Review: Misfit McCabe (and a winner announcement)

Misfit McCabe sucks the reader into young Katie McCabe’s life as she transitions from her normal, every day life into a new town full of new people. The pace is quick, but I was never left behind for a moment wondering what was happening. Truly a fast, satisfying read. LK Gardner-Griffe writes fluid prose with very few hiccups along the way. The characters in the story are so real, though the mundane actions they take carry weight.

I had trouble settling into the story and noticed a few awkward phrases, but after the first few pages, I was hooked. Katie McCabe is a troublemaker, and she knows it. What sets her apart though, is that she doesn’t mean to make a mess of things: it just happens. The story starts fast, like a jump into a cool lake. Katie is smoking and drinking with her best friend Timmy out in a shed.

Gardner-Griffe shows us Katie at her weakest and strongest. Katie does not get away with anything she does, and yet I cheered on almost all of her decisions, though as bad as some were, it felt good to see her stand up to a bully—and in this case the bully isn’t some low brow jock, an interesting twist. Katie McCabe, not living up to the traditions of her family name, doesn’t know what she’s in for when she starts a ripple through the town with her arrival.

Katie is faced with tough choices, and she has to mature rapidly in her ever-changing world. She is dumped from the hands of her frustrated, loving (and sick) father, to her unsuspecting Uncle Charley. Throughout the book Katie zips from one emotion to the next. One minute I was jubilant, the next, I wanted to cry, and right after, I wanted to punch someone: I felt like a teenager again.

This story isn’t for those who want to read fluff. Misfit McCabe deals with real problems that teens (and adults) can learn from. Katie makes mistakes, and she pays for them, and importantly she learns. Her father and her uncle make mistakes as well: as does her cousin Sarah. Gardner-Griffe lets them make their mistakes, and we, as the reader, benefit from the choices they make and how they right their wrongs; when they make a good choice after learning, I let go of a breath I didn’t know I was holding!

What I enjoyed most from Misfit McCabe is a peek into what it is like to be a teen again—what the problems feel like, the emotional quicksilver—and the desire to read more. I love a book that pulls me through, and Misfit McCabe does exactly that; I was never dragged too fast, nor waiting for something else to happen.

Would I recommend this book: yes. Wholeheartedly. I will be ordering Nowhere Feels Like Home, and anxiously awaiting the rest of the series. LK Gardner-Griffe is an excellent writer who knows her audience: teens who want real substance, real characters, accessible language, and above all, a darn good story.

Now that you’ve read the review, go buy it!

Here is the winner of the contest: Candice Green!!

PS My submissions were not accepted.


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