Author: Abigail Hing Wen
Released: January 7th, 2020
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Romance
Characters: Ever Wong, Rick Woo, Sophia Ha, Xavier Yeh, …
“Our cousins have done this program,” Sophie whispers. “Best kept secret. Zerosupervision.”
And just like that, Ever Wong’s summer takes an unexpected turn. Gone is Chien Tan, the strict educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting. In its place, she finds Loveboat: a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop.
But not every student is quite what they seem:
Ever is working toward becoming a doctor but nurses a secret passion for dance.
Rick Woo is the Yale-bound child prodigy bane of Ever’s existence whose perfection hides a secret.
Boy-crazy, fashion-obsessed Sophie Ha turns out to have more to her than meets the eye.
And under sexy Xavier Yeh’s shell is buried a shameful truth he’ll never admit.
When these students’ lives collide, it’s guaranteed to be a summer Ever will never forget.
I was really looking forward to read this book as the hype around it was just too much to resist. However, starting off this book, I sensed that all the stereotypes of being an Asian American are going to be highlighted in this book. Getting to med school, to ace in your studies, parents’ sacrifices as immigrants, etc, etc. I was feeling lukewarm about all of the above because I’ve seen this too many times in YA contemporaries featuring Asian Americans.
Besides, I’m not a huge fan of the main character, Ever Wong. Ever is a girl who’s very passionate about dancing and she is very conflicted whether or not to pursue her dreams or go to med school as her parents wish her to. (Sounds familiar? I know…) Then, at Taipei, she was blindly going against her parents’ rules and thinking she gotta be rebellious, even on the things she didn’t want to do. Her character is almost flat, very easily succumb to peer pressure. She sort of reminded me of Lara Jean, minus the baking and scrunchies part. However, I’m glad to see there’s some sort of character development towards the end, she did end up realizing her mistakes and tried to fix things and relationships.
Love triangles is one of the main subject in this book, because like Sophie Ha said in the book, (something along the line) “It’s Loveboat after all!” Besides of some dramas and misunderstanding, it is what it is. I was again not too crazy about it. I was not crazy over the charming boys, I didn’t particularly swooned by them no matter how much the author tried to convince me.
Lastly, the flow of some parts in the story was quite disruptive. It didn’t sit well with me. Some scenes were not built up thoroughly and made them awkward to read at times. Like Ever’s relationship with her father. Like all of sudden, because of that one performance, her father understood her and her passion for dancing. I – uhh… After all those years pressuring her to go to med school?
Overall, if you’re into fast paced story line, you could try this one out. It’s a decent POC book, it has a good rep on second generation Asian Americans, even though all of the things being mentioned in Loveboat, Taipei have been mentioned in many other books, like I said earlier. In my opinion, this book still has many rooms for improvement and I’d like to see how the author would improve in her future works.
Thank you Harper Collins International for sending this book in exchange for an honest review. This book is available in bookstores as well as other online websites if you are planning on getting it! 🙂
2 thoughts on “Loveboat, Taipei: Is this Just Another Asian American Book? || Book Review”
Great review! I was also pretty lukewarm on this book, for the reasons that you list. Your comparison to Lara Jean from TAtBILB made me think… I’m increasingly confused by the trend of all Asian-American-led YA novels relying on fake-dating. Maybe it’s a pure coincidence, but between this, To All the Boys, and Frankly in Love, I’m starting to see a real pattern and I don’t know what to make of it.
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Thanks! Hmm, I guess it’s like a common trope in YA contemporaries these days, like love triangle, etc. Guess we just gotta wait for a new trope to come then haha
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