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Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman


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"My heart thuds. And thuds. And thuds.

"Oh my god. Oh my god.

"I look back at the envelope. It's so thin. How can it be so thin if it’s a 'yes'? I start to pull the letter out. I need to see the words. I need to –

"'You didn’t get in,' Mom blurts out before I get the chance to read anything at all."

For Kiko Himura, getting into her dream art school, Prism, has been her go-to thought in hard times. Of course she would get in – what would she do if she didn’t?

But when she receives the rejection letter from Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back into her house and she is on non-speaking terms with her mother, things go from bad to worse.

But then she meets Jamie, a childhood friend who moved away when they were little. Kiko is invited to leave her hometown to tour art schools on the west coast with him, where she is finally able to be her own person and experiences freedom for the first time. She learns truths about herself that she didn’t realise were buried. She realises things about her past and her future, and how to be brave.

I really enjoyed this book, especially because it shows an honest perspective of failure and what it means to be able to get back on your feet and try again. It will make you feel tense and heartbroken, then it will mend your heart again.