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American Panda
Contributor(s): Chao, Gloria
ISBN: 1481499106     ISBN-13: 9781481499101
Publisher: Simon Pulse
    OUR PRICE: $16.19  
Product Type: Hardcover
Published: February 2018
Qty:
Annotation: A freshman at MIT, seventeen-year-old Mei Lu tries to live up to her Taiwanese parents' expectations, but no amount of tradition, obligation, or guilt prevent her from hiding several truths--that she is a germaphobe who cannot become a doctor, she prefers dancing to biology, she decides to reconnect with her estranged older brother, and she is dating a Japanese boy.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Taiwanese Americans; Fiction.
Family life; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2017014314
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.50" H x 5.75" W x 1.25" (1.00 lbs) 310 pages
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q72791
Reading Level: 6.7   Interest Level: Grades 9-12   Point Value: 17.0
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 November #3)

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. (Feb.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2018 February)

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.