Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Thanks so much to Hot Key books for providing me with this copy to review!
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Released: 5th of February 2015
Mika Arlington was supposed to spend the summer after her junior year shadowing her marine biologist parents at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but when her estranged grandmother randomly shows up on the doorstep one day, those plans are derailed. Because Grandma Betty isn't here to play nice—she is cranky, intolerant of Mika's mixed-race-couple parents, and oh yeah she has Alzheimer's and is out of money. While Mika's family would rather not deal with Grandma Betty, they don't have much choice. And despite Mika's protests, she is roped into caring for a person that seems impossible to have compassion for. And if that wasn't hard enough, Mika must train the new guy at her pet shop job who wants to be anywhere else, and help a friend through her own family crisis. Something's gotta a give, but whichever ball Mika drops means losing someone she loves. Not exactly a recipe for Best Summer Ever—or is it?
What I Have to Say
Just a warning, the character in this book is a little self-centred and often needs reminding that her friends need her. So if you don't like books about real teenagers and are looking for a book that portrays them as perfect little adults, look away from here. If however you like more realistic teenagers then actually Mika is a good example of one. She gets caught up in her own problems a lot, but is very, very caring when it comes to her friends and relatives problems (even when caring for them involves a little curry theft).
I love the way she changes as well, especially when it comes to Betty. How she learns how to ignore a little bit of racism because she knows that it's not Betty's fault and mostly just the Alzheimer's speaking. It's an interesting thing to explore and though I'm not usually drawn to books about Alzheimer's, I'm really happy I read this because I found it quite enlightening.
This book was so wonderful when it came to diversity. Not only is the main character half Japanese, she also has an Indian friend, who's issues with different cultural concepts are explored as one of the main subplots. Actually, so much happened in this book that I'm not sure how they fit it into under 400 pages! There were so many different threads and so many things being explored that it was amazing to read, if a little overwhelming at times.
And I loved Mika's obsession with goldfish. They are very much an under-rated animal.
If you're looking for a good contemporary, this is a good one to pick.