Girl Overboard! A Rose Among Thorns by Sheri Tan and Illustrated by Fernando Hierro

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A book about a mixed race, third culture child moving from New York City to Singapore? Tell me more!

I had a chance to read Girl Overboard! A Rose Among Thorns, by Sheri Tan and illustrated by Fernando Hierro, in manuscript form in June when its publisher, Epigram Books, asked me for a marketing blurb (see above ;)). I found the first installment of this series to be funny and resonant and fell hard for Tan’s honest story and Hierro’s spirited illustrations.

The book is largely about its eponymous protagonist, Rosie Smith, whose struggles, in a new country, in a new school, lead her to growth, understanding, and hope. But, upon second read—I just received a copy of A Rose Among Thorns, the finished book, in the mail today—I noticed that its story is as much about Rosie’s Singapore-born mother, Tracey, as it is about Rosie. Tracey, too, is caught between cultures, and is reconciling what it means to be “Singaporean” after living in the United States for decades. I’ve heard near exact sentiments expressed by Singaporean friends who were expatriates and have returned “home” to care for family or to raise their children in Southeast Asia. TL;DR: Tan’s middle-grade novel rings true on so many levels.

Lastly, a note for parents and educators: Rosie is thirteen-years-old and the book, content-wise, is suitable for young teens (cute boys, mean girls, etc.). However, A Rose Among Thorns‘ length and reading level is much more suitable for children who are independently reading chapter books for older readers (8+). As always, know your child! The book goes on sale in Singapore on Friday and can be bought online via Epigram. I hope it will be in libraries soon as well.