by Ellen Litman
Growing up in Soviet Russia isn’t easy for anyone, and Kat Knopman is no exception. At a young age, Kat appears to have great promise: she is the exceptionally intelligent daughter of two intelligent educators.
But everything changes when Kat goes for her physical exam before entering first grade. She is diagnosed with rapidly progressing scoliosis, and all of her family’s plans quickly change.
Kat goes to a special school with children just like her. She wears the cage-like brace that we all associate with scoliosis patients.
This is the story of her struggles with her body and mind as she grows from a first-grader to a high school graduate. It is also about the struggles of her parents. Their daughter’s condition and the reality of their own situation challenge Kat’s parents. All of a sudden, their own plans have changed.
I have missed feelings about this novel. The beginning is fascinating—Kat’s experience is interesting and unfamiliar. The latter half of the novel does not sustain the same level of interest for me. Meh.