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Like Mandarin Paperback – March 13, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ember; Reprint edition (March 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385739362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385739368
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #899,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"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

As a travel writer and young adult author, KIRSTEN HUBBARD has hiked ancient ruins in Cambodia, dived with wild dolphins in Belize (one totally looked her in the eye), and navigated the Wyoming Badlands (without a compass) in search of transcendent backdrops. She lives with her husband and their dog. This is her first novel.


From the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

A travel writer and young adult author, Kirsten Hubbard has hiked ancient ruins in Cambodia, dived with wild dolphins in Belize (one totally looked her in the eye), slept in a Slovenian jail cell, and navigated the Wyoming badlands (without a compass) in search of transcendent backdrops for her novels. She lives in San Diego, California.

Her young adult novels, WANDERLOVE and LIKE MANDARIN, are available from Delacorte Press/Random House Children's Books. Visit her website at www.kirstenhubbard.com.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 29 customer reviews
I feel in love with Grace and Mandarin.
Faye
Both Grace and Mandarin are engaging characters, and though the story is told from Grace's point of view, I felt Mandarin was more intriguing, which actually works.
ODell @ Book Twirps
Like Mandarin is an amazing and beautifully written story created by a talented and clearly accomplished young woman.
Savin Hill

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By CMiller on March 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The very first thing that captured my attention in LIKE MANDARIN was the prose--so lyrical and poignant and intense. Every page packed a punch and had me rereading lines over and over to better absorb the beauty. Hubbard paints such remarkable images with her words--images that are startling in their lush simplicity. There's one image in particular that comes to mind from the very beginning, that of Mandarin as a child looking intense and far too old-soulish for her young body--an image which just grabs you by the throat and sets the tone for the entire book.

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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Haft on March 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this book again and it was still just as potent the second time around. I LOVED it on so many levels: Kirsten's quirky way of painting the surrounding landscape, how human and authentic each character felt, the way this book perfectly captured the teenage experience. I'm an adult now but reading this book brought me right back into that mindspace of being an awkward teenager stuck in your own head. I really identified with Grace, and have definitely experienced that kind of fascination with an older, self-assured girl when I was Grace's age. I think I even had a Davey of my own too :) I highly recommend this book as both a gorgeous, captivating read and a fascinating glimpse into the complexity of teen female relationships.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cindy (Books Complete Me) on March 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Grace's story is one that is both difficult and engrossing to watch unfold. She's sick of her small town and fantasizes about getting out someday. She can't understand why her mother, who had left at one point, ever came back in the first place. Grace is intelligent (one year ahead in school even) and sticks mostly to herself at school. She has a deep admiration for two things in her life: rocks and Mandarin. When a teacher requests that Grace help Mandarin with a school project, Grace's infatuation with the wildest girl in town soon turns into a chance for Grace to prove herself.

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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By flamingo1325 VINE VOICE on May 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Short Version:
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.
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