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American Panda Hardcover – February 6, 2018
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“Weepingly funny.” —The Wall Street Journal
“A soulful and hilarious debut.” —Booklist, starred review
“Effervescent.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Universal.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“This deserves a place on every shelf, though it will not stay there long.” —VOYA, starred review
“Eye-opening, hilarious, and sometimes heartbreaking.” —Shelf Awareness
“An earnest, funny, and emotional story.” —Book Riot
“American Panda is an absolute delight; an insightful, incisive, and often hilarious story of one girl's struggle to balance her family's expectations against her own secret ambitions. Overflowing with wit and empathy, Chao's debut charmed my socks off.” —David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland
“A charming and hilarious tale of a precocious Taiwanese American walking the tightrope of family expectations...in ice skates. Mei Lu is a goofy, lovable American teenager. I loved her.” —Stacey Lee, award-winning author of Outrun the Moon
"Incredibly timely, honest, and moving—the must-read book of the season!" —Sandhya Menon, New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi
“A dazzling debut that hooked me with its humor and heart from the very first page.” —Lisa Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Magician
“The perfect coming of age story for anyone who's ever felt unsure of where they belong. —Kerri Maniscalco, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Stalking Jack the Ripper
About the Author
Gloria Chao is an MIT graduate turned dentist turned writer. She currently lives in Chicago with her ever-supportive husband, for whom she became a nine-hole golfer (sometimes seven). She is always up for cooperative board games, Dance Dance Revolution, or soup dumplings. She was also once a black belt in kung-fu and a competitive dancer, but that side of her was drilled and suctioned out. Visit her tea-and-book-filled world at GloriaChao.Wordpress.com.
Top customer reviews
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I also LOVED that this book takes place during Mei's freshman year at MIT, a rare setting for YA but one I desperately want to see more. It's still 100 percent a coming-of-age story, a story about identity, a story about being pinned between two worlds and how to forge your own path.
Gloria Chao's debut is not to be missed.
This book has everything one could ask for in a contemporary YA novel. It's HILARIOUS. I'm talking scream laugh funny. There is also a sweet romance, and tidbits about MIT that are fascinating for this outsider. There are family dynamics, urban legends, and vivid settings. Plus, the book will make you hungry.
I can't say enough good things about American Panda. It's one of my favorites of 2018. Highly recommended.
American Panda is about Mei. Mei is a rebellious Taiwanese-American 17 year-old. She skipped a grade and is now attending MIT. American Panda is about her life, her inner and outer struggles, and her very traditional parents. I could barely put this book down because of the humor and the way the writing just pulls you in and lets you see Mei’s life as if you are really there. If you like realistic fiction or books with rebellious main characters, you will love this book!
The short review...
Mei’s life is about to become a dumpling with 3 spoonfuls. The skin bursting because it’s just too much! I felt for Mei and actually she’s pretty funny... If you want to know what it COULD BE like to be the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants in America then you NEED Mei's story. You may not relate at first if you're a rebellious one, because this girl isn't. She's well versed in the Asian guilt and its a huge motivator for her. Going away to college literally gives her a chance to be exposed to choices and a different way of making choices.
While there is A LOT of family pressure in this story there is also lots of love and light and laughter! I don't want you to think this isn't totally balanced as Mei struggles to find her feet. I LOVED the people in her life, especially Darren, and ALL of the little minor characters that makes this book so heartfelt (I'm looking at you Nic!) Love DID NOT solve Mei's problems but it did challenge her and support her. AND THAT END!!! It all comes together in an unexpected way that made me love everyone in the story...
Cover & Title grade -> B-
I’m not a fan of this cover. I don’t really like covers with people on them, I want to imagine the character for myself. I do LOVE the title art and the doodles around the picture! I feel a cover with doodles like that with some dance flair and germ or medicine focus would be much better! And the title fit too though I almost think one about dumplings would be more fun?
Why was the end so incredible and spot on?
We literally learn about the traditions Mei is up against!
Sprinkled through the book and also at the wedding and funeral we get a concentrated look at some Taiwanese culture. Mei does an excellent job helping us understand the position she's in between a rock and a hard place. She loves her parents and her culture but also comes to understand that her choices don't have to be the same her parents made.
Mei developed relationships of all kinds!
She has to go head to head with her roommate and is surprised by what she finds. She meets a boy... not a totally off limits white American boy nor the totally acceptable Taiwanese one, but another Asian who sort of understands and sort of doesn't. Then there is her brother and the woman he left their family for!! (Now this really gets tough...) And we have her totally traditional parents who believe time has stood still... or do they?! Plus there is the school mate from the past... And boy does it come together!
Everything played out true to life but also in a hopeful way!
I'm not sure that the fact this is an #ownvoices novel is why this reads so full and rich, so natural and right and so touching and heartfelt... but it certainly contributed to it!! It had hard topics like racism within the Asian culture as well as funny (but real) ones like germophobia. It touches on work, love and family as well as ones own prejudices! The end was hopeful but NOT perfect. Life isn't but Mei learned a skill to maneuver around that fact and still be happy. Isn't that what's MOST important!?
American Panda is so, so cute and authentic! Mei learned what it means to bridge her Taiwanese tradition with American desire. It meant sacrifice and taking bold (if scary) steps to preserve her choices! This is a must read and one of the best YA contemporaries of 2018.
Most recent customer reviews
This novel really lived up to its hype.Read more