Going to Catholic school and living with your super strict dad (who, by the way, is totally a teacher at your school) is hard enough at the best of times. Even more so for Jael Thompson because, in addition to the usual problems you might be able to imagine, she’s a demon. More accurately a half-demon.
For the last fifteen years that has meant Jael and her dad move around a lot trying to stay one step ahead of the demon’s working for one of Hell’s dukes who wants to kill Jael. It’s also meant being completely in the dark about her mother, her powers, and a lot of her family’s past.
Everything changes when Jael receives a strangely beautiful necklace on her sixteenth birthday. Her mother wanted her to have it. Her father has forbidden Jael from wearing it. Jael knows the necklace is the key and that her choice will change everything. The only problem is, Jael isn’t sure what to choose. Does she venture into her demonic side or stay true to her human life by going to high school and flirting with Rob–the cute skater boy in all of her classes? Jael is half-demon and half-mortal, but if she can live long enough maybe she can have the best of both in Misfit (2011) by Jon Skovron.
Misfit is Skovron’s second novel and his first venture into the fantasy genre.
Misfit has a really interesting premise. Skovron artfully combines conventional ideas about Hell with mythology and his own take on things. While the story is heavy on religious references (unsurprisingly since Jael’s father was a priest and she is in Catholic school) Skovron manages to present a surprisingly secular and refreshing take on demonology.
Written in the third person present tense, some of the prose here felt distancing and often pulled me out of the action of the story. Jael’s narrative alternates with anecdotes about her mother (written in the traditional third person past tense) and often the flashback segments felt more engrossing.
While Skovron did a wonderful job introducing Jael and her family and explaining her origins, the story felt rushed and ended abruptly. Misfit is a great setup for what will likely become a popular series but on its own the ending of this one felt a bit too open-ended. At times gory (but not too gory) and often surprising, Misfit is a great pick for horror and fantasy fans alike.
Possible Pairings: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey, Fury by Elizabeth Miles, Mister Monday by Garth Nix, Paranormalcy by Kirsten White