Saturday, February 10, 2018

Review: American Panda by Gloria Chao

Publication Date: February 6th 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ TBD

Synopsis: An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents' master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can't bring herself to tell them the truth--that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

My Rating
5/5 stars

My Review
American Panda is a hilarious and beautiful novel. I laughed, cried and learned so much!

After her brother's disownment from the family, Mei has become the perfect child. She graduated a year early, is attending MIT to study biology and eventually go into medicine, and now her mother is starting to set her up with an approved Taiwanese boy. The only problem is that Mei doesn't want to be a doctor, she likes a Japanese boy and would rather spend her time teaching dancing to other students. The more pressure Mei's parents put on her, the more she wants to do things her way. As the secrets keep building up about Mei's true passions, they become much harder to keep from her parents.

This story was truly wonderful! At the end of the book in the author's note, Mrs. Chao mentions that she wrote this book so that other Taiwanese and Chinese young women can have a book where they can relate to the main character, and while I support this 100%, I also wish that we had more YA books out there that talk about dealing with the pressures that parents can put on you. I really wish I could have read a book like this when I was in high school, because I could definitely relate to Mei's character and what she was going through, even though I'm from another culture. 

Mei was a fantastic main character. She's hilarious, witty and has such a kind soul. If I ever met her in person, I just know that she would be the type of person I would love to be roommates/best friends with. Her character development throughout this book was phenomenal. It honestly filled my heart to read in Mei's point of view.

The plot of this story was very well written as well. While there wasn't tons of "action" per se, there was definitely a lot going on, and it was interesting enough where I didn't want to put the book down. 
This book definitely taught me a lot of new things about the Taiwanese that I didn't know before. I found the history, the lifestyle and the language very interesting. I am so glad the author chose to incorporate so much of her culture into this book, I really appreciated it.

Overall, this book was fantastic. I have nothing bad to say about it. If you're looking for a hilarious contemporary, want to learn more about Taiwanese-Chinese culture, or want to read a book that has a huge focus on family, then this is the book for you.

Happy Reading,

1 comment:

  1. I want to read this book so badly! It looks super cute and perfect for me. I'm glad that you enjoyed it!

    Thanks for sharing,
    ~Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles


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