Amber knows what it’s like to be noticed for all the wrong reasons. From her golden (literally) skin to her freakish ability to sense others’ feelings, she can’t help but stand out in a crowd. Amber is a member of an emerging super-human group referred to as Maliens, and the rest of humanity isn’t adjusting to them as well as Amber could hope. A highly vocal anti-Malien group calling itself RAMM promotes Malien oppression, even going so far as to reach out to Amber’s school principal.
As events escalate, and riots and attacks on Malien citizens increase, Amber’s fury blazes. She’s out to fight fire with fire, and she and her friends form their own pro-Malien group. Support for Amber’s group swells, and a popular band and a spokesman for the Malien cause rally to help Amber and her friends.
Well, most of her friends. Amber thinks she is just beginning to really see beneath Cam’s withdrawn exterior, but while she senses his interest, a growing frustration colors his feelings for her. Amber fights to keep her Malien cause front and center but welcomes Cam into the spotlight with her. The only problem is, that doesn’t seem like where Cam wants to be. Could he be the wrong guy for her? Maybe despite her elusive distrust for him, the dashing Malien hero Jonny Marino is more Amber’s speed after all.
Amber struggles to piece together where she belongs and her passion for her people, but everything changes when she suffers a personal attack. And as the political climate continues to heat, she will learn that not all those she counts as friends truly deserve the title.
Told as a series of journal entries peppered with emails, receipts, and other various paraphernalia, Spitzley brings readers a story of racism and explores issues of basic human rights through the voice of a passionate, intelligent young girl who bears the difficult burden of sensing the emotions of those around her. The clever pairing of skin tone and ability set this story apart from some of the other classic “super-human” tales and heightens its focus on civil rights and social issues. While readers may tire of the repetitive phrasing used to describe the ever-present emotions swirling through those around Amber, Spitzley reveals both the joys and traumas of having a constant window into the feelings of others in proximity. At first Amber appears to be a headstrong, sometimes rebellious teen, but through her pursuit of her cause, she learns that responsibility comes with leadership and grownups aren’t always the dopes they seemed to be.
Kissing/Making out. In a couple of scenes, girls are attacked and fondled briefly. In one instance, a few graphic details are given. Some of Amber’s friends and schoolmates make sexual comments about her or each other.
The spiritual ramifications of humanity’s possible evolution are not deeply explored.
Amber lives in a world which terrorizes its Malian citizens. While few scenes provide details, we know attacks on Malian people are common, providing a means for the exploration of civil rights and equality issues.
Some teens drink alcohol at parties or at school. Amber condemns this behavior, though she doesn’t openly confront it until late in the story.