If You Could See the Sun

Inkyard. Oct. 2022. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781335915849.
Gr 9 Up–Alice Sun has worked harder than any other student at her international boarding school in Beijing. Her peers may be the elite of the elite, but for Alice to keep her partial scholarship, not to mention compete with irritatingly perfect Henry Li, she has become the “Study Machine.” When her struggling parents announce they can no longer afford tuition, the pressure makes Alice go invisible. Literally. Can she use this new talent to hire herself out to her peers as an invisible detective, avenger, possible criminal? How far is she willing to go to pay for a future her rich peers were born with? This story dives headfirst into exploring the spectrum between what is right, and what is fair. When do the ends stop justifying the means? Add to it an enemies-to-lovers subplot and a setting rich with Chinese culture, and you have a perfect, character-driven page turner. However, while the stakes are heart-poundingly high, the miniscule repercussions when Alice’s actions inevitably come to light damages the greater narrative. The romance, while enjoyably tense, also suffers from a somewhat flat love interest.
VERDICT Readers who have felt they never quite fit in, be it socially, culturally, or economically, will see their struggles reflected in Alice. However, they will also find an ending that doesn’t fully hit the mark.

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