Ever felt like you just didn鈥檛 fit in? Whether it was just a moment of awkwardness or you鈥檝e always been deeply iconoclastic, you鈥檒l find something to identify with here. This week鈥檚 new works in our book club celebrate the weirdos, the questioners, the people who are slightly out of step with the norm.

1. The Misfit鈥檚 Manifesto by Lidia Yuknavitch ($11): 鈥淚鈥檓 not the story you made of me,鈥 writes Lidia Yuknavitch. The author proudly calls herself a misfit, attempting to reclaim the word from years of abuse. Her book, based on her popular 2016 TED Talk, 鈥淭he Beauty of Being a Misfit,鈥 takes us through all the 鈥渕istakes鈥 she鈥檚 made that caused her to become the person she is today. She鈥檚 not just talking about the feeling of awkwardness, which she says is the human condition. 鈥淲hen I say misfit,鈥 she writes, 鈥淚鈥檓 talking about the fact that some of us just never found a way to fit in at all, from the get-go, all through our evolving lives, including the present tense. I鈥檓 talking about how some of us experience that altered state of missing any kind of fitting in so profoundly that we nearly can鈥檛 make it in life鈥 But I鈥檓 not here to draw pity. Misfits, from my point of view, are everything. The world needs us. Here is the story of why.鈥

While her earlier autobiography, The Chronology of Water, presented her travails in a more conventional, sadder way, The Misfit鈥檚 Manifesto puts a positive, proud, and even sometimes funny spin on failed marriages, college dropouts, a drug addiction, rehab, a DUI, jail, a miscarriage and even an attempt at suicide. All these 鈥渇ailings,鈥 she writes, have eventually shown her how to improve her life and be a better person to others. This doesn鈥檛 mean she endorses suffering (she says it鈥檚 鈥渁 crock of shit鈥), or that she won鈥檛 ever make a mistake again; she is a misfit, after all. It just makes her better-equipped to deal with life鈥檚 speed bumps.

In her book, Yuknavitch creates a place where misfits can belong, with empathetic chapters like 鈥淏odies That Don鈥檛 Fit,鈥 鈥淐oloring (and Sometimes Living) Outside the Lines鈥 and 鈥淭he Misfit鈥檚 Journey (or Why the Hero鈥檚 Journey Bites),鈥 as well as chapters that look forward, like 鈥淣ot All Hope Comes from Looking Up,鈥 鈥淪tanding Up Inside Your Dream,鈥 and 鈥淢istakes As Portals.鈥 Warm and truthful, her words should appeal to anyone who鈥檚 not just having trouble fitting into the box, but even finding the box in the first place.

2. Us Kids Know by JJ Strong ($19): YA fiction is often the best place to look for misfits, because middle and high school are a microcosm for the real world. They鈥檙e where the popular kids and the misfits differentiate themselves from each other, and where many learn that life isn鈥檛 necessarily good or fair to those who stick out. Strong鈥檚 novel, set in nostalgic 2002, is narrated by three different misfits, all private-school kids with a public-school background, who come together in comforting and tragic ways.

鈥淲e all knew about Cullen Hickson.鈥 Cullen is your resident 10 Things I Hate About You Heath Ledger-styled bad boy with a lot more going on underneath. He sees Brielle O鈥橠ell, and his world stops: 鈥渂ased on absolutely no tangible information whatsoever I felt like she and I understood something important that nobody else at this dance understood 鈥 or would understand. In that one quick moment 鈥 a look, a smile, a wave 鈥 we transcended the night.鈥 Brielle, the girl who 鈥渟eemed to float above the ordinary, predictable nonsense,鈥 starts her new private girls鈥 high school, Marymount, with aspirations of intellectual connection, but snaps her chance at popularity with an epically failed moment on the field hockey pitch. 鈥淗ad I not decided 鈥 despite a total lack of experience with field hockey or any evidence that I would be even remotely good at it 鈥 that athletic involvement was an indispensable component of any serious student鈥檚 college application鈥 who knows how things would have unfolded?鈥

Ray, Brielle鈥檚 brother, goes to St. John鈥檚 with Cullen, and is mercilessly bullied and beaten by a gang of boys headed by Nick O鈥橠wyer, who weighs far more than Ray鈥檚 99 pounds and would 鈥渒ick my ass or otherwise humiliate me whenever I failed to escape his sights,鈥 Ray says. 鈥淭he funny thing was that even though I hated every second I spent in his company, for a while Nick was pretty much the only guy in school with whom I interacted. Everyone else ignored me.鈥 After the three teens unite, they find themselves acting out in ways that misfits often do, including daring more and more trouble with riskier and riskier incidents of crime. It鈥檚 addictive to finally fit in with someone, but the path they go down together might not be a happy one.

3. The Infinite Now by Mindy Tarquini ($17): Fiora Vincente has a lot of things going against her as she tries to fit in to Philadelphia society in 1918. At 16, she鈥檚 an orphan, losing both her parents to the bitter influenza epidemic. Her parents were Italian immigrants, so she has to deal with the prejudice others have for her background. Her brothers are away at the Western front of World War I. Also, she seems to have the ability to predict the future when she looks through a curtain her mother prized. All this leaves Fiora almost entirely alone, which soon provokes an extreme reaction.

鈥淚 was deposited at the old man鈥檚 door, wet, cold, and hungry, my possessions clutched in a blanket-wrapped bundle and my dignity in tatters. Brought there by the tailor鈥檚 wife, who worried about contagion.鈥 Fiora is taken in by a shoemaker named Don Sebastiano that nobody seems to know anything about, but as he鈥檚 the only one willing to help her, she鈥檚 dependent upon his charity. Described as 鈥淯seful. Like an ugly scarf. Unwanted, but serviceable,鈥 Fiora knows she鈥檚 more than she appears to be: 鈥淟ittle. Maybe. But I could eat as much as any boy. Two boys. And smart as three.鈥 Her newfound power makes her realize she might be even more than that.

When she fears for a rare friend鈥檚 life, Fiora does something unimaginable: She somehow manages to stop time. Things go on as usual outside her community, but inside, things will go on in an infinite now, forever. It鈥檚 so very tempting to run and hide in the now when you鈥檙e lonely and the future seems uncertain. Fiora has to decide whether a life in stasis is going to continue, or if she鈥檒l change the world.

What books really stand out from the crowd? Tag us in your next misfit read @BritandCo.

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