OUR WAYWARD FATE
October 15, 2019
Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster
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A 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 new novel from the critically acclaimed author of American Panda, which The Wall Street Journal called “weepingly funny.”
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, 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 nineteenth-century China (a retelling of the Chinese folktale The Butterfly Lovers) are interspersed with Ali’s narrative and intertwined with her fate.
Four starred reviews for this 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.
At seventeen, Mei Lu 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 she 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?
From debut author Gloria Chao comes a hilarious, heartfelt tale of how unlike the panda, life isn’t always so black and white.
Signed copies: 57th Street Books
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Praise for American Panda
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Amelia Bloomer List 2019
Booklist‘s Best Debut YA Book of 2018
Bustle‘s Best Young Adult Book of 2018
Seventeen Magazine‘s Best YA Book of 2018
Paste Magazine‘s Best Young Adult Novel of 2018
PopSugar‘s Most Riveting YA Book of 2018
A Chicago Public Library Best YA Book of 2018
A Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of the Year
YMCA’s Summer Reading List for Teens
Illinois Reads 2019
Indie’s Next Pick
“Weepingly funny“—The Wall Street Journal
“Vibrant and bright.” —Bustle
“Beautifully told.” —Hypable
“Vibrant, complex, and refreshing . . . A soulful and hilarious debut.”—★ Booklist, Starred Review
“Effervescent.”—★ Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“This deserves a place on every shelf, though it will not stay there long.”—★ VOYA magazine, Starred Review
“Universal.”—★ School Library Journal, Starred Review
“Eye-opening, hilarious, and sometimes heartbreaking.” —Shelf Awareness
“An earnest, funny, and emotional story.” —Book Riot
“An absolute delight . . . Overflowing with wit and empathy, Chao’s debut charmed my socks off.” —David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland
“A charming and hilarious tale . . . Mei Lu is a goofy, lovable American teenager. I loved her.” —Stacey Lee, award-winning author of Outrun the Moon
“Incredibly timely, honest, and moving—the must-read book of the season!” —Sandhya Menon, New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi
“A dazzling debut that hooked me with its humor and heart from the very first page.” —Lisa Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Magician
“The perfect coming of age story for anyone who’s ever felt unsure of where they belong.”—Kerri Maniscalco, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Stalking Jack the Ripper
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Refinery29’s The Ultimate YA Beach Reads of 2018
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Bustle’s 27 Most Anticipated YA Contemporary Books
Barnes & Noble’s 21 Most Anticipated Debuts of 2018
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Get Literary’s 6 Books to Read After You Read and Watch Crazy Rich Asians
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