Loveboat, Taipei

HarperTeen. Jan. 2020. 432p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062957276.
Gr 9 Up–Ever Wong is waiting to hear back from colleges and decide where her life will lead. Like many teenagers, the path she dreams of is not the same as the one her parents have in mind. She longs to dance while her parents expect her to attend medical school, for which they have been grooming her since birth, and it doesn’t seem to matter that the sight of blood makes her faint. When she is forced to leave Ohio and study abroad in Taipei, Ever is devastated. Once again, her parents are deciding her future without her involvement, and dancing is looking more and more like an impossibility. However, Ever learns from the other students that this educational experience is really a chance for teens to live without rules and experiment with love, and it may not be as bad as she anticipated. For a girl who has lived by her parents’ strict rules, this freedom is refreshing and exciting. Wen creates a relatable story line for teens discovering who they really are and want to be. The author does a great job of immersing readers in the sights and sounds of Taipei, and she illustrates the culture through scenes of gatherings with friends and Ever’s interactions with locals in the city.
VERDICT YA readers will love the mix of romance, defiance, adventure, culture, and friendship.

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