Girl in Reverse
By Barbara Stuber
Published 2014 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Lily thinks of Gone Mom frequently - she desperately needs to know her truth so she can know herself. When her adoptive brother unknowingly discovers a box of possessions that came with Lily from the orphanage, he may have uncovered the key to solving the mystery of Gone Mom once and for all.
Another book I rescued from Mt. TBR for the 48-Hour Book Challenge, I'm pretty sure I only had a copy because an enthusiastic publisher handed me one at Midwinter. As Lily is Chinese, the book fit the diverse books challenge very well.
Unfortunately, this book just wasn't for me. I never connected with Lily, making it impossible for me to care all that much about whether or not she solved the mystery of her birth parents. Naturally, I had some curiosity about it (I can't imagine not knowing where I came from) but I just wasn't as invested as I should have been. I found the other details of the plot - the story of the archaeology and art, the racism that Lily was forced to endure every day, the nuns - much more interesting. What I liked best about Lily was the complicated relationship she had with her adoptive mother, though even that took too long to come to a head for me. For the diverse books angle, I think this one did a great job of exploring racism and the culture of fear that can exacerbate it. I'm pleased that Stuber highlighted that inaction when witnessing racism is just as damaging as saying the slurs yourself. Additionally, I thought the romance was unbelievable and extremely poorly developed - I wish it hadn't been included at all.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.