Honestly, this book was SO much more than I expected! I had heard about it through the librarian grapevine and read reviews, but for some reason kept it at the back of my TBR saying "I'll read it eventually." Y'all. This book needs a new cover because the one it has makes it feel immature and honestly middle-grade-esque but AMERICAN PANDA is GREAT! As a hispanic-American woman, I related to the main character, Mei, with the pressure to make your family proud, to be obedient, and to find a husband and have babies to secure your family name. BUT we know how I love a good ol' rebellion, ;) but AMERICAN PANDA isn't about the rebellion. It is about a Taiwanese-American girl, Mei, who LOVES dance, but her family has decided that is attending MIT to become a doctor while her mother chooses a husband for her. And while Mae tries SO hard to obey her family, she finally learns what I have been preaching for the past few years: you can't put a price a YOUR happiness and you have to do what is right for YOU.
AMERICAN PANDA is about so much more than just a girl struggling with her identity and with her parents; it is about finding yourself and challenging traditions that are done just for traditions sake. It is about women standing up for themselves. It is about spouses having a say in the way that their children are raised, and those children being happy and being given the opportunity to choose and fight for their dreams and being allowed to fail.
This book was everything. I loved every second of it. Thank you, Gloria Chao. I hope that not only other Asian Americans can relate to this book and find comfort in knowing that they are not alone, but also EVERYONE who wants to break away from family traditions and gender ideologies.
I really enjoyed Archival Quality and its emphasis on mental health. The main character, Cel, has left her job as a librarian after a breakdown and has taken a job as an archivist in a creepy old museum. She begins having weird dreams and losing chunks of time where she has no idea what happened. Her dreams feature a young woman whom Cel believes was an inmate in the asylum that the museum used to be and sets her sights on finding a way to set the spirit's soul to rest.
Cel not only has to solve the mystery of the museum's past, but she also must prove that her own mental health is not declining again and in the end, learns how to ask for help.
Overall, a fun and enjoyable book that displays great teamwork (even with people you may not WANT to work with) and the importance of mental health and knowing when to ask for help.
Eraser Tattoo by Jason Reynolds: 2 stars
Cute. A sweet story of two neighbors who have grown up near each other and of course have fallen for each other but one is about to move away.
Meet Cute by Malinda Lo: 2 stars
Honestly, I would have given this story one star, but it gets two because it is takes place at a com con in Denver, when the lights go out. That's basically the entire story for you. The main characters wander around lost. It was a bit hard to follow most of the time, but cute.
Don't Pass Me By Eric Gansworth: 4 stars and a heart
Be Cool for Once by Aminah Mae Safi: 4 stars and a heart
Tags by Walter Dean Myers: 4 stars
Well then... After reading this one you feel a bit douche-y giving it less than 5 stars but it is heart-wrenching. It was a bit hard to follow at first, but after some glancing back and forth, it is a good, quick play. Fans of Jason Reynolds' Long Way Down and Angie Thomas or Nic Stone will enjoy this one. It is about four dead kids who are trying to be remembered by tagging walls before they get forgotten, but they come to find out that one was killed by one of the others in their "hallway."
Why I Learned to Cook by Sara Farizan:
A Stranger at the Bochinche by Daniel Jose Older:
A Boy's Duty by Sharon G. Flake:
One Voice: A Something in Between Story by Melissa de la Cruz:
Paladin/Samurai by Gene Luen Yang, Illustrated by Thien Pham:
Catch, Pull, Drive by Schuyler Bailar:
Super Human by Nicola Yoon: