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Publisher's Summary

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 17, 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 (one) hates germs, (two) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (three) 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.

©2018 Gloria Chao (P)2018 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

"Charmed my socks off." (David Arnold, New York Times best-selling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland)
"A soulful and hilarious debut." ( Booklist, starred review)
"Effervescent." ( Publishers Weekly, starred review)

"An earnest, funny, and emotional story." ( Book Riot)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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tense and sweet intercultural tale

Mr. and Mrs. Lu have Mei's life planned out for her --her major, her profession, her husband, her study schedule. Mei is at MIT because her parents want her to be, but she has other dreams. Yet her parents themselves are so very bound by the old traditions, that they have forgotten their own childhood longings. Mei struggles to find the inner courage to seek her own way, all the while realizing how bound she still is to her parents' traditions.

The story ends satisfactorily with both sweetness and strength. The story will resonate with the children of tiger moms as well as everyone who feels they must please someone else. Chinese words are sprinkled throughout, but the context makes them understandable, and Emily Woo Zeller's narration is perfect.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Authentic and Relatable

I got this book for my 17 year old daughter who is half Chinese and I can’t wait for her to read it. After listening to this book I understand so much more what my Chinese husband (and eldest son) had to go through with his family in order to marry me. I don’t know if people with zero insight in the Asian culture will like this book as much but I hope they at least give it a chance. After all, finding oneself and understanding where you come from is an universal experience. This book is full of compassion and understanding for all the parents out there doing the wrong things with the best intentions and it is very realistic in the way everything plays out at the end. I highly recommend it.

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fun, insightful, and touching

This was one of my favorite reads of the past year. The story is well-paced and the main character is all too relatable in her anxiety, awkwardness, yet big heart. Very enlightening on the experience of being a child of immigrants or third culture kid. While I'm not of Asian descent, Zeller does a great job giving the reader a picture of the conflict someone who feels caught between two cultutes can experience. There are things to relate to in the book if you were raised in a more traditional family or with parents with high expectations...or if you've just been an awkward, nervous college freshman navigating living away from home for the first time. The story and characters are so charming and funny and the narrator was absolutely stellar. l doing different characters and giving an alternately comic and emotional performance. Sometimes the sound can take a shrill turn and hurt the ears, but I've found this to be true of most audiobooks. anyways, don't miss this wonderful read!!

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Absolutely delightful!

I'll be honest, the only reason I purchased this book was because it was on sale and I love panda bears. To say it was on a whim would be an understatement. But I'm absolutely thrilled that I did! It was a delightful palate cleanser from fantasy and other readings with heavier plot lines. Highly recommend! It was an absolute delight! Finished in one day!

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Grab some hot chocolate & get cozy!

This book gave me all the warm and fuzzies. It was one of those books I didn't want to stop listening to even though I got to my destination. The characters in this book feel so real from their experiences and what they go through. I loved the format of having voicemails from her mother in the middle of each chapter, it made me tear up because that really is what it feels like to get a voicemail from a worried mother. I loved this book!

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laughed and cried

so glad I gave this a try. I laughed so hard listening to this and was surprised how much I cried. I got the feels listening to the story. the story was so well performed I can't wait to listen to it again.

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Delightful

Sooo good. Sad, happy, scary and entertaining! Emily Woo Zeller does a great job narrating. A glimpse in to the traditions some families are bound to and how they break free while still embracing the importance of tradition.

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Wonderful coming of age story

Loved it! The cover is deceiving because it makes the book look like a light read but it hits heavy topics including identity, race, family, and loving yourself.

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A butterfly

A woman overcoming cultural brainwashing and trusting herself. It made me laugh and smile and get angry in a few places.

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Enjoyed it!

This was a quick, easy enjoyable book!
Mei was a great character and would to see a sequel!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-14-18

loved it

loved it! the book gave me great insights and was very funny. its a great listen!!