Everybody thinks Syrah is the golden girl. After all, her father is Ethan Cheng, billionaire, and she has everything any kid could possibly desire: a waterfront mansion, jet plane, and custom-designed snowboards. But most of what glitters in her life is fool’s gold. Her half-siblings hate her, her best friend’s girlfriend is ruining their friendship, and her own so-called boyfriend is only after her for her father’s name. When her broken heart results in a snowboarding accident that exiles her from the mountains-the one place where she feels free and accepted for who she is, not what she has-can Syrah rehab both her busted-up knee, “and” her broken heart?
Justina Chen Headley writes with an engaging wit and a powerful, distinct voice. Her first novel, “Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies) “was a Border’s Original Voices nominee, a Book Sense pick, and received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly: “Headley makes an impressive debut with this witty, intimate novel.”
Description taken from Goodreads.
I’ve been looking for great YA novels about skiing/snowboarding forever, and GIRL OVERBOARD has been the highest-profile one that I’ve seen so far. On top of that, it’s diverse lit! (づ｡◕‿‿◕｡)づ
On the diverse side of this alone, I thought that Chen did a great job of displaying that aspect of Syrah’s life. While it did feel a little exaggerated at times, GIRL OVERBOARD was both relatable and well-done. There were a lot of unexpected interesting parts added in that were fun to read about, but could have been left out. I didn’t go into this read expecting how much of a diverse-lit-based book this would be, but I didn’t mind it too much looking back on the book.
On the snow sports side of GIRL OVERBOARD, I was a little disappointed. All in all, this story does do a fantastic job of describing what being on the mountain is like and how it feels to love a winter sport so much. It also describes the pressures and frustrations of sport injury recovery really well. For those aspects of GO, I was elated to see a book like this out in the wild.
Where things fell through was in the actual snowboarding part of all this. Snowboarding is more of a backdrop than anything else over the course of GIRL OVERBOARD. GO, if anything, is about a girl dealing with trying to pursue her passion when facing constant pressure. I’m completely for that, but when I was reading GO I wished that I had expected that from the beginning.
GO is written really well in terms of setting and actual writing. I got to know the characters and I came to fall in love with Syrah’s character. She grows tremendously during this story, which is something that I haven’t seen recently in YA. It was extremely refreshing to read things from her point of view. There was also a solid plot and main cast.
One thing about this book I didn’t love was the relationships. The romance in GIRL OVERBOARD felt misplaced to me, and Syrah’s relationship with Age never goes anywhere. In fact, he’s gone for most of the book.
Overall, I would recommend this book. It’s not completely what I expected when I went in, but it’s a great read for lovers of diverse lit and coming-of-age novels. 3.5 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 339