Simon Pulse, 2018
Audience: Older Teens
At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents' master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.
With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can't bring herself to tell them the truth--that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.
But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?
I loved how unique American Panda was. (I just wish that I had read it when it was cold outside, because hot chocolate sounds delicious.) And don’t you just love the cover?! I learned a lot about Asian cultures in this book, which was fantastic. On top of that and the complicated familial relationships, American Panda had a super-cute love story. It was great, and I hope to read more books like it.
If you like American Panda, you should definitely read Crazy Rich Asians, because you’ll like it too!