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YA Review: American Panda by Gloria Chao

Title: American Panda

Author: Gloria Chao
Year published: 2018
Category: YA fiction
Pages: 320 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)USA (MA)

SummaryA freshman at MIT, seventeen-year-old Mei Lu tries to live up to her Taiwanese parents' expectations, but no amount of tradition, obligation, or guilt prevent her from hiding several truths--that she is a germaphobe who cannot become a doctor, she prefers dancing to biology, she decides to reconnect with her estranged older brother, and she is dating a Japanese boy.

Review: When this book first came out, I thought it seemed fun but for some reason never got around to reading it. But, with one challenge left for the Popsugar challenge, I searched for books written during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and saw this on the list to seized the moment. Thank you for Susan from Bloggin' 'Bout Books for getting me going on the search.

I really enjoyed this novel. It is poignant as it shows what it's like to grow up with traditional strict Taiwanese parents. Mei wants to branch out on her own, enjoy college, meet new people and dance. And she doesn't want to be a doctor. But how can she tell her parents what she wants? They have already cast out their oldest son for doing something they don't agree with and Mei just can't handle not making everyone happy.

I also found the story funny. I laughed out loud at parts and had hope that Mei would find herself and be able to stay in her parents' good graces. By the end the reader realizes that this is a story of relationships, expectations, and how to navigate them both.

Note: When I went to put this review on my list of reviews by author and title I discovered that I've already read this book! It was not familiar at all. I am so embarrassed.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Popsugar--Written during NaNoWriMo

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