Much thanks to Harper Teen and The Fantastic Flying Book Club Book Tours for sending me a copy for review and for inviting me to be a part of this tour. This review is voluntary and opinions are fully my own. Also, all quotes are taken from the ARC and may or may not appear in the final published copy.
Title: Loveboat, Taipei
Author: Abigail Hing Wen
Date Published: January 7, 2020
Number of Pages: 432 pages
Publisher: Harper Teen
📚 Series: Yes? Goodreads says so.
📚 Genre: YA Contemporary
📚 POV: First
📚 Cliffhanger: No
⚠ Content Warnings: Love square/quadrangle. Asian stereotyping. Racism. Graphic description of injuries. Leaked nude photos. Mentions of depression & self-harm. Sexual content.
⚠ Read if: you love Crazy Rich Asians and/or American Panda.
For fans of Crazy Rich Asians or Jane Austen Comedy of Manners, with a hint of La La Land…
When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.
Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?
About the Author
Abigail was born in West Virginia to a family of immigrants: Her mother is from the Philippines and her father from Indonesia, and her grandparents emigrated to those countries from Fujian and Shandong provinces in China.
Abigail grew up in Ohio and graduated from Harvard University and Columbia Law School. She worked in Washington DC for the Senate, as a law clerk for a federal judge. and now in Silicon Valley in venture capital and artificial intelligence. She also earned her Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
In her spare time, she enjoys long walks with her husband and two boys, and hanging out with friends and over 100 family members in the Bay Area. She loves music and dances to it when no one is watching.
My Favorite Quotes
“Maybe some people are meant to be a part of your life. And we don’t have any control over when they drop in. Or over anything else that’s going to happen that might take them away again.”
“I took advantage of a crush and fanned it into a flame.”
“My parents sent me to discover my heritage, but in the process, I’m also finding parts of myself, even if that self isn’t who they want me to be.”
“I saw them, and I thought, maybe when you get that old, that’s when you find peace. Maybe the secret’s just living a fucking long time with the right people.”
“Nice girls aren’t bossy.” […] “Nice is so overrated.”
Let me start this review by saying, I absolutely loved this book and I am wishing for more Asian rep in the YA & NA umbrella genres.
Loveboat Taipei tells the story of the Taiwanese-Western young adult journey. It’s of finding oneself and identifying how both of your cultures had the power to make you who you are.
The books tells the story of Ever Wong, who was sent by her parents to take part in Loveboat, a culture immersion program in Taiwan, because they felt she needs to learn more about that other side of her.
Ever is joined by around 500 other teens in this experience. So, she attempts to face this new world, while struggling to let her parents know that she does not want to go to med school, but she wants tondance instead.
This book showcased the Asian Tiger Mom character, where Asian parents try to control the decisions of their children, especially with their careers and love interests. I resonate with this one a lot, as many Filipino parents also have the same principles.
I also enjoyed the glimpses of Taiwanese culture showcased in the story, including food, art, language, and places to visit.
One of the great parts that I liked about this read is how Ever transformed and grew as a person. Eventhough technically, she is disobeying her parents, I loved how the author wrote her thought process and how her love for her family has shown, even when she was trying to stand up for who she really is.
In terms of the romance arc, this book did not only came with a love triangle, they also involved another person in the mix!
Focusing on the love interests part, though, I have to say that I disagree with Ever’s choice. It makes me so crazy that she did not choose this character, of whom I felt she had better chemistry with! Sigh.
This frustrating romance part was redeemed by how amazingly the author dealt with serious topics scattered throughout this book. I appreciate the sensitive approach the author have made and I wish she delves more on these topics in the future.
In totality, I have to say I am so happy to have found my first 5 star read of 2020! Loveboat, Taipei is a wonderful debut that showcases family, friendship, finding oneself, fun, and first love.
My Book Rating Breakdown
🌼 Main Character:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Significant Other: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Support Characters:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Writing Style:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Character Development:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Romance: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Pacing: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Ending: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Unputdownability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Book Cover:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
☁ FINAL VERDICT: 4.81/5 ☁
🌼🌼 GIVEAWAY 🌼🌼
Get a chance to win a finished copy of Loveboat, Taipei! Open for US Residents only. No PO Boxes allowed. 2 Winners! Giveaway ends January 15th.
Click below to enter!
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