When I was 11, I saw the trailer for Chasing Amy. I don't remember why it caught my attention—I didn't recognize the actors, and I don't think I consciously knew what it was about. It certainly wasn't targeted toward 11-year-olds, so I'm not even sure where I saw the ad. But something in my gut told me that this was a movie I needed to see. It was the first time I experienced such a strong, immediate response to a movie, let alone a trailer.
Allow me a moment of nostalgia—the late 1990s and early 2000s were excellent eras for teen dramas on network television. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Freaks and Geeks were particular favorites of mine at the time, but most of the teen shows that aired around then—particularly those on the now-defunct WB—had their moments. One show I remember occasionally watching was The O.C., and what I remember most about it was the controversy surrounding a particular story arc—Marissa's bisexuality.
"I learn that black people don't have blue eyes. I learn that I am black. I have blue eyes. I put all these new facts into the new girl."
Even though the tone of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky reads like a young adult novel, told simply from the point of view of the characters--a young boy fascinated by birds, an immigrant mother, Rachel, the young protagonist--the book itself is drenched in disturbing realities and complex subjects, including race and identity.