Mock Printz: The Fold by An Na
Title: The Fold
Author: An Na
A Korean American teen, Joyce, is offered plastic surgery on her eyes by an Aunt who has come into some lottery money. Joyce has always been the plain sister and is tempted by the surgery which would give her eyes 'the fold'. Joyce debates the idea of getting the surgery with her best friend, Sam (a boy who lives in her apartment building who struggles with severe acne), and her older sister who has always been the pretty and smart one.
Joyce's aunt railroads her a bit and makes appointments with a plastic surgeon before Joyce has made up her mind. Her sister thinks she's insane to even consider it, her best friend thinks that she is insane NOT to do it, and Sam won't weigh in - but it's clear he's been crushing on Joyce. At the surgeon's office, Joyce gets some much needed impartial information and gets to see what a difference the surgery will make. The doctor glues her eyelids into place as they would look after the surgery.
The normal teen dramas happen: Joyce's new eyes are a hit and she's rocketed to the in crowd for an afternoon at the beach and her best friend feels left out, she disses Sam, realizes that the 'in' group isn't all it's cracked up to be, learns there is more to her sister than pretty, and eventually makes up with her friend and Sam and her sister.
Even now after at least a week of thinking about this book I am still unsure of it. There are times in this book that the stereotypes drove me nuts. But as soon as I was about to be truly fed up, Na would lift the curtain and give a peek behind the curtain. Whether it was the pretty and perfect sister who was studying to be a doctor (though it sounded from the text more like a therapist than a doctor), who was hiding the fact that she was 'in love' with her best friend and that she was afraid to come out of the close because she would embarrass the family, or the bossy aunt who everyone thinks is addicted to plastic surgery because she's vain and has had many American husbands, who reveals to Joyce what happened when her first husband brought her to America and how she was treated. The biggest twist was at the end....
SPOILER - for any who care
Joyce decides at the very last second not to do the surgery, but she keeps the glue the doctor gives her because sometimes she might want an adventure. She asks her aunt to give the money to her friend to help her get clear braces instead of regular metal ones. So does substance win over beauty? A very intriguing book which will definitely get readers talking about issues of beauty, family, stereotypes, and lots more.