“Sometimes a piece of you must die for the rest of you to survive, and for me, I lost so much I became a different person.”
Title: Our Wayward Fate
Author: Gloria Chao
Date Published: October 15, 2019
Number of Pages: 320 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
📚 Series: No.
📚 Genre: YA Contemporary.
📚 Cliffhanger: No.
⚠ Content Warnings: Parent-Child Conflict. Embezzlement / Scamming. Racism. Asian stereotyping.
Book Blurb from Goodreads
Seventeen-year-old Ali Chu knows that as the only Asian person at her school in middle-of-nowhere Indiana, she must be bland as white toast to survive. This means swapping her congee lunch for PB&Js, ignoring the clueless racism from her classmates and teachers, and keeping her mouth shut when people wrongly call her Allie instead of her actual name, pronounced Āh-lěe, after the mountain in Taiwan.
Her autopilot existence is disrupted when she finds out that Chase Yu, the new kid in school, is also Taiwanese. Despite some initial resistance due to the “they belong together” whispers, Ali and Chase soon spark a chemistry rooted in competitive martial arts, joking in two languages, and, most importantly, pushing back against the discrimination they face.
But when Ali’s mom finds out about the relationship, she forces Ali to end it. As Ali covertly digs into the why behind her mother’s disapproval, she uncovers secrets about her family and Chase that force her to question everything she thought she knew about life, love, and her unknowable future.
Snippets of a love story from nineteenth-century China (a retelling of the Chinese folktale The Butterfly Lovers) are interspersed with Ali’s narrative and intertwined with her fate.
About the Author
Gloria Chao is the critically acclaimed author of American Panda, Our Wayward Fate, and the upcoming Rent a Boyfriend. When she’s not writing, you can find her with her husband on the curling ice or hiking the Indiana Dunes. After a brief detour as a dentist, she is now grateful to spend her days in fictional characters’ heads instead of real people’s mouths.
Visit her tea-and-book-filled world at GloriaChao.Wordpress.com, and find her on Twitter and Instagram @GloriacChao.
Having read American Panda, my hopes for Our Wayward Fate was soaring high. Unfortunately, it had turbulence problems and hit an unsatisfying end.
I read this as an audiobook, and to be fair, the production was good and the narrator did amazing that it was something nice from beginning to end. I loved all the Chinese words and phrases seeped into the dialogue, providing me with something new to learn.
But, why wasn’t this book a 5 star read?
One of my initial problems with this book is the insta-love, one that absolutely came from nowhere. Second, this book promised Chinese mythology through The Butterfly Lovers. But, the transition from the folklore to Ali’s circumstances was quite lost and the flow was too forced. The pacing was also messy. Sometimes quick, sometimes jumpy, and sometimes soooo slow.
In the good points, however, I loved how this book helped Ali develop a sense of pride on her roots, especially as Chinese culture is very rich and fascinating.
I also loved the puns. I am a sucker for literary wordplay and the two leads of the story loved including this in their conversations.
A side character named Yun also shone throughout the story. He is one of the best parts and I enjoyed his charm.
Overall, it was okay. Maybe my hopes were too high.. but still a great audiobook to listen to.
My Book Rating Breakdown
🌼 Main Character:⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Significant Other: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Support Characters: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Writing Style:⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Character Development:⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Romance: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Pacing: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Ending: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Unputdownability: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Book Cover:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Audiobook Production: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
☁ FINAL VERDICT: 3.33/5 ☁
♡ , Yna the Mood Reader