FICTION

Our Wayward Fate

Simon Pulse. Oct. 2019. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534427617.
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Gr 8 Up–Ali Chu knows the key to survival is not saying what’s on her mind—at home where her parents act like strangers toward her and each other, and at school where she is the only Asian person. So what if no one can pronounce her name and people made fun of the Chinese food she used to bring for lunch, at least she has friends with whom to eat her disgusting peanut butter sandwiches. She is content to merely survive until she goes to college—until she discovers a new kid has started at school. He’s cute, Asian, and may be the answer to questions Ali didn’t even know she needed to ask. However, when Ali’s mother forbids her from spending time with Chase, will she be able to go back to just surviving or will she discover the freedom that comes from not holding her tongue? This is more than a coming-of-age novel, and readers will fall in love with Ali. Chao includes Chinese within the story with perfect context but no translation, allowing readers to embrace what Ali may have felt as she converses in daily life. The settings and interactions feel real, and the alienation and parental conflict she and others experience is relatable. Chao also weaves in her take on a traditional Chinese myth, an interesting perspective on what might seem like a “typical” teen love story.
VERDICT A great purchase for school and public libraries looking to enhance their modern YA fiction collections.

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