Our wayward fate

Gloria Chao, 1986-

Book - 2019

Seventeen-year-old Ali is simultaneously swept up in a whirlwind romance and down a rabbit hole of family secrets when another Taiwanese family moves into tiny, predominantly-white, Plainhart, Indiana.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Simon Pulse 2019.
Edition
First Simon Pulse hardcover edition
Language
English
Physical Description
311 pages ; 22 cm
Audience
Ages 12 and up.
Grades 10-12.
ISBN
9781534427617
1534427619
Main Author
Gloria Chao, 1986- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

As the only Asian student at her very white Indiana high school, Ali has learned to blend. She keeps her head down when classmates and teachers casually make hurtful or offensive comments, like pronouncing her name "Allie" instead of "Ah-lee" or thinking she's great at math. When Chase, who's also Taiwanese American, starts at school, Ali is annoyed but not surprised when people just assume they'll date. She is surprised, though, when she actually does find herself attracted to Chase, their common experiences providing a foundation that quickly blooms into a romance. But when Ali's overbearing, emotionally distant mother reacts poorly to their relationship, Ali digs into her family's history and her parents' own fractured marriage. Interspersed with Ali's story is a retelling of the Chinese folktale "The Butterfly Lovers," another story about a young woman creating her own identity. A slow-moving beginning soon gives way to a faster paced back half in this inventive, deeply heartfelt love story that explores connections of many kinds. Grades 8-11. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

As the sole Asian-American at her small-town Indiana high school, Taiwanese-American Ali Chu is used to playing unperturbed in order to fit in, letting microaggressions go uncontested, and eschewing engagement with her culture in front of her white friends. But when Chase Yu moves to Plainhart from Flushing, N.Y., Ali questions her complacency, finding in him an ally, a kung fu sparring partner, and a boyfriend. Ali believes Chase's Taiwanese-American identity should please her difficult mother, so she's surprised when her mother insists that Ali break up with him. Family friends Ali doesn't remember, a long-lost relative on the Chus' doorstep, and Chase's own mysterious past complicate the narrative, and Ali has her work cut out for her as she investigates her family's enigmas. Chao (American Panda) treads familiar paths in regards to intergenerational miscommunication between immigrant parents and their children, but a reinterpretation of a classic Chinese romantic tragedy, "The Butterfly Lovers," and the perspective of a park freshen the novel with varying degrees of success. Though readers versed in Asian-American literature will recognize some well-worn dynamics, this contemporary romance will find likely find appreciative readers. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kathleen Rushall, Andrea Brown Literary. (Oct.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 8 Up—Ali Chu knows the key to survival is not saying what's on her mind—at home where her parents act like strangers toward her and each other, and at school where she is the only Asian person. So what if no one can pronounce her name and people made fun of the Chinese food she used to bring for lunch, at least she has friends with whom to eat her disgusting peanut butter sandwiches. She is content to merely survive until she goes to college—until she discovers a new kid has started at school. He's cute, Asian, and may be the answer to questions Ali didn't even know she needed to ask. However, when Ali's mother forbids her from spending time with Chase, will she be able to go back to just surviving or will she discover the freedom that comes from not holding her tongue? This is more than a coming-of-age novel, and readers will fall in love with Ali. Chao includes Chinese within the story with perfect context but no translation, allowing readers to embrace what Ali may have felt as she converses in daily life. The settings and interactions feel real, and the alienation and parental conflict she and others experience is relatable. Chao also weaves in her take on a traditional Chinese myth, an interesting perspective on what might seem like a "typical" teen love story. VERDICT A great purchase for school and public libraries looking to enhance their modern YA fiction collections.—DeHanza Kwong, Butte Public Library, MT Copyright 2019 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Forging a bond with the only other Taiwanese kid in her school, 17-year-old Oli Chu finds a sense of belonging and the courage to push back against discrimination before her mother’s disapproval of the relationship reveals astonishing family secrets. 35,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Seventeen-year-old Ali is simultaneously swept up in a whirlwind romance and down a rabbit hole of family secrets when another Taiwanese family moves into tiny, predominantly-white, Plainhart, Indiana.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

'A story that's sure to stick with you for a long time.' 'BuzzFeed'more than a coming-of-age novel.' 'School Library Journal'[An] inventive, deeply heartfelt love story that explores connections of many kinds.' 'BooklistA teen outcast is simultaneously swept up in a whirlwind romance and down a rabbit hole of dark family secrets when another Taiwanese family moves to her small, predominantly white midwestern town in this remarkable novel from the critically acclaimed author of American Panda.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 Ah-lee, 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 19th-century China (a retelling of the Chinese folktale The Butterfly Lovers) are interspersed with Ali's narrative and intertwined with her fate.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

“A story that’s sure to stick with you for a long time.” —BuzzFeed“More than a coming-of-age novel.” —School Library Journal“[An] inventive, deeply heartfelt love story that explores connections of many kinds.” —BooklistA teen outcast is simultaneously swept up in a whirlwind romance and down a rabbit hole of dark family secrets when another Taiwanese family moves to her small, predominantly white midwestern town in this remarkable novel from the critically acclaimed author of American Panda.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 Ah-lee, 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 19th-century China (a retelling of the Chinese folktale The Butterfly Lovers) are interspersed with Ali’s narrative and intertwined with her fate.