Monday, September 20, 2021

GENERATION MISFITS by Akemi Dawn Bowman - A story about learning to be yourself

graphic novel style light skinned eleven year old girl holding microphone and singing with four friends singing in the background
Why you want to read this book…  

I learned about this book from Feiwel & Friends Associate Editor Foyinsi Adegbonmire at a recent SCBWI workshop and I immediately found an e-version from a nearby library. How did I not know about this book before? I loved it!

This is a great book for anyone who feels like a misfit or that they don't belong. Although I know nothing about J-Pop, it didn't matter because the characters really came alive for me. They were so much like real people I got completely immersed in this story about Millie, a girl who was previously home-schooled starting middle school for the first time. 

As Millie began to find herself and make friends, we got to know four other girls with different backgrounds and experiences as well. This story touches on many common issues that kids struggle with including friendships, academic performance, parent expectations, bullies, gender, and being brave enough to be yourself.  


Here’s the summary from Amazon…   

Generation Misfits by Akemi Dawn Bowman is a heartwarming, fish-out-of-water own voices story about an eleven-year-old Japanese-American girl who finds her true friendsthrough the power of J-Pop!

Millie is attending a real school for the first time, and she dreams of finally having friends and a little bit of freedom. She finds her chance when she joins an imitation band of her favorite J-Pop group, where she's thrilled to meet a group of misfits who quickly become a tightknit group of friends that are like family.

But Millie soon realizes that one of them is dealing with problems bigger than what notes to hit when it comes time for their performance. Can Millie help her friend, even when their problem feels too big to say out loud?

Generation Misfits by Akemi Dawn Bowman was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2021. I read an e-book from my local library.

Additional Resources: has some resources such as how to pronounce the author's name and a story map lesson. 

For more great middle grade reads, visit Marvelous Middle Grade Monday organized by Greg Pattridge or check out some of the blogs in my sidebar.


  1. I was definitely a misfit at school and would have liked a book like this when I was growing up. It sounds like a great one for kids now who also feel like they don't fit in. Awesome that you learned about it at a SCBWI conference.

  2. You have me intrigued by the MC and plot. I can see this having a lot of appeal for MG readers. Thanks for featuring on MMGM!

  3. Couldn't figure how to reply -- hope this is right. Like Natalie, I was a misfit in school, so I'd find this an interesting read. Wish there were books around like this when I was in junior high. Thanks for introducing it today! Great choice.

  4. I would have loved this in junior high! I founded our "misfits" club.

  5. This sounds like such a sweet story! I love how the main characters bond over J-pop and then figure out how to grapple with some tougher issues. And it's neat to see a protagonist making the shift from homeschool to public school! Thanks so much for the great review!

  6. I can't imagine how hard it would be to go to a regular school after being home-schooled, but doing it in middle-school is brutal. Heack, middle-school is brutal. This sounds like a great book. I will try to check it out. Thanks for telling me about it.


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