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by Ellen Litman

MANNEQUIN GIRL by Ellen Litman

7-year-old Kat worships her parents, temperamental Anechka and soft-hearted, absent-minded Misha.

Young intellectuals, they teach at a Moscow school and dabble in political radicalism.

Kat, about to start first grade at the same school, sees herself as their heir and ally. But when she’s diagnosed with rapidly progressing scoliosis, the trajectory of her life changes and she finds herself at a different institution: a school-sanatorium for children with spinal ailments.

Confined to a brace, surrounded by unsympathetic peers, Kat embarks on a quest to prove that she can be as exceptional as her parents: a beauty, an intellect, and a free spirit despite her physical limitations, and her suspicion that her beloved parents are in fact flawed.

Stark, heartfelt, and deftly told, Mannequin Girl captures the bleakness of Soviet Russia and the hopeful turmoil of adolescence.

W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. - 304 pages

"Set in Moscow in the 1980s, Mannequin Girl takes as its themes Kat’s ongoing attempts to make sense of her disability, and to live up to her parents’ standards.

A moving coming-of-age story. Warm, true, and original."

- Kirkus