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Like Mandarin Paperback – March 13, 2012
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"A beautifully crafted, bittersweet story about an unlikely friendship that sets two very different people free."
--Melina Marchetta, author of the 2009 Printz Award winner JELLICOE ROAD
"Hubbard uses beautifully evocative language, and the details of the badlands setting are perfectly realized. Even minor characters are complex and believable, but most compelling are Grace and Mandarin... This excellent novel is a must for high school collections."
--School Library Journal
"Hubbard's first novel is replete with lovely imagery, with the Wyoming landscape being perhaps the most nuanced of her characters... Grace's struggle to reconcile her past and present selves, along with her recognition of Mandarin's fragility, drives this lyrical coming-of-age story."
--Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
From the Hardcover edition.
More About the Author
She is the author of the young adult novels WANDERLOVE and LIKE MANDARIN, available from Delacorte Press/Random House Children's Books, and the middle-grade novel WATCH THE SKY, available from Disney-Hyperion on April 7th, 2015. Visit her website at www.kirstenhubbard.com.
Top Customer Reviews
The story is actually told through Grace's point of view, which was a bold move on Hubbard's part. For one thing, Mandarin appears to be (at least on the surface) the most interesting character. She's the one with all the problems, the attitude, and the mega guts sans glory. Grace, on the other hand, is not one to challenge the status quo, just getting by until one day she can go off and do something important (leaving her mother, an irritating, wealth of humiliation, behind). But even though the story is named after Mandarin, the issue at hand isn't really Mandarin at all. It's Grace and her search for identity (with and without her mother), which is spurred on (and possibly hindered) by Mandarin. For a YA novel, this was a brilliant choice. Establishing one's identity is the bane of adolescent existence. And as troubled and possibly dangerous as Mandarin is, she doesn't doubt who she is or what she wants. So even though Mandarin has a story, it plays out on the sidelines. Ultimately, we get to witness Grace's evolution, her coming into being and all the difficult steps and stumbles it takes to get there. Through Mandarin's eyes, this story likely would have felt more adult and more hopeless.Read more ›
This is, of course, where things get tangled and adventurous. Over the next weeks Grace learns a wealth of information about Mandarin - and about herself. While Mandarin's behavior was once seen as desirable and even something to aspire to, Grace soon learns there is more to Mandarin than meets the eye.
Like Mandarin is Kirsten Hubbard's debut. It's beautifully written, poetic even. Grace's innocence and Mandarin's lack thereof are the perfect balance for this remarkable tale of maturity and growth. Throughout the book, I found myself just as mesmerized by Mandarin as Grace was. I am in love with the author's ability to create such a fantastic and believable plot. Everything about this book screamed reality, truth, sincere. Having just recently found a new love in contemporary young adult literature, I know that I am going to be counting down the days until I can place myself inside the storyline of another book by Kirsten Hubbard. Honestly, this is just a brilliant novel.
Striking and fluid, Like Mandarin brings a new voice to YA with vivid, highly developed characters and a no holds barred plot. Grace is a perfect compliment and contrast to Mandarin, and the connection and dynamic between them is handled flawlessly. Fleshed out with Hubbard's stellar writing, there are some strong messages and a poignant realism within this book.
The Extended Version:
Grace is intelligent and mature for her age, but still on the cusp of strong breakthroughs in maturity. Advanced a year in school to a sophomore but at the age of a freshman, Grace is quiet and keeps to herself. She has a very distinct voice, reflecting this intelligence but still holding the naivety that helps characterize her and factors into some of her decisions and reactions. Grace shows tremendous growth on several fronts, some coming more rapidly than others but each one timed perfectly. Her relationship with her mother is trying and far from perfect, bringing in the strong note of realism Hubbard has infused throughout.
Mandarin is a bold and breathtaking character, certainly strong enough to hold her own book and perspective, even through the eyes of Grace. She carries a good front, holds her head high, and remains shrouded in the mystery the town puts her in. Passionate, multifaceted and intense, while seeming to shirk all social norms and hiding her flaws, Mandarin is just as intriguing for the reader as she is for Grace and the rest of the town. Her home life is far from perfect, and she is a destructive mess inside and out, holding as many layers and secrets as anyone, but also goes through notable strides in personal development.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had high hopes for this book, and I really wanted to like it, but I just really didn't. I think Kirsten Hubbard writes beautiful prose, but this story felt much too mature for a... Read morePublished 3 months ago by NG238
When you read a synopsis like that, you know you're going to be taken on a journey. Those stories, to me, are amazing. Read more
Like Mandarin released back in March, and to be perfectly honest, I’m mad at myself for not having read it sooner. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Sarah
What struck me about this book was one: Hubbard nails the friendship dynamic that often occurs between teenage girls. Read morePublished on April 29, 2013 by Rebecca Latham
Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker.
I can't tell you how many times I have gone into a bookstore hoping to see Like Mandarin on the shelves and left the store... Read more
I wasn't sure if I was ready for another "young girl admires wild girl" novel, which was what Like Mandarin promised to be. Read morePublished on February 12, 2012 by M. Kelly
Right away I was able to connect with the main character, Grace. She is the socially awkward smart girl who just wants to be like the popular girls, in this case Mandarin, that... Read morePublished on February 8, 2012 by Lisa McGeen
Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard is the perfect reminder of why I love, and prefer, contemporary fiction to almost any other genre, except maybe a fairy tale retelling. Read morePublished on February 7, 2012 by Basically Amazing Ashley
So so so so good! I wasn't sure I would love this book when I picked it up, but it only took about 2 minutes for me to fall in love with it. Read morePublished on January 29, 2012 by Samantha Boyette