It’s not often that I read a book which I enjoy as much as it also baffles me. Misfit almost defies being categorized, despite being found in the YA section of major bookstores. The cover art and jacket wording were unusual and eye-catching enough to grad the attention of my oldest daughter during our recent bookstore binge, but the subject matter was touchy enough that she checked with me first. Part Paranormal and Horror, part religion and history yet a wholly satisfying tale of a young woman coming of age, Misfit deals with the conflict experienced by a 16 year old Catholic-school student, Jael Thompson, who learns that her mother was considered a God to some and a demoness to others. Learning how to cope as a half-breed while one of the fiends of Hell is… well.. Hell Bent on your destruction… proves to be a bit of more of a challenge than the everyday life of a teenager should hold.
Having inhaled the book in a day but the timing of it being during Holy Week (while I was still in a lot of pain from the whiplash’’), I found myself somewhat puzzled as to how I was going to rate this book. I can see how the very subject matter and point of view might insult, intimidate or offend a certain segment of Christian readers, but some of the questions that are raised in this book are actually very important ones for young people to ask themselves; What do I believe in? Is Evil done in the name of Good all right? Is there a wider world out there?
Many authors, from C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle to Phillip Pullman, George Lucas and J.K Rowling have caused readers to explore their own faith systems before and the delicate, precarious balance between Light and Dark. Jon Skovron does so in his own way which is as unusual as it is unique. Though this story could stand on its own, there were certainly enough loose threads and intriguing plot twists to hint at the possibility of a sequel. Reading this just after Infinity gave me an unusual chance to compare and contrast the two stories and their Demon overtones. The female character in Misfit, though certainly enjoyable, lacks some of the optimism and gutsy strength that permeates the Chronicles of Nick series and its main character. Misfit is an intriguing insight into the more rigid dogma of Catholicism from one person’s perspective and the mayhem that ensues when things go suddenly awry.
Hardcover format, 362 pages, published in 2011 by Amulet Books