Title: American Panda
Author: Gloria Chao
Rating: 4 Stars
An 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?
American Panda by Gloria Chao is one of many YA contemporaries coming out this year, but this is one that seriously needs to be added to everyone’s TBR list. LOVE THIS SO MUCH!
The plot was very well written, there isn’t that much action, but there is a lot still happening with the character’s and there lives. I also loved the humor, the dialogue is perfect and Mei’s personality. There are so many situations that Mei finds herself in while she is trying to discover herself.
Mei, a seventeen year-old Taiwanese-American girl, has recently been accepted to M.I.T. Mei is only seventeen years old, and has very strict Asian parents,who have very high expectations of her. I can’t imagine being in constant fear of disappointing your family while trying to be yourself. Mei was a fantastically written protagonist. She’s hilarious, witty and has such a kind soul. If I were to met her I would seriously want her as a friend! Her character development is fantastic, she goes from trying to do everything her parents expect of her to a girl who stands up for her beliefs. The romance is adorable but best of all it’s not the main focus of the novel. Darren is so sweet, supportive, nerdy and there relationship is awkward and adorable.
American Panda is so, so cute and authentic! This is an intense and emotional read. Gloria Chao is also super sweet and I can’t wait for future books.