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Girl Overboard Hardcover – January 1, 2008

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 960L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; First Edition first Printing edition (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316011304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316011303
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,224,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

From the moment that “snowboarding became as natural as walking,” 15-year-old Syrah Cheng has wanted to be a professional rider. But after she narrowly survives an avalanche, her parents bar her from the sport. Syrah misses the anonymity and escape she found on the slopes. As the daughter of a billionaire cell-phone magnate, she feels misunderstood in public and abandoned at home by her workaholic, absentee parents, and her isolation intensifies after her only close friend, Age, stops returning her calls. Then Syrah develops a close friendship with fellow-student Lillian, whose sister is dying of cancer. A project to help Lillian’s family becomes the energizing force that pulls Syrah toward new discoveries about her own family, cultural heritage, and strengths. Writing in Syrah’s witty, engaging voice, Headley offers a stirring, layered novel about a Chinese American girl who rejects the false glitter of her superrich Seattle community and resolves to use her advantages to create large-scale change and relationships that are deep and true. Grades 7-11. --Gillian Engberg

About the Author

Justina Chen Headley grew up near Buffalo, NY and San Francisco. After attending Stanford University she spent time in New York and Sydney, Australia before settling near Seattle, Washington, where she currently lives with her two children. This is Justina's second YA novel. Her first, Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies), was a Book Sense pick, and her third novel, North of Beautiful, garnered critical acclaim with three starred reviews.

Customer Reviews

So begins the story of Syrah Cheng.
Katherine A. Lovette
Chen's book is also wonderfully detailed, and provides such a fascinating glimpse of the mix of two cultures.
The Compulsive Reader
It had a great story and you can teach you alot if you really think about it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Woodard on December 31, 2008
Format: Paperback
Summary: Syrah was injured in a snowboarding accident. Her dream is to become a Pro-Snowboarder. Her family is unsupportive. Her father, Ethan Cheung, made the cell phone of today. Her mother, Betty Cheung, is both a fashionista and do charity fundraising. All she want to do is be on the slopes with her best friend, Age,but he is too busy with his new boyfriend.
She soon befriends Lillan, an energetic and kid person. That spends most of her time at Seattle Children's Hospital. Lillan's sister, Amanda, has leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant or she'll die.
Syrah and Lillan organize a Charity Snowboarding Event to help spread awareness for bone marrow transplant and the fact that everyone should register for it
My Review: This book is just plain amazing. It hit my heart strings. For those that don't know this, I am a patient at Seattle Children's Hospital. I have a immunological problem,where I am always at the doctors. I have seen some of these kids that are too young to not be playing with their friends or at school. It literally breaks my heart. I also like the plot and the fact that this book tackles such deep issues. I recommend reading this as soon as possible.
Also, if you are over 16 and are able to donate bone marrow. Please register, you could save someone's life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Barbara J. Gomez on January 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I know I am not the prime audience for which this book was written. I am many generations removed from the current youth this book was written for and about. Growing up before Title 9, I did not have the sport opportunities available to girls since that milestone legislation. Despite the lack of organized sports, I was a young female athlete, one who had set her sights on representing her country in the Olympics one day.

At that time, I chose the Olympics because it was one of the only avenues available for women athletes to perform on a high level, at least those were my dreams until I tore my ACL at age 13 and had my world tossed upside down. And so, when I meet Syrah Cheng, up and coming snowboarder, who is trying to come back from the same potentially career threatening injury, my heart is with her all the way.

I know the battles female athletes have fought and continue to fight even today and so does Justina Headley Chen, the author. Ms Headley, who says she conceived the novel as she was being trundled down a mountain by the ski patrol after having a similar accident may never have been an up and coming boarder but she knows well the struggles young girls face in our society. That is why she and several other talented YA authors have established "" a web community for "gutsy girls" wherever they may be and whatever their passions.

"Girl Overboards' Syrah Cheng has many battles to fight as she struggles to find her niche in the world. Issues of sexism, classism, and cultural identity are all handled with delicacy and power. There are no simple solutions here.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Little Willow on December 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There are plenty of books - and movies too, for that matter - which focus on athletes training for the big game or competition, only to have accidents! injuries! obstacles! interfere in act three. Luckily, they tend to pull through and win the championship or gold medal, and everyone lives happily ever after. Right?

Thankfully, GIRL OVERBOARD by Justina Chen Headley is more thoughtful and less predictable than those stories. Instead of striving for the win, GIRL OVERBOARD encourages readers to strive for their personal truths.

For Syrah Cheng, recovering from a snowboarding accident and overcoming self-doubt is just as difficult as climbing back up that mountain. Syrah is the daughter of a self-made billionaire whose face is splashed on the covers of magazines and newspapers. Her mother is dutiful and strict, and her older half-siblings, with lives and careers of their own, are distant.

Syrah doesn't want to just be thought of as somebody's daughter - she wants to make a name for herself in her own way. While nursing her injured knee, Syrah begins visiting kids in the hospital whose injuries and illnesses are more life-threatening than hers.

When she was snowboarding, Syrah felt free and powerful. She now finds solace in scribbling in her manga journal, but it can't compare to actually hitting the slopes - or to confessing something that happened to her last year that she hasn't told a soul.

As the story continues, she learns something unexpected about her family which make her look at her parents differently, and she attempts to bond with her older brother and sister with varying levels of success. Finally, she thinks of a way to give back to the community while bringing attention to an important cause.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on February 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for a rags-to-riches story, don't pick up GIRL OVERBOARD. On the other hand, if you are looking for a story about a rich girl struggling to be a normal, well-adjusted girl, than this one is for you.

Syrah Cheng is the daughter of privilege. Her father, Ethan Cheng, made the cell phone what it is today. Her mother, Betty Cheng, is the queen of charity fundraising, and demands only the best. Unfortunately, all the splendor and wealth surrounding Syrah leave her feeling uncomfortable and unloved.

Syrah's dream is to become a sponsored pro-snowboarder; however, a recent life-threatening accident has sidelined her with a bum knee. Her doctor says she is ready to resume normal activities and even some cautious snowboarding, but her globe-trotting parents have forbidden her participation in the only activity that makes her life worthwhile. She fills her days with school and manga drawings of a superheroine snowboarder named Shiraz.

Not being able to snowboard is only the beginning of trouble for Syrah. Her best friend, Age, has a new girlfriend who doesn't believe there is room in their relationship for Syrah. Bao-mu, Syrah's dedicated nanny, has announced that she is leaving to go help her granddaughter with her new baby. And to top it all off, Ethan Cheng has announced his retirement and his intention to move the family to Hong Kong.

There is never a dull moment in GIRL OVERBOARD. Syrah may seem about to give up on her dream, but she finds a way to combine her love of snowboarding with what she discovers are her many other assets, to help a new friend in need, and make her family proud of her. Author Justina Chen Headley shows her readers what truly lies beneath the glittery surface of a girl who has it all, but learns that family, friendship, and love can surprise us all.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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More About the Author

Justina Chen is an award-winning novelist for young adults whose most recent book, A Blind Spot for Boys, is a Booklist Top 10 Romances for Youth. Her other novels include North of Beautiful (Best Books of the Year list, Kirkus Reviews and Barnes & Noble), Return to Me, Girl Overboard (a Junior Library Guild premiere selection) and Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies), which won the Asian Pacific American Award for Literature. She co-founded readergirlz, a cutting-edge literacy and social media project for teens, which won the National Book Foundation's Prize for Innovations in Reading.

When she isn't writing for teens, Justina is a story strategist who helps good executives become great leaders through the power of storytelling. Previously, she was the speechwriter for the president of Microsoft Entertainment. She can feel at home anywhere, so long as she has her journal and a cup of coconut black tea.

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