This Misfit book review will prove I gobbled up Elle Kennedy’s first novel in the Prep series as fast as I could, and now I can’t wait to devour Rogue.
This series starter from Elle Kennedy combines the banter and camaraderie of her Off Campus and Briar U series with the high school mindset and chaos of the Royals series (that she wrote with Jen Frederick as Erin Watt) to create an even more memorable cast of characters. But the Prep series is more than just a boarding school series. Sandover Prep is a microcosm of twisted motivations and teen angst, and Misfit is the story that will keep you reading well into the night—and through to the next morning.
There is so much to love about this book. The main characters, the setting, the supporting cast, the mysteries, and all those broken rules make for a ton of fun twists and turns.
In order to do Misfit justice in this book review, I have to start by talking about its leads, R.J. and Sloane. I feel so fortunate to have these two as the backbone this series is built on because they are such an amazing and fascinating pair. I truly hope they continue to feature prominently going forward in the series.
Sloane is a judgmental, prickly young woman, hellbent on getting what she deserves out of life, especially after the betrayals and disappointments she’s suffered through. She’s not particularly prickly, however, when a certain brooding boy and his sardonic ways of woo cross her path. Literally. I love that Sloane makes R.J. work for her affection. I love that they can read each other so well. Part of the magic of romance is seeing two characters who vibe so thoroughly that nothing can keep them apart. Sloane definitely keeps up her end of that bargain. And there is more to Sloane than just her relationship to R.J., most notably, her dedication to her sister.
And R.J. is no slouch either. I absolutely fell for his whole personality. But more than that, I could see each of Sloane’s barriers melt away as R.J. proved himself a worthwhile partner. R.J.’s unwavering interest in Sloane helps her to believe that maybe this time the thing she wants most won’t actually come back to bite her. She has trusted time and time again and always seems to be let down by others, including all of her former friends and even her own father. There is more to R.J. than just his relationship with Sloane, though, too. His burgeoning brotherhood with Fenn takes up some serious space in my heart, as neither has had the most stable childhood so far. They are on the cusp of adulthood and are forming a bond that both will depend on for the rest of their lives.
Sandover Prep provides a bit of character itself, as a setting. Page after page, we learn about the history of this school, its generational influences, the spaces the kids inhabit throughout their daily routines, and the places they flee to the minute the sun sets. Every abandoned building tells a story of youthful indiscretions and decades of learning. Every dark and dangerous pursuit on Sandover grounds has an equally dark corner to hide it in. While prepping to write my Misfit book review, I couldn’t help but feel compelled to talk about how the school itself is an antagonist in the story. Not only because you have to be a “hopeless case” to get there, but because once there, the walls almost seem to pressure their inhabitants to push the envelope. I am eager to see what secrets Sandover Prep will unveil in future books in the Prep series.
I love how all the characters in Misfit are fully fleshed out humans. We may not know how each of them ticks just yet, but, as each book in this series is revealed, we will get closer and closer to the heart of each of them, I just know it. In addition to Sloane and R.J.’s POV chapters, we also get to hear from Silas, Fenn, and Lawson. These three pretty much make up the friend group, with the absent Gabe rounding them out, and a few hangers-on that pop up here and there. Silas comes across as the good guy, the loyal friend, a little leery of R.J., but seems more cynical of newcomers than anything. Then there’s Lawson, the screw up, the partier, the good time guy. My heart knows there is more to Lawson than what he shows the world, but we don’t delve too deeply into Lawson’s story in Misfit, just a quick glance at his inner workings. Finally, Fenn is R.J.’s roommate, new brother, and, honestly, his closest confidant. I really enjoyed getting to see these two young men form a friendship that will probably mean more to them than either of them know down the line.
The plot of this book makes for a complicated and riveting story, including the relationship between Sloane and R.J., but also R.J. having to adapt to life at Sandover, his relationship with Duke and how that all shakes out, the secrets being kept about what happened at the Ballard prom, how Silas even ended up at a school for troublemakers, and Lawson’s numerous exploits.
The plethora of narrators kept the story fresh, always bouncing us to someone else’s perspective when we needed it most, and sometimes doing so to keep the mysterious tension at its peak as long as possible. I think this has also set us up wonderfully to include new narrators as the overarching story of this series unfolds, adding and subtracting different points of view as the story demands.
Ultimately, I started Misfit looking for another incredible Elle Kennedy story and out popped a truly mind-bending saga I am fully committed to finishing. Thank goodness I don’t have to wait for Rogue (review to come soon!), but I truly hope that we learn pretty quickly when we can expect the third book in the Prep series. I am even more excited after putting all my thoughts down in this Misfit book review.
‘Misfit’ hit bookstore shelves November 29, 2022
Look for more recommendations on our books page.