Gadget Girl

Gadget Girl : The Art of Being Invisible

3.85 (128 ratings on Goodreads)
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Description

"Anna and the French Kiss" meets "Stoner & Spaz" in a contemporary young adult coming-of-age novel about a girl, her struggles, and her art. Aiko Cassidy is fourteen and lives with her sculptor mother in a small Midwestern town. For most of her young life Aiko, who has cerebral palsy, has been her mother's muse. But now, she no longer wants to pose for the sculptures that have made her mother famous. Aiko works hard on her own dream of becoming a great manga artist with a secret identity. When Aiko's mother invites her to Paris for a major exhibition of her work, Aiko at first resists. She'd much rather go to Japan, Manga Capital of the World, where she might be able to finally meet her father, the indigo farmer. When she gets to France, however, a hot waiter with a passion for manga and an interest in Aiko makes her wonder if being invisible is such a great thing after all. "Gadget Girl "began as a novella published in "Cicada." The story won the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award in Fiction and was included in an anthology of the best stories published in "Cicada" over the past ten years.show more

Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 228 pages
  • 127 x 200.66 x 17.78mm | 249.47g
  • Gemmamedia
  • Boston, United States
  • English
  • 1936846381
  • 9781936846382
  • 958,408

Review quote

"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

About Suzanne Kamata

Suzanne Kamata is the author of the novel "Losing Kei "(Leapfrog Press, 2008), a short story collection, "The Beautiful One Has Come "(Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2011) which was longlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and was honored with a 2012 Silver Nautlilus Award; and editor of three anthologies including "Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs" (Beacon Press, May 2008). Her short stories and essays have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times, and she is a two-time winner of the All Nippon Airways/Wingspan Fiction Contest. Suzanne is Fiction Co-editor of literarymama.com and Fiction Editor of" Kyoto Journal." Her fiction for young adults also appears in the current edition of "Hunger Mountain "and is forthcoming in "Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction - An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories" (Stone Bridge Press, March 2012) edited by Holly Thompson.show more

Our customer reviews

I had high hopes for this book because I thought the blurb was interesting - a striving mixed-race female manga artist with cerebral palsy, an equally artistically-talented mother and a non-existent father that she wants to meet. I have a thing for characters who draw. But sadly, Gadget Girl did not meet my expectations. For one, I find it hard to connect with the main character, Aiko. She comes across as someone who's deeply discontented with what she has. She keeps wishing for someone who, for all she know, doesn't even know she exists! I mean, I totally get it wanting to have a whole family, but girl, you have a loving and understanding mother there that you don't seem to appreciate. Fine, she's nowhere near perfect but honestly, Aiko's mother was the one who got my sympathy. Another thing, for someone so talented, Aiko can be stupid. She's shallow and girl has serious issues of inferiority complex. Not everything is about you, Aiko. Not everyone stares at your claw-like arm or the way you limp. Those differences are what make you unique. Aiko should've been thankful instead that at least her good arm can draw a brilliant manga. Speaking of which, I also wished the story of the Gadget Girl manga was explored more. Aiko's fans were saying that it's really good and the story line is great but I think Lisa Cook's story should have been given more attention in the book. The tagline The art of being invisible didn't help either. From what I can tell, there hasn't been any insinuation that Aiko mastered 'the art of being invisible.' The flow of the story isn't that great either. It was somewhat boring and the endings of each chapter felt like they were prematurely ended. They weren't wrapped-up in a way that tells you a particular chapter is finished. I'm no expert but even I can tell that the endings felt abrupt. I would've totally disliked Gadget Girl if not for the ending. Frankly, it's the only part that I found okay. Some major issues were settled, Aiko was learning to forgive and her mom was happy. And hey, the ending is perfect. It's not like the chapter endings that felt abrupt but it's written like an ending should be written. Again, I don't claim to be an expert but it really came off great. Gadget Girl has really great potential and the concept is unique. Unfortunately, the author failed to execute the ideas beautifully. It's such a shame because it could've been interesting.show more
by Julie Rimpula
I'm no YA, but I was transported back to my teens at the turn of each page, allowing me to relive the thrill of my first crush! This story is both poignant and entertaining, and will cause a tear to be shed here and there. It is beautifully written and, had I read this in my youth, is the sort of book that I would have passed around my group of friends.show more
by Angela Fukutome
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