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Our Wayward Fate

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  841 ratings  ·  227 reviews
Seventeen-year-old Ali Chu knows that as the only Asian person at her school in middle-of-nowhere Indiana, she must be bland as white toast to survive. This means swapping her congee lunch for PB&Js, ignoring the clueless racism from her classmates and teachers, and keeping her mouth shut when people wrongly call her Allie instead of her actual name, Ah-lee, after the moun ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 15th 2019 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  841 ratings  ·  227 reviews

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C.G. Drews
This book is what happens when you wrap up deep secrets, messy families and immigrant culture and shove it in a locked safe and then throw away the key and tell Ali not to touch it. She will OPEN it. She will kick it open and for that, I really loved her. 😭Ali was so roaring full of emotions and dreams, disappointment and hope that life could change, and I admire her for it. The book felt really personal and raw, vulnerable too, with how it looked into the life of being child of Taiwanese immigr ...more
Gloria Chao
Apr 29, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote Our Wayward Fate to explore:
-what it's like to grow up as a teen POC in a mostly white Midwestern town
-stereotypes and racism
-miscommunication between parents and children, especially children of immigrants who don't wholly feel like they belong anywhere

In this book, you can expect humor, romance, banter, martial arts, and so. many. secrets! (One of which is pictured on the cover!)

This is a contemporary story, but a 19th Century retelling of the Chinese folktale, "The Butterfly Lovers,
Rachel Solomon
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
WOW. I adored AMERICAN PANDA, and while this sophomore novel has Gloria Chao's signature incisive, humorous voice, it's a much darker, more intense book. The prose is at turns stunning and visceral, and every character is complex and three-dimensional. An intricate story of identity and family that's impossible to put down. ...more
Yna the Mood Reader
Read as an audiobook.

📚 Series:  No.
📚 Genre: YA Contemporary.
📚 Cliffhanger: No.

⚠ Content Warnings:  Parent-Child Conflict. Embezzlement / Scamming. Racism. Asian stereotyping.

Having read American Panda, my hopes for Our Wayward Fate was soaring high. Unfortunately, it had turbulence problems and hit an unsatisfying end.

I read this as an audiobook, and to be fair, the production was good and the narrator did amazing that it was something nice from beginning to end. I loved all the Chinese words
Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell
Gloria Chao has a new book out?!?!

How did I miss that? I loved AMERICAN PANDA. I bet this will be just as good. ^_^
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
Wow. This book packs an emotional punch; a fantastic, candid, but ultimately hopeful story about being who you are in a place that wants you to hide who you are, complex family relationships, and taking charge of your fate.

- Follows Ali, a Taiwanese-American teen who is the only Asian in her small-town school - until she Chase, the new kid in school and Taiwanese, shows up. When Ali's mother forbids their budding romance, Ali has to know why, spurring a wild journey that delves into family secre
may ❀
the n*ah c*ntineo quote notwithstanding, i really enjoyed this book but idk how to put my thoughts into words aaaaaaaaaaaa

so i think that gloria chao is able to write the struggles that come with being an asian kid (or any coloured kid for that matter) in a western country. the way she writes and is able to capture the feelings of isolation and never feeling like fitting in, is captured in such a personal way and makes the reader connect with the main character instantly

i also felt like the book
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Our Wayward Fate is perfect for fans of Frankly in Love and Picture Us in the Light - some of my other favorites.

I don't even have the words to write a cohesive review of Our Wayward Fate. I could go on and on about the plot which will keep you reading until long after you needed to leave the house. Or the characters which will charm you with their love of Kung Fu and puns. But t
this was cute, but the pacing was off, jumping from one scene to another too quickly. sometimes I couldn't tell how much time had passed. but as I said, it was cute, so if you need something quick to read, here you go. I recommend the audiobook! (3.5) ...more
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2019
Our Wayward Fate has me a little stirred up when it comes to my overall feelings. I really enjoyed the exploration of Chinese culture (and the details included, particularly the story of the Butterfly Lovers) and the complicated nuances of coming from a Chinese background when also having grown up American. But, on the other hand, I didn’t necessarily completely love the execution. The characters were all right, but the narrative itself just didn’t flow as naturally to me as I’d have wanted it t ...more
Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

The Buzz

American Panda was one of my top books of 2018 (its a really strong debut) so when I saw Gloria Chao had a new book out I knew I wanted to read it ASAP!

And the cover of Our Wayward Fate convinced me further!! I love the dreamy quality to it and how the colors pop. It gives you a sense of fate, destiny and a girl's future. And the title is perfect! I love how it was mentioned in the story and how it reflects Asian belief in fate.

The Prem
Kathryn Speckels (Metaphors and Miscellanea)
Such a pretty cover. Such a disappointing book 😭😭😭
What do you get when you cross an OwnVoices story with odd mythological tie-ins, a cheesy romance, and parental conspiracies? Hint: it’s this book, and it isn’t very good. At first glance, Our Wayward Fate looked perfect for me (Chinese-American story, discussions of racism, quirky protagonist who likes puns, etc), but like a poorly-planned recipe, the ingredients became stale very quickly and did not blend well, resulting in a forgettable trifle
- ̗̀  jess  ̖́-

Initially, Our Wayward Fate caught my eye because I'd heard a lot about Gloria Chao's debut, American Panda, and though I hadn't read it I'm always excited to see new books from Chinese authors. Honestly, I was expecting a typical contemporary romance from Our Wayward Fate. What I got was an exploration of being the children of immigrants and reconnecting to your culture intertwined with the cute romance. 

Ali is a really fun protagonist; she's very sarcastic without being overly s
chloe ♡
i was expecting our wayward fate to be something similar to american panda (ie. a light, fluffy romance), but this book also explores heavier topics such as arranged marriage and toxic parent-child relationships, which aren't seen that often in the young adult contemporary genre. i also really liked how the chinese butterfly lovers legend was incorporated into the story (and i can't wait to read the full story in chinese, because the heroine's so badass)!! ...more
So, this book. It started off well. And then it kind of went downhill from there.

Ali is an interesting character. I don't hate her, but I don't love her either. I'm just really lukewarm towards her.

Chase is whatever. (that's not a proper adjective, but it's honestly how I feel about him.) Idk, the characters were just really annoyingly lukewarm. I just didn't care.

What I did care about and hated was the fact that Ali finally stood up against the racism she'd been facing for years, because Mr. Cu
Nov 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: library, asam-apia-mc
This book is so............. bad???? It's so bad. So, so bad. Just... disjointed mess. What the actual hell.

First of all, holy insta-love batman, for fuck's sake. Ali and Chase are madly in love within - I shit you not, 50 pages. And this is after, mind you, Ali is all "no, I can't like the only other Asian boy in the state, it's what the Whites want for me, I must resist." Yeah, she resists for like three sentences and then they're wildly in love, kissing, sneaking out to see each other, going
lily ☁️
3 1/2 stars. I think I may have lost a small part of my heart to this book.

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Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
Initial thoughts:

📌 Much darker and more solemn than American Panda -- and arguably better and more nuanced, in my opinion.

📌 I'll admit that I have no strong feelings about this book, but I recognize that I'm not the intended audience for this. And that's totally okay! I can easily see Our Wayward Fate greatly impacting other Asian readers who are struggling to embrace their identity, especially those who belong to the diaspora.

📌 The romance between Ali and Chase developed quite quickly, but I ne
Laura (bbliophile)
So, this book... I was highly anticipating Our Wayward Fate after reading and loving this authors debut American Panda. I remember having the best time with that book, and finding it incredibly funny, so naturally I had pretty high expectations of this book.
Those expectations were met... partially. I still liked the writing, I enjoyed reading about the conflict between the mc and her parents (the secrets, the shame, etc.) and found it very interesting, the romance was very cute, and I, overall,
Leah Waters
Gloria Chao has done it again--this book is fantastic.

Ali is such a tough main character, I absolutely love her (and it's so cool that she does martial arts, it's not a sport included in many books). Same with Chase--they're super cute together. Every character was very developed and played an important role in painting a vivid picture of the harsh realities many Asian Americans face. I learned a lot about their culture and the xenophobia that unfairly makes their lives so much harder. Our Waywa
Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader

Thank you to the publisher for sending me an arc for review.
Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
Our Wayward Fate is a complex look at the intersection of family, expectations, and personal choice - and how for some that link is closer than others. For Ali Chu, it seems like she has no choices left, but her steadfast and headstrong personality (which I loved) forced family secrets to the surface and revised expectations after another Taiwanese family moves into her small midwestern town and she quickly develops a romance with Chase Yu. This story was a little tough to read because so many o ...more
Kylee Jackson
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
God, this was frustrating to read. I think this is going to be another review that'll be best in list format.

Things I hated:
-Ali is your stereotypical "not like other girls" "strong female character." Being trapped in her head for an entire novel was painful.
-The pacing is bad. Just plain bad.
-Yet another case of insta-love in Chao's books. I could tolerate it in AMERICAN PANDA because I actually liked the book, but here it was just painful to read. I skimmed any and all interactions between Ch
3.5/ 5 stars

This book is a Young Adult contemporary romance that focuses on the cultural aspects of being a Taiwanese American teen living in the Mid-West.

I really liked American Panda so I knew that I wanted to read the author's newest book.

The narrator is 17 year old Taiwanese American Ali/Allie (1st person POV). She lives with her parents in Indiana and is the only Asian student at her school.

My favorite thing about this book was learning more about this culture. I think that this story reall
While reading this book, I wasn't sure if I'd end up liking it or not. Ali is a rather prickly main character, but I really liked how she and Chase bonded. Update: It was brought to my attention that in the last part of the book, Ali feels entitled to destroy a cultural tradition without understanding its history and feels like a hero/savior to Chinese youth for bringing to light a 'repressive tradition'. This occurs so quickly and triumphantly for Ali that I had initially overlooked it.

Our Wayw
Sakina (aforestofbooks)
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Thank you so much to Simon& Schuster Canada and NetGalley for letting me review this arc!!

After reading American Panda, I just knew whatever Gloria Chao wrote next would be a book I absolutely had to read. American Panda was difficult, and I went into Our Wayward Fate with the same expectation: that I would relate in so many ways, and it would hurt and dredge up old memories and feelings. Despite that, I don’t think I was ready ready? I had to take some breaks, which is fine, because honestly a
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Finding a new author whose books you love is such a great bookish feeling. Obviously, I was thrilled to love Chao’s debut, American Panda, and eager to read more books from her. For me, though, I think it’s really the sophomore novel that cements what kind of relationship I’m going to have with that author’s books. Not that Sally Thorne couldn’t come back from whatever happened in 99 Percent Mine and write all books I love from here on out, but it definitely makes me really nervous when the soph ...more
Kate (Reading Through Infinity)
3.5 stars

I read this on audio and I really enjoyed the inclusion of all the Chinese language sections, as well as the side chapters detailing the story of The Butterfly Lovers.

I liked Ali's fiery, stubborn persona, and the fact that she wasn't afraid to stand up for what she believed in. I wasn't a huge fan of Chase at first (mainly because he was kind of rude to Ali?), but he grew on me as the novel progressed. Some of my favourite scenes where when Ali, Chase, and Yun were all hanging out to
Dec 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I didn't care for American Panda this newest title from Chao sounded so funny and adorable I had to take the chance. Well sadly this one didn't work out for me at all. I will keep trying her books because they have a way of making me crack up laughing so I am really hoping that one of them will mesh with me. This one had the issue of having way too much inner dialogue which overpowered the story. It was more like reading someones daily diary than an actual story. The pacing was well don ...more
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Our Wayward Fate


TWs: Racism (challenged)

+I really loved the writing voice. I feel like Chao captions an older voice but still YA and I love that. It also has a ramble-y feel in a way which I liked as I feel like I'm inside their head.
+Ali was a powerful character, she was strong and feisty and quite open so I liked that.
+The romance was a serious insta-love situation but it still has a lot of cute tender moments so it redeemed itself in a way. Chase was lovable in the end.
+This is an #o
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Gloria Chao is the critically acclaimed author of American Panda, Our Wayward Fate, and the upcoming Rent a Boyfriend. When she’s not writing, you can find her with her husband on the curling ice or hiking the Indiana Dunes. After a brief detour as a dentist, she is now grateful to spend her days in fictional characters’ heads instead of real people’s mouths.

Visit her tea-and-book-filled world at

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