From Publishers Weekly
After her magazine career craters, Isabelle Lee, the narrator of Mah's super sharp debut, leaves New York to reconnect with her family roots in China. Her familiarity with the language and culture limited to kitchen Chinese, Isabelle lands a job at a magazine for the expatriate community in Beijing and finds a circle of friends. However, her relationship with her big-shot attorney sister, Claire, who's lived in China for a while, gets off to a rocky start, with the two not knowing quite what to make of each other. Isabelle's Beijing immersion, coupled with her chick lit arc, provides a refreshing and fun narrative, helped along by a fantastic heroine whose insights into modern China and the expatriate experience will intrigue readers. It's a great start for a writer with much promise. (Feb.)
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After getting fired from her job and being dumped by her boyfriend, Chinese American Isabelle Lee decides to leave New York for Beijing in the hope of reigniting her stalled journalism career. She moves in with her older sister, Claire, a studious lawyer turned glamorous expat dating a powerful, married man. After failing to score a job at one of the high-profile foreign bureaus, Isabelle settles for a job as a food critic at an expat magazine called Beijing NOW. As she settles into her new job, Isabelle draws the attention of two men: a dashing Chinese pop star named Jeff and her charming neighbor Charlie, who works at the American Embassy. Though she’s taken with both, Jeff’s attentions threaten to cost her an important story for the magazine. The vibrant depiction of Beijing, lush descriptions of sumptuous Chinese meals, and Isabelle’s struggle with how others perceive her distinguish Mah’s first novel. --Kristine Huntley