Girl Overboard
by Headley, Justina Chen

After a snowboarding accident, Syrah Cheng, a billionaire's daughter, must rehabilitate both her knee and her self-esteem while forging relationships with those who accept her for who she is.

Justina Chen Headley grew up near Buffalo, NY and San Francisco. After attending Stanford University she spent time in New York and Sydney, Australia before settling near Seattle, Washington with her husband and two children. This is Justina's second YA novel. Her first, Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies), was a Book Sense pick.

From the moment that "snowboarding became as natural as walking," 15-year-old Syrah Cheng has wanted to be a professional rider. But after she narrowly survives an avalanche, her parents bar her from the sport. Syrah misses the anonymity and escape she found on the slopes. As the daughter of a billionaire cell-phone magnate, she feels misunderstood in public and abandoned at home by her workaholic, absentee parents, and her isolation intensifies after her only close friend, Age, stops returning her calls. Then Syrah develops a close friendship with fellow-student Lillian, whose sister is dying of cancer. A project to help Lillian's family becomes the energizing force that pulls Syrah toward new discoveries about her own family, cultural heritage, and strengths. Writing in Syrah's witty, engaging voice, Headley offers a stirring, layered novel about a Chinese American girl who rejects the false glitter of her superrich Seattle community and resolves to use her advantages to create large-scale change and relationships that are deep and true. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Syrah wants to be more than just the daughter of billionaire Ethan Cheng; she used to be a killer snowboarder, until a boy destroyed her trust and a horrific accident ruined her knee. Headley improves upon the tired "little-rich girl" story using lucid language and a convincing, feisty teen narrator. Syrah pulls readers into her über-rich world, a fascinating, foreign place with unique frustrations and pressures. Perfection, decorum and frigidity rule the Cheng dynasty. Family gatherings occur in her father's conference room, where Syrah's older half-siblings make tense, formal business presentations and sneer at her. Only her ancient nanny, Bao Mu, brings any normalcy or comfort. Common, complicated teen issues with body image and first love allow young adults to identify with this decidedly tough but vulnerable character. When Syrah unearths family secrets that date back to the Chinese Revolution, she begins to see her parents in a new light and to see herself as her own person. Headley brings Chinese history, the implications of wealth and the power of self-acceptance into soft focus, nudging reflective readers to delve deeper after they reluctantly turn the last page. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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