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Stuck in Her Head


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A piece of descriptive literature that is as playfully melodic as it is melodramatic.

As if being a teenager was hard enough, 15-year-old Emma Chan has to battle anxiety, apprehension and being tortured by a constant comparison game she plays in her own mind with the rest of the world — even if the person in question also happens to be her good friend. She does this by recalling her noble qualities: perseverance, resilience, an eye for detail and unavoidable talent: the pros and cons that comprise a highly sensitive person, which is just as much a blessing as it is a curse. 

Though high sensitivity is common among musicians like herself (she and her best friend Naomi Lin are pianos prodigies) the innate personality trait does come with its share of feeling like a failure and oftentimes, looking at the glass as half empty. But Emma’s brilliant mind is perhaps her saving grace because it affords her the aptitude and bandwidth to apply her smarts to an innovators competition. She also has an imagination that defies limits and, despite her disbelief in people’s good intentions when they give her compliments, is often whisked away by fantasies that propel her to get carried away by her thoughts and act impulsively to make her dreams of prosperity a reality. It’s being “stuck in her head” that comprises the very thing that helps her succeed despite the innumerable ways she’s tried and failed. 

It was, after all, her eagle eye sighting of this young innovators competition advertised on a changing electronic billboard hosted by her childhood idol, the great Hu Sheng Wei, that would forever change her young life’s trajectory. But the contest becomes less about winning and more about muscling out of a moral dilemma that exists between her and her best friend, the charismatic and effortless winner Naomi Lin. The evolving dynamics of their friendship pelt down like rain over the metaphorical umbrella they share as what they presumed served as each other’s protectors. 

In “Stuck in Her Head,” the authors riveting, ingenuous and descriptive personal narrative empathizes with the universal feeling of a young person’s defeat, but is wise enough to offer critical thinking skills that help Emma look beyond the lies of her worried mind and conquer her own doubt. The book’s fluidity is as melodic as it is melodramatic — a staple and survival guide all young adults should have in their Kindle. 

Reviewed by

A seasoned journalist and editor, I've written for the weekly division of the North Jersey Media Group covering municipal government to arts and entertainment. Currently, I serve as the editor of DiningOut New Jersey Magazine and a correspondent with TAPinto.net.

Musician and Wannabe

About the author

Hi! I moved from Hong Kong to the SF Bay Area in 7th grade. I wrote Stuck in Her Head, my debut Young Adult novel, with my friend Liana. It's coming out with Earnshaw Books in October. When I'm not doing school assignments, I like to read books or attend California Writers' Club meetings. view profile

Published on October 24, 2023

Published by Earnshaw Books

50000 words

Genre: Young Adult

Reviewed by