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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.
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.
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 feeling disappointed that it wasn't. For one reason or another, it seems Barnes & Noble--and possibly Books-A-Million too because I have never seen her novels there--won't stock her books. After reading Like Mandarin and Hubbard's second novel Wanderlove, I think that's a shame. This novel cements Hubbard as one of my favorite contemporary YA authors and I feel her books deserve to be more widely read.
Hubbard's descriptions of Washokey, Wyoming and its residents are deeply atmospheric and ring true. Though I live in a place that does not resemble Washokey in any way, I felt like I was there every time I started reading again. When I went outside during a break from my reading marathon of this novel, I chose to imagine the winds outside were wildwinds and not winds from the aftermath of a tropical storm. Grace's narrative voice is lovely and clear with few to no tripping points to jerk me out of the story.
Grace and Mandarin are both strongly characterized are act as the driving force of the narrative. Mandarin's naive yet cynical ways when the majority of the town wrongfully labels her a slut make her a standout character, but she never takes over the book because Grace is just as well-drawn. She has her childlike dreams of escaping too and a distant relationship with her mother that constantly hurts her, but she chooses to blend in to hide her pain where Mandarin acts out so she can mask her pain. Their friendship and its constantly shifting nature fascinated me until I'd turned the last page.
It's kind of funny how Grace was already like Mandarin before she started trying to emulate her.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 9 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 21 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
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
very impressive first book from the author. keeps the reader engaged and looking forward to reading what will happen time and time again. Read morePublished on January 17, 2012 by Average American Shopper