Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen. This tour is being hosted by Fantastic Flying Book Club. I’ll be sharing my review and there will be a giveaway.
Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei #1)
by Abigail Hing Wen
Release Date: January 7th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Travel, Asian Literature
For fans of Crazy Rich Asians or Jane Austen Comedy of Manners, with a hint of La La Land
When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.
Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.
Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?
Loveboat, Taipei was a wonderful debut.
Ever is Chinese American with parents that emigrated to the US. They are strict and very traditional. Ever is expected to go to medical school, even though blood makes her sick. She can’t show skin or have a boyfriend. Her parents tolerate her dance classes because she’d been in them so long. Dance is Ever’s passion, the one thing she loves. After taking a risk, Ever got into a dance school, but needed to perform an audition. Her parents decided to surprise her with a trip to Taiwan to spend most of the summer in a program there. Ever leaves her best friend, Megan, and sister, Pearl, behind and does what is expected of her. She always does what is expected of her. That is, she did until she got to Taiwan. The program is called The Loveboat because there are lots of hook ups and relationships start there.
Ever meets a girl, Sophie, and her cousin, Rick, on the bus from the airport. To her horror, Ever realizes that Rick is “Boy Wonder”. This boy was always in newspapers. Ever’s parents compared her to him, showing her how great she could be if she spent the time studying and not dancing or having friends. Sophie and Ever become quick friends and also roommates. Ever has decided that she’s going to break all her parents rules. The kids sneak out to go drinking and clubbing since the legal age is 18 in Taiwan. Ever makes friends pretty easily there, but doesn’t like the electives her parents chose for her. One boy, Xavier, starts paying a lot of attention to Ever. Even though Rick has a long time girlfriend, he pays a lot of attention to Ever, too. She finds herself attracted to both boys. Also, someone has been drawing wonderful portraits of Ever without giving any clues to who he is.
There are so many things Ever got to experience in Taiwan. It wasn’t just about learning her culture. She found out who she really was. She made mistakes, but she also found strength. Ever took photos she never thought she would do, kissed boys and lost her virginity, got drunk and danced like crazy, and even started teaching a dance to some of the girls at Loveboat. She made friends, had fights, and found what might possibly be love. But with whom?
This was fun to read. I loved that Ever finally found out how strong she was and stopped pining for things she couldn’t have. She learned how to go out and get the things she wanted. Or at least tried. The drama at the program felt pretty realistic for 18 year olds off on their own for the first time. Most of them came from families that were strict in some way. There were parts that made me laugh and some that made my heart happy. I found myself torn on who I wanted Ever to end up with. Everything flowed well and the pacing was great. I loved all the culture in the book, too.
The kids in the book are 18, so there is more mature content. There is drinking and sex in the book. Warnings for physical abuse and controlling or absent parents.
Thank you to the publisher for my review copy. I gave this book 4 stars.
Abigail was born in West Virginia to a family of immigrants: Her mother is from the Philippines and her father from Indonesia, and her grandparents emigrated to those countries from Fujian and Shandong provinces in China.
Abigail grew up in Ohio and graduated from Harvard University and Columbia Law School. She worked in Washington DC for the Senate, as a law clerk for a federal judge. and now in Silicon Valley in venture capital and artificial intelligence. She also earned her Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
In her spare time, she enjoys long walks with her husband and two boys, and hanging out with friends and over 100 family members in the Bay Area. She loves music and dances to it when no one is watching.
Prize: Win (1) of (2) copies of LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI by Abigail Hing Wen (US Only)
Stars: 1st January 2020
Ends: 15th January 2020
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