American Panda – Book Review

 

American Panda by Gloria Chao

ISBN: 1481499106 

Published: February 6, 2018

Length: 311 Pages


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?


My Thoughts: I Loved this book SO much! 

I always feel that I connect so much more to books where the characters are either immigrants themselves or their parents are immigrants. It’s a different life when you have to balance cultures. This book really shows those struggles.

Mei is doing what she feels she should do because of guilt. When you have parents that have been through so much and moved to the United States to give you a better chance at life, you do become overwhelmed with the feeling that you cannot fail. I connected with that.

For me the story was wonderful. Heartbreaking in some parts, and just made the characters seem real. I see many reviews from white Americans that say this is a stereotype, but it’s not. It happens with many immigrant families because typically immigrants have to work twice as hard sometimes three times as hard to get the same respect and privileges of white Americans.

People’s experiences aren’t tropes.

I think Gloria Chao wrote a real book, and finally, a YA novel that isn’t about a high school student. Mei is in University and struggling with what she should be doing with her life. I think Mei also had a great sense of humor and I just really enjoyed this contemporary read.

It reminds me of my own WIP, and it’s inspired me to finish proper edits and get my story out there as well.

I gave this book Five out Five Metal Horns!

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Also, If you really want to check this out but are currently on a budget, the Audiobook is available on Scribd. With the Link below you get Two free Months and can cancel at any time, and with your two free months, I get a free month as well! 

Click Here to Get 2 Free months of

How it Went Down – Book Review

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How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon tells the story of Tariq Johnson who’s a 16 year old black young man who’s shot twice by Jack Franklin a white man. Tariq dies from the gunshot wounds he sustained. This is how the story begins, so this isn’t a spoiler. The story surrounds all the people left behind, some were witnesses to the shooting and some were friends and family of the victim.

The book goes between quite a few points of view. Everyone has a story to tell about Tariq and all of the witnesses seem to have a very different account of exactly what happened. Sound familiar? That’s because you can see this happening more and more in the news. In real life you’re seeing it more as white cops shooting unarmed black men, WHY? Well I could get into a very long winded rant about racism, but I will save that for another time. This book was tough to read, and not because of any sort of quality issue, but because of how easy it is to put a face to Tariq because of how often these situations occur in real life in the USA. The relevance to real life events is what made it such a potent and heart breaking read. The characters’ emotions will take over you and it’s going to grip you and make you think about the story weeks after you finish.

I will say this, I understood the need for the different points of view, I do feel that there were a bit too many of them. At some point, I was confusing a couple of the characters at one point, and while it was easy to clarify by reading back who was who, I still think this could have been done without a handful of the points of view.

All in all though this book tugged at every piece of my soul. I highly recommend it to absolutely everyone. It is strange to me that this book isn’t really talked about much in the book community, but I hope I can get a few of you to read it and that more people will start talking about it. It’s a book that needs to be read.

I give it 4 out of 5 Metalhorns.

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Between Shades of Gray – Book Review

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This book has nothing to do with that shamble of a series called 50 Shades of Awful. This is an exceptional book telling a horrifying story. One that seems to be forgotten when people talk about the atrocities that occurred during World War II.

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Between Shades of Gray starts off in 1941 and follows Lina Vilkas a 15-year-old girl who lives in Lithuania and somehow ends up on Stalin’s extermination list. She gets sent to a prison camp all the way in Siberia where she’s faced with horrors we could never even begin to imagine. She takes risks to save her family and herself, doing anything possible to simply survive.

Between Shades of Gray Book Review

This book had me hooked before I even opened it. The synopsis was enough to get me to pick it up. It is beautifully written but extremely sad read. Lina is a wonderful and strong character. Going into this historical fiction story I didn’t know much about what the Soviets had done during World War II, this story while a fictional tale, paints a picture of the horrors people went through at the hands of the Soviets.

This is a young adult novel that does not read like one. I say that because it gets very dark, and it does not hold back from sharing the events that this family goes through. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this story because I don’t always read historical fiction, but this made me want to read a lot more of it. There’s a specific line that I have seen many people use when they talk about this book, but it is the one line that lets you imagine where the book goes.

 

“Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s was worth a pocket watch.”

 This line tears my heart apart. These are the things you can expect from this story. Using their last bits of their past, last few things they own to continue to survive.

I want to give you a very eloquent review, one where I delve into characterization, the plot, and everything else that normal book reviewers dive into, but I just can’t. All I can say about this book is that it made me feel so many emotions at the same time, mostly a mix of rage and sadness at the things happening to our main character, her family, and her friends.

I think if there were a book that needs to be read this year, this would be it. It brings to light a lot of issues that get tossed into the background about World War II. There are many stories that have been silenced for so long, and this screamed one of those tales at the very top of its lungs. I was left with a sense of loss myself after finishing it. It is in no way a light hearted read, and people should know going in that you are in for a rough ride, but its an incredible book that deserves more attention.

This book received 5 out 5 Metalhorns from me!!

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Walk on Earth a Stranger – Book Review

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Recently I was given a digital ARC for Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson, it is the first book in The Gold Seer Trilogy. It is one of my first couple of ARCs, and I am grateful and so excited that I was able to read this before its release. I was given the digital ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, so lets jump right into it.

The story is about Lee (Leah) westfall who has a bit of a secret. She can sense if there is any gold around her. That’s right even the smallest speck of gold, she can sense it and figure out exactly where it is. Something huge happens and the life she knew is pulled away from her by a man who is dying to control her. Desperate she disguises herself as a boy and heads for the trail heading west. Towards California and the Gold Rush.

Did you ever play Oregon Trail in elementary school? Did you ever become emotionally attached to your pixel family trying to make it across the country? Well this book kind of magically brings that to life. Though I say magically because it is such a well written book, and not because there’s tons of fantastical magic happening in the story. While she does have this power and she uses it on a number of occasions, the story focuses more on her trying to make it through the trip alive and without having her secrets discovered. I will say that in the middle it doesn’t seem like much is actually happening. I didn’t actually love any of the characters, but Lee is someone you will root for. It is slow paced but you will feel like you jumped on the TARDIS and were taken back in time. While some of the things that happened were a bit predictable, I can always overlook that when the writing is good, and that’s the case with Walk on Earth a Stranger.

Lee is such a strong charcter and some of the other female characters will come to surprise you. When the ending came it set up quite nicely for the next book. The writing is really what gripped me as I read this in about a day and a half. The world building and the detail made me feel like I was right beside Lee.

I enjoyed this book even if it wasn’t as fast paced as a lot of my favorite reads, I think big things are headed Lee’s way and I can’t wait to find out what. This will be out September 22, 2015 so make sure to go out and get it!!

This one gets 4 out of 5 Metal Horns!!!

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