Title: Slant
Author: Laura E. Williams
ISBN: 9781571316820
Pages: 149 pages
Publisher/Date: Milkweed Editions, c2008.

I turn and walk back, my eyes lifted to the sky. More stars are out, but that first one I saw is still burning the brightest. I hope it’s not a planet instead of a star. Wishing on a planet doesn’t work, does it? Just in case, I pick another pinprick of light and wish on it too. I kinda worry, though, that this is negating my earlier wish since this really isn’t the first star I’ve seen tonight. Have my two wishes canceled each other out? I comfort myself with the thought that at least I had my birthday wish. And a birthday wish, especially for a girl turning thirteen, should be pretty powerful. Not that I’m obsessed or anything. (11)

Laura E. Williams tells the story of newly turned thirteen Lauren who is hoping, wishing, and praying for one thing; the chance to have an operation to fix her eyes. There’s nothing wrong with them, except as an adopted Korean teen she feels out of place with her classmates. They call her Slant and other names. When the boy she likes calls her that, she’s flabergasted. But she becomes even more flabergasted when her grandmother comes for a visit and a past secret surfaces. But it’s not just Lauren who has surprises in store for her.

Based on the author’s short biography, it’s obvious she knows her material. “Born in Seoul, South Korea, and adopted at age one and a half, she has lived in Belgium, Hawaii, Ohio, and now lives in Connecticut.” She more than likely pulls from first hand experience of being teased. While the message of accepting your differences and the differences of others is a little heavy-handed at times, it’s a good message for kids to learn. The fact that Lauren actually does the research regarding changing her appearance is impressive, but what is more impressive is her departure from the plan. The revelations regarding her mother is definitely a punch in the gut that you don’t see coming, but appropriate for the work. I would probably recommend this to someone who is unhappy with something about themselves, whether it’s physical or not.

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