Genre: YA lit, Asian lit
Synopsis: Mei is everything her parents want her to be, and everything her brother is not. Nice, obedient, going to an Ivy-league school a year early, and in the medical field. The problem is…the medical field really, really grosses her out. And she likes someone who’s Japanese, not Chinese. But the more she tries to keep these secrets, the more she feels pressured to be someone she’s not. But what will her mother say?
Review: This was a great story about the struggles of meeting not only your parents’ standards, but your own as well. Mei has entered an Ivy-league college a year early, and has entered into the medical program, per her parents’ wishes. Unfortunately for her, anything to do with germs sends her reeling for some hand sanitizer. Not only that, but her potential confidant–her brother, who is also a doctor–is the one person she can’t talk to. Not ever since he decided to continue seeing a woman against his parents’ wishes.
But Chinatown is small, and word gets out.
Mei is an upstanding character, ready to take on…well, maybe not the world–there’s too many germs there. But her parents? Yeah, she can take them. After all, parents are supposed to care for you and love you unconditionally…right?
As she struggles through her complicated emotions to those who cared for her, she must also try to find herself and decide just what she likes and dislikes. And perhaps, along the way, she can escape the cycle in which her own mother is entrapped. Her mother might smile, but Mei certainly won’t. Not when it’s her personal freedom and general feeling of safety on the line. But the sources of her support are forbidden, and another source of support would be acceptable…if she hadn’t taken on the superstitious performance name of a castaway Chinese girl.
Overall, this was a fun book, and just reminiscent enough of my first year at college. All those wonders, those sights, the classes, the superstitions…though quite different from my own experience, it rings of the universal experience of learning what it takes to be your own person.