Here I'm reviewing American Panda by Gloria Chao. Mei is a Taiwanese-American girl who is off to college. Caught between two worlds, her highly traditional Taiwanese family and her American college life, Mei has some hard decisions to make. This coming-of-age story is at turns laugh-out-loud hilarious and also sad at times. Gloria Chao has written a superb and insightful book.
Along the way, Mei has to navigate issues that her traditional upbringing has not prepared her for. None the less, she handles things with grace and aplomb. She needs to eventually make the decision of does she make her own choices in life, or should she follow the path her parents have created for her? She would rather forge her own way, but she knows from the experience of her estranged brother Xing that it will come at a steep price.
This is a wonderful and well-written book which will appeal to many readers. In particular, I love that it takes a tough topic and renders it with humor and entertainment - yet without sacrificing the seriousness of the issues at hand. Brilliant.