Book Review: Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

“”Now I have to answer by next Friday. I don’t know what to do”

“You didn’t tell your parents, did you?”

“I climbed down my pipe before they could talk to me.””

Capture

Click here for the book information on Goodreads.

Loveboat, Taipei opens with Ever (Everett) Wong being turned down from various medical degrees before accepting a place at the only one who wants her. Soon after, she is offered a place at Tisch, a dance and performing arts school. Ever loves to dance, but her parents want her to study medicine and become a doctor, and she hadn’t told them she was applying to anything other than medicine. Needless to say this doesn’t go down well when her mother finds out, and they enrol her on an immediate trip to Taiwan to learn about her culture, and to learn Mandarin.

Ever feels a lot of guilt at the things that her parents have sacrificed so that she can enjoy a life of relative luxury. She wants to be the kind of person that wants what her parents want for her, but their dreams are not her dreams, however hard she tries to make them. She’s a very conflicted young girl. But, she resolves to make the best of her trip to Taiwan, even when she comes face to face with Rick, a boy her parents have spent her whole life comparing her to and holding up as a standard that she should aspire to.

The camp is big on rules. Ever will be referred to by her Chinese name, whether she wants to be or not. There are curfews and strict homework times. Rules everywhere. So, obviously the teens are going to rebel. I couldn’t identify with a single one of them because I am not a rule breaker, and I would happily take an evening in doing homework over putting on a dress and going to a nightclub.

Ever isn’t just going to rebel against the camp rules, but against the Wong Family rules she has grown up with. This is going to be the summer of Ever’s epic rebellion and self-discovery.  She immerses herself in this, taking on Snake Blood Sake (grim), having revealing photos taken, dressing in ways her parents would not approve of, nighclubbing and joining a dance school.

In many ways this is a fun summer romance type read, but it also takes on some very serious issues: a kind of revenge porn, family feelings about interracial relationships, mental health, and dyslexia amongst other things. There’s also a big theme of Ever finding herself and standing up for the things that are truly important to her.

A perfect read for anyone who enjoys a summer romance or story of self discovery.

I was sent a review copy of this book by the publishers, Simon and Schuster, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions.

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