Book Title: American Panda (Standalone) Author: Gloria Chao Number of pages: 320
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.
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
Like looking into a mirror.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of American Panda from Simon and Schuster Canada.