cover image If You Could See the Sun

If You Could See the Sun

Ann Liang. Inkyard, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-335-91584-9

A Chinese American scholarship student with an inexplicable ability to turn invisible uses her newfound power to monetize her peers’ secrets in Liang’s imaginative debut. Unlike her affluent classmates, 17-year-old Alice Sun has only her hard-earned “established streak of success” going for her. After receiving news that her parents can’t afford the tuition for her next semester at the prestigious Beijing-based Airington International Boarding School, she’s faced with transferring to a local Beijing academy or moving in with her auntie to attend school in Maine. But when she suddenly finds herself able to turn invisible, she uses this gift for leverage. With help from her academic rival Henry Li, they anonymously create the Beijing Ghost, a phone app that allows students to request Alice uncover secrets and scandals for a fee. As the tasks escalate to a criminal level, however, the cost becomes greater than Alice anticipated. Liang paints a clear picture of what it’s like to struggle for certain advantages that are seemingly handed to others, skillfully exploring themes of classism and privilege via a sympathetic protagonist who feels—sometimes literally—invisible. Ages 13–up. Agent: Katherine Rushall, Andrea Brown Literary. (Oct.)