Category Archives: Reviews

[Review and Q&A] American Panda – Gloria Chao

Book Title: American Panda (Standalone)
Author:     Gloria Chao
Number of pages:  320

Synopsis:

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.

(re: Goodreads @ American Panda by Gloria Chao)


Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr review:

– First generation Taiwanese American protagonist beginning university at MIT at age 17 (one year earlier than her age cohort)
– Struggles of culture and family expectations balanced against protagonist’s passion and her struggle with germaphobia being a hindrance to her current success at school
– The setting/world building is lush with Chinese culture re: traditions, idioms, food, art, values, etc.
– Heavy on the instalove romance with a Japanese love interest

Initial Thoughts

Like looking into a mirror.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of American Panda from Simon and Schuster Canada.


Continue reading [Review and Q&A] American Panda – Gloria Chao

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[Review] The Cruel Prince – Holly Black

Book Title: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #01)
Author:     Holly Black
Number of pages:  370

Synopsis:

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

(re: Goodreads @ The Cruel Prince by Holly Black)


Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr review:

– A story about survival and finding a place of belonging with some underdeveloped subplots that may take away from how the conflict is actualized
– Setting: urban and high fantasy fae world with varying degrees of political intrigue; the imagery in the interior of court life is great but the outside environment could use more substance
– Romance (a la love triangle) can feel forced; one suitor lacks chemistry despite love being spoon-fed to readers
– I still don’t know who the cruel prince is? help.

Initial Thoughts

My rating has been oscillating up-and-down the 3’s for the past few weeks now. I have many thoughts.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of The Cruel prince from Hachette at Book Expo.


Continue reading [Review] The Cruel Prince – Holly Black

[Review] Long Way Down – Jason Reynolds

Book Title: Long Way Down (Standalone)
Author:     Jason Reynolds
Number of pages:  320

Synopsis:

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he?

(re: Goodreads @ Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds)


Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr review:

– A fully formed story with 99% of the words removed, seriously.
– Claustrophobic and introspective realistic fiction with themes of gun violence, power, and family at the heart of it all
– Setting and characters may not be discretely described but they act as vessels to this cyclical story that can apply anywhere

Initial Thoughts

My first verse novel ayyyy.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of Long Way Down from Simon and Schuster Canada and at Book Expo.


Continue reading [Review] Long Way Down – Jason Reynolds