Star-crossed lovers meets Chinese folklore in this sophomore novel from Gloria Chao, the author of American Panda. Throw in overbearing parents, sneaky teens, and Chinese heritage, and you’ve got Our Wayward Fate, on sale everywhere October 15th.
Ali Chu is a normal Chinese-American teen, trying to balance overbearing parents with normal high school life. She’s also the only Asian student in her little Indiana town,which is made abundantly clear once more when Chase Yu, a new Chinese-American student, comes to town, and everyone just ASSUMES they will end up together. It doesn’t help,of course, that Ali does feel drawn to him and develops a bit of a crush. But something’s not right at home for Ali, and she’s going to find out what her mother is hiding–even if it takes her to China and forces her to confront a fate she never expected. This book is full of family drama, Chinese folklore, cute teen romance, and features a strong female character learning to stand up for herself,which I appreciated seeing.
This book does feel like it has a lot smushed into it though. There’s the present day along with the old folklore, Ali’s relationship with Chase as well as her friend Yun and his family and her parent’s marriage failures as well as Chase’s family backstory with his brother, plus racist friends and a trip to China that feels weirdly aborted in an unsatisfying way, but ultimately the book was fine. I think it grapples with a lot of good issues related to being Chinese-American especially in a very white place like Indiana, and I liked reading the folklore, I just think it may have been a bit convoluted by pushing the story of Chase and Ali so hard into the mold of the rest of the story.
Something I love about Chao’s books is that they curse occasionally and talk about bodily functions and don’t shy away from mentions of sex because news flash,that’s teens these days, regardless of how insane their parents are somehow. Overall, I liked this book, and I’m excited to see what’s next for Chao, because I always feel slightly educated by the end of her books.