Title: My Lame Life: Queen Of The Misfits
Author: Jen Mann
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Throat Punch Media
Release Date: 17th April 2017
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My name is Plum Parrish, I'm fourteen, and I'm pretty sure I'm invisible. Not like super power invisible, more like loser invisible. There's a big difference. I live with my dad who doesn't realize that a job transfer to Kansas is not a promotion; my s'mother who thinks journaling, cheesy inspo slogans, and mani-pedis can solve my problems; and my twin brother Pax who is so perfect I'm convinced we share absolutely no DNA. Unfortunately, I'm not invisible to them. I love them, but they embarrass me on the daily. Honestly, they would probably say the same about me, because I'm weird, sarcastic, and just a lot. My best friend is ghosting me, and my other best friend is a teacher. The move to Kansas is my opportunity to reinvent myself and embrace my a lot-ness (yes, that is too a word). Sure, I will literally have to battle a live bat, a Queen Bee, and my unruly hair, but I will find my tribe and own who I am.
I have read quite a few of Jen Mann's People I Want To Punch In The Throat books. I follow her blog so get daily Jen-isms to my email everyday. What can I say about Jen? Well she basically says exactly what you wanted to say, or wish you had thought of! So when I heard she was doing a YA aimed book I was instantly interested. I mean would it still have that funny edge, and wit and sarcasm I have come to expect from Jen. I pride myself on being totally honest so I should reveal that Jen sent me an autographed paperback review copy, but I have also purchased the e-copy from Amazon too, as initially my daughter and I were going to buddy read the book, but then her business got quite busy and I just ended up reading the ecopy I had bought and she has the paperback copy on her night stand waiting to be read.
The cover features someone with a paper bag over her head. The paper bag has the book title etc wrote on it and the reason title has "Queen of the Misfits" will be revealed when you read the book! There is bright candyfloss pink hair sticking out of the bottom of the brown paper bag. I think the book is bright and bold and should really stand out on a book store shelf. It would certainly make me pick the book up and want to learn more about it.
The books central character is 14 year old Plum Parrish. . . and no her parents did not name her after a fruit! The real reason for her ... er unique name is in the book. When we first meet Plum she is living in New Jersey with her parents Ben & Lily and her twin brother Pax. Plum has her "best friend forever" Kennedy and they have their future all plotted out ahead of them. In fact they plan on sharing a place when they go to college. Then one day bam! out of nowhere her parents sits Plum and Pax down and tell them that dad has been promoted and his new job is in Kansas.
Panic immediately descends over Plum, she is socially awkward and doesn't make friends with people very easily. Plum knows she is "different" and knows who she does want to fit in with and who she doesn't want to be around. To Plum her brother Pax is "perfect" he gets described as "a strapping lad" with a year round tan. When he gets ready for school, he gets out of the shower and his blonde hair is perfect already etc. Plum looks at herself and see's her awful frizzy mousey hair, short, squat body. Then there's her white pale skin, her freckles and the fact she has to wear glasses! Pax makes friends really easily whereas Plum really genuinely struggles.
So first there's begging, crying, pouting, you name it! But the decision has been made they are moving to Kansas. So you'd think Kennedy, Plum's BFF would want to spend every last moment together? Er no it's seems like Kennedy is already all over losing her BFF and has gone straight out and chosen another one!! Before the move and straight after before even getting to the new school, Plum makes the most of her parents feeling guilty about uprooting them to get some new stuff. After a "deep and meaningful" chat with her brother Pax, Plum has decided to reinvent herself. So Lily Parrish, wanting to encourage her daughter Plum to actively seek friends etc takes her to the hairdressers, and Plum gets her mousey brown frizzy hair died, bright pink! It's not the first and only time Plum . . er. . changes her hair!
On the introduction evening for the new school, Lily takes Plum, thinking she may become more interested in the school and the after school clubs etc. Instead of helping Plum make any friends she actually ends up making a girl by the name of Emberleigh an even bigger nightmare than she would have been. Emberleigh's mother declares Lily's mother's books smut and filth. Which is quite amusing when you really think about it. This Big haired, Kansas mum, must have read at least one of Lily's mum's books to know the contents! And she had to have read about the author etc because Lily writes under a pen name "Lacy Drawers". Reading about Emberleigh's mum's reaction, along with her posse is really, really funny. The women are like carbon copies of their own children just twenty years later.
Another thing Plum finds out at the evening is that the mascot of the school is the Puma. And the school has a rather odd habit of putting a hand up, imitating a Puma paw and saying Rawr!! This new school is all team,team, team, no one is an individual in this new school. Pep rallys etc are not optional at this new school, they are compulsory to attend and you have to participate too!
All the way though Plum's problems her mother Lily continues to say "You do you, Plum" In other words "be yourself". So does Plum eventually do as her mother says? Well you'll need to read the book to find out! Another Plum-ism is "Super sad trombones sad. Wah Wah!"
Anyhow so I don't reveal too much of the book, I don't want to tell you much more. What I can say is the book is brilliant, it is so realistic, and yes from my experiences at the age of 14 I could certainly identify with Plum, in fact even as an adult I can identify with Plum and Lily. I loved the "100 ways to be popular by Ms Popular" and how Plum will accept some of the advice, and will immediately disregard anything she is uncomfortable with.
My thoughts immediately as I finished this book were that I thought it was Brilliant! I was an outsider at school and I guess as an adult I still am. Loved Plum Parrish and hope we get more from these fantastic characters. It is so realistic.