Title: Loveboat, Taipei
Author: Abigail Hing Wen
I loved this book! YA romance is not my usual go-to genre, but occasionally a book catches my eye and I discover something wonderful.
Ever Wong is a Chinese-American high-school student, following her parents’ wishes and applying to medical schools when she’d rather train as a dancer. But her parents don’t see dance as a career, and her family has sacrificed their home and culture to give her an American childhood and a future in the US. It is Ever’s search for her own path, and her determination to make her own decisions and mistakes, that drew me into her story.
Ever is sent to Taiwan, to take part in a summer-school cultural education programme before she heads to medical school. She’s expecting a rigid timetable of language classes and educational trips around Taipei, but when she arrives she sees a chance to discover who she is when her strict parents are not around to control her. She makes a list of the rules she has to follow at home, and sets about breaking them. There are boys, nightclubs, photo shoots and dance classes, love triangles, new best friends, and betrayal and heartbreak as she figures out how to be an independent adult.
But this isn’t just a story about first love and teenage mistakes. At the core of the book is Ever’s determination to find her purpose, and prove that she can build a career doing what she loves. I adored following her efforts to become a dancer, and fight for the future she wanted for herself.
Loveboat, Taipei is an intelligent, emotional and heartwarming story. The romance element drives the plot, but Ever’s journey of self-discovery and rebellion forms the heart of the novel. The tension mounts as the story progresses, and Ever begins to resign herself to years of medical training and a life she doesn’t want. I didn’t predict the ending, but I was punching the air. This is a life-affirming novel with a highly relatable protagonist, and one of the best books I’ve read this year.
Have you read Loveboat, Taipei? What did you think of the Ever’s story? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!
YA review: Loveboat, Taipei cross-posted to GoodReads.
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