"Originally a novella published in the magazine "Cicada "and the winner of the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award in Fiction, Kamata's latest is a sharp, unusual coming-of-age novel.
For Aiko Cassidy, it's hard enough sitting at the "invisible" table and dealing with trespassing geeks. It's harder when her cerebral palsy makes guys notice her in all the wrong ways. Even worse, Aiko's mother, Laina, uses her as a model for her sculptures. For privacy, Aiko conceals herself in manga; her alter ego, Gadget Girl, can rescue cute guys and tie her shoes. Aiko dreams of traveling to Japan to meet her favorite artists--and, perhaps, her father. When a sculpture of Aiko wins her and Laina a trip to Paris instead, Aiko meets handsome Herve and discovers a startling view of her family. Kamata writes the intricacies of cerebral palsy--the little maneuvers of cooking, the jerk of an arm betraying emotion--as deftly as Aiko draws or Laina sculpts. Aiko's awkwardness is palpable, as are her giddy crush and snarky observations. Some points remain realistically unresolved, in keeping with the garden metaphors throughout the book: "You're not supposed to be able to see the whole thing at once. Most Japanese gardens are revealed little by little...."
Awkwardly and believably, this sensitive novel reveals an artistic teen adapting to family, disability and friendships in all their flawed beauty. " Kirkus "Suzanne Kamata has created a memorable character in Aiko, a unique girl balancing the desire to be ordinary and extraordinary. Though she's dealing with some difficult obstacles in her life, her desire is particularly relevant and universal to the adolescent experience. An absorbing tale about adversity, art, love, and the courage to accept one's self and others. A pleasure to read!"
-Veera Hiranandani, author of "The Whole Story of Half a Girl"
"Spunky heroine with big dreams? Check! Trip to Paris? Check! Hot French waiter? Check! "Gadget Girl"show more