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Phase 4, HBO, Sundance Channel

Starring: Savanah Wiltfong, Shayne Topp, Meaghan Martin, Melissa Leo, Beth Grant, Vanessa Marano, Elaine Hendrix

Produced by: Jonako Donley, Melissa Lee

When 13-year-old Vanessa experiences her first breakup, she rebounds by following the boy to his stifling prep school, where she receives the only minority scholarship for her Yup’ik background. Landing at the bottom of the school’s social ladder and confined to the weight room during P.E., she begins to rally with the other school misfits. Vanessa’s attempts to find herself and win back the love of her life flounder, until she’s presented with an opportunity to captain the oddball team for the school’s bastardized version of the World Eskimo Indian Olympics—the Snowstorm Survivor competition.

Suzi Yoonessi’s delicious debut makes the life of her Alaskan teenage heroine as colorful and sweet as a snow cone. Confected with heartbreak and humor, Vanessa journeys from the fantastical world of unicorns, rainbows, and shadow puppets to the uncertain reality of adult complications, discovering that real friends can be just as fantastic as imaginary ones. A true underdog story, Yoonessi’s tale of compassion and camaraderie is certain to recall one’s own bittersweet memories of the delicate transition to adolescence.


Read the companion piece,

The Diary of Vanessa Lemor: Dear Lemon Lima, on Kindle.

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