There are no spoilers in this review.
Loveboat, Taipei is exactly the kind of contemporary I love. With its sweet looking exterior, it had a hint of rebellion, sweet and complicated first loves, complex families ties and expectations. Loveboat, Taipei is a wonderful diverse debut about finding yourself and your own path, outside of the ones parents have already made for you.
A million thanks to Karina @ Afire Pages, as well as Harper Collins International, for putting together the Loveboat, Taipei blog tour and for giving me a little spot in it, as well as for sending me an e-ARC through Edelweiss. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.
A STORY ABOUT FAMILY EXPECTATIONS AND PRESSURE
In Loveboat, Taipei, we follow Ever, child of immigrants parents living in Ohio, as her parents send her to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer. Having always lived in the States, not knowing a whole lot besides a couple words of Mandarin and expecting to have the summer to dance instead of being shipped away halfway across the world, Ever is definitely not ready for the summer that’s to come, and you know what? Neither was I.
As I read the synopsis and headed into Loveboat, Taipei, I expected something soft and sweet and I got so much more than that. Slowly, we get to know Ever, her passion for dancing, her deep need to step away from her parents’ path, her need to break these rules, this cocoon they had made up for her ever since they gave up their own dreams, to give their children a better future by immigrating to America. Loveboat, Taipei gave us a much needed diverse story about family’s expectations, finding your own way and your own self, redefining yourself and what you really want to be.
A DIVERSE CAST OF CHARACTERS WITH COMPLEX, REAL RELATIONSHIPS
Ever carried the story, right from the beginning and I loved seeing her grow as the story went on, getting, slowly but surely, out of this set path to find her own self. She made mistakes, she didn’t think straight, she sometimes annoyed me, she sometimes made me feel happy and soft. Ever felt real in every way and, right from the start, I found myself rooting for her and wanting her to find her own path and, most of it all, to really find her way to happiness, too.
We found her surrounded by a wonderful cast of characters just as well, most of them struggling with their own issues, parental and family’s expectations to mental health to stereotypes and more. All of these played their own role and shaped both the story and the relationship between the characters, from the friendships to the romances. Most of it all, all the complex relationships the story created felt real. Messy and complicated, simple and funny, endearing and frustrating… most of it all, I was into this story, dealing with teenagers and complex emotions and this was, this is, exactly what I’m looking for in these kind of contemporaries.
I loved the place that friendship took in this story. The quickly growing friendship between Sophie and Ever, despite their differences, made me really happy to see and I appreciated seeing just how complex their friendship ended up being, how challenging and messy it was, at times, just as well.
I expected romance in Loveboat, Taipei and I got a romance I rooted for, from page one. The messy feelings of first love, of first encounters and lust were there, the slow development between some characters and the quickness of fleeting feelings for some others. Fair warning that there is a tiny bit of a love triangle in this book. That being said, if the love triangle is not my favorite trope, at all, I didn’t really mind it there, because… in a way, I could understand it. I could see it unfold, I could see the ropes, the feelings building up until they get all tangled up and messy, making this trope I’m not necessarily the biggest fan of, kind of real.
Drama, heartbreak and first loves, friendships and complicated family relationships, Loveboat, Taipei has it all and somehow, manages to juggle with it all fantastically, too. This is a stunning, highly entertaining read with a main character I really grew to love and I would 200% recommend you add it to your TBRs, right away.
Final rating: 4 drops!
Trigger warnings: drinking, talking about depression, slut-shaming, emotional abuse.
Diversity: An almost full diverse cast of East Asian characters. The main character is Taiwanese American, another main character is from Korea. Side characters with dyslexia.
About Loveboat, Taipei, Abigail Hing Wen
Abigail Hing Wen, Loveboat, Taipei, Publishing on January 7th, 2020 by HarperTeen.
Perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen, and praised as “an intense rush of rebellion and romance” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Garber, this romantic and layered Own Voices debut from Abigail Hing Wen is a dazzling, fun-filled romp.
“Our cousins have done this program,” Sophie whispers. “Best kept secret. Zero supervision.”
And just like that, Ever Wong’s summer takes an unexpected turn. Gone is Chien Tan, the strict educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting. In its place, she finds Loveboat: a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop.
But not every student is quite what they seem:
Ever is working toward becoming a doctor but nurses a secret passion for dance.
Rick Woo is the Yale-bound child prodigy bane of Ever’s existence whose perfection hides a secret.
Boy-crazy, fashion-obsessed Sophie Ha turns out to have more to her than meets the eye.
And under sexy Xavier Yeh’s shell is buried a shameful truth he’ll never admit.
When these students’ lives collide, it’s guaranteed to be a summer Ever will never forget.
About the author, Abigail Hing Wen
Abigail Hing Wen is a Silicon Valley venture lawyer working with AI startups. She is a Vermont College of Fine Arts graduate, Wild Things blogger, and YA writer of her debut, Loveboat, Taipei.
Loveboat, Taipei – Full Blog Tour Schedule:clicktoreveal.
Afire Pages | Author Fancast
Artsy Draft | Lockscreen/Wallpaper
Magical Reads | Playlist
Book Beat at Mike the Fanboy | Beginners’ Guide to Loveboat
Lyrical Reads | Moodboards
Kitty Marie’s Reading Corner | Moodboard
Fanna Wants the World to Read | Why Fans of Crazy, Rich Asians and La La Land Will Love Loveboat, Taipei
Bookathon | Loveboat Book Tag
Drizzle & Hurricane Books | Moodboards
Utopia State of Mind | Hand Lettering
Enter to win a copy of Loveboat, Taipei : click right here !
This giveaway is open internationally and sponsored by HarperCollins International.
The giveaway ends on January 16, 2020.
Did you read Loveboat, Taipei? Do you want to?
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