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Starfish
Contributor(s): Bowman, Akemi Dawn
ISBN: 1481487728     ISBN-13: 9781481487726
Publisher: Simon Pulse
    OUR PRICE: $16.19  
Product Type: Hardcover
Published: September 2017
Qty:
Annotation: Kiko Himura yearns to escape the toxic relationship with her mother by getting into her dream art school, but when things do not work out as she hoped Kiko jumps at the opportunity to tour art schools with her childhood friend, learning life-changing truths about herself and her past along the way.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Mothers and daughters; Fiction.
Racially mixed people; Fiction.
Family problems; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2016045829
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 9.25" H x 6.25" W x 1.25" (0.95 lbs) 343 pages
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 July #3)

Graduating from high school and attending Prism Art School in New York City is the only thing keeping half-Japanese, half-white Kiko Himura going. Her Asian features and roots have made her feel like an outsider in her community, and her low self-esteem stems from the cruelty she endures from her distant and emotionally abusive mother. After Kiko reconnects with her childhood friend Jamie, gets rejected by Prism, and faces the return of her sexually abusive uncle, she opts to drive to California with Jamie to check out art schools. There, she meets artist Hiroshi Matsumoto, who recognizes Kiko's talent and mentors her. In an empowering novel that will speak to many mixed-race teens, debut author Bowman has created a cast of realistically complex and conflicted characters. She elegantly channels Kiko's anxieties, and each chapter ends profoundly with a description of her drawings that reflects her growth, setbacks, or newfound understanding ("I draw the sun teaching the moon how to shine"). Through art, Kiko gains a voice and finally understands that she is worthy, desirable, and talented. Ages 12–up. Agent: Penny Moore, Empire Literary. (Sept.)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2017 September)

Gr 9 Up—Kiko Himura has constantly been made to feel like an outsider by her mother and the majority of her town for being half Japanese. The only things she really has in her life are her best friend, who is going to leave to college this year, and her art. Kiko realizes her ticket to escaping her insufferable mother and feelings of inadequacy is applying to art school in New York. When she does not get accepted to her dream school, she fears she is doomed to drown in her small town. But when she happens to see her childhood best friend at a party, her life begins to spin wildly out of control. Readers living with anxiety or depression will immediately identify with Kiko's plight to survive in social situations and maintain a functioning lifestyle. The realistic conversations with her narcissistic mother and discussions of childhood trauma might be hard to stomach for some because of their brutal honesty. Teens will root for Kiko and hope she develops the strength to overcome her hardships. The characterization of her childhood best friend and mentor are the only semi-unrealistic aspects of the book, as they continue to remain in the "too-good-to-be-true" camp, but these holes are easy to overlook. Bowman has written a deep and engaging story that will not only entertain but also may encourage readers to live their best lives. VERDICT A worthy first purchase for any public or school library collection.—DeHanza Kwong, Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte, NC

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.