Title: Loveboat Taipei
Written by: Abigail Hing Wen
Published by: Simon & Schuster
The story of Ever Wong, an eighteen-year-old Asian American girl, torn between rebelling against her parents and her family loyalty. When she is sent to an expensive summer school in Taiwan she seizes her opportunity to shake off the shackles of all the rules her parents have imposed on her in their ambition for her to become a doctor and she totally embraces the freedom supplied by the limited supervision environment to make her own rules. This includes staying out late, wearing clothes they would not approve of, drinking alcohol, pursuing her love of dancing and choreography and maybe the greatest sin of them all – having a boyfriend.
But breaking all her parents’ rules does not prove to be as freeing as she originally believed. Not only does she have to fight the guilt of knowing her mother sold her antique pearl necklace, which was a family heirloom, so they could afford for her flight to go, she also has to deal with her feelings of finally meeting the boy prodigy who her parents have been comparing her to her whole life. A boy she thought she disliked because she could never live up to the expectations.
This is a beautifully written romance coming-of-age story in Ever Wong’s voice. We are swept along with her on a voyage of discovering her own identity through the tide of desire and heart-break not only from the various boys she encounters but because of fall-outs with her best friends.
Abigail Hing Wen uses her novel to explore the different Asian cultures and diverse family structures that influence a person’s personality and decision making. She also highlights what it is like to be an Asian American immigrant and the unrealistic stereotypes.
Teenagers all over the globe, will be able to identify with Ever’s struggle for more freedom, her disappointments, and their first Loveboat summer camp experiences of having their first kiss, breaking up, making-up and even the first real taste of love.
A novel that resonates and makes you think well after the last page has been read.