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Saturday, June 1, 2013

{ARC Review} Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible by Suzanne Kamata

Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible

Author: Suzanne Kamata
Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: May 17th 2013 by GemmaMedia
Source: eARC from Giselle @ Xpresso Book Tours
Buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

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.

I had high hopes for this book because I thought the blurb was interesting - a striving  mixed-race female manga artist with cerebral palsy, an equally artistically-talented mother and a non-existent father that she wants to meet. I have a thing for characters who draw. But sadly, Gadget Girl did not meet my expectations.

For one, I find it hard to connect with the main character, Aiko. She comes across as someone who's deeply discontented with what she has. She keeps wishing for someone who, for all she know, doesn't even know she exists! I mean, I totally get it wanting to have a whole family, but girl, you have a loving and understanding mother there that you don't seem to appreciate. Fine, she's nowhere near perfect but honestly, Aiko's mother was the one who got my sympathy.

Another thing, for someone so talented, Aiko can be stupid. She's shallow and girl has serious issues of inferiority complex. Not everything is about you, Aiko. Not everyone stares at your claw-like arm or the way you limp. Those differences are what make you unique. Aiko should've been thankful instead that at least her good arm can draw a brilliant manga. Speaking of which, I also wished the story of the Gadget Girl manga was explored more. Aiko's fans were saying that it's really good and the story line is great but I think Lisa Cook's story should have been given more attention in the book.

The tagline  The art of being invisible didn't help either. From what I can tell, there hasn't been any insinuation that Aiko mastered 'the art of being invisible.' The flow of the story isn't that great either. It was somewhat boring and the endings of each chapter felt like they were prematurely ended. They weren't wrapped-up in a way that tells you a particular chapter is finished. I'm no expert but even I can tell that the endings felt abrupt.

I would've totally disliked Gadget Girl if not for the ending. Frankly, it's the only part that I found okay. Some major issues were settled, Aiko was learning to forgive and her mom was happy. And hey, the ending is perfect. It's not like the chapter endings that felt abrupt but it's written like an ending should be written. Again, I don't claim to be an expert but it really came off great.

Gadget Girl has really great potential and the concept is unique. Unfortunately, the author failed to execute the ideas beautifully. It's such a shame because it could've been interesting.

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Julie @ Books and Insomnia

Julie is a Filipina blogger who pretends she has insomnia so she can stay up late reading. When she's not buried in books, she can be found watching anime, drinking chocolate-flavored instant coffee, lurking on the internet, daydreaming and talking about herself in third person. She loves purple and anything sweet!

1 comment:

  1. Loved the blurb for it, as the originality is there, but I've been reading quite a few mixed reviews so I'm not surprised to see your comment about the execution. Two close friends of mine have CP so I'll probably still pick it up, but at least I don't feel like I need to rush out to get it. Good review.


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