Posted in 2014-2015 Club, Not Mock Newbery

Girl in Reverse, by Barbara Stuber

Girl in ReverseSummary:  Lillian Firestone is Chinese, but the kids in her 1951 Kansas City high school can’t separate her from the North Koreans that America is at war with. Sick of the racism she faces at school and frustrated that her adoptive white family just sees it as ‘teasing,’ Lily begins to search for her birth mother.


Find it at WCPL


2 thoughts on “Girl in Reverse, by Barbara Stuber

  1. Girl in Reverse is about an adopted Chinese girl who is experiencing discrimination at school and at home. Because of the war going on overseas with the Koreans, the seclusion she has always felt only grows when her classmates see her as the same as their enemies. She even feels this prejudice at home, where it seems nobody understands her or even cares to try. Most of the book is centered around the plot of her uncovering the mystery of why her mother left her, but there are also side plots like the relationship she has with a boy who goes to her school that added interest to the story. At first the plot is slow moving, the main character self-centered, and the theme confusing, but as the book progressed, primarily in the last half, everything got much stronger. I finally connected to Lilly, specifically when she interacted with other characters like her mother or Elliot. The theme was done in a way that you never really noticed it unless you looked and when you did, it was there super clear. I found the book to be about finding yourself. The writing style was really good with beautiful descriptions and memorable sentences that created the perfect setting. I liked the way the author incorporated certain symbols throughout the entire story, objects like the pink sweater that were mentioned occasionally and then used to mean different things and then remembered at just the right moment to create strong feelings in the reader. I really loved this book and felt that it was amazingly well written for the second half however, mostly because of the weak and dragged on beginning that made Lily seem especially unrelatable, I am unsure as to whether or not this should be the winner. Painting the Rainbow dealt with many of the same things that this book did and actually had the same issue with the whiny main character at the beginning, however, I believe that because of the writing style in the book, that it is the better candidate of the two for the Newbery. Both books however would be great reads for getting information on the time period and would be appropriate for ages eleven or twelve through high school.

  2. Girl in Reverse was a very interesting book. It was about a girl who is an adopted Chinese highschooler. The setting was during the Korean war which makes her be the target of bullying which makes her depressed at the beginning. In the book, she meets Elliot, Mr. Howard, and Mr. and Mrs. Chow which she all befriends. In the book she tries to find information about her past and parents. I liked how the author influenced objects to her life like the Girl in the Mirror, like Krista said. The characters was my favorite part of the book because they all have a nice effect on the story. I liked the story, but isn’t as good as some I’ve read because of the depression and dragging beginning.

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