The Misfits By: James Howe
Immediately upon reading the first page of this book, I knew I was going to enjoy it. The author of The Misfits, James Howe, has a way with words that makes you feel like you’re within the pages of his book. You can so clearly visualize every aspect of his characters that the pages play out like scenes from a movie; you can see what the character looks like, what they’re wearing, how they’re acting, and what their facial expressions are like. Being able to visualize in such a clear way adds so much to the total experience of reading a book like this, and allows you to connect to characters on a much deeper level. I also loved the different variety of personalities and characters Howe has throughout his novel; you have the goodie- two shoes, the rebel, the popular kids, and the shy ones in between.
James Howe, I think, chose a great setting and story line for this novel. Being in middle school and trying to fit in is a subject that every person who has gone through school can relate to. I, myself, actually ran for sixth grade student council in elementary school, and reading this book really brought back memories of me campaigning and giving speeches in hopes of becoming treasurer of the elementary school student council. Like the characters of this book, I also lost and came in a close second to my competition, just like the characters of the novel, so I was really able to connect to the events of the story and put myself in the characters’ shoes as they went through the events of the story. This quality of writing allows the reader to really feel what the characters are feeling, and as a result become much more interested and invested in the story.
The other piece of James Howe’s writing that I love so much is the type of language he uses throughout the book. This type of language is particularly evident when you read the chapters that take place while everyone is in forum and are talking to each other. It sounds like the way I used to talk when I was that age; I still do talk that way, actually. The language is funny, entertaining and smart, and is one of the reasons I as a reader kept flipping through the pages and reading the story; it is one thing to have relatable characters, a good story, and a good setting. If your story does not have relatable language, then the reader is not going to be as enthusiastic about reading through the story. However, if the language is snappy, quick, and funny, like in this instance, then you are going to have a story that keeps a reader’s interest and makes them want to learn more about the characters and the events that they are going though.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I definitely think I am going to go to the library and find the sequel. The story kept me entertained and curious to find out what was in store for all of the characters. I would defiantly use this book within my classroom if I was teaching upper elementary. I think it is a book that students would really get a kick out of reading. More importantly, it shows that being different and not fitting in perfectly with the norm is not always a bad thing, which I think is a great lesson to see.