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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bitter Melon By: Cara Chow

Title: Bitter Melon
Author: Cara Chow
HARDBACK
Amount of Pages:
320
Release Date: December 28, 2010
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Geared Towards: Teens
From: Publisher (ARC)

"I am glad that I have speech, a place where I can be courageous and strong."

Summary (From B.O.B):
What would you do if your mother planned every step
in your life...and demanded you follow?

Frances has one job in life. To get into Berkeley and become a doctor so that her mother's ambitions for her will be realized. And Frances doesn't think there's anything wrong with that-until the day she accidently steps into speech class.

Frances turns out to be a natural at debate and public speaking. But to win in competition, Frances needs to say things she really believes-and to hide what she's doing from her mother. And once Frances steps out beyond her narrowly prescribed life, she begins to question many things about the way she is raised. Frances knows she must be obedient to her mother, who has sacrificed so much for her education. But how much is Frances living out the life her mother wants her to have, instead of the life that's right for Frances?

Wdebo's Review: As I am sure many of you know, I am ABC (American Born Chinese), so I have always been searching for YA books about people of Chinese decent. Therefore, when I was given the chance to review Bitter Melon, I was so excited, it's so hard to find books about Chinese people and especially Chinese Americans in the YA world. I really enjoyed Bitter Melon, a great novel that delves into Chinese traditions and the stress that are put on Chinese children.

I am sure many readers have been pushed by their parents to travel certain roads in life. Frances' mom is just like that, she pushes Frances down the road that she believes in best for her, but instead of just pushing her she takes it much further. It really shows the darker side of a parent pushing their child to succeed.

The novel uses short, choppy sentences to create imagry. In the beginning, the use of these sentences felt awkwardly put together, but as the novel progresses, the sentences are put together more smoothly, and the story flows well together, and the novel becomes addicting until the end. There is also a nice addition of certian Chinese phrases and culture, but it does not dwell on it which was how the story felt, it talked about Frances' Chinese heritage and culture but mainly focused on her growth and finding what she wanted for herself and building her own path in life.

I also loved the romance between her and Derek. It was so cute and innocent. And I think the reason why I loved it so much is because, this might sound really stupid, but because of Frances' faults, how she's not perfect like the rest of us. She isn't the skinniest, she isn't the prettiest, but Derek is able to overlook that and fall for her all the same, it was just really sweet. :) I hate stories in which the main character may be a nerd, or not as popular as they want, but they are still pretty and has this really fantabulous boyfriend that adores them, gah, stick to reality please!

Cafe Cover Chat: I love finally seeing an Asian person on the cover and so I really like this cover, haha, but it's a pretty cover, but she seems too happy. (B+)

All in all, a wonderful book that brings together growing up and finding yourself in a Chinese culture and finding love outside of it.

Grade: A-

Wdebo :)

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