Emiko's summer is one of endless babysitting until a chance encounter brings her to the Factory and its Friday-night performance-artist shows. There, she finds she can transform herself and break out of her geek bubble. This tale of art as both a liberator and a crutch has several elements that are dropped too quickly, but on the whole it is a good story, anchored by strong, realistic art and characters fleshed out to varying degrees. Emiko is a compelling presence with a clear voice throughout, and teen readers will be drawn to her.
Author Tamaki and artist Rolston offer a light but charming fantasy for awkward girls everywhere. Emiko, a half-Japanese, half-Caucasian Canadian, is a self-described geek facing a summer of babysitting and isolation. Things change when she stumbles upon an underground performing art scene inspired by Andy Warhol's Factory. She eventually takes to the stage, dressed in her grandmother's mod outfits from the '60s, and achieves minor celebrity. Soon, though, Emiko must face the troubling complexities in the lives of her new friends and the consequences of her own questionable actions. The book offers many of the hallmarks of female coming-of-age tales, including a sensitive romantic interest, betrayal, concern about popularity and the difficult recognition that adult life is not as black and white as one may hope. Unique and modern touches, however, help set the book apart, such as the references to Warhol, ruminations on the nature of art and a lesbian subplot. Rolston's playful, vibrant b&w illustrations bring the characters to life; in particular, Emiko's sweet, expressive face conveys her wild swings of emotions as the story progresses. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr 8 Up
Readers first meet Emiko as a "glammed up" Asian-Canadian teen returning home. Cinderella-like, her fishnet-stocking feet are missing one of her high heels as she tiptoes into the house, flops down on her bed, and texts "How wyrd it is that 1 summer can chg everythg." The story seamlessly transitions into Emily's recollections of the events that changed her from a teen geek to a superstar. While shopping at the mall, she encounters Poppy advertising a "Freak Show" on Friday night. Emily attends, and, mesmerized by the atmosphere and people she meets, makes the decision to try out for a performance. Dressed in her grandmother's 1960s go-go girl dress and using her grandmother's name, Emi decides to "borrow" her act from the woman who employs her as a babysitter. Using a diary, in which this suburban mother records the misery of her life and her desire to leave her husband for a lover in New York City, Emiko takes the stage and is a hit. She enjoys her life in the spotlight, but her guilt at using these purloined and painful confessions for the entertainment of others becomes apparent with the author's skillful use of text strike-outs of Emi's rationalized recollections. These strike-outs decrease as she becomes more honest with herself. When the show is closed by the police, Emi packs up her grandmother's clothing and decides to find her own voice.-Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
- DC Comics
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.26(w) x 7.99(h) x 0.38(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 - 13 Years
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The story is about a shy girl who becomes an underground superstar. Her struggles feel real as do the other characters in book. The story is well constructed and despite the fact that it is teen drama it feels like every teenage girl struggle. Get this book!