Despite my reservations when I began reading, I really did enjoy this book. Lily, even with her unique story and inner struggle, is a very relatable main character. Her inner monologue shows us a girl that is strong and vulnerable, shy and outspoken. She has a fiery streak that I really enjoyed seeing develop throughout the book. Stuber did a very good job portraying the discrimination and intolerance that Asian-Americans faced at that time—being blamed for things that were happening thousands of miles away. I also felt that Lily’s relationship with her parents and those around her was also very well-written. It showed how the strain of the Korean War adversely affected almost everyone, even in their own homes and family circles. The supporting characters were also of importance in this book—with Ralph, an ex-nun, and the janitor/Chinese cook Mr. Howard, the personality in this book abounded, even when things got serious. The only thing that I could find fault with was Lily’s frequent pity-party sessions, which could get a little tiresome—but that may just be called being a teenager. All in all, a wonderful read for anyone looking to brush up on their historical fiction and have a little fun along the way!
“I hold my breath and flip the first picture over. It’s blurry, but I can see it’s a hand. A pale, drooping hand, chopped above the wrist, with long, stiff fingers and a handcuff exactly the way Ralph described.”
I would recommend this book for ages eight and up. The vocabulary and plot is pretty simple to understand for younger readers, and the content is, for the most part, squeaky clean.
Will Lily be able to uncover the secrets of her past AND take on the consequences? Or will Lily find that she may have gotten in over her head? Read Girl in Reverse by Barbara Stuber to find out!