Meet the Misfits and Odd Girl Out by Melody Carlson: Book Review with Celebrate Lit
About the Book
Book: Zoey:Meet the Misfits & Zoey: Odd Girl Out
Author: Melody Carlson
Genre: Middle grade fiction for girls
Release Date: April 15/ August 15, 2019
Zoey’s pretty sure her life is over when her wannaba-rockstar mother uproots her from from their home in Seattle and deposits her in Nowheresville, Oregon to live with her whackadoodle grandparents. Things start to look up, though, when she reconnects with Louisa, the girl from across the street. Maybe, just maybe, Louisa won’t mind that Zoey’s always been a bit of a misfit. Louisa’s ex-BFF, however, doesn’t seem too happy to welcome Zoey to the neighborhood. And when they all end up at church camp together, it’s not just a matter of whether or not Zoey can fit in…it becomes a firsthand lesson in what it really means to “love your enemy.”
When the school year begins, Zoey’s terrified to go without Louisa—who’s out with a nasty flu. The same enemies she made over the summer are there to haunt her, but she and another new girl stick together…and even seem to find a place among the in-crowd. But is this who Zoey wants to be? Are they really her friends? Who’s going to stick beside her when cyber bullying leaves her as the odd girl out?
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So, obviously I’m not an 8-13 year old, which is the recommended age for these books.
Evaluating the material from a parental standpoint, I found the writing to be engaging and insightful. I believe the messages portrayed through Meet the Misfits and Odd Girl Out are messages our kids need to hear.
1: It is never okay to bully someone
2: It is always best to be yourself. God made us unique for a reason, and we honor Him by being the individual He created us to be.
It’s not easy to be on the outside looking in. To feel as if you don’t belong. Zoey and Louisa’s friendship in Meet the Misfits is the type of friendship every little girl dreams of. The drama and miscommunication of Odd Girl Out is what every girl fears. I applaud the author for tackling the topic of bullying with such sincerity and knowledge.
I was a Zoey. Ah, who am I kidding, I’m still a Zoey. And I’ve learned to appreciate what makes me different. I pray other girls are able to do the same. Love who you are. You should not have to change yourself in order to ‘fit into the crowd’.
Would I recommend these books? Well, I plan on giving them to my niece who is turning eight this year. So, yes, absolutely. I do not think she’s too young to understand either book. Even at age seven, she’s asking what she can do so she’ll fit in with the ‘cool kids’. She’s already cool. She doesn’t need to change a thing, and I hope these books will show her how beautiful we all are.
The gentle themes of God’s love and forgiveness, and learning to forgive your enemies are well displayed and thoughtful enough to engage a young reader and make them think about their actions.
I requested a copy of these books from Celebrate Lit. I was not required to leave a positive review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
About the Author
Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.
More from Melody
Being a tween these days is more complicated than ever. With our culture’s fast pace, social networking, peer pressure . . . growing up is hard to do. So I wanted to create a relatable character with some tough challenges. And Zoey Petrizzo definitely gets more than her fair share. About to start middle-school, Zoey is forced to relocate her life with her less than conventional grandparents. And it’s not easy! My hope is that readers will either relate to Zoey, or develop more empathy for ‘misfit’ kids like her.