had earlier after reading Aylee's review of The Curse of the Wendigo.

    LOL

    Sounds like Skovron did some interesting thing with religious themes and character development, which have definitely piqued my interest.

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  20. Aw, darn, yours is the first review I've come across that mentions religion. I was really excited for this one, and since I tend to shy away from YA with religion in focus (or surrounding it), I'm not so sure now... oh well, thanks for the review, Jenny!

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  21. Thanks sharing your honest thoughts and opinions about the book. I look forward to reading this novel.

    ~Sherry

    Sherry Soule Official Website

    Author of the Spellbound Series

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  22. Like Nic, I don't mind reading about religion or a different interpretation of it as long as it's not trying to jam it down my throat. I like how this one uses demons as heroes, who are naturally pitted against angels. I think I might give this one a whirl. Thanks for a detailed review, Jenny.

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  23. Hum...sounds like I would need to be in the right mood to read this one. And I really enjoyed the character interview you did, so there's definitely some good writing there. Yep, definitely must be in the right frame of mind (not a fluffy one, for sure!).
    Mary @ BookSwarm

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  24. Great review.

    Kim at the Book Butterfly has a great interview with him up: http://thebookbutterfly.com/2011/08/interview-with-jon-skovron-author-of.html

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  25. Sounds interesting. I like the infusion of religion in a book when it's not preachy. Jael sounds like a strong character. I really liked her personality in the character interview.

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  26. I just got Misfit today! I'm so excited. I'm currently trying to figure out where I can wheedle it into my review queue.

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  27. I don't do exorcisms. Me and Emily Rose....We are NOT friends. Is this that kind of creepy? Like with devil-y stuff? That kind of thing freaks the crap out of me...like I can't turn the lights off for 2 months scare me.

    Jen
    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

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  28. Melissa - It's definitely dark and a bit unnerving. I really liked how Jael's dad was an intrinsic part to the story as well:)

    Missie - Interesting is a good word for it. There were things that were great and things that made me shiver a bit. Like what happened to her mom.

    Hafsah - I do usually as well, and even though religion played a role, it didn't bother me as much in this one:)

    Sherry - You're welcome!

    Rummanah - I liked that Jael was not the evil demon her Catholic teachings would paint her as. It was fun to see how she dealt with it:)

    Mary - It's definitely a book you need to be in the mood for, not a light read in the least!

    Juju - Thanks!

    Alison - I enjoyed her as a character and watching her relationship with her father change was a highlight:)

    Kris - Nice! You'll have to let me know what you think of it!

    Jen - I don't either. Emily Rose scared the ever-loving snot out of me. This book was just uncomfortable, it wasn't terrifying.

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  29. It is interesting to see how different religions are dealt with by various stories. Thank you for sharing today about this very interesting book.

    dz59001[at]gmail[dot]com

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  30. Awesome review! I am about halfway through this now, and find it to be pretty interesting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the book!

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  31. I loved this book. I gave it 5 stars
    http://tahlianewland.com/2011/07/20/review-misfit-by-jon-skovron/

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  32. Demon mother and (Ex) Priest father?!? Gosh, I don't care what happens to Jael, I just want to know how her parents hooked up! ;)

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  33. I knew this one was dark. I kinda like the demonic/Catholic school plot. lol Maybe cause I went to Catholic school. Although, I never encountered any hot demons or scary priests, for that matter. But, oh, the intrigue with the former priest who's the father? Hmmm. At one of the Catholic grade schools that I attended there were two young, handsome priests who drove sports cars and always had a lady next to him. He definitely wasn't abiding to his vows! The mothers picking up their kids were always trying to get their attention, as well. LOL

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  34. I think I'm going to pass on this one. But thanks for reading it and giving such a thorough review of it. I know what I'm missing in case I change my mind and decide I want to read it. And now I understand the character interview better.

    Heather

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  35. Hm, I think I like my soft, welcoming cocoon. :) Good to know the character development is good though.

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