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American Panda
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American Panda
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"Weepingly funny." —The Wall Street Journal "Delightful." —Buzzfeed "Charmed my socks off." —David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland Four...
"Weepingly funny." —The Wall Street Journal "Delightful." —Buzzfeed "Charmed my socks off." —David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland Four...
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  • "Weepingly funny." —The Wall Street Journal
    "Delightful." —Buzzfeed
    "Charmed my socks off." —David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland


    Four starred reviews for this incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.
    At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents' master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

    With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can't bring herself to tell them the truth—that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

    But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

    From debut author Gloria Chao comes a hilarious, heartfelt tale of how, unlike the panda, life isn't always so black and white.
 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Gloria Chao is the critically acclaimed author of American Panda, Our Wayward Fate, and Rent a Boyfriend. When she's not writing, you can find her with her husband on the curling ice or hiking the Indiana Dunes. She does not regret putting aside her MIT and dental degrees to write, and she is grateful to spend her days in fictional characters' heads instead of real people's mouths. Visit her tea-and-book-filled world at GloriaChao.Wordpress.com and find her on Twitter and Instagram @GloriaCChao.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 20, 2017
    Mei is only 17 and already a freshman at MIT, but her Taiwanese immigrant parents won’t be satisfied until she has a medical degree, a Taiwanese doctor husband, and children. To ensure the success of this plan, Mei’s mother monitors Mei’s behavior, calling constantly, nagging her to be more feminine, and engineering meet-ups with approved boys. But there’s so much her parents don’t know: the boy Mei likes is Japanese American, she’s too germophobic to be a doctor, and she’d rather be dancing. Worse, she’s in touch with the brother her parents disowned when he failed to meet family standards. Chao’s effervescent debut explores topics and themes that are salient for all teens—finding oneself and establishing an identity separate from one’s family—and perhaps even more so for children of immigrants, who have a foot in two cultures and an ever-present awareness of the sacrifices their parents have made. With sensitivity and an abundance of humor, Chao captures Mei’s growing realization that her desires are worth pursuing and the way that this discovery eventually brings Mei and her mother closer together. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kathleen Rushall, Andrea Brown Literary.

  • Kirkus

    December 15, 2017
    A Taiwanese-American girl finally starts to experience life beyond her overbearing parents.Mei, a 17-year-old freshman at MIT, has followed her parents' plans so far. Now all she has to do is get into a good medical school, become a doctor, and marry a nice Taiwanese boy. But with some distance from her parents (living in the Boston suburbs, they still demand to see her at weekly check-ins), Mei starts to buckle under the weight of their expectations and the truths she discovers about herself: she's a germophobe who can't stomach the thought of medical school. She really, really likes Darren, a Japanese-American classmate. Unfortunately, a thinly drawn cast of characters (an old friend appears in just one chapter to make a point) and heavy-handed first-person reflections ("She didn't know anything about them, my situation, how hard it was to straddle two cultures") sometimes read more as a book about cultural stereotypes and self-discovery than a compelling, fully fleshed novel. Awkwardly specific and quickly dated cultural references such as a Facebook check-in and an explanation of the term "hack" jar readers from the narrative. Nonetheless, Chao's inclusions of an Asian male romantic interest, a slightly nontraditional Asian female lead (size 8 with a big nose and "man-laugh"), and casual Mandarin dialogue are welcome and will appeal to uninitiated readers.A worthy story that stumbles. (author's note) (Fiction. 12-17)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    February 1, 2018

    Gr 9 Up-Mei Lu is out of place at MIT and everywhere else in her life. At 17, she is younger than all of the other college freshmen. In her Taiwanese family, she is struggling against her parents' expectations of med school and an approved marriage. Mei is a dancer at heart with a lifelong dream of opening a dance studio, and her fear of germs is another strike against her future as a doctor. As she fights to create her own place in the world, she must also restore her relationship with her exiled brother and figure out how her crush on a Japanese fellow student fits into her traditional family's expectations. The college experience is a unique and welcome setting, and the Mandarin language woven throughout creates a rich reading experience. Mei's relationship with her parents is emotionally complex, with deeply ingrained cultural traditions and biases in sharp contrast to the life Mei imagines for herself. While Chao writes in the author's note that this is just one story of one Taiwanese American experience, the themes of defying parental expectations, following dreams, and fighting to belong are universal. VERDICT A first purchase for libraries serving teens.-Kate Olson, Bangor School District, WI

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • DOGO Books LUKETIU - I love this book cuz it makes me feel better about eating dogs and yum yum rice
  • Booklist

    Starred review from November 1, 2017
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* For Mei, age 17 doesn't involve prom dates. Instead, she's a hopeful medical student at MIT, exactly as her parents planned. Mei strains against the expectations of her traditional Chinese parents, especially after they disowned her brother for choosing love over familial duty. At first, dance is the secret indulgence she must hide from them, but soon it graduates to a cute Japanese (read: unsuitable) boy and even worsecontact with her ostracized brother. She comes to understand her culture to be both a source of pride and a prison sentence, and she must find the strength to empathize with her parents, who are just as trapped by expectations. Vibrant, complex, and refreshing, this book crafts a nuanced view of growing up in a family beholden to centuries of tradition. Chao is meticulous in showing the wrinkles of a Chinese upbringing, especially in the face of an individualistic American society. Chao's also wickedly funny; she's not afraid of placing Mei in embarrassing situations to show readers what she's made of. Moreover, Chao devotes a generous amount of effort to fleshing out Mei's mother, transforming her from antagonist to someone with whom Mei learns to identify. A soulful and hilarious debut.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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    Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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