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GIRL OVERBOARD by Justina Chen Headley


by Justina Chen Headley

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-316-01130-3
Publisher: Little, Brown

Syrah wants to be more than just the daughter of billionaire Ethan Cheng; she used to be a killer snowboarder, until a boy destroyed her trust and a horrific accident ruined her knee. Headley improves upon the tired “little-rich girl” story using lucid language and a convincing, feisty teen narrator. Syrah pulls readers into her über-rich world, a fascinating, foreign place with unique frustrations and pressures. Perfection, decorum and frigidity rule the Cheng dynasty. Family gatherings occur in her father’s conference room, where Syrah’s older half-siblings make tense, formal business presentations and sneer at her. Only her ancient nanny, Bao Mu, brings any normalcy or comfort. Common, complicated teen issues with body image and first love allow young adults to identify with this decidedly tough but vulnerable character. When Syrah unearths family secrets that date back to the Chinese Revolution, she begins to see her parents in a new light and to see herself as her own person. Headley brings Chinese history, the implications of wealth and the power of self-acceptance into soft focus, nudging reflective readers to delve deeper after they reluctantly turn the last page. (Fiction. YA)