Thankfully, GIRL OVERBOARD by Justina Chen Headley is more thoughtful and less predictable than those stories. Instead of striving for the win, GIRL OVERBOARD encourages readers to strive for their personal truths.
For Syrah Cheng, recovering from a snowboarding accident and overcoming self-doubt is just as difficult as climbing back up that mountain. Syrah is the daughter of a self-made billionaire whose face is splashed on the covers of magazines and newspapers. Her mother is dutiful and strict, and her older half-siblings, with lives and careers of their own, are distant.
Syrah doesn't want to just be thought of as somebody's daughter - she wants to make a name for herself in her own way. While nursing her injured knee, Syrah begins visiting kids in the hospital whose injuries and illnesses are more life-threatening than hers.
When she was snowboarding, Syrah felt free and powerful. She now finds solace in scribbling in her manga journal, but it can't compare to actually hitting the slopes - or to confessing something that happened to her last year. Something that she hasn't told a soul.
As the story continues, she learns something unexpected about her family which make her look at her parents differently, and she attempts to bond with her older brother and sister with varying levels of success. Finally, she thinks of a way to give back to the community while bringing attention to an important cause. A charity snowboarding event brings her back to the place where she has to confront what happened to her, both physically and emotionally.
GIRL OVERBOARD is an engrossing story not only about overcoming personal injuries, but accepting your family and yourself. Readers will hopefully walk away with the urge to give back to their own communities and to try something new that they've always wanted to do!
Playing By Your Own Rules: A Girl Overboard Playlist
Anthem by Superchick
Que Sera, Sera by Doris Day
Rockstar by Prima J
Wine Red by The Hush Sound
Burgundy by Common Rotation
Go Ahead by Rilo Kiley
Open Your Eyes by Bonnie McKee
Split Chick by Mandy Moore
Because I'm Awesome by The Dollyrots
There's Hope by India.Aire
The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson
The last two tracks were selected by the author herself.
You may listen to four of these songs at Girl Overboard MySpace page.
Having Her Say
I spoke to Justina about the book, and here's what she had to say:
Girl Overboard: "I wrote about the dark side of the rags-to-richest story because I was so concerned about the glamorization of uber-wealth. Syrah finds herself and her power and her voice when she spearheads a charity snowboarding event. Isn't that the amazing power of community service? You give, and goodness boomerangs right back at you."
Giving back:"I committed to tying every book I publish with community service. So with Girl Overboard, I've created the Go Overboard Challenge Grant with Burton Snowboards and Youth Venture to rally today's youth to change the world. My hope is that thousands of young adults will apply for the Go Overboard Challenge Grant -- and rock the world with their ideas!"
Regarding the tour: "Hannah and I have two totally different passions -- hers for snowboarding and mine for writing -- and yet what's been so much fun to see is how we're both absolutely committed to community service and to rallying today's young people to make the world better."
Go Overboard Challenge Grant
Have an idea to change the world? Do something about it! NOW.
12 grants, up to $1,000 each. Available to people ages 12-20. Click here to learn more!
Read my interview with Justina Chen Headley.