"Dear Lemon Lima" is about a girl named Vanessa who writes in her journal to her imaginary friend Lemon Lima. Set in Alaska, Vanessa is half native Alaskan from the Yupik tribe, although she initially sees herself as more white than native. After having her heart broken by Philip, a private school sophomore who she worked with at an ice cream stand, Vanessa sets out to win him back by attending his prestigious school with a scholarship awarded to a gifted student with Native Alaskan heritage. Once there, she is almost immediately shunned by Philip and almost everyone else for her unusual flair and her lack of physical fitness while the whole school prepares for the annual games that feature Native Alaskan skills and ceremonial dances. She is sent to the basement gym with the other outcasts. Meanwhile, Vanessa at times still struggles to regain Philip's affections until certain events cause Vanessa's true transformation as she finds the value of friendship, teamwork, and her ancestry while growing up and into herself. I watched this with my reluctant 13-year-old daughter but once we were into it she was just as hooked by the cast of characters as I was.
Recommended by Cheryl Finnan