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Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone
J.K. Rowling
The Skillful Teacher: Building Your Teaching Skills
Jon Saphier, Robert Gower
Dan Simmons
Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible - Suzanne Kamata Although I really liked how it all came together at the end and contemplated that fourth star, and still am, I decided that "liked" is probably a more accurate description of my feelings for most of the read. I wish I could give more details about the ending, but I think it would spoil it for you. One thing I can reveal is that the ending was a pleasant surprise. The main character, Aiko Cassidy, travels to Paris with her artist mother for a summer during much of the book's last half. I really wasn't expecting much from Part Six, the last part, called "Michigan, Again", but, well, I did get a bit teary-eyed and flooded with emotion, damn it, so clearly the various elements built to something rather sublime.

The cover and title may be misleading. This YA novel is not speculative fiction at all. Gadget Girl is the name of a manga that 15 year old Aiko creates in her spare time. It's one of many elements that may endear her story to you, depending on your buttons. Others include: coming of age, artists, mothers and daughters, single-parent families, and cerebral palsy (topics listed under the ISBN number). Obviously I'm a sucker for some of them. Aiko has cerebral palsy. It definitely affected her life and story but without hijacking the narrative completely. That struck me as realistic at times, while at other points I wasn't sure what I thought of the light treatment (but really, I wouldn't know how much cerebral palsy would, could, might color someone's consciousness).

I almost want to say this novel was hyper-realistic, maybe because it was mainly quiet and completely convincing, even when Aiko gets to experience some romance in Paris. It took awhile for me to identify with her, though the book is first person, but when I put the book down for good I felt close to her. Aiko tells us the entire story and her mother often seemed selfish but I felt for her too by the end, caught glimpses of what made her tick. And her father too, a little. Ah, pain. Ah, life. It can be so messy.