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The Misfits
by James Howe
PUBL. RECOMMENDED AGE: 10-14
LEXILE READING LEVEL: 960L {what is this?}
PUBLISHER: Atheneum Books
YEAR PUBLISHED: 2003
NO. PAGES: 288
GENRE{S}: Realistic Fiction
MAIN CHARACTER GENDER: Mixed
SERIES: The Misfits
SEQUEL: Totally Joe
ISBN: 0689839561
READ & REVIEWED BY: Tiffany - StorySnoop


The Story
The Misfits—Book Review

Bobby and his tight-knit group of friends are all misfits of one sort or another, and all have been the target of cruel name-calling. When their middle school student government election approaches and the usual groups are headed up by the usual suspects, Bobby's friend Addie decides a change is in order. She spearheads a new political party so that a new voice can be heard, and the No-Name Party is born, much to the chagrin of the school administration. When the usually quiet Bobby speaks up, speaks honestly, and speaks from the heart about nicknames and taunts, people actually begin to listen and care. No matter who wins the election, the creation of No-Name Day and the fact that they drew attention to an important issue makes winners of all the misfits.
The Scoop
The Misfits—Book Review
{spoiler alert}

This important and worthwhile book inspired the national event, No Name-Calling Week, which most recently took place January 24-28, 2011. Created by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) and Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing, and along with over forty national partner organizations, this project aims to focus national attention on the problem of name-calling in schools, and spreads a message of respect and anti-bullying. For more information visit nonamecallingweek.org. The main characters in this book have all been the subject of taunts based on either weight, height, intelligence, or sexual orientation. Homosexuality is openly discussed and is accepted within the core group of friends. Homophobic slurs and cruel names in general are used often to illustrate a point and convey the main message of the story. Grief is central to the story, as main character Bobby's mother has passed away from cancer and he and his father are still trying to heal and move on from her death. The awkwardness of crushes and middle school dating is realistic and relatable. The Misfits is an excellent choice for a middle school book club and its numerous valuable messages make for rich discussion material.
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The Misfits—Book Review

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