Book Review: Parachutes

by Kelly Yang

Parachutes is a novel about two worlds colliding. Clarie and Dani, two girls who are so similar but could not have been raised any differently, are fighting to discover who they are while dealing with wealth, power, friendship, and trauma. They are asked how much they are willing to pay for freedom and how far they are willing to go to live the life they desire. Clarie "parachute" from Shanghai and Dani, the host sister in California tell the story. I expected a narrative about high school drama based on the cover, but it is so much more. Yes, while this is a narrative about high school kids, it explores themes as they navigate the toxic situations in which the girls find themselves: classism, sexism, racism and xenophobia. This was a really powerful and important YA story.

The book focuses on many issues that are really relevant to high school and college-aged students today. There are cautionary notes at the start of the book since two of the themes are sexual harassment and sexual assault. I would not recommend this book to a young adolescent. However, this book is not graphic, and I believe it tells two essential stories. This book contains some romance. However, it is intertwined with the more important themes on which the author focuses. I was engrossed in the story of both females. Dani and her debate team captivated me, as did Claries and the fact that she was sent to the United States on her own to study. It was fascinating to read the author's note and see how her own experiences paralleled some of what was in the book. Overall I really enjoyed this book and I looked forward to reading it every time I got the chance.

Reviewed by Manaal

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