Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “American Panda” as Want to Read:
American Panda
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

American Panda

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,839 Ratings  ·  918 Reviews
An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents' master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to ful
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published February 6th 2018 by Simon Pulse
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about American Panda, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Gloria Chao Thank you so much, Keira! AMERICAN PANDA will be released February 6, 2018!
Gloria Chao Hi Anjalee! Thank you so much for your interest in AMERICAN PANDA! I do believe that the book releases in the UK on Feb 6th, which is confirmed on the…moreHi Anjalee! Thank you so much for your interest in AMERICAN PANDA! I do believe that the book releases in the UK on Feb 6th, which is confirmed on the Amazon UK page for the book ( Thank you again so much for your support! Can't wait for you to read! (less)
War Storm by Victoria AveyardThe Cruel Prince by Holly BlackA Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa TahirQueen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra ClareObsidio by Amie Kaufman
YA Novels of 2018
947 books — 4,356 voters
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi AdeyemiThe Hazel Wood by Melissa AlbertEverless by Sara  HollandSky in the Deep by Adrienne YoungAmerican Panda by Gloria Chao
YA Debuts 2018
134 books — 532 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
This should have been a winner. Mei, the main character, is Taiwanese-American. She is a college student. I could probably count on one hand the number of YA novels with college settings that are published every year.

The culture is great. Every chapter introduces the reader to a new characteristic of the Chinese culture. Some, however, are not well explained, such as why certain numbers are considered bad luck, but most are fairly straight-forward.

But the problem is that even if this book is cle
Elise (TheBookishActress)
releasing Feb 6th! And a boost to a five, because I can't look at myself anymore for giving this a four.
“You don’t even know what Ying-Na is doing. Everything you hear is a rumor. For all you know, she could be a neurosurgeon married to a billionare tech god.” Or maybe she’s struggling but happy. I kept this thought to myself since my mom wouldn’t understand the value of that life.

What a lovely, lovely surprise. American Panda is ownvoices contemporary fic about a Taiwanese-American girl str
Catriona (LittleBookOwl)
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Rating: 4.5 stars

I listened to this on audio and would certainly recommend! I really enjoyed the narrator, and adored the story and our characters.
Heather 'Bookables'

A cute, adorable diverse read!!!

Will feature it very soon in a mashup review!!
Things that were absolutely full-on remarkable/fantastic/excellent/next-level/choose-your-own-positive-adjective about this book:
- the representation
- the character development
- the family relationships

This book is some of the best cultural representation I've ever. Read. In. My. LIFE. Our main character, Mei, is Taiwanese-American (the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants). The culture is so well-included it's unreal. So fascinating and intertwined with the lives of Mei and her family without being
I loved this so much I was pleasantly surprised with this one. It was equal parts funny and earnest, heartwarming and heartbreaking and it was so good!

I laughed so hard while reading this book. And no, I don’t mean awkward little smiles and little huffs of air. No. I actually laughed out loud the entire time. I was reading it between class breaks at school and I keep getting weird looks from people as I tried to contain my laughter. And the way I see it, if a book can make you look like a fool a
Amy Leigh
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this! It's well-written and engaging. I couldn't put it down! There are some laugh out loud moments and times you wish you could reach in and give Mei a hug or a high five. (Not that she would like that.)

Mei is a Taiwanese-American seventeen year old who is starting her freshman year at MIT. She tries so hard to appease her very traditional parents while her mother constantly speaks negatively about her. She hides her Japanese crush turned boyfriend from her parents because that is the w
Fafa's Book Corner
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Omg this was so good!

Going to be rereading this when it comes out.
may ❀
this was absolutely one book that SHOCKED me with how amazing it was. here i was thinking it was gonna be a cute, little contemporary, that includes some Taiwanese rep but NO NONONONON THIS BOOK IS SO MUCH MORE

the way the author explores and delves into the culture and traditions as well as all the superstitions and outrageous expectations parents have for their children was SO EYEOPENING

i loved how both narratives were explored. like yes we get to it from Mei's side, the overbearing parents tha
this is the first book that made me feel like my asian-american-ness is seen. forever grateful. full review to come.
Dearest Reader,
I wrote American Panda because it was the book I needed in high school and the book I needed when I decided to put my dental career aside to try writing, which I had no experience in.

This is also a book I would have needed in high school or during my three years of pre-med school. People can say all they want, but reading a book and being able to relate to it is probably one of the best feelings ever; I am but one Asian kid among many others, and I wish for them to find themselves
Dani - Perspective of a Writer
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

17-year-old Mei should be in high school, but skipping a grade was all part of her parent's plan for her to go to MIT become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, and produce a litter of babies. When she reconnects with her brother, Xing, the truth she's carefully constructed starts to waver and the truth leaks out: she hates germs, falls asleep in biology lectures, and has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decided
Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

🌟 I read this for the Yule Bingo Challenge, for the category of Cedric: friendship goals. For more info on this challenge, click here. 🌟

This is ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, MARGARET from a Taiwanese perspective. Seriously. Seriously. I have waded through disappointing YA all year - and finally, finally, I have read one that was the ground-breaking, emotionally moving experience that I was expecting. And you know what the funny thing is? Tha
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-loved
There's something magical about reading a book and feeling so seen. Multiple elements of this story were things I've never seen another book tackle when it comes to growing up Asian. But this is a book anyone can relate to - it's all about the struggle of wanting to be who you are while also being what your family expects of you. The story was poignant and funny, and I can't wait to read future books by Gloria.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
First of all, how cute is this cover!!

Secondly, I am not Asian so I have no idea how accurate the depiction of Chinese culture is in this book. But it was very interesting to read about and I'm happy that I read this, if only to learn more about the culture and struggles of Taiwanese-Americans.

Thirdly, I loved the Chinese sprinkled in. I don’t speak Chinese so, again, no idea how well this was done, but I loved the sound of it in the audio book.

Fourthly, I was disappointed in this book. Yes, it
Korrina  (OwlCrate)
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Very, very cute and quite funny too!
Feb 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: starred-2018-done, ya, 2018, 3
I wish the author made an attempt to think bigger and be more creative. A lot of the plot is too familiar and predictable (it's mostly the Asian-tiger-parents-pushing-for-med-school scenario) and the romance, while sweet, is kind of bland and not memorable. Overall it gave me a feeling of a very rookie novel.

Chao captured the voice of a nagging/threatening/pleading tiger mom very well though. Just reading conversations with this "mom" gave me anxiety attacks. Can't imagine having to live in a fa
CW (Read Think Ponder)
This Kiwi-Panda has mixed feelings about American Panda.

On one hand:
- I didn't find myself in this book, though many others did and I'm thankful for that. Nonetheless, I appreciated American Panda's narrative, its honesty and its vulnerability.
- There were some truly tender moments that made me shed a tear, particularly the stuff that were related to her family.
- I enjoyed Chao's unapologetic and seamless integration of Taiwanese culture into the narrative, and I liked that it wasn't dense wit
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
LOVE THIS SO MUCH! 我很愛這本書喔 (。♥‿♥。)


I'm Chinese, and I could really relate to some of the family stuff Mei had to deal with. My parents are not as traditional as Mei's, BUT - I'M REALLY FAMILIAR WITH A LOT OF STUFF IN THIS BOOK AND IT FEELS GOOD, YA KNOW?

Stinky tofu! It's one of my favorite Chinese street foods and although it stinks, it tastes so delicious *drools* (Sadly, Mei doesn't like stinky tofu D:)

Insecurities - Mei is dissatisfied with the size of her nose, and
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
it's rare to find a book where I can read along and be like "it me" and yell because the references are so familiar and this is one of them. *cries in ownvoices*
the cover image makes the story seem a bit lighter than you might expect since it gets really heavy at some points with the family drama, I felt like I was being punched in the gut. :'(
I feel like I need to make a playlist for this book now.
Mel Anie
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyobe, especially young-adult readers
This was so funny and better than good, although expectations of some people annoyed me.

Motto to this book:
Always remember to chase happiness and don't give up on your dreams.

American Panda turned out to be an awesome contemporary YA book. It was far better than I thought knocking down all my expectations. This book emanated such warmth which is so hard to find in book and which I adore so much. All that warmth is entwined with Mei self-discovery, being loyal to her dream and being a prop
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
this had me laughing, crying, and craving dumplings more than i already do. official blurb to come soon, but for now? you totally need to add this to your pre-order lists. one of my favorite reads of the year.
It bothers me that when you hear ‘POC’ or ‘diversity’ it almost always means half-American and half-whatever-culture-they-represent. Not that it is this book’s fault or anything, but where are those books featuring Indian, Chinese, Japanese, African, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Australian, French, Dutch and characters from every other nation out there? Where are the books written by people from these nations? WHY AREN’T BOOKS SET IN THESE BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL LANDS? Why are people so interested in Ame ...more
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
I really appreciate the way that AMERICAN PANDA was a book that featured a ton of things I love (cute romance, college anecdotes, self-growth and discovery) AND centered around a Taiwanese-American character. While not quite the same as my own experiences as Filipino-American, there were certain similarities in attitude and expectation that really felt relatable to me and I appreciated that so much. And I really just liked Mei and was rooting from her right from the start!
Book Riot Community
I try not to read books too far in advance because it means everyone else will have to wait before they too can experience the joy I’m feeling. Gloria Chao’s American Panda is about a Taiwanese-American girl named Mei who gets into college early (MIT) and has to straddle two cultures. It’s a story about the importance of traditions but also the room for evolution. I related so much to Mei’s experience as someone who came to Canada as an infant and navigating my relationship with parents as a res ...more
Just. So. Good. Keep an eye out for this in Feb 2018. Full review to come.

UPDATE: First published at The Shrinkette.

Thanks so much to Netgalley and Simon Pulse for providing me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Plot: Seventeen-year old Mei is a freshman at MIT, thanks to skipping fourth grade- all part of her parents’ master plan. This plan also includes Mei becoming a doctor, marrying a Taiwanese boy selected by her parents, and have a bunch of babies. Unfortunately, between her hatred
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This was a cute read about a Taiwanese girl breaking away from her family’s wishes and traditions to live her own life at MIT. I actually breezed right through this book because it had a lot of funny moments and Mei was such a likeable character. It was uplifting when Mei and Xing reunited and regained their sibling bond which was crucial for Mei to have the courage to finally stick up for what she wanted. This was a really cute book.

My quick and simple overall: adorable and uplifting with
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
DDR, dumplings, the struggles of dealing with traditional Asian parents and their expectations of perfectly mannered children - I'm pretty sure this is the book of my heart. American Panda is surprisingly refreshing because it actually gets the pressure and all consuming hold that traditional Asian parents can have on your kids, including the ultimatums and cultural expectations that they heap upon you.

Full review to come.
Giselle (Book Nerd Canada)
Omg another Asian model on the cover... this is just so brilliant to see!
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.
American Panda is one of the best YA contemporaries I've ever read.

It was as compulsively readable as it was multifaceted: it's a coming-of-age story, it's about coming to terms with your heritage, about the way traditions can change with immigration and time, about intergenerational miscommunication, about unlearning internalized biases, and it's also a cute romance. And none of these aspects was neglected.

This book follows Mei, a 17-year-old Taiwanese-American girl who has very tradi
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
Gloria Chao is an MIT grad turned dentist turned writer.

Her debut novel, AMERICAN PANDA, received four starred trade reviews, is a Junior Library Guild Selection and Indie’s Next Pick, and is nominated for several awards including YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adult. Her second novel, MISALIGNED, is forthcoming fall 2019.

Gloria currently lives in Chicago and is always up for cooperative board ga
More about Gloria Chao

Young Adult Deals

  • Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (Bright Smoke, Cold Fire, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Gold-Son
    $3.99 $1.99
  • How to Say I Love You Out Loud
    $7.09 $2.99
  • The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Scat
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Chomp
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad, #1)
    $10.99 $1.99
  • I See London, I See France
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre (Great Episodes)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Starfish
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Olive's Ocean
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Rebel Wing (Rebel Wing #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Little Monsters
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Thickety: A Path Begins
    $6.24 $1.99
  • Lost Voices
    $5.99 $2.99
  • This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes (Little Blue Envelope, #1)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Isle of Blood and Stone
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Train I Ride
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Haven (War of the Princes, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society
    $7.99 $2.99
  • The Immortal Circus (Cirque des Immortels, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Greyhound
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Annie on My Mind
    $9.99 $1.20
  • Secret of the Sirens (The Companions Quartet, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles, #2)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Now I Rise (The Conqueror's Saga #2)
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Into the Dim
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Curse (Blur Trilogy #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Fury (Blur Trilogy #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Crash (Crash, #1)
    $4.24 $1.99
  • Blur  (Blur Trilogy #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Taken (Taken, #1)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • The Fighting Ground
    $6.49 $1.99
  • Vengeance Road
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Ungifted
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Julie of the Wolves
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Storm (Elemental, #1)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Things We Know by Heart
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Imitation (Clone Chronicles #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Space Between Heartbeats (Betwixt #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Secret of a Heart Note
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Internet Famous
    $7.80 $2.99
  • Kissing in America
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Every Ugly Word
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (Bloody Jack, #1)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Genesis
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Old Yeller
    $6.99 $1.99
  • After the Game (The Field Party, #3)
    $10.99 $1.99
  • And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga, #1)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Ticker
    $3.99 $0.99
  • How To Keep Rolling After a Fall
    $7.09 $2.99
  • No Love Allowed
    $7.09 $2.99
  • The Concealed (Lakewood, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
“And right now I had no idea where I ended and my parents began.” 5 likes
“I couldn't go through life as a shadow.” 4 likes
More quotes…