Mar. 3rd, 2009

chomiji: An artists' palette with paints of many human skin colors. Caption: Create a world without racism (IBARW - palette)

Syrah Cheng's father is the billionaire founder of a cellphone company. Her mother - his second wife - constantly finds fault with her. Her father's two older children (already adults, one with children of his own) belittle her. Her classmates ignore her or try to ingratiate themselves because of her money. All 15-year-old Syrah wants to do is become a pro snowboarder - but a recent heart-stopping accident has damaged her knee badly enough that she's pretty sure she'll never snowboard again competitively, even if her parents would let her.

You can ignore the cover blurbs about her love life: what Syrah really needs is not a boyfriend, but a reason to exist. And she finds it.

I often enjoy children's and YA fiction, but I was rather bored with the first part of this. Syrah doesn't feel at home with her private school classmates, but she's a lot more part of the mainstream than I was at that age. Also, she is very self-centered - which I'm sure I was at that point as well. But about halfway through the book, when Syrah starts looking beyond her own issues, the story takes off in a big way. When I finished the book, I turned back and re-read it from that point: it's a very satisfying story, in the end, and even the slightly overwrought language at the climax works as the voice of a bright young teen.

(Read more ... with spoilers!)

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