Book Review: American Panda by Gloria Chao

An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.

Mei is seventeen and just entering her freshman year at MIT. She is on track to become a doctor and to marry the ideal Taiwanese mate, all according to the “plan” laid out for her by her parents.

The problem is Mei is a bit of a germaphobe, would prefer to be a dancer, and has zero interest in the boy her parents want her to marry. Mei has found herself pulled between wanting to pursue her own dreams and the knowledge of what it means to go against her parents.

Mei’s brother, Xing, was banished from the family for following his heart and, as Mei discovers her own hopes and happiness, she fears how close she is to repeating his path. Mei finds herself torn between the desire to make her parents proud or to find her own happiness.

American Panda is engaging, and funny, as well as heartbreaking. The characters are so vividly portrayed I could hear them as if they were speaking and standing in the room with me. Even though this reality is so far from anything I’ve known in my life I felt the pain and pressure that Mei—and girls just like her—must feel. What a delightful and engaging story!

*Thank you to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for the chance to read an ARC of American Panda.

Please follow and like:

Leave a Reply