Publication: May 17th 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Synopsis: ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS meets STONER AND SPAZ.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 and have put food on the table. 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. And a side trip to Lourdes, ridiculous as it seems to her, might just change her life.
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.
My View: This book got my attention from the very first sentence and ensured my interest throughout. With an unusual main character, a girl with cerebral palsy, this book had a different feel to it unlike books where everyone is perfect from head to toe and insta love happens.
I have never read a manga but the way this book relies on it, I’m tempted to give them a read now. I love how unique the plot was, how different and real the characters.
I immensely loved the emotions this book brought out in me – empathy, sadness, happiness, delight. Oh, the world!
With a powerful background and brilliantly sketched characters, this book had a strong grip on the storyline and the pace, never letting go.
Add in Paris and Japan, and a travel aficionado like me is literally in heaven. Even though there’s not much of travel going around nevertheless I loved the description of places the mother-daughter duo visited in France.
Despite the fact that the book’s main character is a teenager, I believe the plot is more mature and not just YA.
Overall, though this is not my usual kind of read, I immensely enjoyed this book and look forward to more books by Suzanne Kamata.
Five-time Pushcart Prize nominee Suzanne Kamata is the author of the novels Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible (GemmaMedia, 2013) and Losing Kei (Leapfrog Press, 2008), and editor of three anthologies – The Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan, Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs, and Call Me Okaasan: Adventures in Multicultural Mothering (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2009). Her short fiction and essays have appeared widely. She is the Fiction Co-editor of literarymama.com.