American Panda (Hardcover)

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(Young Adult Fiction)

Staff Reviews

Mei is an appealing main character and I loved her journey in finding & thinking for herself. The author really captured the voice of each person, especially Mei's mom. And this book did a wonderful job depicting the numerous complexities of an immigrant family, its expectations for their kids, and the awareness that their parental “selfless” sacrifices and their dreams for their children may actually hurt the family. Even though there is a romance plot thread, it's refreshing that it's not the focus. Instead, it's on the family and how they try and work through their differences.

— Audrey

Spring 2018 Kids’ Indie Next List

“American Panda is the cutest book I have read in a long time. Mei's parents want her to become a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer. When Mei goes off to college, she doesn't want her family to find out that she sleeps through biology and hates germs, or that she's met Darren, who is not Taiwanese. Readers follow Mei as she struggles between keeping secrets from her parents and going after what she loves. When she reconnects with her brother Xing, who was estranged for dating the wrong girl, Mei realizes that it might not be worth it to keep her secrets. American Panda is packed with culture, romance, and family.”
— Emily Matz, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI


"Weepingly funny." --The Wall Street Journal
"Delightful." --Buzzfeed
"Charmed my socks off." --David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland

Four starred reviews for this incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents' master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can't bring herself to tell them the truth--that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

From debut author Gloria Chao comes a hilarious, heartfelt tale of how unlike the panda, life isn't always so black and white.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781481499101
ISBN-10: 1481499106
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: February 6th, 2018
Pages: 320
Language: English