Minli's Reviews > The Year of the Rat

The Year of the Rat by Grace Lin
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's review
Jan 25, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: childrens, favourites, contemporary, asian-interest
Read in January, 2011

Okay, I found my Achilles heel. I cry at stories about immigrants (with the only caveat being that it must be done well, duh).

Pacy's back, and two years older. This Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rat, is about to bring on some ch-ch-ch-changes! Pacy's best friend Melody may or may not be moving away to California, all the way at the other side of the country. The new family moving in is also Chinese, except Dun-Wei is not Melody, and Pacy feels like she's all alone. Meanwhile, she's still trying to curate her talent for writing and illustrating books, she participates in her cousin Clifford's wedding, and she reads lots of books.

I think it continues the delicate treatment of racial and ethnic diversity as introduced in Year of the Dog, but digs deeper into them, while never being preachy. Which is perfect for such a young audience--and older readers can read additional meanings into them if they like. Through her parents' stories and her own new experiences, Pacy learns empathy, which is one of the most powerful arcs in the novel (and one I think the first book lacked a little). The parts where Dun-Wei enjoys the taste of bitter melon soup and the story-within-the-story of Pacy's mom getting laughed at for eating cat food when she first moved to America seriously made me tear up. At the same time, the humour is so charming and lovable--Pacy's dad beating Dr. Pan in golf, baby Max choosing his destiny and so on, teasing Lissy about her dress choices, etc.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Mercadoodles (new)

Mercadoodles Told ya! I cried when I was reading about Melody's departure, with that drawing of her at the airport waving goodbye. Then I was like "Wait a minute. That's Alvina. She's over there! I can just walk to her!" It's really cool to see the story doesn't end with the book!

Minli It's so good. I sent both books to my parents :) And super excited for Dumpling Days!

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