Girl on the Verge
Author: Pintip Dunn
Genre: YA Thriller
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths.
In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.
When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…
Girl on the Verge is an exciting new YA contemporary thriller that brings a diverse female main character to the genre. A big thing with readers lately has been the inclusion of diverse characters, and Kan is a perfect fit - in my opinion. As the description states, she's always felt like she's stuck between two worlds - American and Thai - but doesn't really belong to either of them. This is central to her character and really defines who she is and everything she does. I thought this was a wonderful attribute and I found it interesting to watch her struggle with her identity throughout the story. The only hard part for me was identifying with her. I never had the same kind of issues that she experiences, so I couldn't fully connect with her. Because this struggle is so deeply ingrained in her personality and life, it takes a large precedence in the novel. This really made it hard for me to get into the story, which is completely on me - it has nothing to do with the writing.
All the other aspects of the book were well done - from the characters to the plot and the writing style itself. The characters were rounded and unique - each felt realistic in their own way. Kan, the main character, is very distinctive and has many positive traits and flaws - which made her realistic. The plot was fresh and original - sort of Single White Female only in young adult, which I really enjoyed. The book did feel more like a contemporary novel than a thriller to me though, mostly because of the main characters struggle with identity and her heritage. The writing was descriptive and detailed, which I liked a lot. The author wrote the novel in the first person point of view - from Kan's perspective - which was a huge plus for me. If it had been done in any other way, I really don't think I would've had a positive experience. The POV was a great fit for the story and made it all the more realistic for the reader. I recommend this for fans of YA contemporary, thriller, suspense, and those who enjoy the author's other works.
Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL.
Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. Her debut novel, FORGET TOMORROW, won the RWA RITA® for Best First Book. Her other novels include THE DARKEST LIE, REMEMBER YESTERDAY, and the novella BEFORE TOMORROW.
She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at www.pintipdunn.com