Thursday, April 9, 2009

Recent Read: Girl Overboard

Book: Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley
Current Book Count: 3

I picked this book up several times. Its been out for a while. It actually just came out in paperback this past January, but still, it took until now for me to make the commitment of reading it. What got me? I'm a snowboarder too. Not hardcore or anything, I'm generally just good with speeding down the mountain, feeling the wind brush my cheeks, the snow beneath my board. There's something exhilirating in it, something that can almost make you feel like a superhero or superhuman, flying down the mountain. It's freeing and the air is crisp, clear and clean all around you. And it doesn't matter who you are or what happened last night or what you have to get done tomorrow. It's just you and the mountain.

You don't have to worry about fitting in, you don't really have to worry about anything (except maybe making it to the bottom to get home at the end of the day). I got that. That was one part in Girl Overboard I completely got. The other part, well, you can only fit in if you let yourself. If you say you fit in, you will. So long as you think of yourself as an outsider, everyone else will too and you'll never truly belong until you decide you do.

Syrah Cheng is the cliche "girl who has everything." Her father's a billionaire and she has everything she wants. But what she wants is to just fit in as she is. She just doesn't know it yet. She's the black sheep of the family; her half-siblings are almost old enough to be her parents and treat her as though she was the spoiled, bratty child they never wanted in their lives. She doesn't see much of her parents aside from their appearances on magazine covers. Her friends are scarce, as most people are just interested in her for her family's money, and the one place she's always been able to be herself has been on the mountain.

After a snowboarding accident keeps her off the mountain, some recoup time forces her to re-evaluate what she has, and who she has, in her life. When she finds out her friend's sister is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, she realizes that even if there are people out there who would use her for her family's assets, she could use those assets for the power of good.

For me, Girl Overboard was a story about making your place, even if you feel like you don't belong. And even then, if you have the power to do something in this world, make yourself a superhero, catch some air and do something good.

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