Hello friends, happy Friday! I’m back with mini (well, not so mini, sorry) reviews of two of my latest reads.
Today’s theme for our mini reviews is YA books set in college, as well as YA books dealing with parental expectations. I didn’t even plan it out, but it turns out these books have these things in common, so… YAY. Let’s get started!
There are no spoilers in these reviews.
American Panda is this adorable book everyone has been talking about since the beginning of the year, and I get why. It was funny, adorable, witty yet managed to tackle important issues and shine a light on Chinese American teenagers and the struggles between traditions, family pressures and the main character’s own happiness.
I’m not going to talk about the representation in any way, since I am not fitted to talk about that. Instead, I’m going to talk about how this book made me feel. It warmed my heart, it really did and it had everything I could love in my contemporaries. We have a sweet, determined, confused and relatable main character, trying to figure out what she wants to do and who she wants to be and how to reconcile her own happiness with her parents’ desires. I loved Mei’s voice, she was funny, heartwarming and easy to care for.
I also loved the family dynamics in this story – on the one hand, Mei’s family, rooted in their traditions, on the other hand, Mei, conflicted about everything. We also get Xing, Mei’s big brother, who’s been disowned by his family because they don’t approve of his relationship. Each of their interactions felt authentic, real, conflicted and sometimes were a struggle as Mei tried to reconcile what she wants with what her family wants and slowly realizes that it’s not always possible, without sacrificing herself in the process.
Great family dynamics – and development, too! – as well as an adorable romance that slowly builds up, American Panda had it all to make me smile all the way and… even if the focus really is on the family, I also really appreciated the college setting. In a whole, American Panda is a wonderful that allows us to get a glimpse into Chinese Americans families and, while it’s not and can never be a universal tale, brings a refreshing and diverse new voice into YA books.
“And right now I had no idea where I ended and my parents began.”
My rating : 4 drops !
Thank you again to the wonderful Jackie for hosting the giveaway that allowed me to receive and read this book.
This story was a really quick and fun read and yet another one set in college – something I have and will always be craving in young adult books. There is so much to say about college and this period in life and, if you ask me, it definitely fits the young adult books, too. Anyway that’s a whole other debate here.
This book solely focuses on Danielle, trying to find her way through life and her future knowing that she wasn’t accepted into her dream college – well, her parents’ dream college. It deals with what to do whenever whatever you’ve been planning out your whole life, just doesn’t happen the way it’s supposed to. I absolutely loved how Danielle’s character changed and grew in this story, from feeling lost and confused to taking matters into her own hands and really finding out what she wants to do and what makes her truly happy.
I also really enjoyed the family dynamics in this story – even if I would have appreciated a bit more of it, it wasn’t the sole focus of the book and I understand that. Parents, still together. A brother I absolutely loved – as well as his relationship with his big sister.
Something that bothered me a little in this book, was how the characters were developed. I enjoyed seeing Danielle’s brother and his love of acting, I liked seeing Danielle finding her footing in environment, but I maybe would have liked it all to be a bit more, fleshed out. I also found the boy-next-door a little… flat, somehow. which brings me to the romantic relationships part of the story. If I found it a bit predictable (and a bit love-triangle-y, meh), it turns out I didn’t even mind that much, because some characters were just too damn cute and I was rooting for them.
Overall, The Big F was definitely an entertaining read about figuring out what you want to do and I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a fun, light and cute read set in college.
My rating : 3 drops!
Did you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them? Do you want to read them?
Do you like books set in college and do you have any other recommendations for me??
Let’s chat in comments! 💬