Girl Overboard! A Rose Grows in the Jungle by Sheri Tan and Illustrated by Fernando Hierro is the second in a series of middle-grade novels about Rosie Smith, a mixed-race, third culture child who has moved from New York City to Singapore. Her struggles—in a new country, in a new school—lead her to growth, understanding, and hope.
In A Rose Grows in the Jungle, Rosie, and her sidekicks Pink and Ben, gets lost on Pulau Ubin while on a school trip. She comes face to face with monitor lizards, bats, and the German Girl Shrine (a shrine to an unnamed German girl who has become a local deity) and outsmarts her nemesis, Sharon, again.
A Rose Grows in the Jungle does not make much mention of Rosie’s cultural adjustment, as Girl Overboard! A Rose Among Thorns did. She seems quite settled at her international school! Also, Book 2 hardly features Tracey, Rose’s mother. She, too, is caught between cultures, and is reconciling what it means to be Singaporean after living in the United States for decades. These two subplots, which gave Book 1 such depth, are sorely missed here.
But save for a somewhat rambling ending (not as tightly edited as the rest of the novel), A Rose Grows in the Jungle is a hoot. The series’ length and reading level are suitable for children who are independently reading chapter books for older readers (8+).
(Thank you to Epigram Books for sending A Rose Grows in the Jungle my way.)