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The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling
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The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling

4.55  ·  Rating details ·  42 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Anna Chiu has her hands pretty full looking after her brother and sister and helping out at her dad’s restaurant, all while her mum stays in bed. Dad’s new delivery boy, Rory, is a welcome distraction and even though she knows that things aren’t right at home, she’s starting to feel like she could just be a normal teen.

But when Mum finally gets out of bed, things go from b
Paperback, 392 pages
Published August 5th 2019 by Allen & Unwin (first published August 2019)
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4.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  42 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
This review originally appeared on Happy Indulgence Books. Check it out for more reviews!

Not only does it cover the mental illness and depression well, but it’s also balanced with equal parts warmth, of hope and of love and acceptance. I don’t know how Wai Chim does it, but The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling captures so much of my life growing up. From having strict, traditional Chinese-Australian parents, to the mental illness stigma and a sister having to take care of her siblings, there’
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
I don't remember the last time a book made me feel so vulnerable and raw. This book made me confront a lot of personal feelings about a lot of things, some of which were uncomfortable, but I think that's why this book is so important and necessary.

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling is one of the most candid and honest portrayals of how mental illness intersects with Asian identity, culture, and values.

Not only was this an effortless 5⭐ read, but this is a new all-time favourite book.

Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reasons to pick up The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling (out August 5th):
- I literally finished this book in under 24 hours the first time I read it because of how immersive and engaging it was. If you’re looking for your next contemporary read this is a great pick
- This book is about food and family (the bonds between parents and kids, and sibling relationships) which I loved for the realism as well as its really heartwarming moments
- The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling explores the pro
Cheska the Great is Not Okay
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman and The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
TOTAL READING TIME: 3 hours, 46 minutes.

Even though I knew going in that this book is about what it's like to have a loved one with mental illness, I did not expect it to be so heavy--to the point that I couldn't read this book for more than 45 minutes at a time.

This book brought me to tears. It explored the intersections between class, culture, immigration, family dynamics in the context of Chinese culture, and mental illness; and how eldest daughters receive the brunt of responsibility within
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Libby Armstrong
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Spoiler alert - you’ll be obsessing over finding the perfect dumplings while reading Wai Chim’s new treasure of a story because it’s absolutely true. There is nothing more powerful than a good dumpling. It’s my go to pick me up every time. This novel packs a lot into its pages - the mental breakdown of a parent, the tightrope dance between family expectations and desires of teens straddling cultures, first love, and then there is a lot of dumplings. Sensitively written and relatable.
Dimity Powell
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-lit
Chim's latest YA is a tempting hot pot of teenage coming-of-age angst, family values, cultural cohesion, mental health oh and yes, dumplings! This is a hearty, satisfying read about Anna, the eldest child in a Chinese immigrant family who rely on the family restaurant to survive. That premise alone could have been redolent with cultural stereotypical cliches however Chim has blended Anna's story with the careful addition of a host of interesting and authentic ingredients; characters like, Rory, ...more
♠️ TABI ♠️
Jul 25, 2019 marked it as to-read
I for one am NOT surprised at the power of good dumplings because they're freaking magical okay
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all-time-faves
Wow. I...I have never read such a body of work that has so precisely represented so many points from my youth. My Aussie-Chinese heart is screaming with bittersweet release .

I devoured this book in a single sitting - just like one should do with a steamer full of xiao long bao (and in this case, make sure to first prick a small hole in your pride to allow for tears to flow out).

This book had me laughing then aww-ing then gasping then crying on a perpetual rollercoaster; but I wouldn’t have it an
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4 and 1/2 stars.

The formatting and a couple of times not understanding if someone had said it in Cantonese or English because it didn't seem to be specified, let it down a bit for me. But would A+ recommend for anyone looking for a good read about family, school, life, mental health or a quick beach side summer or winter fireside read!
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 stars

There is so my heart and honesty in this book. Still tearing up as I type this...
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still wavering between a 4 or a 4.5 stars rating. Really wonderful book, so raw and felt so real!
Jul 29, 2019 marked it as to-read
woah this sounds so good & it's cover is so pretty!!!!
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads, arcs
This hit me from the very beginning. Just, BAM! And I was hooked. I know that there are a few books floating around these days focusing more on mental illness, and kudos for that! But something I hadn’t seen was one based around Asian culture, and I loved it.

Anna does what I guess most of the oldest children in families do, they look out for the others. You see throughout just how much she loves and protects her brother and sister, all the while trying to keep up with school, figure out what wa
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Wai Chim grew up in New York City and now calls Sydney, Australia home. She is the author of the 'Chook Chook' series published by UQP and most recently 'Freedom Swimmer' with Allen & Unwin. You can find her online at or on twitter @onewpc.