I picked up a copy of Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Win at the Ontario Library Conference earlier this year. I had heard good things about the novel and was curious enough to read it for myself.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
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?
I loved this story and completed it in one sitting. Loveboat, Taipei is a young adult romance that incorporates within it a love triangle. However, the novel is more than just a simplistic version of a girl liking two boys. It is a story in which all three of the characters involved (Ever, Rick and Xavier) go through a period of growth and realisation of who they are and where they want to be in the future.
Hing Wen takes the reader to a place out of their experience. I enjoyed seeing another culture through her eyes; and getting to understand a little more the experience of immigrant children in America. This diverse read focuses on the experience of one person (Ever) but in reality references the experience of many.
This coming of age story is a lighthearted read with a thread of seriousness running through it. It is a perfect feel-good read – and one that is perfectly suited for those who enjoy reading romances (no matter what their age).
I give this novel ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020
(This novel was the 11th novel in my book pledge for 2020)