Updated: May 2
Happy Tuesday! I hope your year is starting right and that you've managed to add books to your 2020 reading challenge. Loveboat, Taipei is the first-ever ARC I get to read before the book release (I managed by a few days) and now it's been out for one week!
I usually stick to fantasy, but after my friend's recommendations and a little bit of luck, I managed to acquire an ARC to check out the hype. It was so good I read it in two days.
Continue reading to find out why I think you should read it, too.
For fans of Crazy Rich Asians or Jane Austen Comedy of Manners, with a hint of La La Land
When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.
Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.
Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?
Finding an ARC of Loveboat, Taipei felt like serendipity. One of my friends got her ARC at YallFest and then passed it to another friend. It wasn't on top of my TBR, but I felt curious when I heard my friends venting about it, and then one day, I found an ARC in the library I work at.
I finished Loveboat in two days, and right now I'm still a little hungover even though it's been over one week since I finished it. Yes, it was that good!
I loved the cultural elements in the story. How the author took us on a trip and really showed us Taipei though Ever's narration of the book. I totally could relate with the sense of duty she had to her parents, and how pursuing her passion felt forbidden. Her love for dancing and wanting to pursue a career in dancing felt like an undisclosed desire that seemed to consume her at the beginning of the book. I felt the slow burn of her desire.
Loveboat deals with Asian stereotypes and cultural identity, and it was embellished by the beauty of sentences written in a foreign language, rich descriptions, and conflicted characters owning their identities. I didn't understand the foreign language sentences, or could even attempt to pronounce properly the words filled with accents I didn't even know how to pronounce, but I know someone else understand, and hopefully it will bring a smile to their face (Just as how I feel when I see Spanish or French in books).
The newly-found freedom Ever experienced seemed to get her out of control in ways she had to learn to moderate, She was target of judgement and handled it like a bos. And let me tell you about the love interests.
Rick and Xander were each unique and flawed in their own ways. My friends were fully team Xander (and don't get me wrong, I loved the boy) but I'm a team Rick. He's just such a good boy!
There was late night dancing, sneaking around, drinking snake-blood sake, sword fighting, taking back stereotypes in the most hilarious ways, and an unforgettable, life-changing journey for all the characters in this book.
I know there will be a sequel to Loveboat, and TBH I think the ending felt so smooth that I will not mind the wait. This book left me with so much happiness and pride. Because as a minority, a journey like this means the world.
Here is all the info for Loveboat, Taipei :
Reading Challenge No.: 3/45
Author: Abigail Hing Wen
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
Format: ARC Paperback
Length: 414 pages.
POV: #FirstPerson through Ever's POV
Series or Standalone? #FirstInSeries Loveboat, Taipei # 1 - Duology
"The envelope drops through our mail slot like a love letter."
Favorite Character: I love Ever cause she found herself and it was empowering!
Add Loveboat, Taipei to your Goodreads, here.
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Right now I'm currently reading the King's Questioner by Nikki Katz which is out today!
Sunday we'll change topics a little bit and we'll talk about goals. What do you want to focus on in 2020? I have thought about my goals and I would love to share them with you.
It's all about staying focused.