Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Gadget Girl Blog Tour: excerpt & giveaway

Hello and welcome to Reader Girls. We are one of today's stops on the Gadget Girl Blog Tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. There's an excerpt from this contemporary Young Adult novel below and a giveaway to enter. We thank you for stopping by! Click the tour button above to find the complete tour list.

Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible by Suzanne Kamata
Publication: May 17th 2013 
Genre: YA Contemporary
Purchase: Amazon


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 identity. When Aiko's mother invites her to Paris for a major exhibition of her work, Aiko at first resists. She'd much rather go to Japan, Manga Capital of the World, where she might be able to finally meet her father, the indigo farmer. When she gets to France, however, a hot waiter with a passion for manga and an interest in Aiko makes her wonder if being invisible is such a great thing after all. And a side trip to Lourdes, ridiculous as it seems to her, might just change her life.

Gadget Girl began as a novella published in Cicada. The story won the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award in Fiction and was included in an anthology of the best stories published in Cicada over the past ten years.

The first thing I notice about Paris is the range of colors. Though the old buildings tend toward drab gray, the skin tones on the street come in a wide variety. Whereas back in our little town in Michigan most of the girls seem to have wheat field hair and white-as-snow skin, here there are tea-colored women and mocha men, Africans in dashikis, Arabs draped with cloth. From the cab I see Asians walking with Caucasians, black and white couples and their in-between children. I feel about as inconspicuous as I’ve ever been.

“We’ve booked a hotel for you in the Marais,” Giselle says. “It’s near the gallery.”

Ah, bon,” Mom says. “I have an old friend there. Someone I know from the Sorbonne opened a cafe in the area. We’ll have to stop in and see him.”

Okay, I’ve done my homework. I know that Marais is Art Central in Paris. We’ll be within minutes of the Louvre, the Pompidou Center, and the Place de la Bastille, where the French Revolution began. Plus, according to my guidebook, the area is home to all kinds of funky galleries and clothing boutiques. The taxi takes us past Notre Dame, and I catch a glimpse of gargoyles.

“The hotel was designed by one of our most famous fashion designers,” Giselle says. “The reception was once the oldest bakery in Paris. It is said that Victor Hugo bought his bread there.”

“Wow!” I can’t help myself. In our town, everything is so new. And there have never been any famous writers living there – nobody famous at all, unless you count Mom.

“The rooms are all done in different motifs – zen, Baroque, Scandinavian modern. I believe yours is the science fiction room.”

Mom is not big on sci-fi, so I can imagine her disappointment, but I’m thinking it’ll be a great setting for a few panels of “Gadget Girl.”

We finally pull up in front of the Hotel de Petit Moulin. The word “Boulangerie” is still painted on the facade.

The driver deposits our luggage on the curb, where it is instantly whisked inside by a bellhop in livery. Giselle alights from the cab and ushers us into the lobby. I wait on the sofa, taking in the leopard print pillows and crystal chandelier, while Mom gets us checked in.

We follow the polka dot carpet past black-lacquered doors, down the green corridors to our room. One wall is painted with an image of space - all planets and winking stars. In the bathroom, there is a heart-shaped mirror against black tiles and a claw-footed tub.

Okay, so maybe this vacation won’t be such a bust after all.

About the author:
Suzanne Kamata

Five-time Pushcart Prize nominee Suzanne Kamata is the author of the novels Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible (GemmaMedia, 2013) and Losing Kei (Leapfrog Press, 2008), and editor of three anthologies - The Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan, Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs, and Call Me Okaasan: Adventures in Multicultural Mothering (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2009). Her short fiction and essays have appeared widely. She is the Fiction Co-editor of

Grand prize giveaway
5 paperback copies (open internationally)
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  1. Aiko sounds like an interesting character and I enjoyed the excerpt.

  2. Interesting cover and title