Journal

NEWS!!!

If I’ve been quiet this March it’s because things have been brewing in the background.

I can finally announce: I’ve signed with Samantha Bagood of Samantha B. Literary! I’m thrilled, because now this book (and my career) has found an enthusiastic champion. And I’m excited to see what comes next!

How did I get my agent? Simple cold query. First I made sure my query was working, and throughout the process I continued to revise my manuscript whenever I received good feedback. Samantha ended up with the best (and latest) version of the manuscript, so I had a little luck with timing too.

It’s a huge relief to come to the end of the agent hunt and I’m feeling more relaxed than I have in a long time. Still, some days I wake up so nervous that I’m shaking and I doubt that I can do this. But I have to remind myself that I need to tackle what’s next just how I’ve done it before: keep learning, keep writing. There is no such thing as a perfect story, but there is the best I can do at the time – and that has to be enough. So next is revisions and making this story the best I can.

Onwards!

Reading:

  • Steering the Craft by Ursula LeGuin
  • American Panda by Gloria Chao
  • Love Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
  • The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

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Book Thoughts

American Panda Book Cover American Panda
Gloria Chao
Young Adult Fiction
Simon and Schuster
February 6, 2018
320

Mei is a Taiwanese-American teen who is following the path her parents set for her: go to MIT, become a doctor, and marry a Taiwanese boy they approve of. The problem is, she's a germophobe and is crushing on a Japanese classmate.

Oh my heart. I nearly had a panic attack reading the first chapter of this book (Those voice mails could have been lifted from my phone...). I got sucked back in time to  a place I haven't really wanted to remember. At the same time, this story is just what I would have needed to read both back then, and as I grapple with family expectations now.

I wonder what non-Asian readers might think of Mei's family, but I think Chao did an amazing job depicting both the cultural  and emotional struggles of trying to do right by your very traditional Asian family when their idea of a successful life has nothing to do with your happiness.

The story doesn't shy away from the uglier parts of the culture, but neither does it paint it as good or bad. One of the biggest lessons Mei learns is how everyone interprets a culture differently, and sometimes you have to pick and choose which things are most important to you. Mei's choices come at great cost, but any route she would have taken would have had a cost.

Despite everything I've said here, this is not a sad story! It's funny, cute, and heartwarming at the same time. It's about Mei coming into who she is, about family, about culture, about food, about university. Filial piety is a tricky subject to navigate, but Chao does it with deftness, honesty, and humor.

2 Comments