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Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible

(Aiko Cassidy #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  153 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Aiko Cassidy is fourteen and lives with her sculptor mother in a small Midwestern town. For most of her young life Aiko, who has cerebral palsy, has been her mother's muse. But now, she no longer wants to pose for the sculptures that have made her mother famous and have put food on the table. Aiko works hard on her own dream of becoming a great manga artist with a secret i ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 17th 2013 by GemmaMedia
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  153 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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Peter Tieryas
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Gadget Girl by Suzanne Kamata is one of the smartest and fun books I’ve read. It’s thoughtful, quirky, and very well-written. It’s told in the first person-perspective of Aiko Cassidy who has cerebral palsy and pursues a dream of becoming a manga artist. I loved Aiko’s voice- perky, creative, at times insecure, at times impatient, all while mixing in teenage angst and questions of identity.

Full review at my blog:
Jonathan Peto
Jan 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels, ya
Although I really liked how it all came together at the end and contemplated that fourth star, and still am, I decided that "liked" is probably a more accurate description of my feelings for most of the read. I wish I could give more details about the ending, but I think it would spoil it for you. One thing I can reveal is that the ending was a pleasant surprise. The main character, Aiko Cassidy, travels to Paris with her artist mother for a summer during much of the book's last half. I really w ...more
Diane Nagatomo
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVED Gadget Girl. I read the whole book in one sitting and cried at the end. Such a lovely story with lovely people. I do hope there is a sequel to come because I want to see Aiko visiting Japan for the first time and meeting her biological father and half brother.
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Gadget Girl turned out to be completely different from what I expected. Going in I thought it was going to be about a girl who lives vicariously through the character she has created in her anonymously published manga, Gadget Girl. While this is a partly what happens, it is minor portion of Aiko's story. Aiko is an amazing artist in her own right, but she lives in the shadow of her sculptor mother serving as her inspiration for her art. On first reading, it's hard to see past how Aiko's mother e ...more
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In GADGET GIRL: THE ART OF BEING INVISIBLE Suzanne Kamata skillfully spans three continents and cultures--Japan, United States (Michigan), France--as the main character goes on a search for her identity, the truth about her father, and a quest for love, great food and manga. It's rare that I read a book where there are so many likable realistic characters, yet the plot is so compelling that I was willing to walk in Aiko Cassidy's sensible shoes (she has cerebral palsy) and let her take me anywhe ...more
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I received this book in exchange of an honest review and I can say is that I'm very lucky that I had this chance.

Aiko is a fourteen years old girl. She's living with her mother in Michigan and hopes that someday she'll have the chance to met her Japanese father. But Aiko is not a normal girl. She was born with cerebral palsy and because of this a lot of kids from her school laugh of her. But she finds shelter in drawing her own manga, Gadget Girl. The story of her manga took aspects of her real
Sarah Laurence
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved the focus on art, ethnic identity, disability, and nontraditional family. Aiko is a talented young mangaka who hides her talent from her mom, a famous artist in the Midwest. Now that she's started puberty, Aiko resents being her mom's model and muse. In a moment of anger she accuses her single mom for exploiting disability for her art, since Aiko has cerebral palsy. Aiko uses very disparaging language to describe her disability (words like gimp) and longs for a cure, but her mom finds be ...more
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
This book got my attention from the very first sentence and ensured my interest throughout. With an unusual main character, a girl with cerebral palsy, this book had a different feel to it unlike books where everyone is perfect from head to toe and insta love happens.

I have never read a manga but the way this book relies on it, I’m tempted to give them a read now. I love how unique the plot was, how different and real the characters.

I immensely loved the emotions this book brought out in me – em
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story revolves around a teen with a disability who learns how to love herself for her vs. who she feels she should be all set with a mixed family setting, single parent setting, art, creativity, love and living life.

For me this book hit home. I am not a teenager but I became disabled when I was in my early 20's. I also come from a single parent home and I dabble in the arts. To me, this book was a great inspiration.

I do recommend this book for anyone with a d
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. Not sure why it took me so long to get around to reading it. It made me laugh and cry. Even though it's fairly short, there are some great characters and unexpected twists in it. Also, for me the relationship between the teen daughter and her mother really rang true. ...more
May 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
[Originally posted on Alexa Loves Books]

Three things about Gadget Girl immediately caught my eye - the cover, France and Japan. Reeled in even further by the promise of a cute contemporary story, I started and finished this novel in a matter of hours. Aiko's tale flows easily from scene to scene, setting to setting, and wraps up with an ending that's perfectly satisfying. If you're on the hunt for cute (and fairly unique) contemporary reads, this might be just the sort of thing you're looking fo
Apr 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recently I've been really interested in the growing culture of mixed race and the Hapa experience so it was refreshing to read a fiction novel from the perspective of a Hapa protagonist. Aiko is a half-Japanese, half-Caucasian fourteen-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who is being raised in a single parent home. And one of the greatest mysteries of her life is who her father is and the history between him and her mother. Her mother is a well-known sculptor and like her mother, Aiko is also an a ...more
Michael Peckitt
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a disabled person, like Suzanne Kamata’s heroine of ‘Gadget Girl’ I also have cerebral palsy and I found this book to be both deeply moving and funny. In Aiko, - the secret manga creator of the novel, Kamata has created one of the few ‘disability heroines’ of the modern age that does not condescend towards disabled people, a character with a disability that is neither an object of pity or hate. I only now wish there was actually a manga called ‘Gadget Girl’ like one envisioned by Aiko. I reco ...more
Joana Hill
May 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Read more reviews at my blog, Words and Tea Bottles.

A free e-book version was provided to me as part of the Gadget Girl in You tour.

I was actually pretty excited to read this book. I’m in the target demographic, based on the summary: a fan of anime and manga; when I was younger I even tried to create my own manga, though I haven’t drawn seriously in years. There is very little in books for Americans that involves a main character who’s into this kind of stuff, mostly because I’ve seen firsthand
Stephanie Parent
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I knew I would love Gadget Girl from the first page, when the novel’s protagonist and narrator, fourteen-year-old Aiko, tells us she’s named after the indigo plants her father harvests to make blue dye. Aiko has never met her father, who lives on the Japanese island of Shizuko, but she knows all about the indigo plants his family farms, and she’s even trying (not very successfully) to grow her own indigo in Michigan. The loving, careful detail with which Aiko describes the indigo, and its abilit ...more
Jul 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
The subject of artists using their children as their models and muses is a controversial one--just ask Sally Mann, and at first it seems as though this is the topic that will drive Gadget Girl. Suzanne Kamata takes this novel into a whole other arena, and provides a coming-of-age story that will be familiar to her readers, regardless of age or gender.

Aiko is a young manga artist who anonymously writes and distributes her zine series, Gadget Girl, the adventures of a girl who opened her mouth, sw
Sep 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paris, france
Fifteen-year-old Aiko lives with her Mum, a sculptor, in the Midwest USA. Aiko is different from the other kids at school; she has never met her Japanese Dad, she suffers from cerebral palsy and her limp has led to harassment by some of her peers. Aiko just wants to be invisible. Her arty Mum is also a bit different, and although she wants the best for Aiko she is rather absorbed in her work and doesn't really cook like other Mums. As well as normal teen issues, like boys and friends, Aiko also ...more
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Aiko has dreams. She wants to meet her father - an indigo farmer in Japan. She wants to be a mangaka (Manga author) and she wants to be invisible. Or if not invisible, then at least not made fun of for her disabilities.

Gadget Girl, written by a wonderful woman I met in Paris, is a sweet coming-of-age story of a girl growing up in Michigan. Aiko doesn't have it easy. Not only is she one of only a handful of biracial kids in her entire school, AND has cerebral palsy and the use of only one arm, B
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read full review at my blog: ReadingToTheStarsAndBack

I can honestly say that I loved this book and that I would read it again. I signed up for the tour a while ago and since then have read many books, so when I opened this one up I had forgotten what is was about. (Love reading books like this!) Judging by the cover, I thought it would be an action/adventure kind of book.

Nope! Not to say that there is no adventure to this book, but that wasn’t the focus. Aiko has cerebral palsy but loves to draw
Avery Fischer Udagawa
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A great read for cross-cultural teens! This novel tells the story of Aiko Cassidy, fifteen-year-old daughter of an American mother and a Japanese father she has never met. Growing up in Michigan with cerebral palsy, Aiko tucks her wishes for acceptance and control into a manga series that she creates and distributes anonymously. Then her mother wins a prize for sculpture that takes them both to Paris and brings encounters with their past. Aiko meets a handsome French waiter and, in a visit to Lo ...more
Jennifer Heise
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, formation-stories
There are two kinds of books that I rate five stars: books I will read over and over again even if I'm unsure of their merit, and books that I think are just that good.

This book is just that good. Ms. Kamata handles a lot of issues (missing dad, physical limitations, inter-racial identity) in the course of her book, but they manage not to be the focus. Even the art/manga part of the setup, while a really enjoyable direction, doesn't overpower the plot. Basically, this is a book about a young gir
Christopher Tower
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Once I really got going with this book, I could not put it down. It bumped aside my other reading at the time until I finished. This is a YA book, but it's a very good one. The author is a close friend of mine, but I can say, objectively, that this is an excellent piece of work. Suzanne Kamata has strong literary sensibilities and instincts. She weaves smart writing with a very well-told and well-crafted story. The book is also open ended and could enjoy a second volume. Bravo!! ...more
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Aiko Cassidy is half Japanese, but she's never known her father, who is an indigo farmer in Japan. But she wants to meet him someday, and so she eagerly consumes every bit of Japanese culture that she can, especially if it's got to do with manga... Full review on Finding Wonderland: ...more
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a powerful book. I had no interest in reading it, as such, just reading the blurb on the page, but I bought it for my niece and thought I'd read it before sending it off. I'm glad I did now. I felt my way emotionally through the book; I couldn't put it down. ...more
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
My review of Kamata's wonderful YA novel, an important contribution to children's literature:
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Aiko is a great character, and the story is wonderful.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
My thoughts about Gadget Girl: The art of Being Invisible

I picked this book out while I was in the library along East 177th Street. I really thought that this story was going to be about a girl that loves manga a lot that she makes her own comic about an extraordinary girl that goes off to save the lives of other people along the way. The fact that Aiko has her childhood friend Whitney shows the fact that she has a person that would never think of betraying her. But as I read through the first f
K. Lincoln
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Suzanne Kamata has a biracial daughter and lives in Tokushima, Japan. As I am also the mother of a biracial Japanese/Midwest white daughter growing up in the USA, I opened this book wanting to find a story that explores the sometimes tricky emotional experience of biculturalism.

I was not disappointed. Aiko Cassidy lives in a small Michigan town with her artist mom. She never knew her father, and only knows him as an indigo farmer from shikoku through stories from her mom. She doesn't sit with t
Corinne Morier
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: japan-related, dnf
Rather disappointing. I DNF'ed this at chapter six--the end of the free Kindle sample.

The writing isn't bad. The character at least has personality. But the beginning is just way too slow. There's no conflict, nothing really to make you want to keep reading. For the premise of the book--going to Paris when she'd rather be in Japan--it doesn't even get mentioned at all during the first six chapters. It's just too slow. And a novel can have a slow beginning and still be good, but there should be
Ashley Franklin
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great YA book, was a very cute story of a young girl finding her way and coming of age.
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Five-time Pushcart Prize nominee Suzanne Kamata is the author of the memoir Squeaky Wheels: Travels with My Daughter by Train, Plane, Metro, Tuk-tuk and Wheelchair (Wyatt-Mackenzie, 2019); the novels Indigo Girl (GemmaMedia, 2019), The Mermaids of Lake Michigan (Wyatt-Mackenzie, 2017), Screaming Divas (Merit Press, 2014), Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible (GemmaMedia, 2013) and Losing Kei (L ...more

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Aiko Cassidy (2 books)
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