Saturday, December 27, 2008
Headley, Justina Chen. 2008. Girl Overboard.
Girl Overboard stars a very unhappy girl, Syrah, who is frustrated with practically everything in her life: she's unhappy with how her knee is healing after a bad snowboarding accident; unhappy that there seems to be a mental/emotional block preventing her from moving on in her life after a disappointing first taste of love/lust; unhappy that her very best friend, Adrian "Age", has a girlfriend who won't allow him to see her; unhappy that her parents ignore her except for when they're bossing her around--how her mom is always onto her about her weight, how they both rarely take her seriously and how both want to keep her from ever snowboarding again; angry with her two half-siblings, Wayne and Grace, both much older than herself; disappointed that her only real friend in the house--her nanny if you will--Bao-mu is going to be leaving the family to go care for her own granddaughter; and super-super angry that her parents have told her that they're all moving to Hong Kong next year. Syrah has an oh-so-terrible life because her parents are oh-so-wealthy. But it has its advantages in a way too--when Syrah decides she wants to be a part of her family and use everything to get what she wants. And what Syrah ends up wanting more than anything is to help someone else--to save a life.
It's a coming of age novel heavy on the whine in the opening chapters. The first fifty pages didn't hook me. But I kept going, I kept reading and sure enough by the end I was enjoying it. While all the characters seemed a bit flat and stereotypical in the beginning, by the end, they were beginning (at least if not more) to become fully fleshed characters with heart and soul. Her developing relationship with her family--her mother, Betty; her half-sister, Grace; her mother's family whom she meets for the first time--her aunts and cousins, etc--add depth to this story. I liked how Syrah changed through the course of the book, how she came to be someone I could like, someone I could respect.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews