Culture & Memoir
Suzanne Kamata (Author)
by Suzanne Kamata
Fifteen-year-old Aiko Cassidy, a bicultural girl with cerebral palsy, grew up in Michigan with her single mother. For as long as she could remember, it was just the two of them. When a new stepfather and a baby half sister enter her life, she finds herself on the margins. Having recently come into contact with her biological father, she is invited to spend the summer with his indigo-growing family in a small Japanese farming village. Aiko thinks she just might fit in better in Japan. If nothing else, she figures the trip will inspire her manga story, Gadget Girl.
However, Aiko’s stay in Japan is not quite the easygoing vacation that she expected. Her grandmother is openly hostile toward her, and she soon learns of painful family secrets that have been buried for years. Even so, she takes pleasure in meeting new friends. She is drawn to Taiga, the figure skater who shows her the power of persistence against self-doubt. Sora is a fellow manga enthusiast who introduces Aiko to a wide circle of like-minded artists. And then there is Kotaro, a refugee from the recent devastating earthquake in northeastern Japan.
As she gets to know her biological father and the story of his break with her mother, Aiko begins to rethink the meaning of family and her own place in the world.
About the Author
Suzanne Kamata’s books include Losing Kei; The Beautiful One Has Come, (long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award); and three anthologies. Her short stories and essays have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times. Her fiction for young adults also appears in Hunger Mountain and Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction – An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories (Stone Bridge Press) edited by Holly Thompson. Suzanne Kamata lives in Tokushima, Japan with her husband and bicultural twins.
“A lovely sequel that focuses on finding strength in one’s self and maintaining hope when all seems lost.” –Kirkus
“A moving coming-of-age story that transports you to a rural Japanese farmland through the eyes of a half-Japanese teen who falls in love, gets to know her estranged father, and also just happens to have cerebral palsy. I give this book all the hearts.” –Margaret Dilloway, author of the Momotaro series and Summer of a Thousand Pies
“Through the adventures of Aiko Cassidy, Kamata’s winsome and highly relatable teen narrator, the reader explores our increasingly multicultural, multilingual, multiracial, and multi-abled world.” –Chandra Prasad, author of Damselfly